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Old 12-14-2011, 06:29 PM   #1
Michael Abbruzzese
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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Default Tapering for powerlifting

I just can't seem to get the taper right for a PL meet. I'm doing a modified 5x5 periodized over 12-14 weeks, the last 2-3 weeks being a taper. The major modification from the Bill Starr program being that I reduced the poundages used because I found that the prescribed poundages, if I try to stick to them, send me into an overreached state which teeters on over training. Even with the reduced intensity, I feel my strongest around week 8 or 9 and then steadily become more fatigued during the final intensity phase despite that volume is cut drastically. I'm not missing reps until the final week, though. Then I reduce volume some and reduce intensity to around 70%-75% for the last two weeks preceding the meet.

I felt well rested and recovered come game day, but when I got under the bar for my openers I just wasn't feeling as strong as I felt in weeks 8 and 9. I pushed through squats ok, not doing as well as expected but well enough to be happy (more than last meet). But after squats I just felt drained and completely fatigued. The perception of heaviness of the bar was disheartening and my second attempts, which should have been no problem as I save the all out effort for final attempts, just were not happening.

I know that I'm stronger than I was last meet, as I comfortably used weights during the training cycle that I could not use 6 months prior. I just can't demonstrate that strength when it matters most. Am I peaking early in weeks 8 and 9? Not tapering enough and therefore still have residual fatigue from the months of training? or am I tapering too much and allowing myself to detrain somewhat? I can't figure it out. Someone please help me.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:27 AM   #2
Eduardo Chile
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You should keep intensity up but cut on volume the last two weeks. I really only do a deload the week of the meet. I hit numbers I expected to hit.

Also, how did you pick your openers and how did you determine your one rep max for the meet?
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:07 PM   #3
Matt Foreman
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Try hitting your biggest lifts three weeks away from the meet, then taking a deload week, then a 90% week, then your meet preparation week (which should be light). It would look something like this

- Biggest week of the cycle
- Deload week
- 85-90% week
- Meet week (light)

I've done this in preparation for PL meets and it's worked well. With the huge poundages you're handling in powerlifting, you can get overtrained pretty easy. Those last 14-18 days before the meet need to be a time when you're working hard enough to keep the strength you've built, but not trying to hit massive PR numbers. This is exactly why so many powerlifters leave their biggest lifts in the gym.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:50 AM   #4
Matt Morris
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This might be too simple, but if you feel really strong in weeks 8 and 9, why not just go from a 12 week cycle to an 8 week cycle?
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:03 PM   #5
Michael Abbruzzese
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the reason why i dont take my training down to 8 or 9 weeks when these are my strongest weeks is because although i feel strongest in these weeks, im only in the 80-85% intensity range. i spend the next couple of weeks working up to about 95% or better before i taper.

Matt- i like that scheme and i think im gonna try it for next meet. I'm gonna keep the same basic set up but adjust my intensity so that Im using 95% by week 9, then do a deload then contest prep as you suggest. thatll bring the total cycle to 12 weeks. Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
Matt Foreman
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Sounds good. Make sure you get back on here after your meet and let us know how it went.
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