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I officially began my training cycle in preparation for the 2012 Arnold Classic GNC Pro Deadlift three weeks ago. The training cycle is 15 weeks and is broken down as follows:
Phase I: Work Capacity & Volume Accumulation (2 weeks)
Phase II: Volume Accumulation (3 weeks)
Reload (1 week)
Phase III: Peaking (8 weeks)
Reload (1 week)
I have already completed Phase I and am currently in week 1 of Phase II. The following are the main methods used in Phase I (as the training applies to the deadlift):
Barbell Complex – various lower body movements performed in succession for a specific number of repetition for each movement (I used a thick bar on this to attack the grip strength as well) – for this particular phase I used the following: Power Clean x6 – Back Squat x6 – Barbell Row x6.
Front Squat & Good Morning – multiple sets of 8.
Squat Circuits & Posterior Chain Circuits – pick 3 different squat or posterior chain movements, respectively. Perform 1 set of each in circuit fashion and then repeat (I used sets of 10 in this phase). These are great for getting the muscle groups used in the deadlift in shape to lift heavy weights in the peaking phase. Some of the movements used in the posterior chain circuit include barbell hip lifts, reverse hypers and kettlebell swings.
Various Vertical & Horizontal Pulls – multiple sets of 8, 10, 12 or failure.
Escalated Density Training – pick 2 movements that train different muscle groups and accumulate as many repetitions as possible in a set amount of time, alternating sets of each movement. This was used for upper back and core training this phase.
Sled Drags & Prowler Push – great for general work capacity in the lower body and core. I performed 500 yds. of sled drag one time per week and 250 yds. of prowler push one time per week.
This type of training is never the most fun for a strength athlete, but it is a necessary evil. It goes a long way in preparing the body to reach personal record levels in the peaking phase.
Phase II consists of some similar methods to Phase I, but also many different methods. The following are the main methods used in Phase II (as the training applies to the deadlift):
Front Squat – 3x8 (light – early in the week), 8x3 (moderate – later in the week).
RDL – 5x8 (moderate).
Posterior Chain Circuits – similar to Phase I, but 8 reps per set, instead of 10.
Thick Bar Deadlift & Thick Bar Row – great for grip.
Various Vertical & Horizontal Pulls – using strip sets on pull-ups (for example, start with BW+40 pounds for max reps, take 10 pounds off and repeat until you finish with bodyweight for max reps – only enough rest between to take the weight off.
Snatch Grip Rack Deadlift – going with 3x5 on this with descending heights (i.e. bar 21”, 18”, 15” off the ground)
I will take a week to reload and let the body recover for what is sure to be a very demanding and productive 8-week peaking phase leading up to the Arnold Classic. If you have any questions on my training cycle or yours, feel free to send me a personal message at my YouTube site. In the mean time, leave it all in the gym – don’t hold back – you always have HMB to help you recover for the next battle in the gym!