I have a confession to make. I’m not particularly strong. I mean, I suppose compared to other 57 year olds in the general population I might be considered strong. I’m certainly fit and healthy, and my body type could be described as lean and athletic. Not don’t get me wrong – I’m not weak. In fact I’m objectively stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. But my primary mode of training the past few years has been CrossFit. And I tend to do well in workouts that have light to moderate weights with a lot of jumping around – but not so well in tests of absolute strength.
And there’s an obvious reason why that is – I tend to seek out and train in areas that I’m already good at. But being stronger – that is gaining more lean muscle mass – makes everything better. In the words of Mark Rippetoe, stronger people are harder to kill and more useful in general. In fairness to CrossFit, my coach has pulled me aside several times in the past couple of years and said something along the lines of, “you know Kev, if you took a few months off from CrossFit and focused on strength, you’d come back as a much more formidable athlete. And he’s right – I mean I understand that intellectually.
But that means taking months off from something that I’m pretty good at and that I enjoy, to do something I suck at – in other words to work on my weaknesses. And my conversation with today’s guest gave me the incentive to do just that. I’m going to train for and enter my first ever powerlifting meet. If you’re not familiar with powerlifting competitions, they are a test of your one rep max in three lifts – the barbell back squat, the bench press, and the barbell deadlift.
But this show isn’t about me – it’s about you. My challenge to you is this. Listen to this show with an open mind, and then check in with yourself. What’s holding you back? Is it fear? Insecurity? Why couldn’t you train for your fist powerlifting competition?
My guest today is Andy Baker. Andy has over 17 years of experience as a personal trainer and strength coach and is one of the most sought-after strength and fitness experts in the industry. Andy coaches high level elite athletes as well as “athletes of aging” and is the co-author of “Practical Programming for Strength Training” with Mark Rippetoe. In addition, Andy is the co-author of “The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life after 40” with Dr. Jonathon Sullivan. In this episode Andy breakdown who is (and who is not) a good candidate a powerlifting competition, as well as exactly what we need to do to prepare ourselves for our first meet. In addition to giving us all the resources we need to successfully prepare for our first competition, he gives us his best advice on competition day preparation and mindset.
We discussed the following resources during this episode:
Andy’s Website – www.andybaker.com
Andy’s Training Programs - www.andybaker.com/training-programs
Book – Practical Programming for Strength Training by Andy Baker & Mark Rippetoe
Book - The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40 by Andy Baker & Dr. Jonathon Sullivan
SBD Apparel - https://sbdapparel.com/
USPA Powerlifting - https://www.uspa.net/
USA Powerlifting - https://www.usapowerlifting.com/
NASA Powerlifting - https://nasa-sports.com/