These days I tend to follow something like Bompa’s Periodization method of training;
- Anatomical Adaptation
- Maximum Strength
- Conversion to Specific Strength
This didn’t come about because I read Bompa’s book, rather it came about as I tried different things over the decades – no doubt if I had an experienced coach from the beginning I would have saved several decades and been much stronger now. Or if the internet had existed then I would have saved on hiring a coach. However I would recommend Bompa’s Periodization Training for Sports 3rd Edition, which is a considerable improvement over the 1st Edition.
Let’s talk about this as I have applied it to the 183 kg squat in the video.
In my previous post I mentioned Anatomical Adaptation, this is basically Bompa’s name for General Physical Preparation. Most people think of training as being very specific; they will say that to become strong you must train specifically. This is true enough, but to train specifically you need a good base. In other words the rest of the musculature and indeed entire body and mind must be in good working order. It is possible to get strong and be a wreck but an athlete will be even stronger if he is not a wreck.
The training for this is generalist in nature, though tending to strength work, so circuit training, one leg squats, gymnastic stuff, repetitions, etc. are performed.
After the competition in my previous post I took some time off then started with lunges, one leg squats… and that was it for the first few weeks. With each succeeding session I added weight to the lunges in the form of dumbbells and added reps to the one leg squats.
Near the end of the sessions of lunges and one leg squats I added high bar squats (the video at the beginning of this post being a low bar squat). Thus the progression for the lunges and one leg squats started like so and ended as follows;
One Leg Squat
- BW × 1, 2, 3 reps
- BW × 1, 3, 10 reps
- BW × 20 reps
- 30 kg × 15 reps
High Bar Squats
- 93 kg × 20 reps
- 103 kg × 20 reps
A bodybuilder would approach this with the mindset that he is targeting the muscles, thus he would do the squat in a manner which targets the quadriceps (because the squat is quadriceps dominant). A strength athlete approaches this from a movement perspective in that he will be doing the squats for hypertrophy but in a manner which will improve his squatting. In my case I did the high bar squatting mentioned in the Anatomical Adaptation section. There is no precise boundary to this, one block of training merges into the next. For hypertrophy one basically does reps to induce fatigue.
Thus I continued the high bar squatting with each succeeding session going like so;
High Bar Squats
- 113 kg × 15 reps
- 123 kg × 12 reps
- 133 kg × 10 reps
- 143 kg × 6 reps
- 153 kg × 2 reps
The goal of the lifting I do is to get maximally strong, I’ve already started this by going to the low reps in the high bar squat, so I now go to the low bar squat (video at the head of this post). Bompa considers the reps I did in the following sessions as being for inter-muscular co-ordination (i.e. a skilled movement);
Low Bar Squats
- 143 kg × 9 reps
- 153 kg × 6 reps
- 163 kg × 4 reps
Conversion to Specific Strength
The specific strength in this case is maximum strength, thus this is a continuation of the Maximum Strength section – this makes things nice and simple. Had the goal lift been a yoke walk then I would have started doing Yoke Walks or maybe partials. Bompa considers the rep ranges in the following sessions I did as being for intra-muscular co-ordination (i.e. contracting the muscles harder);
Low Bar Squats
- 168 kg × 3 reps
- 173 kg × 2 reps
- 183 kg × 1 rep
The idea with this section is that having built up maximal strength and converted it to a specific strength then one wants to maintain the maximal strength and specific strength for the specific movement.
Thus if I had been doing yoke walks as the specific movement in this section, then I would do squats between the yoke walks to maintain my maximal squatting strength.
As it is I was just doing the squats so on reaching the 183 kg × 1 rep I changed to a block of parallel grip deads. The parallel grip deads are sufficient to maintain strength in the squats, so this keeps things simple. For the parallel grip deads I am doing something like DUP (daily undulation periodisation);
Parallel Grip Deadlifts
- 192 kg × 6 reps from 240 mm
- 222 kg × 2 reps form 290 mm