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At 44 years old, I am finding that my desire to train hard and accomplish my goals is stronger than ever. The 2010 IPF World Championships in Potchefstroom, South Africa will be my 10th appearance at an Open IPF World Championship. I am very excited about making the long journey to South Africa and fighting for a spot on the Medal Podium. There are three of us from our small private club we call "Jackals Gym" competing at this year’s IPF World Championships. The gym is a busy place these days, and the intensity has been at a very high level.
My "Transitional Training Phase" is over, and my "Heavy Training Phase" has begun. The "Transitional Training Phase" provided me with much needed physical and mental recovery, and gave me the desire to really start training heavy again. I am currently 2 weeks into my progressive 12 week training cycle. I have begun my staple 5x5 squat program, and heavy pulling from the floor, along with heavy pulls out of the power rack. The heat and humidity in Minnesota this year, in a building that does not have air conditioning, has become a little bit of a factor. It has been brutal, and tonight was no different. It was hard to keep the bar dry which made holding on to it difficult even with a hook grip. I had to improvise and go with straps, but I pulled a very nice 1050 from just above the knees which is a great mark this early into my training. This Friday I have a 5x5x529 in the squat which will start to become more of a challenge. I would like to finish with a 5x5x606 towards the end of my cycle.
I have changed up my bench training to include extra triceps lockout work. My bench has really become a weak link for me. I was an IPF Gold Medalist in the bench in 1997, 1998, and 2000. In recent years I have lost a lot of valuable Lbs on my total in the bench press, and find myself in the middle of the pack in this movement. I spent a lot of time last year rehabbing a shoulder injury that I suffered at the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I was successful in gaining back my strength in the shoulder, but my triceps strength has been holding me back. One of the things I experimented with during my down time was power rack lockouts. Power rack lockouts used to be a big part of my bench training dating back into my teenage years. Unfortunately, over time I have had a few pectoral injuries; notably a fairly severe injury in 2003 leading up to the 2003 IPF World Championships in Vejle, Denmark. This injury, along with some problems with my warm-up in a cold building in Denmark, led to my first and only bomb-out in my 20+ competitive years. From 2003 until this year I quit doing power rack lockouts. I used to be very strong in this movement and over the years my triceps have become the weak link. I have been very careful this time by very slowly adding resistance. I am still a little hesitant to really push this movement, but so far it has been going well and my strength levels are on the rise. To be honest, I am not nearly as strong in this movement as I was in my 20's, but I need to get the bench moving to be competitive in South Africa. The great strength and recovery gains that I have acquired by supplementing my diet with GNC Pro Performance HMB have allowed me to train a 5x5 approach on my heavy day, and then throw in a light speed workout, followed by power rack lockouts on an alternative training day.
Training is an ever evolving concept. Over the years my staple program has not changed much, but I have tried to continue to add additional movements to train my weak areas. This winter I added kettle bell swings to help a back injury recover. Now this movement has become a very important exercise to me both for recovery, and added hip extension strength. This training cycle I have added an exercise that I started training 30 years ago, and put on the shelf the last 7 years. An important lesson for all strength athletes to learn is that every well thought out training program will work for a while, but nothing works forever. Every strength athlete needs to continue to find innovative ways to train the weak areas.
Train hard, stay healthy, set your goals high, and don't forget to add GNC Pro Performance HMB to your supplement list!