Training for Powerlifting at Planet Fitness (I知 not joking!)

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Thread: Training for Powerlifting at Planet Fitness (I知 not joking!)

  1. #1
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    Default Training for Powerlifting at Planet Fitness (I知 not joking!)

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    Disclaimer: I know that this could be a complete disaster. I don稚 have any expectations. I知 just trying to have fun while making the most of my current gym situation.

    That said, thanks for stopping by! I知 44 years old, 58, and 210.6 lbs (on Sunday morning). I致e been a member of this site since the Strengthmill days, and I致e had logs on here before. I decided to log this experiment mostly because I haven稚 seen anyone try this before (I知 sure there痴 good reason for that. )

    I致e been competing in powerlifting since 2008, all USAPL, and since 2011 all 途aw (belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps). My best competition lifts are:
    SQ - 240.0 kg (529 lbs)
    BP - 147.5 kg (325 lbs)
    DL - 262.5 kg (579 lbs)
    TOTAL - 645 kg (1422 lbs)

    Most of those numbers (SQ, BP, TOTAL) happened in 2018 at a body weight of 223 lbs. Since then, work and life helped drive a regression in my lifting and eating. Then Covid-19 came about, and gyms shut down. Like many people - maybe some of you - I didn稚 train for 3 months as I have no equipment at home, and I quickly got bored with push-ups and pull-ups. When gyms in Baltimore were allowed to reopen, my gym decided to remain closed, and still hasn稚 opened. That gym is 5-7 minutes from home, open 24 hours, and has a rack, bench, and allows deadlifts. Because of my work schedule, I really need a place that is close and open anytime. (Side note: I知 a mailman, and things are so hectic now that a 10 hour day feels like I got off early)

    Guess what nearby 堵ym checked those boxes for location and hours? If the title of this log didn稚 give it away, it痴 Planet Fitness. I visited the one closest to me (4-5 minutes), heard that a powerlifter works there at night, and saw that the rest of the night staff spends most of their time watching television rather than enforcing any rules. I figured since I had no plans to compete anytime this year, I壇 give it a shot for $22 a month. I just wanted to lift something again, and I was sold on the massage beds and chairs (they池e fantastic!). So since the last week of June, that痴 where I致e been training, with a focus on hypertrophy.

    Then I heard about an upcoming meet in northern Virginia on November 14 (a little over an hour away), and started wondering how I would do if I actually did a meet while training at PF. The more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it seemed, which oddly enough made me think it would be fun to find out. So with the hope of doing something to make my 2020 a little better than it has been, I entered the meet. I値l be in the Masters 1 and Open, 105 kg (231 lbs) weight class.

    Now after all of that (thank you if you致e made it this far!), my first training entry in this log isn稚 from PF. One of my 5 brothers has a rack, bench, barbell and weights at his house. But he lives in a different part of Maryland, an hour or so from where I live in Baltimore. Getting there isn稚 convenient, but he痴 letting me use his stuff whenever I can get there. My plan is to go every other week until I知 4 weeks out, then weekly until the meet.

    My first visit was on Sunday 9/13, and that was my first time touching an actual barbell in 6 months. On the final weekend before our gyms closed, I tested my lifts knowing that a closure was coming. In March, I squatted 500, benched 300, and deadlifted 530. On Sunday, I didn稚...

    Sunday, 9/13/20 - Brother痴 House

    Squat

    bar/7
    135/5, 3
    205/4
    275/3
    325/2 - added wrist wraps
    365/1 - added mouth guard
    405/1 - added belt on first set
    405/1
    430/1 - looked much faster than it felt
    430/1 - thought about going up, decided against it

    I felt like I had been compressed by an inch or two after these. My insides hurt from my chest/lats down to my hips.

    Bench Press

    bar/10
    105/10
    155/7
    205/5
    235/3 - added wrist wraps
    255/2 - started pausing each rep
    265/1 - felt shaky
    265/1 - started getting handoffs from my wife, made a huge difference
    275/1 - felt better than the first 265

    Deadlift

    225/4
    315/3 - started using Versa Gripps, I hadnツ稚 asked my brother about chalk and he didnツ稚 have any
    365/1 + 1 - maybe 20 seconds between reps
    415/1 + 1 - added belt, maybe 30 seconds between reps
    455/1

    That 455 felt and looked slow off of the floor. 75 lbs less than my heaviest deadlift 6 months ago. I have 8 weeks to train for this. Fingers crossed...

  2. #2
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    Default Back at PF, Tue. 9/15

    I知 going to try something and see if it helps add context to my training sessions, and also help me track how things go relative to my work shifts. If you missed it in my original post (thanks if you read it all), I知 a mailman and we池e logging some crazy hours at my station these days. So I値l include my work volume on the days I train, and see if it uncovers any trends. Walking/hiking stats are from my phone. I don稚 know what the margin of error is.

    Also, on the Smith machine, since I don稚 know how much the empty bar actually adds (I know it isn稚 45 lbs, and I don稚 trust the label), I just log the weight of the plates. So I notate that as WEIGHT+ (i.e. 90+ is a 45 on each side, looks like 135 on a real bar).

    Tue. 9/15

    Work: 11 hours, 22,851 steps, 10.4 miles, 15 flights climbed

    Smith Machine Squat

    bar/8
    90+/8
    180+/5
    270+/5
    320+/5 - added mouth guard
    360+/5 - added belt
    385+/5 @9 RPE
    410+/3 @9.5 RPE

    One thing I have noticed about this contraption is that while there isn稚 any bar whip, the whole thing rattles when you unhook it, and at the top of each rep. So I pause a moment after each rep to let it settle.

    Torso Rotation Machine - since I know I知 not hitting as many stabilizers, I知 doing some stuff I might not usually do

    85/25 left, 25 right
    115/25 right, 25 left

    Seated Leg Curl

    110/13
    rest-pause cluster: 160/10 + 5 + 5 - took about 5-6 deep breaths on each break

    I wish this facility had a prone leg curl. Some PF痴 do. I actually like that machine.

    Leg Extension

    130/12
    rest-pause cluster: 190/20 total reps (14 straight, then 1 rep each separated by 2-3 deep breaths until I hit 20)

  3. #3
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    May 2010
    Location
    Murphysboro, IL
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    29,977

    Default

    Old guys rule!

    I remember the Strengthmill site too, although not as early as you. Good luck training in what is reputed to be a hostile environment for anyone striving for some real achievement instead of assuaging a little guilt over sweet and salty snacks with some time on the hamster wheel like many others at PF seem to do.

  4. #4
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    Default Thu. 9/17

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E. Hurling View Post
    Old guys rule!

    I remember the Strengthmill site too, although not as early as you. Good luck training in what is reputed to be a hostile environment for anyone striving for some real achievement instead of assuaging a little guilt over sweet and salty snacks with some time on the hamster wheel like many others at PF seem to do.
    Old man strength for the win! After almost 3 months at PF - at least this particular one - the people who I致e seen in there when my wife and I are there have not been creating a hostile environment. The facility itself isn稚 anything close to ideal for someone interested in getting proficient and stronger on the barbell lifts, or even dumbbells. I believe that it can be a good option for someone who is primarily focused on hypertrophy or physique 妬mprovements (i.e. recreational or competitive bodybuilder, physique competitor, model, average person). They just need a staff that gives zero damns about the company痴 most ridiculous rules like the staff at the one I go to. I致e seen a bit of both. Some people really are in there trying hard, either on the smith machine, with dumbbells, or other machines and equipment. And some people are just... there. But that痴 the same thing I saw at the YMCA for 11 years too.

    Thu. 9/17

    Work: 10.25 hours, 10.1 miles, 22,566 steps, 5 floors climbed

    Smith Machine Bench Press*


    bar/15
    90+/10
    150+/6
    200+/5 @8.5 RPE - added mouth guard. This set was harder than I expected, probably because of fairly short rest periods
    220+/5 @8.5 RPE - took a longer rest, and this felt just like the previous set
    230+/4 @9.5 RPE - I think 232.5-235+ would have been @10 RPE
    240+/4 @9.5 RPE - used a Titan Ram for this set, just to see how it works with a Smith machine. I might be the first person in the history of Planet Fitness (or at least this one) to use one of these.

    * On the Smith machine, since I don稚 know how much the empty bar actually adds (I know it isn稚 45 lbs, and I don稚 trust the label), I just log the weight of the plates. So I notate that as WEIGHT+ (i.e. 90+ is a 45 on each side, looks like 135 on a real bar).

    Ab Crunch Machine


    85/20
    rest-pause cluster set: 115/10 + 5 + 5

    I don稚 think that I致e mentioned this: my wife and I have been training together again since I decided to start going here. We joined at the same time. She also used to compete in powerlifting, but had a stroke in January 2017 and has only recently started lifting regularly again. She痴 not competing now. She wants to lose a lot of weight, and get stronger so she doesn稚 need to use her cane anymore. I would have picked a different ab apparatus, but she picked this one and I rolled with it.

    Seated Row Machine (w/chest pad)

    100/12
    165/10
    225/13 @10 RPE - used Versa Gripps. I didn稚 think I壇 get this many reps. I love this machine.

    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press
    (seated)

    70 per side/11
    120 per side/10 @10 RPE

    Cable Pulldown
    (neutral grip, just outside shoulder width)

    120/12
    200/12.5 @10 RPE

    Cable Pressdowns


    drop set: 85/8 + 70/4 @10 RPE


  5. #5
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    Default Sat. 9/19 - Deadlift Party

    It痴 funny how things work sometimes. My scheduled days off are Saturday and Sunday, but it痴 not uncommon for me to work on a Saturday. That was my plan all week, until I went to sleep with a dull headache on Friday night. Then I checked and realized that I壇 just worked 62 1/2 hours in the prior week, and decided to take my whole weekend.

    Planet Fitness in Baltimore isn稚 24/7 right now. It痴 more like 24/5, and they close at 7pm on weekends. I didn稚 get to the gym until 6:10pm. Somehow, I gave myself less time to train on a day off than I do on a work day. Go figure. Rather than trying to squeeze in several movements, I thought I would get the most bang for my buck by deadlifting for 45 minutes. Smith machine deadlifts, but still...

    Sat. 9/19

    Smith Machine Deadlift*

    * On the Smith machine, since I don稚 know how much the empty bar actually adds (I know it isn稚 45 lbs, and I don稚 trust the label), I just log the weight of the plates. So I notate that as WEIGHT+ (i.e. 90+ is a 45 on each side, looks like 135 on a real bar).

    90+/5 - standing on 25 lbs plates
    90+/5 - standing on 2 25 lbs. plates.

    I致e been standing on one plate since my 2nd time deadlifting in PF. After having done a real deadlift last week, I tried standing on 2 plates, and it felt much more like the range on a normal deadlift. This is a necessary adjustment, since the weight at the bottom of the Smith machine isn稚 on the floor. I can稚 get the bar any lower, but I can elevate myself, so that痴 the standard going forward.

    180+/5
    270+/5
    320+/5 - started using Versa Gripps
    370+/3 - started wearing belt
    420+/3 - started using mouth guard
    440+/1
    450+/1
    380+/3
    380+/3
    300+/10

    As I type this on Sunday night, my lower back is still fried. And my youngest child starts going back to school - in person - tomorrow, which means I have to start getting up maybe an hour earlier than normal. My plan was to train at PF on M/W/F this week, then visit my brother痴 on Sunday for more practice with real weights. In light of how my back feels, and my new sleep and commute schedule, I think I知 going to train any 2 days between Tuesday and Friday, then train at my brother痴 on Sunday.

  6. #6
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    Default Test Video, Tue. 9/22 and The Miracle of Active Recovery

    Before the next recap, here痴 the video of my 1st real squats, benches and deadlifts in 6 months that I logged a few days ago. These are at my brother痴 house, and this is where I plan to get some exposure to actual barbells before the meet. Feedback is welcomed!



    Quote Originally Posted by K.Diesel View Post
    As I type this on Sunday night, my lower back is still fried. And my youngest child starts going back to school - in person - tomorrow, which means I have to start getting up maybe an hour earlier than normal. My plan was to train at PF on M/W/F this week, then visit my brother痴 on Sunday for more practice with real weights. In light of how my back feels, and my new sleep and commute schedule, I think I知 going to train any 2 days between Tuesday and Friday, then train at my brother痴 on Sunday.
    I知 probably not going to deviate from this plan. But sometimes, all of the urban hiking I do for work brings the benefit of helping me recover from certain aches and pains faster than I would if I sat on a couch or chair all day. At other times, it makes aches and pains worse. It just depends. This time was an example of the former. By the time I finished work yesterday, my lower back felt normal, plus I got off 兎arly, so I decided to train. By early, I mean a 9.5 hour day, and the overtime was in the office, not on the street delivering part of another route.

    Tue. 9/22

    Work: 9.5 hours, 7.6 miles, 17,027 steps, 10 floors climbed

    Note - since all I delivered was my route, this is roughly what a normal workday for me would be without overtime on another route.

    * On the Smith machine, since I don稚 know how much the empty bar actually adds (I know it isn稚 45 lbs, and I don稚 trust the label), I just log the weight of the plates. So I notate that as WEIGHT+ (i.e. 90+ is a 45 on each side, looks like 135 on a real bar).

    Smith Machine Squat


    bar/6
    90+/6
    180+/6
    270+/4
    320+/2
    360+/2 - started using mouthguard
    400+/2 - started using belt
    Cluster - did these with no more than 2 minutes rest between each set
    420+/2, 2, 2, 2 (4 sets) - final rep was @9 or 9.5 RPE
    Backoff - rested 4 minutes after the end of the cluster
    370+/6 @8.5 RPE

    Smith Machine Bench Press


    bar/15
    90+/9
    140+/5
    170+/4
    195+/3
    220+/2 - started using mouth guard
    Cluster - did these with 60-90 seconds rest between each set
    235+/2, 2, 2, 2, 2 (5 sets) - @9-9.5 RPE on the final rep of the last 2 sets
    Rested 4 minutes, threw on Titan Ram (like a Slingshot, but different brand and design) for overload
    235+/7 @10 RPE
    Backoff - back to raw for this, rested 3 minutes after Ram set
    200+/6 @9.5 RPE

    Smith Machine Barbell Row


    90+/10
    140+/10
    180+/10 - started using Versa Gripps
    205+/10 - started using mouth guard
    230+/10 - I know I cheated the last few reps here, but I think they were productive cheats. My upper back got hit hard.

    Hammer Strength Ab Crunch Machine


    50/15
    80/10 + 5 - took 5 or 6 deep breaths in the break
    70/4 + 6 + 3 + 1 + 1 - I must not have rested enough after the previous set. This felt like murder. Good way to end the night.

  7. #7
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    May 2020
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    Default

    [I leave form comments to those who know what they're talking about.]

    Video was a great watch--impressive session for anyone, much less your first time with actual barbells in six months! One note on the bench--the rack has large gaps between holes (probably three inches), which can leave you with an in-between hook placement that is either too low (in this case) or too high. I don't think there is anything you can do about that.

    God bless your wife on her recovery and good luck in your meet prep.

  8. #8
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    Default Squat Video and Quick Session 9/25

    Quote Originally Posted by J. Killmond View Post
    [I leave form comments to those who know what they're talking about.]

    Video was a great watch--impressive session for anyone, much less your first time with actual barbells in six months! One note on the bench--the rack has large gaps between holes (probably three inches), which can leave you with an in-between hook placement that is either too low (in this case) or too high. I don't think there is anything you can do about that.

    God bless your wife on her recovery and good luck in your meet prep.
    Thank you for the kind words! And unfortunately, I think you池e right about my brother痴 bench. Next visit (tomorrow), I値l look to see if there痴 any way to safely raise the bench.

    I知 trying to get caught up on video uploads over the next few days. Part of my plan for that is to make shorter videos of certain workouts or lifts, rather than a week-long summary. Here痴 the video from my squat session on 9/15, when I topped out at 410 lbs (+ the Smith bar) for a triple. Any feedback is welcomed!



    Last night, I only had 30 minutes to train before the gym closed. (NOTE: The PF痴 in Baltimore are open Monday morning all the way through 10pm Friday, then 7a-7p Saturday and Sunday.) Since I had a pretty hard session on Tuesday, and I知 planning on training heavy at my brother痴 tomorrow (Sunday), I was already planning on a lighter session. The time constraint made sure of it.

    Fri. 9/25


    Work: 10.5 hours, 8.4 miles, 18,209 steps, 12 flights climbed

    Superset

    1a) Rear Delt Machine

    70/20
    rest-pause: 100/15 + 5 - I didn稚 expect this to require a pause before 20 reps
    rest-pause cluster: 115/13 + 4 + 3 - just 2-3 deep breaths at each pause

    1b) Pec Deck Machine - same machine as the rear delt, just flipped the handles around

    70/20
    rest-pause: 115/15 + 5
    rest-pause cluster: 145/10 + 5 + 5 - maybe 5 deep breaths at each pause (about 15 seconds)

    Pull-up - All done with just bodyweight

    jump to negatives/10 reps - my way of warming up for pull-ups. I give myself a leg boost into each rep, then do a controlled (not slow) negative
    BW/11 - wide, neutral grip
    BW/10 - medium, overhand grip
    BW/10 - narrow, neutral grip

    I only rested 60-90 seconds between sets. I didn稚 have my elbow sleeves with me, and the inside of my left elbow (by the biceps) didn稚 feel so good, so I shortened the ROM. I know a pull-up purist would say they don稚 count, but I felt them. I知 counting them.

    Superset

    3a) Leg Extension


    90/13
    145/10
    rest-pause cluster: 190/9 + 2 + 4 - I hit the wall in a weird way on this one. I probably had 6-7 minutes to close when I started this superset, so I know I wasn稚 rested. No big deal. I got what I was looking for from it.

    3b) Seated Leg Curl


    70/15
    125/10
    165/15 - I took an extra deep breath between the last 5-6 reps or so, but it was literally one breath, not enough for me to call that a rest-pause.

    Not a bad way to spend a half hour. I知 looking forward to squatting, benching, and deadlifting a real barbell at my brother痴 house tomorrow.

  9. #9
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    Default Bench/Deadlift Video, and Recap of Lifting Real Weights

    I知 about a week and a half behind on video uploads. But I知 hoping to get caught up over the next week. Here痴 the video from last week痴 bench press and deadlift sessions:



    I was able to visit my brother痴 house again on Sunday and lift some real weights, as in a barbell and iron plates in an actual rack. Some of it was good, and some of it wasn稚.

    Sun. 9/27

    Squat

    bar/5, 5
    135/5
    205/3
    275/2
    335/2 - started using mouth guard
    375/1 - started using wrist wraps
    415/1 - started using belt
    440/1
    455/1 @10 RPE*
    405/3 @10 RPE*

    * After looking at the videos, I think they were really @9. I think I知 out of practice in rating RPE for heavy singles.

    2 weeks before this, my heaviest squat was 430, which I did for 2 singles. So going up by 25 lbs is pretty good. But that weight feels so heavy on my back. I mean, I feel like I知 getting crushed by the bar as soon as I take it off the rack once I get around 4 plates. It reminds me of when I was lifting equipped several years ago, and I would walk out a weight that was way over my raw max and somehow squat it anyway. I知 not sure how to fix that in 6 weeks, or if it can be fixed in 6 weeks. I知 open to any suggestions.

    Bench Press

    bar/15
    135/10
    185/5
    215/3
    235/2
    255/1
    275/1
    290/1 @9.5 RPE
    290/1 @10 RPE
    260/3 @10 RPE

    I benched inside the rack this week, and had the rack set at a much better height. I was also using the safety pins. My wife wasn稚 there, so I didn稚 have a spotter. But the way his rack is set against a wall, you can稚 bench inside the rack unless the spotter was going to straddle you or stand to the side. I don稚 mind my wife doing that, but it痴 just not practical in the middle of a heavy set.

    I skipped deadlifts. My son was there with me, and I thought he had school the next day, so I didn稚 want to be out too late with him. I forgot that his school was closed for Yom Kippur on Monday, so I could have stayed longer.

    I致e been running a terrible sleep deficit this week (worse than normal), and haven稚 trained since Sunday. I知 going to try to get 2 sessions done Thursday and Friday, then get back to a better split next week starting this Sunday.

  10. #10
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    Default Thu. 10/1

    starting strength coach development program
    I planned to try a heavy sumo deadlift on the Smith machine tonight, but all 4 of them were in use when we got there, and stayed in use much of the time. Plus I messed up and left my belt at home. I scrapped that idea, and did some other stuff instead.
    Before I forget, here痴 what work looked like before the gym:
    10.5 hours, 9.3 miles, 20,685 steps, 7 floors climbed

    At the gym:

    Leg Press
    (Hammer Strength)


    180/10 - did these in flat shoes, no knee sleeves
    370/10 - changed to weightlifting shoes, put on SBD knee sleeves
    550/10
    700/5 - started using mouth guard. This was a feeler set, to figure out what to use for the top set.
    rest-pause set: 750/5 + 5 + 2

    I took 5-6 deep breaths in the breaks, and did not rack the weight until all the reps were done. I just held it with my legs at the top (knees unlocked) until I was ready to go again.

    Seated Leg Curl - took off knee sleeves

    85/12
    130/10
    170/13 - used mouth guard. Range of motion got shorter on the last 2 reps.

    Rear Delt Machine


    55/15

    90/15
    rest-pause set: 120/10 + 5 - took 5 deep breaths at the pause

    Hammer Strength Abdominal Crunch



    50/10 x 4 sets - rested long enough for 7-10 deep breaths between sets

    The plan is to go in tomorrow, and do some goofing around with pressing and rows. Starting on Sunday/Monday, a lot of the fluff gets cut out for 5 weeks. I know - I知 at Planet Fitness, so it痴 all fluff. 😁 But really, I値l be doing much fewer movements as I go into the meet (November 14).

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