Tag Archives: Powerlifting Tournament

Resistance Training Cycles

Periodization, powerlifting cycles, and hypertrophy cycles are all similar versions of the same thing – each specific to their application. For example, a bench press periodization program is design to help you max out on your bench press. However, regardless of the program design, all training cycles are based on a timeline varying workout volume and intensity.

The timeline of a cycle depends on the needs of the athlete. For example, an Olympic athlete might have a yearly plan segregated into four 12-week hypertrophy cycles with specific quarterly goals. Or alternatively a lifter might have an upcoming powerlifting tournament in 4 months they would like to prepare and devise a 16-week periodization program.

Regardless of the timeline it is fundamentally important to understand that each cycle transitions form high volume to low volume allowing the central nervous system to accommodate the demands of successive increases in intensity.

For example, a 16 week powerlifting cycle might start out with 5 sets of 5 reps and continuously reduce the number of sets and reps as follows:

  • Weeks 1-2
    • 5 sets x 5 reps (25 total reps)
  • Weeks 3-4
    • 4 sets x 5 reps (20 reps)
  • Weeks 5-6
    • 3 sets x 5 reps (15 reps)
  • Weeks 7-8
    • 5 sets x 3 reps (15 reps)
  • Weeks 9-10
    • 4 sets x 3 reps (12 reps)
  • Weeks 11-12
    • 3 sets x 3 reps (9 reps)
  • Weeks 13-14
    • 7 sets x 1 rep (7 reps)
  • Weeks 15-16
    • 5 sets x 1 rep (5 reps)

Notice how the total number of repetitions performed slowly decline throughout the cycle as the rep range approaches and weight used reaches your max 1 rep PR. The higher volume of work done at the beginning of the cycle stresses the nervous system using a much lighter weight. As the volume continues to decrease the intensity of each workout increases as the powerlifter is expected to handle heavier weights.

Other methods of measuring and controlling training volume exist; however, most powerlifting periodization programs gradually decrease the number of sets and reps as the controlled variable in the workout.

Brickhouse Powerlifting Challenge

I just entered my first Powerlifitng tournament (Brickhouse Power Challenge) and here are the results. I definitely didn’t max out on any of my lifts but rather entered to gain experience. I did a 275 lbs Squat, a 226 lbs bench press, and a 352 lbs deadlift at a bodyweight of 153 lbs which is not bad considering this is my first tournament and I am 37 years old.