4) DROP SETS
You may think that drop sets are for bodybuilders only – a push-past-failure technique designed to carve new detail into muscle. But your body can use this proven approach to build new strength and size, as well.
“In conjunction with the pyramid example above, I like to push myself a bit further on the last set of the Big 3 exercises (squat, bench, and deadlift),” says Simmons. “Again, using the 500-pound deadlift example above, immediately follow that final rep with drop sets all the way back down to 135 but this time increase your reps as you decrease the weight. So, it might look like this: 500 for a single, 405 for 2-4, 315 for 6-8, 225 for 10-12, and finally 135 for 12. Keep the pace up with these drop sets, taking no more rest than the time it takes you to strip the weights. Focus on your form as you decrease the weight. As your back and legs burn, this will become more and more challenging in spite of the decreasing weight, but it will be worth it.”
“Compete,” says Simmons, sternly. “Powerlifting is all about challenging yourself mentally and physically — pushing your limits safely. The most rewarding meets I’ve participated in were those when I set a new personal best in one of the lifts, not necessarily just the meets I’ve won (although that’s nice too). Don’t be intimidated by the culture or atmosphere of a powerlifting meet – everyone was a beginner at some point and we all had a first meet. The small community of competitive powerlifting is a friendly, close-knit group of passionate athletes, and we’re always looking to grow and promote the sport.
6) FORM CHECK
Don’t buy into the misconception that powerlifters are grunting beasts only concerned with moving the weight from A to B. They are strong because they are meticulous technicians.
“Focus on form!” Simmons exclaims. “The common theme here is obviously that proper form comes first. If you’re lifting properly, the strength will follow. Take the ego out of your lifts, take some weight off the bar and take pride in doing the lifts properly.”
7) REST AND EAT
It’s bro science to think that you can throw down slice after slice of pizza just because you’re heaving such massive L-Bs about. Wrong. Way, way wrong.
“You need to rest and eat appropriately,” Simmons says. “ An intense weightlifting program requires the proper amount of fuel and rest for results. Without getting into diet program specifics, the basic principle is that your diet should be appropriate for your personal goals, whether they are to build size and strength or lose weight. Also, I recommend supplementing a healthy diet with a supplement such as RuckPack, which is a caffeine-free, all-in-one supplement which promotes focus, joint health, stamina, and recovery.”
James Simmons is an active duty Air Force contrating officer. He competes in powerlifting at 198 pounds and has won a number of state and regional titles.