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Training for the GNC Pro Deadlift at the 2013 Arnold Classic is winding down. Training has gone well the past couple of months. My upper back strength is at all-time high from the use of heavy wide-grip barbell rows, heavy dumbbell rows, and heavy weighted pull-ups. My grip strength is also at an all-time high. I use Captain’s of Crush grippers (done both statically and dynamically). Double-overhand deadlift work, dumbbell rows without straps, as well as thick bar movements to work the thumb. I build my core and leg strength with the use of high-volume raw squats. This is done with five sets of five repetitions each with the percentages increasing each week. Raw 5x5 back squats have a good carry-over to both conventional and sumo deadlifts. My last heavy squat session will be two weeks out from the competition and I will try to hit a personal record for five sets of five repetitions in this last heavy session.
My deadlift training has gone well also. A couple of weeks ago I managed to pull 600 plus 250 pounds of band tension for a set of three with just a belt. This was a personal record for me. My top end strength seems to be coming along as well. My partial rack deadlift work has gone well, as have my Romanian Deadlifts. I was able to hit a solid set of 5 on RDL’s at 600 with no belt. This video is on my YouTube site, as are others. I put together a video of corrective and mobility work for Team HMB member Brad Gillingham, but it applies to all those training hard and looking to stay healthy and continue banging on all cylinders.
I will do my last deadlift session about ten days out from the competition. In this session I will pull raw from the floor and do some accessory work for top end strength. This late in the cycle it is just as important to train smart as it is to train hard. Volume has to be low as the intensity of training gradually increases. If you don’t go into a meet fully recovered, you are leaving pounds off of the bar that you could have had in a fully recovered state.
This training phase has once again reminded me that the road to strength lies in keeping things simple and relying on the basics. Raw front and back squats, raw pulling, partial rack deadlifts, RDL’s and heavy rows have gotten a lot of people very strong over the years and they will continue to get people strong for many years to come. Keep things simple. Work hard AND smart, and you will see progress.
The anticipation is boiling over for the 2013 Arnold Classic. I can’t wait to see my fellow Team HMB members, all the other athletes, and of course, the fans. Be sure to stop by Team HMB’s booth (#1119) and check out the greatest recovery supplement around! Hope to see your there!