By Elliot Coulombe Woznica
Themes Coming off of a Meet:
As alluded to in my prior blog post, I recently competed in the 2022 Winter Showdown USAPL Maine event in my home town of Saco, Maine. The meet was a blast and I had a lot of fun, but my goals extend way beyond doing well in local level meets. Once again, this is the Road to Nationals blog, so the main focus of this page will be what I’m doing between now and 2023 nationals to secure a spot in the competition. With that being said, let’s run through a few themes that me and my coach like to keep in mind as I come off of a meet.
- Theme 1: Keep Intensity Low
A common misconception people have about lifting as a whole is that intensity is required to drive muscle growth. Although this is true to an extent, intensity more so drives strength development and adaptation. Muscles can either increase in size or become more efficient in the way they move weight…intensity increases the latter. Coming off of a meet, it’s important to keep intensity pretty low. Having exerted as much strength as possible for almost 3 hours straight, my CNS took a blow during meet weekend. Low intensity for the time being will allow me to recover properly and come back stronger.
- Theme 2: Keep Volume High
Although intensity isn’t always a bad thing, it can become an issue when volume increases. For those who don’t know, volume is a word used to describe how much overall work you’re doing in the gym. Three sets of ten would be much more volume than two sets of three, for example. Volume is the leading variable in increasing muscle mass, so implementing more volume after this meet means we’ve placed an emphasis on building more muscle mass, not necessarily getting stronger. Of course, the two go hand in hand. However, you can only get so strong without having to increase your muscle mass once again.
*note, I wanted to include more videos but the files are too big. Am working on it!!!
- Theme 3: Introduce Variation
This will be the final theme of this post, and in my opinion, this is also the most interesting one. As the goal of my training right now will be to build muscle, it’s also important that I build the right muscle. This is where variation comes into play. Because I am a powerlifter, I only really care about how strong I am on squat, bench, and deadlift. With that being said, there are weaknesses within each of those lifts that are important for me to address if I wish to get stronger. Variation allows me to work through the weaknesses in my lifts more efficiently than I could if I just kept doing competition lifts. An example of variation could be benching with a closer grip, squatting with a different bar (SSB bar for me this block, lol, here’s a link), or pausing deadlifts (like you see in the video above). Ultimately, the variations I’m doing during this phase of lifting will increase my squat, bench, and deadlift by allowing me to get better at my weak points. This is why we’re focusing on it.
What to Expect Next
I’d like to apologize, I really thought this post would incorporate more videos to give you guys a glimpse into what it is I’m specifically doing to improve right now. Unfortunately, I’m having some technical difficulties. Hopefully in the future this will be ironed out, that way I can make the content I want.