The Live Large Fall Brawl meet is 3 weeks away for 10 of us at Union Fitness! We are reaching our heaviest singles before we begin to de-load into meet day. Although my body is about ready for a break, I am mentally in a really good spot and excited to see what happens that day.
The setup of my training has remained the same with one main lift, one supplemental movement targeting my weakness in that lift, and then accessory work. With the three competition lifts including the squat, bench, and deadlift, I have been training in the double and single range with heavier weight and only using a straight bar. Below is a breakdown of my struggles and attempts to fix each lift:
Squat: reaching depth always becomes an issue for me once the weight reaches my near-maximal intensity. It is a habit I am continuing to try and break. For the time being, Curtis has been calling me up once I reach depth on each heavy rep. Following the main set, I have been doing longer pause sets to feel a bit more comfortable while in that position and to reinforce tightness coming out of the hole.
Bench: following my heavy bench sets, I have been doing Spoto presses with the goal of maintaining tightness right above my chest where I have been losing my lats and upper back tightness. I have also been having some bicep and shoulder pain which have been a continual issue on and off for a while now. Some days I have no pain at all and some days I can’t reach my chest without a sharp pain. I have no profound answers to this yet, but I have found a few things that help to relieve the pain.
- Bicep curls lying face-up on an incline bench with light fatbells for 3 sets of 15. With these, I have been conscious of moving slowly through the full range of motion.
- Two different banded movements for external rotation both with a light orange band. Recommended after squats and before bench but I have been doing a bit more often recently.
- Banded shoulder distractions paired with band-assisted pec stretch. I use a thick orange or grey band to have enough band tension and hold both positions for around 30 seconds each.
- Lacrosse ball subscap release (the ouchiest of all). This muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles but due to it being underneath the scapula we rarely ever stretch or move it through full range of motion. Laying sideways on top of the lacrosse ball and letting it slowly sink in the pocket has helped me so much with moving my shoulders.
Deadlift: There were many days that I did not like or trust dynamic work but my speed off of the floor and through lockout has noticeably improved. More than that though, intentionally pulling every deadlift as if it were heavy has been the most beneficial lesson. Building a mental checklist for my setup has also been a big component used as I approach each pull, no matter the weight. I work my way up from the floor starting with my feet:
- Feet planted
- Sit back, knees out
- Engage lats
- Big breath
- Open up and pull
Following deadlifts, I have been doing banded RDL’s with fatbells. You can also do these with a barbell. The band will add a bit more resistance to fight through lockout. I have had to be conscious to really squeeze my glutes through the top.
With these few things added recently, I am feeling very excited going into the meet! Until next time, my friends!