Sunday, March 15, 2015

Alex's Powerlifting Routine

Song:  Carry On / Questions

Group:  Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

I had modified Alex's weight training to allow a longer cycle of gentle weight progression.

I needed to ensure that his tendons will grow at the same rate as his musculature.

I had chosen a powerlifting scheme as it is one of the best ways to build pure strength
in the largest muscles of the body
(with one Olympic Lift also).

As we are also steadily increasing the weight used in our night walks...
and of his Farmer's Walks...
I knew I had to simplify his weight training to the bare essentials
so as to not overwhelm his ability to adapt to the greatly increased work load.

Alex will be lifting a lesser amount of weight by percentage of his max...
but the number of sets he will perform will be double his old schedule.

the lifts.

The Bench Press

The Pull Up

(Alex has yet to do a complete Pull Up.
As he progresses, he will be able to touch his upper chest to the bar 
for a complete range Pull Up).

The Jerk

The Squat

The Deadlift

(I had him use light weights in this photo for demonstration purposes).

Now the routine:

Each particular set of lifts shall ONLY be performed once every two weeks.

Each set of lifts will be lifted for singles with 1 minute rest between.

The set routine will start at 30 singles starting at 70% of his max.

With each subsequent session...
he will add 5 sets until 50 sets are completed
(10 weeks).

For the upper body lifts...
he will add 5 lbs after he does his 50 set routine...
and his next session he will be back to 30 sets...
only to work his way back up the set routine.

For the lower body lifts...
he will add 10 lbs after his 50 set routine.

Sunday I:

Squat / Pull Up

Thursday I:

Bench / Pull Up

Sunday II:

Deadlift / Pull Up

Thursday II:

Jerk / Pull Up

Why the change in routine?

Alex's muscular strength was starting to surpass his tendonal and ligamental strength
(Alex was closing in on a 300 lb deadlift too quickly).

An injury to the lower back often lasts a lifetime.

The muscles adapt much more quickly than do the tendons or ligaments.

An injury to the tendons or ligaments
can permanently weaken the body in the affected area...
and leave a nagging and lingering pain in the body part...
which then becomes subject to easily provoked further injury.

With higher set ranges and gradual weight increases...
the muscles will be given adequate stimulation for growth...
while allowing time for supercompensation (thickening) of the tendons and ligaments.

If you will notice that the Squat and the Bench are full range exercises...
while the Deadlift and the Jerk are more partial lifts...
while still working near the same muscles as the Squat and the Bench
(the jerk is initially catapulted up by the legs).

This allows the one set of exercises to fully exhaust the muscles
through a volume of work through the sets.

Two weeks recuperation for each lift will allow full recovery.

What this is NOT...
is a routine for competition.

Alex is not going to be a competitive lifter.

My goal for him is to have a solid base
for a high amount of strength throughout his whole body...
while greatly limiting the potential for lasting injuries.

With this routine...
Alex can experience many years of gentle growth without plateauing.  

He will also be able to harness the true power of his body...through tendonal strength
(it is the tendons which transmit the power of the muscles to the skeletal system).

Each routine takes less than one hour to complete.


  1. I think it is smart to adjust his routine for the reasons you mention. I am surprised about the two-week interval... what is the balance between allowing time for a full recovery and having two much time off so the muscles weaken?

  2. Although there are two weeks rest from one particular exercise to the next session of the same exercise...the same muscle groups are exercised once every week. When heavy work loads are used, it usually takes at least one week to recover. He will be exercising a particular group of muscles so thoroughly that he will need the rest to fully recover. Low intensity exercise may be done daily. His will be high intensity and high workload, especially when the sets go up...and over time...weight is added. I will be monitoring him for signs of incomplete recovery. Should I see any...we will skip that session for the week. We must approach this schedule with caution, as he is also doing other exercises on other nights...although, nothing so extreme as his weight training.


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