By Stephan Korte
I have already mentioned in
part 1 of this series, the best way to train all the muscles you need for
a big squat is to squat. It is an effective exercise for working the quadriceps,
hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and, of course, the lower back. It also
works the abs in an isometric fashion. The powerlifter needs to develop
these muscles to achieve his or her greatest potential squat in a powerlifting
the 3x3 system you squat three times a week. This may seem excessive. Keep
in mind, however, that Olympic, world and national weightlifters squat
up to six times a week. To train only the competition lifts is a training
approach that has been used by the Eastern Bloc and Western European Olympic
lifters for over 40 years now. It is a very effective training system that
has produced many Olympic, World and European champions.
training approach doesn't contain any assistance exercises for powerlifters.
Assistance exercises are only done by Olympic lifters and these are modified
competition lifts like high pulls and low pulls that are not performed
through the full range of motion. These partial movements are done to overload
the muscles, a very effective technique to gain maximum strength. Many
power-lifters misunderstand this training technique. They do exercises
like leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, lunges and some even walk
across a football field pulling a weight in order to increase their leg
strength. Some of these exercises may help you to prevent or recover from
injuries, but a powerlifter must constantly squat to achieve his competitive
Phase I: Week 1-4
I consists of 12 workouts (three workouts per week). You should rest one
day between the workouts and rest two days after the completion of one
training week. You can work out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and take
the weekend off. You can also work out on any other day, but make sure
to get that extra day rest after one training week.
set and rep scheme is the same for every workout of each training week.
Five to eight sets of five reps for the squat. There are four different
percentages for phase I: 58%, 60%, 62% and 64%. You stay with each percentage
for one week (three training sessions) and increase it for the next week.
That way the training weight increases every week.
what I call it the “energy saving method” (ESM) for squatting. It simply
means that you should only put in as much energy for a particular lift
as you need to. Ed Coan is a perfect example of that method. I have seen
him in several competitions over the last five years and his warm-ups look
always the same: they look almost as heavy as his biggest squat in competition.
He seems to only put in as much power and strength as he needs for each
weight. Many lifters waste a lot of energy during their warm ups.
ESM method is essential to the success of the 3x3 system. Considering that
the training weights will be between 58 and 64 percent of your projected
maximum squat, it is important that you don't put maximum effort in each
rep and set. Just put in as much energy as you need to complete each set
and concentrate on the perfect technique and the flow. With weights around
58-64 percent of your maximum there is no reason to psyche up. If you follow
this method you will save enough energy for the next two exercises of your
workout (bench press and deadlift) and it will also build your confidence
for the heavier weights. Knowing that you put only half of your energy
and power into a set with 64 percent of your maximum generates confi-dence
for the weights in the 80-95 percent range. It is simply a matter of applying
Phase I - Week 1-4
Competition Phase: The goal of phase II is to increase your maximum strength, power and to further improve your technique. Therefore the volume is reduced dramatically and the intensity will be increased week by week. That way you will get used to the heavy weights. Use your powerlifting equipment (suit, belt and wraps) for every heavy lift (1-2 reps) and al-ways squat below parallel.
Phase II also consists of 12 workouts. That is three squat workouts per week. Make sure to get plenty of rest between the workouts. Rest one day between the workouts and rest two days after the completion of one training week. The sets and reps are as follows:
Phase II: Week 5-8
If you have further questions, feel free to call or write me. Also available for seminars.
ISP-Int. Scientific Publishing
Reproduction of this article, in whole or part, for any purpose other than personal use is prohibited without written consent. Copyright 1999,2001, 2001 Stephan Korte.