Proper Knob wrote:
Found this article, nothing new, but an interesting perspective on assistance lifts for squat, bench and deadlifts from eight different strength coaches.http://www.wannabebig.com/training/the- ... -deadlift/
There is some good information in the article. Some of the information from Nick Tumminello appears to be Powerlifting 102. I question Nick's expertise in this area.
Eric Cressey is a powerlifter who has the book smart and first hand experience to draw from. Cressey is definitely an authority in this area.
A Different View On Auxiliary Exercises.
I view auxiliary exercises as a bit different that most.
I see using the powerlifts as a means of developing strength for that particular lifts more as a negative than a positive.
The key to developing strength for your competition squat, bench press and deadlift is through auxiliary exercises.
I am not alone in my view on this. Louie Simmons' West Side Training is built the use of auxiliary exercises for developing strength...NOT the powerlifts themselves.
Dr Tom McLaughlin (former powerlifter and PhD in exercise biomechanics) also promotes the use of auxiliary exercises as a mean of increasing strength for the powerlifts...NOT the powerlifts themselves.
McLaughlin's Bench Press More Now
provide training information of how to use auxiliary exercises to increase strength and how to train the powerlifts for technique. You can get the book for about $20 at CrainsMuscleWorld.com
Let's examine some of history and reasoning for this.
The traditional method is to use each of competition lifts as a training exercise. That means to increase you squat, you squat. To increase your bench press, you bench press. And to increase you deadlift, you deadlift.
The tradition method used by many was pretty much cut into stone until the early 1980s. That is when thing began to change.
A New Approach
In the early 1980s, Lou Simmons began to push the West Side Training Method. That method pretty much eliminated performing heavy sets of reps in the powerlifts: Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift.
Instead, the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift training loads were dropped to 60% of 1 Repetition Max.
Each of the powerlifts were trained for Speed, NOT Strength!
Strength Training of each lift was developed by using Auxiliary Movements that were closely related to each of the powerlifts.
As an example, Powerlifting Squats were replaced with High Bar Squats, Zercher Squats, Front Squats, Belt Squats, etc.
Auxiliary Exercises were/are considered "Disposable". Disposable meaning you can train them into the ground in a training cycle and throw them away.
In your next cycle, you then use another Auxiliary Exercise that is similar in nature.
Thus, you could burn through High Bar Squats in one cycle and then in the next cycle use Zercher Squats.
One of the reasons for this was/is to insure that you don't overtrain any of the powerlifts.
However, this method of training also provides another benefit!
"Practice DOESN'T Make Perfect, Perfect Practice Make Perfect."
One of the problems in using the powerlifts to increase strength is that in an all out effort for the last rep, the focus of every lifter is to push or pull the weight up...NO matter how you do it.
When this occurs, you are practicing bad technique. In fact, you are burning it into your "Mother Board"...you central nervous system.
As the saying goes, "Garbage in, garbage out. That meaning once you've ingrained bad technique into your "Mother Board", getting it out requires even more work.
Thus, another benefit to the West Side Method is that it allows you to develop better technique. The lighter loads allow you to increases power as well as focus on performing your squat, bench press and deadlift with proper technique.
The Down Side of West Side For Developing Technique
While the use of light loads with West Side will improve your technique, it does not completely translate to good technique with maximum loads.
One of the problems is the muscles fire differently when different load are used. The firing sequence/muscle involvement is not the same for load of 60% of 1 Repetition Max vs 100% of 1 Repetition Max.
You Lift Like You Train
To effectively elicit the best technique, you need to use training loads in each of the powerlfts that are close to you competition max. However, you want to make sure that in doing so that you do not overtrain your competition lifts.
To do that you need to perform only 1-2 repetitions per set. The focus of each rep is on technique, NOT weight.
At any point that you technique falls apart, STOP.
1) The best Auxilary Exercises are those that are similar in nature to the powerlifts.
2) Use the Auxilary Exercises to increase strength.
3) Train the Powerlifts with Lighter Loads (60% or less) for power and technique
4) To develop technique use loads close to your competition max for 1-2 reps. Once you technique falls apart, STOP.
Bench Press Example
If your best competition bench press is 300 lbs. Start off performing singles in your bench press with 270 lbs. Perform 270 X 1 rep X 5-10 sets.
The next week, increase it. Perform 275 X 1 rep X 5-10 sets.
Keep increasing the weight each week.
How Many Sets?
The determining how many sets of singles to perform is TECHNIQUE.
If your technique falls apart in the 6th set, STOP! Don't do a 7th set. Do NOT perform any more sets, period. Go home or perform some auxiliary exercises.