Notably important rules that come in handy.
-Knowing the deadline for changes to openers. If warm ups aren't going to plan, you need to know how long you have to change openers. It's not worth bombing if the lifts you had planned are just not there today.
-Knowing the minimum attempt increases for records, at that competition. As well as the first past the post system. So, at championships you can set national records, as well as increase bar weight by a minimum of .5kg. However, if you are not at a championship, the only attempts you can take less than 2.5kg on, are open records.
To reiterate, Junior lifter at an open comp wanting a junior record. Can only increase bar weight by 2.5kg. If he was at junior champs, he could increase by .5kg. If he was at an open comp, after an open record. He could increase by .5kg.
-Knowing the reasons for technical failures on each of the lifts. Refs are not obligated to walk you through what you did wrong, at local comps they likely will, but they just need to show the relevant card/light. It helps a lot if you know what those are and can address the problem straight away.
-Looking at the approved kit list and making sure who you're looking after's kit is compliant. It's also super handy to pack spares of things. Undergarments, socks/deadlift socks, chalk, talc, wrist wraps, knee sleeves. Even if you both run through what they need, there's no guarantee they'll remember to pack it. Bringing spare drinks/food never goes a miss either.
For the day of the competition there's a few things you can do before lifting begins. Arrive a little before weigh in time is due to start and speak to the organiser to find out where the weigh in will be and if there's an order (at higher level comps you weigh in in lot number order). Then make sure your lifter(s) get there on time, if not a little early.
After weigh in and kit check ensure they are eating and drinking something. Then swan off to see if the order of lifting has come up on the display screens yet. This will determine how much wiggle room you have in warm ups, if your lifter is first in the group you don't have much. Whereas if they are last, you have room.
Next thing on the list, is make sure they get their rack height for squat, and make sure it's right. Take into account clearance will change with weight on the bar. Also make sure that if they need blocks for bench, or the racks in for squat, that it's noted down. To reiterate, doing the rack height is on you/the lifter. At local comps people may help you, however any higher and it is on you to do on your time and make sure it's handed to the table. Same goes for bench heights.
Generally, I'd say give about 3 minutes per lifter in each flight. This is just rough, but each has 1 minute to start the lift, then some time to change the weight on the bar. If it appears faster than that on the day, call it 2 minutes a lifter. With that in mind, take whenever lifting is due to start, and add on time for each lifter before yours. Now you have a rough idea of total warm up time. Similarly, I like going with between 3-5minutes per warm up set. Since it's easy to fit in, and you'll likely be sharing your warm up space with other lifters so trying to rush won't work well. To that end, if you've done quick mafs, leave a couple minutes extra on just in case.
Once they've lifted, immediately grab 'em and talk through their next attempt. DO NOT wait, you only have 1 minute to do this post lift. Give your honest opinion and write down what the lifter wants next, then show them it to make doubly sure. The music will be loud, sometimes you mishear, and once an attempt is in, it can't be changed. (The only times you can change an attempt is the last deadlift, which you can change twice, and at single lift bench where the same applies to the last lift.)
With all that done, now you just repeat the process in between lifts. Keep track of them and their kit, make sure they're where they need to be ahead of time, and you'll both have the best day possible.
So, in summary, always bring pens, know where and when your lifters need to be and get them there early, it's invaluable to at least familiarise yourself with the technical rules, make sure they don't do anything overly stupid (like not eat anything because nerves). You don't need to be a sports science grad to know trying to put on peak performance with zero food or fluids isn't going to go well. I'm sure there will be other gems I've forgotten to mention, if you think of any please leave them in the comments! Otherwise have a good day, and feel free to get in touch @atsapproved.
All photos courtesy of http://www.power-photo.co.uk/
"I felt a twinge/tweak/pop/thud/detonation at the start of my session, but I just pushed through....."
This ill-fated sentence is one of the main reasons I have a job.
If it hurts, don't do it. This applies to many things in life (dress shopping, public transport, vodka), but in particular to strength training.
Obviously you are putting your body under a lot of stress, and asking it do to horrendous things over and over again. Please see the definition of insanity which is repetition in something but expecting different results over time. Why oh why would you be able to push through an injury? Why would you train despite being in pain? Unless you are Wolverine do not do these things.
Pain is the last step of dysfunction. Say it with me -- PAIN IS THE LAST STEP OF DYSFUNCTION. Listen to what your body is telling you before it can no longer perform for you.
a) REST (I am aware that this is THE most popular choice)
b) train around it -- AKA become hench AF in one or both of the other lifts
c) sports massage
e) cool torturous things like acupuncture, cryotherapy, cupping, taping, Graston, ultrasound etc from the above folk
f) hydrotherapy -- get your ass in a pool
g) yoga/Pilates/Body Balance/meditation -- get your ass on a mat
h) do nothing and moan about it -- thereby rescinding your right to complain. It's like voting. If you don't make an effort, you can't bitch about the result.
Call these things ACTIVE RECOVERY. Sounds way cool, and you're thus more likely to do them. If you're not sure what might be best for you, do some research. Ask your chosen health care provider or therapist any questions you might have. Despite popular belief, we aren't all sadists, and we DO want you to get back to your training. We will ALL tell you to rest, so prepare yourself.
PS. always keep consent in mind, never endure a treatment or technique that is making you uncomfortable. You absolutely have the right to stop any treatment at any time, no matter what. You do you, fam.
If you're financially unable to pursue treatment, see if you can barter! Some therapists would be happy to do a direct swap for goods or services. Also, YouTube is full of good, basic and safe videos of stretching/Pilates/yoga, etc. Nae excuses.
"I had a session/treatment, but it didn't fix it."
Uh, wut?! First of all, unless you've gone to a surgeon, nobody can FIX you. Second, if all it took was one appointment to get people injury- and pain-free I'd have been able to cash out a decade ago! Accept that managing injuries and any subsequent secondary issues is a process. It will take time.
And the more YOU put into it, the faster it will happen. Do the stretches and exercises you've been given. Lay off the damaging movements. REST. Don't expect your therapist to be a miracle worker. If it took six months for the niggle to get bad enough to need work, it's not going to be undone overnight. Trusting someone else can be difficult, so (again) do your research.
"I damaged my rotator cuff muscle."
No you didn't. Depending on what you source, there's 4 main and 3 minor rotator cuff muscles. It's not one muscle. I promise.
"My glute/hamstring/lat/pelvic floor isn't firing."
You're upright, you walked in, therefore the muscles in question are firing. Muscles do not "turn off" (outwith of severe traumatic nerve damage or the like), but it is common for muscle groups to get lazy and have others be over-recruited.
Basically, be pro-active about your training. Try to recognise when it feels a bit wrong, and take measures to rehab properly. And for the love of the gods, STRETCH! Powerlifting as a rule seems to greatly reduce available range of motion, which can lead to an increased incidence of injury.
This weekend was the date of the Scottish Powerlifting Eastern Districts competition. ATS had three people lifting. So, here's a run down of how our lifters got on!
First up, Blair Keith. You may recognise Blair from one of our client interviews! Blair is relatively new to working with us and has been training for this competition specifically for ~20 weeks. When Blair first started he wasn't sure about his 1 rep maxes, but based on low rep sets he'd done, we spit balled them at about 140/150 for squat, 100ish for bench, and 160 for deadlift. Most of his training with us has been hypertrophy based, as we've talked about previously. Adding more muscle mass, is a very good way to get stronger. We rounded out 12 weeks of volume training with 4 weeks of some general strength stuff and then hit some circa max lifts towards comp.
Blair's final lifts in his first competition were:
He possibly had a little more in the tank on squat. We only got the second bench at 107.5. Clearly, he had more in the tank on deadlift, despite the massive personal best weight for his third.
Next up is Nikki Charleston. Nikki has worked with us previously and while she mainly beats people up while roller skating, dabbles in powerlifting from time to time. Last time Nikki competed was in the Push/Pull in 2017. Where she got a 35 on bench, and a 77.5 on deadlift.
This time round she was lifting in a full 3 lift comp, here's how she got on!
Nikki's final lifts were:
Squat: 80 (didn't get film of this one)
Awesome work from Nikki! Personal bests on everything, and the 100kg milestone on deadlift to boot.
Lastly, Jason Gray. Jason is a long-term client who has been working with us for over a year, specifically with performance goals related to American football and Powerlifting. Last time Jason competed was in the Perth Open, in June 2017. Where he lifted 175 on squat, 110 on bench, and 202.5 on deadlift. At Easterns… Well here are the lifts.
That's a 57.5kg increase on his total, between his second and third competition.
Going forward, we'll be focussing on the football season as it arrives. Then going back to powerlifting focussed training and looking to compete again later in the year.
Finally, a huge thank you to Elysium gym in Edinburgh, Dean Roberston and his team for hosting. A great venue, can't wait to see more comps there in the future. If you live/work down near Leith in Edinburgh, you should check it out.
Hi guys, so I recently got asked by a client about deloads. Since they're so little work, why bother? Why not just take time off? So I figured i'd transcribe my response, since it was one of the few times something other than drivel and memes left my thumbs.
Client: Mate, quick question. I was talking to a guy at work and explaining what I was doing in my de-load week and when I told him it was less than 10 mins workout each day he asked what the point was, I wasn't sure if it was just psychological to keep me in the pattern of going to the gym or some other reason related to keeping the muscles guessing?
Will: Few reasons.
1. You are right, it helps keep you ticking over. Much like getting 'rusty' from no practice of a sport. You start to lose technical aptitude after roughly 3 days of nothing.
2. As much as its very little, it isn't nothing. 6 sets /week is just half of what we started week 1 on. It means that you wont be significantly de-trained come week 1 of the next block. Think of it like a 'cool down'.
3. It's a good idea to have, since the measure of difficulty for our hardest training is that you wouldn't be able to repeat that same week, or more the next week. It gives us wiggle room for over cooking the hardest training.
4. Its also pretty cool as a mental stress indicator. If you are antsy and keen to get going again. That usually means its working. If we hit the previous week SOO hard that even during a deload, you felt burst. I'd need to re structure, and we'd have fairly good idea of what you're maximum volume could be in a week.
5. Suppose it also helps you push in the week before. Knowing you have planned down time, can help you not hold back and really do the hardest possible work
As always, if you have questions, comments, or wanna fight'bout it. Leave them below!
6. What do you like about working with ATS?
The gym is a good set up, they have made use of the space and I've enjoyed both the PT sessions and the programmed ones given to me. Using training styles, I haven't used before has kept the training fun, and lead to an increase in strength on higher reps and my 1RMs!
7. Would you recommend ATS to someone? If so, why?
Yes definitely. If anyone is looking to compete they will be able to help with your prep. If not, I would still recommend as the increase in strength has felt great! I will continue to use the service after I've competed.
8. Fun story or anecdote from your time here?
Will has a few! However, I can't think of one that would be appropriate for the general public!!