Back to the bar, strength training for masters – Kevin Strachan

Back to the bar, strength training for masters

Here we go again a new training year and to be honest 2016 was going to be my last year. I was inspired to keep going by a follow masters lifter Geoffrey Lewis Australia,  who started lifting at 61 years of age and is now 68 and still improving. The Asia/Oceania champs 2016 certainly was one of the worst training cycles I’d had and wasn’t expecting a great day. I had to take my own advise and try and get the best out of myself on the day (you can do no more) To my surprise I lost a lot less than I thought, still down 10kg on the Worlds but better than I expected. The 2 things that came out of this is to stop putting limits on what is possible and you are never too old to improve.
Kevin Strachan
OK then what have I done about it?
I believe that recovery is the key to strength training especially for masters and the older we get the more it matters. That’s not saying that you shouldn’t push yourself, it’s saying give yourself time to recover before launching into it again. I personally train 3 days a week and find I recover fairly well.
Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Squat/bench/deadlift respectively.
Because my gym at the factory is very simple so is my training. Very much bar in hand stuff.
For the 1st 4 weeks of the cycle my top sets 2×5 reps starting around 75% of 1RM and working up from there. To keep things simple I use the push pull principle, meaning on Squat day I’ll squat,deadlift squat – bench day push pull push and Deadlift day pull push pull.
Squat – I work up in 20kg increments(those of an unkind nature will be saying 2 sets to the top set then) and 5 rep sets on the way up, so giving me some volume without taking to much from the top sets.
Deadlift – I deadlift sumo so for this I lift conventionally. At this point since I’m already warm I start around 30 kg down on what I’ll be deadlifting on DL day.
The next Squatting movement will be an assistance exercise.i.e. front squat/pauses etc.
Day 2 Bench 
With the bench I start a 85% of 1RM because my numbers aren’t that high it’s harder for me to improve if I start to low.
Again to get some volume I work up in 10kg increments always pausing the 1st rep as on the top sets 2 x as many as I can get.
The pulling movement, normally a rowing movement. Supported rows are what I do most, just because I find them the most beneficial. I convert my bench into a bench pull by standing it on boxes . In saying that the boxes have to be solid.
The last bench pushing movement in an assistance exercise, now for me it is narrow benching
Day 3 Deadlift
Sumo deadlift
75% of 1RM   2×5 top sets I do my 1st set conventional @60kg then 1 set at half width of my normal sumo stance and a 3rd set at full width all @ 60kg then work up 20kg increments to the top sets.
The pushing movement
Squating at the moment I’ am currently using our cambered bar attachments but any kind of squatting will be fine.
 For the last pulling movement I’m doing a stiff legged Deadlift. To me this much more about form and range of movement than weight.
Hoping this might be of some help, I can be contacted through the website contact page above

Kevin Strachan

Kevin Strachan has been involved in Powerlifting and strength training for more then 30 years. He has been a NZ Champion and record holder (powerlifting) in 4 weights classes and 3 age divisions. Currently Masters (3) - 60 plus. Over the last 10 years he has dedicated his time to coaching some of NZ top powerlifters though to a world level. IPF Raw World Championships 2016 Squat - Bronze Bench - Bronze Deadlift - Bronze Total - Bronze 3 x NZ Powerlifting Master Records

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