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Since competing in the NAPF Deadlift Championships in July, I have commenced preparations for the GNC Pro Deadlift at the 2013 Arnold Classic. Invites have not been officially issued for this contest, but I figured I should be as prepared as possible if and when the opportunity arises. I actually started off-season training in a way that I have not done in a while. I took a full week off of training.
My off-season program started off very slow. I have plenty of time to prepare for the Arnold Classic.,. so my plan is to “slow-cook” my physical preparation for this contest. I started off with a two-week General Physical Preparation phase that consisted of very high volume and very low intensity. This consisted of barbell and dumbbell complexes, sled drags, prowler pushes, bodyweight exercises, escalated density training (EDT), medicine ball throws, and high repetition barbell and dumbbell movements. The purpose of this phase is to increase my work capacity and increase my ability to recover from physical stress and overload.
My next phase was a three-week Volume Accumulation phase. The movements were similar to the GPP phase, but the volume and intensity increase slightly. This phase was followed by another Volume Accumulation phase. In this phase the complexes, EDT, sled drags and prowler pushes were taken out. The volume decreased slightly, but the intensity and number of core barbell movements increased.
I have just started my first Intensification Phase. For this phase I am following a Sheiko programming template. This program includes very high volume and moderate intensity in the three main power lifts (squat, bench press and deadlift). If I had not prepared by body with the GPP and Volume Accumulation phases, I would not be able to handle this kind of volume right now. Training with this kind of volume sets you up for success when it comes time to lift really heavy loads in the Peaking phase that will precede the next contest. The most difficult part of this phase, by far, has been the back squats. I have dropped about 17 pounds of bodyweight in the last six to eight weeks in an effort to get my Wilkes score up at the Arnold Classic. Dropping bodyweight nearly always negatively affects the squat, even if it is done correctly. However, the proper time to drop weight is early in the off-season as I did. If it is done too close to a contest, the body does not have enough time to adjust to the lighter weight and will struggle when it comes to lift really heavy loads in preparation for the contest. The Sheiko program that I am on right now is attached to this blog, in case you are interested in giving it a try.
I would not be able to handle the volume that this program calls for if it was not for HMB. This supplement is essential to the recovery needed in this phase of the training cycle. As my volume and intensity of training increase I will be shooting more training videos, so be sure to check out my You Tube page as training for the 2013 Arnold Classic ramps up!