So I was chatting with a friend other day who was supposed to do that USPF Nationals with me but he had sustained an injury (see? I'm not the only one!) in preparation for it.
"How'd that happen?" I asked.
"I neglected my hypertrophy work before I started my meet prep." he said.
A light bulb in my head went off. Everyone who pops in here and reads my training log knows I spent several months doing nothing but "bodybuilding" style work again, before I started doing my weeks of singles. It was the healthiest I had been, not to mention the biggest and leanest I had been, going into a meet.
When you look at the old timers periodizations cycles they almost always do something like the following...
week 1 - sets of 10
week 2 - sets of 10
week 3 - sets of 8
week 4 - sets of 5
week 5 - sets of 5
week 6 - sets of 5
week 7 - sets of 3
week 8 - sets of 2
week 9 - up to a % single
The first three or four weeks of these kinds of cycles are almost always known as "hypertrophy weeks". Yet a lot of guys these days spend every workout doing singles, doubles, and triples. They say "oh I use my assistance as the hypertrophy work". And yes, this can be a solid plan, however not week in and week out, month in and out. The body will revolt eventually, you will get injured and you will have to start over.
When I ran the big-15 program it felt so refreshing to lower the weights for those months and concentrate on getting reps in and building a new size ceiling. I had not concentrated on that in years. For the last many years I had done nothing but the singles, doubles, and triples with the occasional set of 8-12 thrown in. But not enough to really increase my overall size, even when I was eating more.
It really does come back to the reps, something I have said all along, if you want to increase your size. I sit typing this, still weighing 252 pounds and I feel very good at this weight. By the time I get back to 240 or so, I will be the "bigger 242" that I had been wanting to be. But it took me going back to what I had done for years to gain size, in order to make it happen. I was still trying to serve the "strength master" to gain size. It just doesn't work that way.
Sometimes the hardest advice to take is your own. A lesson I seem to have to teach myself over and over again.
So what to get from this?
Hypertrophy training, bodybuilding style work, will probably make up the majority of my training style 90% of the year from now on. Easier on the joints, sets you up for good peaking cycles, and keeps you injury free for the most part.
Obviously this is exactly how I laid things out in the 2 programs I provide, but in hindsight I realize just how valuable they are stacked together. From here on when I compete, I will set aside at least 6 weeks for hypertrophy training, then the scheduled 10 weeks for meet prep. I believe like peanut butter and chocolate or heroin and cocaine, it's two great tastes that go great together.