Assistance work

Hi Craig

I have my first powerlifting comp in 6 weeks. Can you tell me what assistance work I can do to get me ready.

I train 4 days a week:

Monday- squat
Wednesday- bench
Friday- deadlift
Saturday- extras



Hi Jennifer

My approach to assistance work is to keep thing pretty simple. We want to do what ever we can to improve but we should recognise that big strength gains are not going to occur in 6 weeks.

I would suggest the following:

Monday: Use this day to work your quads and calves. Powerlifters often overlook these. I like to give the quads some low rep and high rep work. Calves are important for stability when you squat. I save posterior chain until Friday. I suggest the following.

Hack squat- 10,8,6,8,10 reps
Leg press- 4 x 25 reps
Calve raises- 4 x 10 reps

Wednesday: In this work out I think you should target the chest, shoulders and arms. Building a strong upper body is essential for a strong bench. With a novice like yourself who is still getting used to the 20 kg bar, I suggest we use it a lot and keep it really simple.

Incline barbell press- 10,8,6,8,10 reps
Seated barbell press- 10,8,6,8,10 reps
Close grip bench press- 10,8,6,8,10 reps
Barbell curls- 10,8,6,8,10 reps

Friday: Posterior chain. After deadlifts I want you to work the hamstrings and lower back in particular but also the traps. Shrugs are an excellent movement and high reps are a great grip enhancer. Romanian deadlifts are great for teaching lifters to keep the bar close to the body. Upper back is also included:

Power shrugs- 4 x 15
Romanian deadlifts- 4 x 8 reps
Cable rows- 10,8,6,8,10 reps
Front lat pulldowns- 10,8,6,8,10 reps

Saturday- The extra day is a good day to fill in the holes. I like to include a shoulder movement, a tricep movement and a bicep movement. As you are a novice there is no need to complicate things.

Seated barbell press- 4 x 8-10 reps
Close grip bench press- 4 x 8-10 reps
Tricep pushdowns- 4 x 25 reps
Barbell curls- 4 x 8-10 reps

Keep things simple and follow this for the next 5 weeks. Try to add more weight but not at the expense of good technique.

Keep in touch.


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