Powerlifters Prevention & Preparation

The idea that a specific organisation around the prevention and preparation to training performance had to come about to powerlifters, came to me about 8 years into my training. Which is about 6 years into powerlifting (2 years of training with no idea). The year before I had what I thought was a good year in powerlifting- adding numbers to my total- 10kg increase on my squat, 10kg increase on my deadlift and a 2.5kg increase on my bench press. Keep in mind I’m not a complete novice and progress starts to slow down as you lift heavier and heavier numbers, so I thought.

You hear coaches and Chiros/ Physios say that your mobility and activation work is very important and it’s crucial to getting the most out of your lifts. I would agree verbally and act like I was doing mobility at the start of the session. By this I mean I was going through the motions, do my foam rolling quickly, do some quick activations that i thought the physios wanted me to do. This same year I was getting injured every time I went through a strength block- elbows, hips, back, you name it. At some point in time I would experience some pain through my body.

After my last competition that year, I decided I would make a change to see if the small time investment would pay off with my lifts. I bought a band, a glute activation band a trigger ball and a balance mat. I bought all items at different times as I learnt more about how to activate and the different tools I can use to do so.

Over the next few weeks, the preparation before the session just felt like it added to my session time. I wasn’t very good at the exercises and just wanted to get into the lifting. After about 1 month, it was just another aspect to the training routine and I felt some sense of safety by doing so beforehand. Over the next 6 months I started getting better at activating and I picked up a few cues from these activation exercises that I used in my main lifts. Overall, I felt improvements in balance, quite reactive to first working sets (I found my first sets used to suck as I wasn’t activated), my injuries and niggles I used to have reduced and best of all I was able to reduce the imbalances within my major compounds, which overall made my lifts feel more comfortable.

Next up I have a comp 12.5 kg increase on the Squat, 7.5 kg increase on the bench press and a 20kg increase on my deadlift. Now if you look back, within the last 6 months my progress almost doubled from the results I got 12 months before that. I still couldn’t believe that it was just the extra proprioception and activation work before hand that not only reduced my pain from training but also increased my progression in my lifts. It could have been other factors, I thought back and my training was the same, my food was quite the same and my sleep quality improved slightly. The major change was the time investment before hand with the proprioception before hand. I also competed another 5 months later and had similar progression to the last 6 months.

It doesn’t stop with me. I started teaching my clients and lifting friends how to ‘prevent and prepare’ for their training and we all found improvements to their lifts. There was also a correlation between how much effort was put into preventing and preparing and their increased results and decreased injury. Basically you get out what you put in.

From here the idea of PPP was formed. It seems lifters currently know that using prevention methods will reduce their risk of injury for the future. Some do it and some people believe they won’t get injured, like they are unbreakable (everyone eventually breaks, it’s just a matter of time). This is not so compelling, it’s similar to the person who smokes and knows it may harm them in the future but it’s not enough to stop them smoking. The part that may turn lifters onto practicing the preparation and prevention methods within powerlifting is the positive affect it will have on their lifting performance. So now we are not just talking about preserving, but boosting the amount of weight they can lift and their efficiency within these lifts which really then catches the attention of lifters wanting to get the most out of their lifting.

PPP was made to show lifters that the small things add up. Of course this is true in life, but also in powerlifting. The small time investment of prevention and preparation methods, along with the traditional methods required to be successful at powerlifting will go a long way to improving your training as a powerlifter. PPP aims to spread this message to powerlifters everywhere to notify them of an overlooked aspect of training that will take their performance to an exceptional level.

October 31, 2018 — Daniel Felstein

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