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The Road to the Arnold

December 10, 2014

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The USAPL Deadlift National Championships on September 22, 2014 was my latest competition. I entered the event having come off of a solid training cycle, hoping to set a personal record on the deadlift, but unfortunately came up short, pulling 782 pounds on my third attempt, # pounds less than my personal best.

The disappointing results prompted me to evaluate my training as I typically do after a competition. Prior to the USAPL Deadlift my training phase was excellent, my body felt great on competition day, yet the weight  still felt heavier than it should have. Something between the end of my training and competition time was lacking.

Typically I de-load the week before a competition, scheduling my last heavy squat 14 days out and my last heavy deadlift 11 days out.  Upon evaluating my training schedule I decided to change my last heavy squat to 11 days out and my last heavy deadlift to 7 days out while emphasizing recovery, nutrition, sleep, and supplementing with HMB and PEAK ATP. HMB and Peak ATP are both designed to increase muscle strength, decrease muscle protein breakdown, and improve recovery time, making them the perfect addition to my pre-competition routine.

Currently I’m training for another competition: the Pro Deadlift at the Arnold Classic March 2015 in Columbus, OH.  As I near the end of my preparation phase and begin to transition into the peaking phase I reflect on my three preparation goals:

  • Squat 565 for a cluster of 5
  • Pull 730x5 on a 15” rack deadlift
  • Deadlift 655x5 from the floor


Achieving these numbers will set me up to reach my goals for the peaking phase to follow. Currently I am on track for all of these goals.
Several changes in the preparation phase that I will carry over to my peaking phase are: squatting and deadlifting 3 times per week, and performing repetitions once each week in the following categories:  Max Strength (1-3 reps), Base Strength (4-7 reps), 3. Hypertrophy (8-12 reps). Below is the schedule for each week:

  • Day 1: Squat (max strength) / Deadlift (base strength) / Squat (hypertrophy)
  • Day 2: Deadlift (max strength) / Squat (base strength) / Deadlift (hypertrophy)


While each category may not be a typical squat or deadlift, it is a variation of each lift (for example, RDL instead of deadlift off of the floor). Each session is challenging and grueling, but PEAK ATP provides the energy to perform with intensity and detailed execution and HMB aids in the muscle recovery needed to train week in and week out.
Once my peaking phase for the Arnold is designed I will share it, but my goals will be as follows:

  1. Set a 3-RM or 1-RM personal record on the 15” rack deadlift (I feel like this movement carries over well to a suited deadlift because the ROM starts just about where the benefit of a deadlift suit runs out)
  2. Raw Squat (no belt) 485x5x5

More details are headed your way about this program. If you would like to see videos of my training sessions, check out my YouTube page hereIn the meantime train hard and take advantage of Clear Muscle liquid HMB from MuscleTech and PEAK ATP to help you out train your competition!

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