Sticking Point Tips

Training is an obsession for all of us to some degree. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be interested in reading this article. That obsession to overcome our weaknesses is life-long, as we always feel there is something to prove. Many an injury has been caused by our egos and I have three zipper surgical scars to show for it. No tattoos needed here.

My training over the years has been no different then yours. The hardest part of training, and what a lot of people miss, is critically thinking about what you suck at and how to structure your training to be better.  Just look around your gym today and notice the dudes who have HUGE upper bodies and tiny legs. Case in point. They don’t train legs because they aren’t strong there and leg training is too difficult. By exploring the BRUTAL FACTS about my limitations as a lifter (my midget arms for deadlifting would be one) I was able to find ways around some of my sticking points.

Each of these tips came into focus during different obstacles in my lifting career and my life. Not all of these tips will work for you right now, but many of them should help out as you continue to evolve as a lifter. You can go through this list and see what applies to YOU at THIS MOMENT and make changes to your program as needed. Some of this is a repeat from other articles, but it’s always worth going over again.

1. Weight Gain and Weight Loss

This is one of the easiest ways to overcome most lifting-related issues. After competing in a few contests at 198 and 220 pounds with good progress, it all came to a screeching halt. For about six months, none of the weights I was used to training with would move and I actually got worse at some lifts. I dieted my way down from 240 pounds or so to the lower weight classes. I figured that it was better to be strong and lean. Chicks dig that, right? I just didn’t understand anything about how each individual’s particular body composition and weight made a difference. Just because my training partners at the time were super strong at 198 pounds, didn’t mean I would be. After seeing it with my own eyes and up close with other lifters who were switching weight classes, I began moving up in bodyweight. I jumped weight FAST: 230, 245, 256, 268, 283 and finally ending at 303 pounds over a five-year period. Most of it was in a two year time frame with the rest staying at 280 pounds. Then onto the final 300 pound barrier. My best and strongest weight was 283 pounds. The problem with a lot of guys is their fear of being fat. I’m not saying add a 100 pounds like I did, but anywhere from 10 to 50 pounds can make a huge difference in your strength and muscle gains. The longer you hold weight – including muscle – the more apt the body is to keep the new muscle. But the cool part is once you get strong, you’ll keep that strength for years and years.

2. GPP to SPP to Increased Training Volume

Ok, terrible subject but general physical preparedness (GPP) and specific physical preparedness (SPP) are vital to any program. I have worked both ends of this, going overboard like a “wanna be” iron man to a “barely walk-a-block” fat strong guy. There are a few tools that you should have access to that will help you increase both GPP and SPP: a sled, a prowler/lungbreaker, small anchor chain (no more then 300 pounds), weighted wheelbarrow, or a step mill or just regular stairs with a weighted vest. I suggest that you slip this training in  on either your off-days or your lightest training days and do two to three sessions a week, alternating heavy with light ones. For example, a heavy sled dragging workout would use three to five plates for three to five 100 yard trips. A light day would just be two plates for eight 100 yard trips. Or  you could push the prowler/lungbreaker for 1/3 mile with two 45 pound plates an arm for a heavy day, or two to three laps with only one 45 pound plate on each arm. You can do the step mill or stairs without a vest for 45 minutes, or the step mill or stairs with a 20 to 40 pound vest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Why in creation would you put yourself through this torture? Because without aerobic and anaerobic training, you won’t recover fast and you’ll do LESS training volume. This means you won’t be able to lift as many HEAVY weights as you could if you did the proper amount of GPP and SPP. Walking on the treadmill watching TV is not GPP.

SPP is a little bit more in-depth but it correlates to the skill you are most trying to improve. For one cycle, I did nothing but various Prowler pushes – both heavy and light to improve my deadlift. Don’t worry so much about the specifics right now, just concentrate on doing some cardio training weekly and at least two to three times rotating really heavy and lighter GPP/SPP

3. 2 to 3 Week Waves with De-loads.

This is critical to do even if you’re doing periodization, block training or some other type of hybrid training. Your training has to have weeks where you accumulate heavy training or speed work followed by a deload where you do a lot of GPP, SPP, high rep work or more speed training. If you’re doing two to three weeks squatting with heavy chains, you might follow that up with a week of high pulls, light front squats and heavy sled drags. Then it is back to two or three weeks of some other heavy exercise to improve your squat or deadlift.

Why deload? Your body can only take so much beating before it can no longer recover both muscularly and from a CNS standpoint. If you pound your body day in and day out for weeks on end, you’ll stop recovering and your weights WILL stall or begin to decrease. With the change in training on deload weeks, the body is able to recover and get set for the next phase or mini block of training.

What is the outcome of a deload week? When we first started, we followed the Westside protocols to the “t.” So it was always dynamic squat for four weeks with each week building up from 50 to 52.5 to 55 to 57.5 percent and then repeat the cycle or go to a meet. If you improved at the meet, then your best squat became the new max lift which would determine where you would start the percentages next time. The bench was the same except it was always 60 percent with chains or bands depending on what was done the week before. The deadlift was once every five to seven weeks with lots of max good mornings of various types on the other lower body day.

This was a very set routine. We adapted to it quickly, but we were scared to experiment. And it was blasphemy anyhow to do anything that was not strictly Westside. We did make progress, but it was slow and I attribute most of the improvement to skill, technique and LOTS of weight gain. When the weight gain stopped helping and we were pretty good at it each lift, we took a good look at our program and figured out we weren’t recovering at all. At this point we added in the three week wave with a deload week. This alone pushed up our numbers and recovery by 10 percent.  We’d do three weeks of a particular squat, bench or dead followed by a week where it would be a light to medium exercises with a higher rep range. The way we looked at it was the first week is getting used to a particular exercise, the second you improved because your body adapted to it and was prepared for it and then there was even more improvement in the final week, as your body was ready to go.  I found that for me the first week was ok while I was figuring it out, the second week was usually the best week and the third I was tired and either barely reached week two’s numbers or fell short. I could tell in the third week I was suffering from body and CNS fatigue. At this point we moved to a two week wave followed by a deload week which added further improvement in the numbers and our attitude towards training.

I suggest that you start with three week waves and one deload for one to two full training cycles (12 to 20 weeks) then move to the two week waves for one to two cycles.

4. Overload and Holding Times (Lots of Controversy Here!)

I found this to be one of the best in overcoming mental and physical sticking points. Overload training is using bands, chains, lifting gear (suits), boards, boxes to improve what you can lift raw. If you overload your body with tension much greater than it is used to, it will react by engaging “more troops” (muscles) to fight the battle. The same goes for holding weights for extra time at the beginning and end of a set. The longer you hold a weight at lockout, the more tension the body will build in that few seconds before you begin the lift.

Your body is a giant electrical grid with lots of territory hooked up, but only portions of it work when called upon to perform a physical task. The more you overload or hold the weights, the more the body connects with these areas that aren’t already “turned on.” In essence, these territories in the body get hooked up to the grid when you force your body to overload (and just by deliberate practice too) and work from then on out when taught to be called upon.

An example is the way I use bands when I train the squat. When we first started training with bands we only used a small amount of band tension. One day, for fun, we put all the bands we had on the bar. It amounted to 300 to 400 pounds of band tension at the top, plus we added 315 pounds of bar weight. I moved the weight very fast and the groove it put me in felt right and smooth. Within a couple of years, my squat jumped from the high 600s to over a 1000 pounds. I don’t attribute all of that gain to the bands. I’m sure that probably 150 to 200 pounds of that gain came from the band work. The rest was skill improvement, weight gain and practicing holding the bar and being more patient with the heavier weights.

5. Gear Changes and Adaptation Time

If you are a powerlifter and use lifting suits then you will understand this one. For those who do not use gear you can bypass this one.

A. Switching from a canvas to a poly on the squat. I started out using a loose poly suit (one ply) then moved to a canvas for the next several years. The support in the canvas was great and it stopped perfectly in the hole. It was like tank armor in some regards. Wearing a suit (any suit) changes your whole attitude about the weights. Obstacles (like the 1,000 pound squat) sort of fall away and look less gigantic and foreboding then they did before. The fear shrinks some but that just means that you up the weight even more until it scares you again. The canvas was good, but it lacked pop at the bottom and after years of using it and getting the first 1000 pounds in it, I felt it had run its course. At that point I switched to a poly suit. I made this change right in the middle of a training cycle. I just knew it was right. The support in the hole was good and it didn’t stop too early like the canvas did. I suggest that you start with the canvas, then move to the poly later if you’re allowed to wear it in your federation. If not, start with a one ply and work your way up to two ply or better one ply shirts.

Why should you start with a canvas suit? The canvas builds better strength and skill.  The poly suits take your strength and transfers it to speed. The strength and skill you have worked on transfer to the poly but not as well the other way.

B. Denim to Poly on the Bench. The same went for the denim. I was always more confident with the denim because it gave me more support which allowed me to focus on technique and bar placement for optimal leveraging. Then when the denim ran its course and I was stuck benching in the high 600s, I switched to a poly. The poly took my power and speed and amplified it towards a higher potential and thus moved me to the mid 700s on the bench.

C. Deadlift Suits Do Not Work Like Squat Suits and Bench Shirts Do. It’s all about the eccentric loading in the squat and bench, but with the deadlift, the only eccentric load is your bodyweight bending to pick up the bar. There is a lot less load on the deadlift suit. The only way I overcame my midget arms to become a decent puller was switching to a sumo style and by devoting an entire speed day to the deadlift. That’s it. I stopped pulling on the same day that I would squat and put it on Saturday when I was well rested. Being rested meant I could focus on the deadlift by myself the way I wanted to do it. At the time, I knew the only way to improve my deadlift was to work my leverages and shorten the length of the pull. By cutting the weights down to 60 percent for 5 x 3 reps, working the same weights from deficits (on boxes or pads), waving the heights up and down from one to four inches. Sometimes on good days I would go to 70 percent, and other days I would back down the weight. This was usually just on weeks my body was beat up. These simple changes made my deadlift jump from a hard 700 to a solid and easy 740 with room to spare. I just ran out of attempts!

Do not rely on the suits to do the work. This is a problem for guys. They always want to suit up only when it gets tough and then they never take them off! Work with your suit on when the weights are really heavy and require a lot of focus. When the suit stops helping, either move to another type or take a step back and determine if there is another problem you need to address.  In my case with the deadlift I realized a suit wouldn’t fix my problems and instead I had to work out it a skill, speed and leverage issue.  The squat and bench needed the gear to improve the leverage and speed. Each type of gear will only work for a lifter for 2 to 3 years tops before you have to try another type, cut or brand.

6. Doubles and Singles to 3’s and 5’s

You will go up and down on this one through out your career, I know I have. We started with sets of 5′s, 3′s and singles all in one workout. So it was max until you fail, every week. The problem is, as you go along through the training cycle and years, you figure out you need less warm up and you basically want to save everything for the max singles! Then you aren’t doing anything but max singles, or at least that was our progression. We became less efficient this way as our bodies adapted. Case in point – my deadlift. I did a lot of maxing out, but very little percentage works with 3’s and 5’s. They, unlike the all-out max, build strength, endurance and skill over time. This is another part of the puzzle that maxing out all the time can’t help. Keep it in the 85 to 90 percent, sometimes the 95 percent range for these and do more sets.

Here’s an example of what I’m trying to explain. This comes straight from one of my training cycles. During one three-week wave of a squat cycle, we structured our sets this way: 5 reps, 3 reps, 3 reps, 3 reps, 5 reps. We worked up in weight week to week 80%, 85% and finally 90% in briefs only (no squat suit). Before that, we had done full gear work for heavy singles followed by heavy double phases. The whole structure was full singles, full singles, full singles, deload, full doubles, full doubles, full doubles, deload, then 5 reps, 3 reps, 3 reps, 3 reps, 5 reps for three weeks. The benefit was we had our really heavy overload work of singles and doubles then worked the skill with heavier weights for sets of 3’s and 5’s which enhanced our volume and strength towards the meet without burning out.  If you wanted to look at it another way, take a guy who likes to run and wants to improve his time and mileage. If you do the 1’s and 2’s approach all the time it is like that guy going out there and just adding miles every day thinking and hoping that will improve both. If he is new or hasn’t run in awhile then this will work but soon he will hit the wall and make little or no improvements in time or mileage. Now if he varies distances for either time or length or if he includes trail runs, hiking or some other form of training that requires different training and breathing skills he will make improvements. This is what I mean by adding in more reps and sets with less but not light weight.

7. Training Complacency and Brain Battle.

This one is where you aren’t happy with your training, but you refuse to change or evaluate things. This goes back to the brutal facts. If you don’t accept the brutal facts about your training and what’s keeping you from optimum performance, then it is what it is. It is just like going to a job you hate, but because it is a job or it pays well you just keep going there. Training is the same. If you are afraid you’ll look bad or waste your time or because you fear the unknown you won’t try new training. Also, if you don’t believe in it, you will half ass it and then say it does not work. You have to try it all to find what works and what does not for you. Yes I know you know that already but again you are reading this article, aren’t you?

It is often when we hit the wall like with the runner that we have to make a decision. This came to me after I flew 6000 miles to bomb out in a major powerlifting meet. The choice was simple, in order to get what I wanted I had to re-evaluate everything I did training-wise. I did things that none of my other training partners were doing and would NOT do the separate day for deadlifting that I spoke about earlier. I also added back in hard cardio like pushing the prowler/lungbreaker twice a week when I had not done any cardio in three years or so. I totally re-vamped my own programming for the cycle

You could also say that training complacency is when you are okay with a bad day and missed lifts that you should have gotten. You do not challenge yourself and you just coast through a training session. I know you can’t take it back once done, but you can try HARDER…again.

8. Double Max

Over certain periods, to really push yourself and force a super compensation from the body, you have to do double maxes. Some of my best improvements were when I doubled up on the max efforts on lower body training days and used the light deadlift only day as my other lower day.

A. Heavy Squat and Heavy Partial Dead. This was also after the time of my 6,000 mile Finland Bombing Expedition. In training I began to squat heavy then do heavy triples to 1RM on rack pulls. My weakness was locking out at the top of the deadlift and since contests include all three on the same day in only a few hours, I decided to do them both on the same day to simulate a contest. I had never done it this way before. So it was a double max on Wednesday followed by the light speed dead on Saturday. In essence, I over compensated the deadlocks after I was already tired from heavy singles and doubles squatting. I combined it with speed on Saturday to work both sides of the equation by increasing my absolute strength and speed strength equalizing the two. Instead of one being better then the other, they fed each other.

B. Heavy Shirt Work and Heavy Close Grip Work. This heavy shirt work is the same type of scenario as I did with the squat/partial pull double max. The lockout is a major issue on the bench press for most people. So to over compensate we would do heavy shirt work using competition grip then move to a much closer grip without the shirt and off a 4 to 5 board.  We worked this for 3 to 5 sets of 5 reps to work the top end of the lift.  For the other upper day, it would be some really heavy shoulder press with no bench pressing and lots of heavy rows and back work.

9. Extended Pauses on Boxes and Boards

This is some thing you can play around with. Everything is about leverage and bar positioning in heavy lifting. If you are off just a little from your best positions then you will have to work a lot harder to get the bar back to YOUR best leverage path. By that time you have blown yourself out and the lift is done or you wear yourself out trying to get it – leaving nothing for the next lift. Extended pauses help you learn to stay tight under the weight.

For the bench on the non-max day, we use a three board and do five reps with a three to five second pause on the board while staying as tight as possible. Recovering from the pause forces you to use your leg drive correctly, or you won’t get the weight off the board! Weight used was 75 to 90 percent raw with no shirt.

Box squatting is different as you can’t relax much on the box or you’ll get pinned. The idea is to do a two to three second count while holding your arch tight then shooting off the box to lock out. This will teach you patience in the hole and reinforce your form. It is like a prostate exam, you may hate it while it going on but it’s just something you have to do!

10. New Bench Toy: The Sling Shot!

Over the years, we have tried all types of silly things to mimic the shirt effect without having to get in the shirt. We wrapped a heavy band around our elbows and cut up old bench shirts in various ways to see if we could find a way to improve our bench press.  Then somebody finally started making a version of support that slides up to your elbows but has a sheet of poly material. Hence its name: The Sling Shot. It looks just like that when it is on your arms. The idea is just like the bench shirt but gives you support in the bottom of the lift. This is good in a couple of ways and it goes back to the overloading that I talked about earlier. The idea is to load and control more at the top then you normally would. This will fire up the nervous system and activate more muscle in your body to do the lift. It will also protect your shoulders, especially if you have issues like me where I recently blew out another rotator and I’m still rehabbing it. This is perfect for that and doing a lot more workload without blowing out anything. It is just a tool everyone should have to improve both their raw and shirted bench. It probably would have extended my lifting another five or six years without the recent blowout. The Sling Shot comes in different sizes and you can purchase them at www.spudincstraps.com and www.elitefts.com.

11. ROM and General Joint Health

Now some information to put you to sleep. Over the years things in your body like muscles, tendons and ligaments get tight, used to much and hurt/injured. There is no way around it if you train hard. Around halfway into my powerlifting career I met Barbara Yoder and Pavel Tsatsouline. Barbara has been my massage therapist for five or six years and I see her once a week usually. Pavel is the head ketttlebell guy in the US. He brought them to the public in the US. He is also a Master of Physical Culture from Russia. His company is Dragon Door and it’s through them that I received my RKC.

Between these two gurus I’ve learned all about joints, tissue adhesions, injury prevention and a lot concerning ROM. Without FULL range of motion (ROM) you can’t generate full power. Everyone has ROM problems whether you can feel them or not. Full ROM would mean there’s no tissue or joint issues mostly. Often there are muscles that do most of the work and remain tight all the time. Over time, these shortened and tight muscle stay this way and start to limit ROM. You may have had this all your life and not known it. Remember this: tight muscles and tendons can limit ROM in the joint as well.

What I learned from Pavel was that anyone can obtain flexibility and improve their ROM at any time with dedicated practice. Barbara showed me how to get muscles and tendons to release and flow across each other the way they are supposed to. So check out Pavel’s stretching books at www.dragondoor.com and find a good massage therapist.

How did this kind of body work help my sticking points? All you have to do is follow the progression of my deadlift. Pavel taught me the mental technique of “pulling the hips out of socket.”  What he meant was that I should be stretching from my hips and not my legs when getting into the sumo deadlift stance. Pulling from the hips creates more range of motion by including the hips, adductors, hamstrings and glutes. This gave me a large base of muscle to pull from. I could use all of my body at once instead of several pieces and one muscle group doing more then the others.

12. Mental Blocks and Knowing What You Can Do

This is probably one of the most important roadblocks to any lifting career. I’ve been stuck for years at one weight in an exercise not knowing how it could/would get better. I know you have partners who could bench 395 for a good double but can’t get 405 off their chest, right? We watched a guy in our gym do that same thing for a year before he finally gave up and joined our PL team to try and get better.

Mental blocks are not physically related. A lifter can get a certain weight based on his strength level, but tells himself or sabotages himself over and over anytime he gets near that number he’s afraid of. My own personal belief is that these numbers are purely a fear of failure mentality or its arch nemesis fear of success. If you get it you have to go up. But if you don’t try you are a failure. All of this is the nonsense that goes on in our heads, but it’s very hard to shake nonetheless. The easiest thing that I did was visualize getting the lifts over and over again. I visualized my success, this was A LOT of dreaming! Now, that was great and all, but when the weight was loaded, the fear would jump back in. You have to put yourself in a position that there’s NO WAY OUT. You’ve burnt all of your bridges home and sank your ships, you either fight and win or lose and die (well not really die, that is not a good idea) but seriously you have to leave yourself no way out and TRY. Eventually you will get it if you try.

Another thing was seeing and being around people doing more then me. The first time I saw 1100 pounds squatted by Steve Goggins I was in awe. A year or so later, I was hitting it like a speed rep. Not bragging, I just had to see it done and the barrier crossed before I joined the party. A funny example was I was notorious for missing an attempt in a meet and instead of taking the same weight over again I would always add a little more to each attempt. If I missed that too (which I did a lot) I would still go up. My theory was you are already good and warm, why not go up some? It couldn’t make that much difference. This also left me no way out. Taking the same weight, to me, was the same as quitting and it was my WAY out if I did it. I therefore never allowed myself to retake a missed attempt at the same weight. This is also a way I overcame my mental blocks towards a weight. You will have to find your way.

Way down in your heart of hearts you know what you are capable of. Knowing and doing are still two different things as one is the destination and one is the path you bang out daily to get to the destination. This will be your plan and you’ll have to have your plan at least for the cycle you are preparing to undertake right now. But each meet you do is the next stepping stone that you have to lift yourself onto – no pun intended here. The path is completely different than what you think it is, every time. Every dream realized is nothing but getting up, taking a step, screwing up and trying it all again just a little differently. You will look up and say, “that was not so bad after all” or “what took me so long?”

13. Poor Training Group mentality.

This one I experienced more on the outside then the inside. The groups I’ve been in have always been self motivators and the drive to succeed, in the core few, always kept the mentality of the training group high. We had an elite-level mentality. But after the core group of us split, as it always does, we all went our own ways. I led my own group at my gym. Our intensity was good, not great but good. We all pushed in the right direction and everyone was focused on their own prize, but were there for the team. This was great for awhile until I faced a number of sport ending injuries over a two to three year period. I kept trying, but things kept breaking. This forced me out of the group for months at a time for rehab and because I didn’t want to slow them up. I helped and coached but stayed out of the way and pursued other goals to keep me busy.

During this time, I noticed the group mentality fade. One or two guys on the team were preparing for something while the others were not. The guys who were not training for a meet would cut up during a major lift and tell jokes and basically not support the guys who were. They had to be reminded from time to time to get involved. This takes away from the group goals and over time produces poor training group mentality. Goals are not met by poor mentality so take a really close look at your group and see who is really in and who is not. Without support, goals are hard to meet

14. How to Overcome Being the Strongest Guy and Still Make Progress

Obviously this is about me and this is in reference to the previous point about groups breaking up. In the old group we had each other to push us over the top. We had one guy who was stronger then us so we pursued him nonstop. You have to have this. We also caught him on a lot of things and thus it always became a battle of us three and a few others who passed through, but mostly us three.

After departing to go our ways, I was at my gym with no one to push me like that. I have a great bunch of guys but I was the strongest on most everything. This is a tough spot for anyone trying to get ahead. Most would love it, being the “big fish in a little pond”, but not me. I want all the big fish around me all the time. This was a motivator for me but I had to relearn it and force my intensity to be self sufficient. For a bit, I would feed off what everyone else was doing in the lifting community and it helped, but it that was only a small motivator. So how to handle this was the question? The solution was simple. You can never do anything like this (shoot for a huge powerlifting total for example) for anyone but yourself. It can not be fueled by revenge or ego or anything of that sort. It has to come from the desire way down to succeed. This is my conclusion. I just wanted to do it for myself, not to prove anything or beat anyone else. This forced me to evaluate how I wrote programs as we did not do much “pre-planning” before. It forced me to look at the brutal facts about my training and where it fell short. Weaknesses are things we avoid because they are hard to face and resolve. I’ve always heard you can’t change your weaknesses so play to your strengths in life. But this does not apply in sport. You have to address where you are weak constantly or you will not improve. You have to impress this on your group too and coach them anyway you can and you have to NOT take the easy way out of anything.

15. Read, Learn, Try

Anyway you write it or say it, it means the same thing. This is how we learn anything. You can be the smartest guy in the room, but if you can’t use that knowledge and apply it to your training, it’s useless. Seriously useless. If it provides nothing to your training, then you are just regurgitating crap. The more you immerse yourself in your training and learning, the more successful you will become.

16. Write Up Your Training Program and Follow It

I have mentioned this many times and it’s definitely worth repeating. Take the time to write your entire cycle up. Think about your strengths and mostly your weaknesses and how often to address them. My suggestion is to attack your weaknesses two to three times a week in your program. Don’t forget your strengths, obviously, but give your weak points priority before your strengths. If you lack ROM, see a massage therapist or go to a yoga class once a week for example. But, you have to write it all down in a plan and follow the plan. This is how you get strong, get big and reach goals.

17. Always Look for the Shortest Route in Competition and the Longest Route in Training.

Train the longest and hardest routes. I’ll use my deadlift again as an example. For years conventional (close stance) deadlifting was my best. The sumo deadlift was good to a point, then I lost all leverage and pop. However, the sumo pull is shorter and you can get more hip and leg drive on it. I couldn’t get it to work for years until I had no choice if I wanted to get better at the deadlift. My wide stance squats are great, but I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t transfer to the deadlift, seemed like a perfect fit. Suddenly I realized I didn’t practice it enough and include enough variations of it. It was just that simple. I couldn’t get better at something that I never practiced.

As I mentioned earlier I gave the deadlift a separate day of its own and worked speed and skill. Now, as the speed and form got good, I increased how far I had to pull it. There’s nothing new to this training, it was just deficit deadlifts. I would add a one inch pad, then a two inch pad, then three and finally a four inch pad as long as my form and speed stayed the same. It did and the sumo became my main deadlift and my new strong suit. My point here is I looked for the shortest route in competition to increase my leverages and strength, but during training I incorporated the same competition style but over a much longer distance tricking my body into getting faster and improving input from all of my body. If you have a poor lift of any type, you have to evaluate it from this standpoint as well. There are no short cuts in training if you want to get better.

There you have it, some of my best ways to attack your sticking points. It isn’t easy to face some of these things as they will shake up your whole routine. Just take a look at the reality of your situation. Don’t skim over the points you do not like. You can’t learn to overcome them by ignoring them. There are no cliff notes or an easy app you can download to solve these issues. As long as you want to get past the sticking points, there is always a way. And if you have any questions just shoot me an email at marc@southcarolinabarbell.com.

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About the Author

Marc is one of the premier 275lbs. lifters in the world. He is a WPO competitor and at the 2005 Arnold Classic he squatted a huge 1058. Marc has been competing in powerlifting for 6 years and has used the IPA, APF, USAPL and the WPO to showcase his strength. He currently owns Total Gym in South Carolina. Despite his appearance, Marc is a very well educated man as he holds two degrees from the University of South Carolina; one in finance and one in economics. His best lifts include a 1058 squat, 700lbs bench press and a 722 deadlift. His best total to date is 2463. SouthCarolinaBarbell.com View Marc’s Training Log HERE