Since you’re all now *convinced* that powerlifting is essential to achieve effective fat loss, I want to round this topic off with some tips for how to maximize your powerlifting training, since what’s the point of going all in on something for it to only work for several weeks and then never again?
Today’s post is intended to be an overview of a few subjects, mostly because if I dive into each of them, I’ll never shut up (yes, you’re welcome). There is much more to know about each subject than just this short post. So, as always, if you have questions about any of it and want to know more about something, please feel free to email me.
Lifting heavy is an excellent way to burn fat in addition to building muscle, but there is a point at which we can begin to overdo it; there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The point of tolerance varies person-to-person, so keep that in mind during your training as well. The three main factors I see hindering athletes is overdoing their intensity/ frequency, maxing out every day, and not taking sufficient rest days or deload weeks.
INTENSITY AND FREQUENCY
When it comes to fitness, more is not necessarily better. Sometimes, but not always. Granted, some people benefit from higher frequency, though. Powerlifting is a very demanding sport. Like I said in my previous post, even the back squat alone uses many different muscles. Compound lifts are taxing on the body.
They need to be in order to be effective. Great results come from hard work. The increased muscle fiber recruitment creates much more strength, muscle build, and consequently, fat burn over time.
This means pushing it too much can have adverse effects such as stalled fat loss from too much stress on the body, higher injury risk, or weaker lifts/ stalled strength gains. In this event, 3-5 days of powerlifting is sufficient. This differs from plyometric training and bodybuilding in that less is more.
Intensity will vary according to what phase you are in your programming, as well. Which leads me to my next point: maxing out.
TRAIN UP TO ONE REP MAXES
Athletes love maxing out. Hitting new PRs is exciting and definitely an ego boost (and come on, who doesn’t love that?). The problem with this is that many athletes want to only max out. Which is fun until it becomes a problem. Maxing out everyday is unsafe for your body and will result in a plateau very quickly.
Your coach should guide you to finding a one rep max through methodical programming. Sometimes this takes months to hit a new 1RM or even to be ready for it, but it’s much safer and more sustainable to train your bones, muscles, nervous system etc. to handle heavier weight and gain strength this way than it is to attempt to max out every day.
Additionally, this gives you accurate training percentages to work on and build off of in order to get stronger.
The best way I can think of to explain the need for deload weeks is to get stronger through recovery. Some weeks it’s necessary, while others it may feel like it’s a hindrance to your progress. Either way- they are built into your program to ensure you continue your strength gains.
Additionally, they help to prevent overtraining and reduce injury risk.
So, what is a deload week then? A deload week is a period of time during which your training volume is reduced; it’s a ‘planned period of recovery’, meaning you aren’t just sitting on the couch or just lifting sporadically lighter weights. There are a few ways to properly deload, so talk to your coach about exactly how to maximize your deload week.
Powerlifting is a great way of proving that your body can do amazing things that you hadn’t anticipated being possible, so this means your body takes a beating. Hard training also requires hard recovery. What goes up must come down. Yin and yang. (What other clichés can I throw in here?)
Fat loss takes time and powerlifting is an art to be mastered. So, be patient. Your coach has percentages and rep schemes programmed for a reason. This is why trusting your coach and developing a relationship with them is so important. Haven’t developed that trust quite yet? Hit that email below. We’ll fix that.