PNP Progress Update

I started Izzy’s PNP Program June 3rd, and as is my nature, I’ve thought about changing it up a few times–mostly just so I’m not doing all 3 lifts the same training session–but have ultimately left it alone and haven’t missed a session.

I am genuinely surprised that what is occurring is exactly what Izzy said should be occurring: I’m setting PR’s every time I train. These are rep PR’s, not weight PR’s, but that is the objective at this stage. Using very small increases in weight, I am training all 3 lifts twice a week and the little PR flags keep popping up on my tracking app. As an example, these were today’s Top Sets for each lift:

  • Competition Squat: 257.5 x 5
  • Competition Bench: 176 x 4
  • Competition Deadlift: 281 x 5

I did back off sets for each lift, and the total workout took a little over 90 minutes. That’s another surprise for me because I’m a big fan of short, intense workouts. I’ve been very deliberate in training, taking each and every rep, including warmup reps, as if they were judged competitive lifts. Watching the IPF World’s coverage on YouTube the last few days has been very instructive and motivating.

I have a small tweak in my left glute, which I thought was from pulling Sumo, but I actually think it was from an ill advised session of doing Prowler sprints. The thought of having an injury really messes with my head, so I was cautious today, planning to do my warmup sets on Squats and then decide if I was risking injury by doing my top set. I felt fine so I went for it. I also considered pulling Conventional in case the Sumo is what strained the glute–the pain is on the outside near the hip, so it would seem the stance might be the culprit–but again, I felt fine. I’m more certain after today’s training that it was the Prowler due to the position you get in with the high handles to push it.

I continue on my Targeted Keto Diet, using Smarties pre-workout for a little extra energy to power through the long sessions. I’ve decided to try calorie cycling to put on a little weight, while trying to keep the body fat under control. More calories on the days I train, less on the days I don’t. I am training for competitive Powerlifting after all, not swimsuit modeling. I don’t even own a pair of swim trunks, if that’s what they’re called. Adding muscle at my age is presumably challenging, but I may as well give it a go. What else do I have to do?

Speaking of age, I’ve been trying to find credible sources for information about training for Powerlifting after 50. There’s not a lot out there I trust, but for the most part what I’ve found is that volume has to be managed so recovery can still take place. I think I’ve got that down by managing fatigue using load drops after the top set. Sometimes I can get a few additional sets, sometimes I can’t. I think that’s about the best way I can manage my volume. It’s certainly a more intelligent method than trying to do an arbitrary amount of sets.

As much as I’d love to add some variety back into my training, specificity around the main lifts is definitely making a difference. I’ve improved my Low Bar Squat setup with a simple tweak from one of Izzy’s many videos: I added wrist wraps and a close, bent wrist grip with thumbs around the bar. It’s kept my upper back nice and tight for the bar to sit on, and has seemingly removed the stress from my elbows!

I’ve also tweaked my Sumo stance and it’s made a world of difference. I was taking too wide of a stance for the sole purpose of shortening the range of motion, but I was creating moment arms (or some such physics dilemma) and taking away from my ability to exert maximum force. Bringing my stance in a bit has made me feel much more solid throughout the lift. I’m also using wrist wraps when I pull and it’s made my grip much easier to maintain. I don’t even think about it honestly, even though I’m using a Hook Grip which is supposed to be painful. I imagine it will be at heavier loads, but the wrist wraps basically force your hands closed, helping to keep everything tight.

Bench Press continues to be a challenge for me, but I’m improving. My arch is better, my setup is tighter and I’m pausing every damn rep which is helping my confidence.

As I am also prone to do, I am lamenting not starting a Powerlifting specific program earlier in my lifting life, but I push regret to the back of my mind. It’s a wasted emotion. We only have the moment we’re in, and no telling how many more moments are in the future. Regretting the past and worrying about the future lead only to suffering. Stay present, stay focused, and go lift something heavy.

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