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The GZCL Method for Powerlifting

November 22, 2012


Many of you know me from my recent meet report on the IPL World Championship [1]. In that thread there were some that expressed interest in my training methodologies. This article covers some of the ner details of how and why I train the way I train.

Introduction

First a brief overview of who I am and what I have done. I am a 26 year old man, standing a whopping 5 5 or so; and I compete in the 148 lb weight class. I started lifting for four years ago, and have been training specically for powerlifting for the last two years. I have been doing some variation of my own programming for nearly a full year; generally following my own path, and trying out things I had seen or read about. My rst powerlifting competition was on January 14th of 2012, and I totalled 1113 lb. Only 10 months later, on November 9th , I totalled 1196 lb at the IPL Worlds (or 1211 lb if you count my 4th attempt deadlift). I broke two California state records (deadlift and total), and broke the IPL deadlift record with a 529 lb pull. Thats a gain of about 83 98 lb to my total while following my own programming (and staying within my weight class). Dont get me wrong, there are a lot of stronger guys out there in my weight class; guys that literally total 200 lb or more than me. So why should you listen to what I have to say? Honestly, I dont know. Maybe its because I have totalled elite in less than two years of training for powerlifting. Maybe its because I look at training like being an architect, an engineer, and a mason, more than your average strength enthusiast. Im not here to bullshit you about how to be a tough guy or a badass. Im not here to share life lessons that can be learned in the weight room. Badass, tough guy, hardcore; those are all subjective to personal opinions. What isnt subjective is strength. In this article I will discuss how I have become stronger. So how did I get to the level I am at with my own training philosophy? Simply put, I employ the pyramid as a metaphor for strength and training. The height of the pyramid is determined by the intensities with which you lift (with respect to percentages of your 1RM) and size of the base of the pyramid is determined by your training volume. If you want to have a pyramid that is tall youve got to make sure its also wide. Conversely, a wide yet short pyramid isnt too impressive. In order to build an impressively tall pyramid, the base should only be as wide as is required to support its ever-growing height. Too often I see lifters focus solely on the height of their pyramid and leave their foundation to the wayside, resulting in a tall yet easily toppled structure. This can be seen in programs like Smolov or similar peaking programs. Many times a portion of these strength gains are lost after the program has been completed. These kinds of programs 1

are great and have their place in strength training, especially for competitions. But to me their results are too transient and therefore not optimal for building lasting strength. If I am going to sweat, I want to keep what I have sweat for. Not only that, you cannot train with these programs year round, which is possible with my methodology. Dont for a second believe that Im saying Smolov is lacking in volume, because it isnt. It will break your ass clean o if youre just going to throw yourself into it. But what it is lacking is a supporting amount of volume in the main lifts and accessory lifts in percentage ranges below and above the training thresholds I will discuss in this post. And if you think you can just tack on more work to Smolov to even it out or to make it more rounded you are retarded. Not to sound terribly harsh, but thats the truth. If you disagree, be my guest and give it your best shot. I am condent you will fall short. Smolov is just one example where people can become strong but often leave the gym without having done supportive work simply because theyre too drained or broken to continue. This isnt how I like to train. Training that way is akin to building a tower: capable of extreme heights but easily toppled (injuries, diminishing returns, overtraining). Even the tallest and sturdiest of towers can be toppled more easily than the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

Building Your Pyramid

Take a pyramid and split it into three horizontal layers. The top portion is the 1st Tier, the middle is the 2nd Tier, and the base is the 3rd Tier. The tiers of the training pyramid each have their own ideal training percentages, set and rep schemes, overall volume, and training movements. There are some grey areas and crossovers between each tier so instead of having clear dening lines separating the levels imagine that it is more like a gradient between the tiers. Since my training is powerlifting centric, the squat, bench, and deadlift are present in all three tiers in some form or another. You could also include the snatch, clean and jerk, or overhead press if your training requires it. These are the main movements your training is focused around. At least three of these, regardless of your training focus need to be the primary movements that are the cornerstones of your program. The only major dierence in programming between the primary movements will be your set/reps and percentages. I have once left out the deadlift in order to use an additional day for squatting (so I was squatting three times per week). This worked well at the time and denitely increased my squat, but six weeks out from the IPL Worlds I introduced the deadlift back into my training. If you are looking to focus on increasing a specic lift, that would be permitted. But its not something I would do year round. Again, think about building a lasting pyramid. With regards to volume, I aim to follow my (1 : 2 : 3)-rule: for every 1 rep you do in the 1st Tier, do 2 in the 2nd Tier, and 3 in 3rd Tier. For example, if you do 10 total reps in the 1st Tier, then you should do at least 20 in the 2nd Tier, and at least 30 in the 3rd Tier. Before you start to construct your pyramid, you rst have to know how high you want it to be. This is what I call choosing your goal weight. This concept is similar to how Wendler uses training maxes: 10% less than your actual or estimated maxes. If you are used to using that method then continue using it as it ensures training longevity. 2

Personally, when prepping for the IPL Worlds I chose a weight that I could hit with a slight struggle. Something that at best I could get 2 3 reps with on a great day or just a single on a bad day. My plan was to train so I would be able to hit these weights easily, any day of the week, under the shittiest conditions. The kinds of conditions I might expect having completed a cut, and being nervous as hell on the platform. When choosing your goal weight you can take 10% o your actual or estimated maxes or just use the weight of something you can hit for a double or a grinder of a triple. The idea is that at the end of a training cycle that goal weight can be moved easily on your worst day.

2.1

The 1st Tier

This is the top level of your pyramid. These are mandatory reps. They are reps that you cannot miss in training. The only movements within this tier are your main movements. The percentages for your lifts in this tier are always > 85% of your goal weight. The training volume for this tier is 10 15 reps per workout. Sometimes I have gone as far as 20 reps but that would be infrequent and closer to the 85% marker. Truly I considered making this 87.5%, but thats being a little too nit-picky. The only way you can build a tall pyramind is if you spend enough time within in this tier. Example 2.1. Sample set/rep schemes for the 1st Tier: 5 2 at 90%; 3 3 at 85%, 2 2 at 87.5%, 1 1 at 90%; 3 1 at 90%, 3 1 at 92.5%, 3 1+ at 95% (the + represents as many reps as possible or AMRAP). You can keep all the reps in this tier at the same percentage or you can increase them incrementally. Personally I like to increase them in 2.5% increments (always rounded to the nearest possible weight), peaking at a few singles. Why are gains so slow to come with programs like 5/3/1? Well, one specic reason is I believe it to be because out of the entire four week training cycle you get at a minimum 12 reps within the 85% or more range of whatever training max youre using. If youre doing the AMRAP sets and doubling the called for rep quantities (so 10 reps instead of 5 on week 1, or 6 reps instead of 3 on week 2, etc.) every week, then you are only completing around 24 30 reps (being gracious here) within the 1st Tier. Of that total volume, half of it is at the 85% marker. That is well below what I would advocate. Ideally every workout you should approach, or surpass, the 90% marker for at least one rep.

2.2

The 2nd Tier

These are also mandatory, unless youre dying. I have skipped these sets/reps on only one occasion, and that was because my knees were obliterated from pause squats two days prior. Personally, my 2nd Tier is primarily structured around more of my main movements in their unadulterated form; more squats, OHP, or bench presses. Deadlifts may be the only exception, if you are prone to excessive DOMS, or simply cannot handle this kind of volume with deadlifts. Another option for movements in this tier would be a variation of 3

one form or another of your main movement. Examples of these are: rack pulls; decit deadlifts; high box squats; partial squats; push presses; and pin presses. The percentages making up this tier are anywhere between 65 85% of your goal weight. When you are warming up you will work through this tier as you approach your main movements in the 1st Tier of your pyramid. These warm up reps count, as they build motor patterns and general familiarity with the movements while using manageable weight. Dont be careless in this tier as it is primarily where you perfect your form and build condence under the bar. The time spent in this section of your pyramid is necessary in order for you to build a more stable and permanent 1st Tier. Within the 2nd Tier will also come your pulling variations: barbell and dumbbell rows; pull-ups; chin-ups; shrugs; and cable row or lat pull-down variations. Think of your back as the support structure that ties everything all together, because it does. You cannot press with a weak back; you cannot squat with a weak back; and you certainly cannot deadlift with a weak back. Can you make a row variant a movement in your 1st Tier? Sure, but I think that deadlifting alone trains the back enough in those kinds of percentages (> 85%). Overall, the 2nd Tier the goal volume is 20 30+ total reps. I usually break these reps down as 3 8, 5 5, 3 10, or 10 3. Again, remember the sets/reps you do while warming up to your 1st Tier work count towards this volume. After your 1st Tier work is done, come back down to this level and do some more within this range. The more reps you complete, the more resilient your body and strength will be. I tend to end up doing 30+ on average.

2.3

The 3rd Tier

The movements and sets/reps that make up this tier are the most important. They form the foundation of your pyramid. These are your warm up sets with percentages < 65% of your goal weight when performing your main movement. If you were doing 5/3/1 Boring But Big this would be it. Certainly not warm ups but that kind of volume builds excellent motor patterns, muscular endurance, and training resiliency. Other movements that make up this tier are exercises like: triceps extensions; curls; face pulls; glute-ham raises; and reverse-hypers. The total number of reps performed in this tier is 30 or more and can be accomplished anyway you like. For example, at the end of my pressing workouts I will do 3 5 sets of 15 25 reps of face pulls. At the end of my squat or deadlift workouts I will do 3 5 sets of 10 15 reps of glute ham raises. As a general rule, if it is an isolation exercise it belongs here. Is a GHR an isolation exercise? No, but if you are doing it properly the hamstrings and glutes are doing most of the work and the lower back and abs are simply in a static hold. It is my opinion that higher rep work using compound movements (like rows, good mornings, GHRs) in this method yields better results than higher intensity work with the same movements. Wendler has said similar things about good mornings, and I completely agree. Why max out on barbell rows when your lower back is more likely to fatigue before your upper back? If you are going to intentionally train your lower back you might as well be doing deadlifts of some sort or another.

2.4

The Pyramid

Recapping the pyramid metaphor, I would like to remind you that there are grey areas and overlaps between each of the three tiers. You can certainly max out on shrugs sometimes, but should it be a staple of your programming? Should you try for a new shrug 1RM every pressing workout? No, it would probably be better to alternate between max attempts and gratuitous volume. The pyramid is broken into three tiers. The 1st Tier consists of only your main movements in percentages greater than 85% of your goal weight for 10 15 total reps. All of those programmed reps are mandatory. The 2nd Tier are percentages between 65 85% of your goal weight, for 20 30 reps. The movements in this tier should primarily be your main movements or variants, as well as supporting pull movements for back development. Those programmed reps are also mandatory unless you are dying. The 3rd Tier is the most important and the foundation for your entire pyramid. Percentages for your main movements are less than 65% of your goal weight for 30 or more reps, including warm ups or back o sets. Other movements in this tier are isolation exercises or supportive exercises like face pulls or GHRs. I urge you to do additional work here but if youre stretched for time, leave the gym and do some band pull-aparts when you get home.

Figure 1: The Training Pyramid. 5

De-Loading

De-loading is an important factor when it comes to strength training. The problem with de-loads is that if you dont know when to do them then they can easily become a hindrance to your progress. I have personally realized that de-loading every fourth week (as in 5/3/1) is unnecessary for myself. If youre an older lifter you might have a dierent opinion. Paul Carters (Lift-Run-Bang) programs prescribe that the lifter should de-load in their sixth week. My opinion is that you should train until you have to de-load. But how will you know when this is? You will know a de-load is coming when you miss a rep on a mandatory lift from being exhausted or broken. If you are squatting for a 95% single and it is an inch high, thats not a missed rep which requires a de-load. Thats a rep you should make another attempt at. What Im talking about is when youre benching and 250 lb staples you on a single, when a few days ago you nailed 245 2 no problem. In that case you might consider de-loading. Or when you skip out on 2nd Tier work altogether. But how long should you de-load for? This is a huge confusion for newer lifters, and sometimes experienced lifters too. Length isnt the only factor in de-loading. There are a number of factors a lifter can manipulate in their training in order to achieve a proper de-load. Here are the ways you can de-load. 1. Decrease volume : Decrease the total reps completed per workout. If you nd you are having a hard time recovering this might be the reason. Try taking 10% o the volume. It might seem like a little, but your body will thank you, and you can continue to train. For decreasing volume, Im talking about your main lift volume, not your support work in the 2nd Tier or 3rd Tier. 2. Decrease intensity : Take 10% o the lift that you could not complete mandatory reps of. If you miss the rst rep of the working sets, take 10% o that number and complete the required volume. If you missed a rep at the end of the workout chalk it up as a loss and see how it goes the next workout. It is not necessary to decrease the intensity on all your lifts if you are only having trouble with one. 3. Decrease density : Many people overlook this factor. If you are doing a lot of supersets or not resting adequately between sets you could try giving this a shot. Cut back your supersets, or the number of dierent exercises you are doing per workout. This will have a direct impact on the total number of reps you are doing per workout, so your volume is aected. When you are planning on decreasing workout density the rst things to go should be supersets. After that consider keeping all the reps and exercises you are doing, and simply extending the amount of rest you get. Instead of resting one minute between sets try extending that to 90 seconds. Its amazing what a little more rest between sets can do for your lifts. 4. Decrease frequency : Decrease the number of times you train per week. In my case as of late, I train squats on Mondays and Fridays. If Im having trouble completing my required reps for squats, I might consider cutting out a day. This is the last option for me to consider but it is sure to work as it adds in an extra 24 hours of absolute rest between workouts.

5. Any combination of 1 4: This should be your last resort. If one method doesnt work add in another. If that doesnt work, you might be dead already. Seriously though, combining all of them shouldnt be necessary. I have never had to resort to this nal measure. But maybe thats because I have never trained hard enough. Something to remember is that maybe you dont need to de-load. Maybe you have forgotten to reload.

Reloading

If de-loading is removing work in the gym, reloading is adding supportive non-work outside the gym. This is simply eating and sleeping enough. I say simply because it is easy to remember. Unfortunately it is also easy to forget. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our lives that we gradually start sleeping a little less, or we skip a meal here or there. Combine that missed hour from Friday and Saturday night, poor eating on each of those days, a missed lunch on Wednesday at work; and by the time your next squat session rolls around on the following Friday, you are feeling like Mike Tysons sparring partner. Thats how people forget to reload, and then start worrying that they are in need of a de-load, or that they have a case of the dreaded overtraining. So before you start planning your next de-load, think about how you can rst increase the amount that you are reloading. I have strict bedtimes that I adhere to 95% of the time. My wife knows that when Im getting ready for bed, thats it. Im going the fuck to sleep. There is no stopping me. Unless Im cutting down for a meet there is never a moment in the day where I think, damn Im hungry as hell. Does that mean Im constantly stung my face? No. It means I have food around so that when I feel slightly hungry I can snack on something or drink a protein shake. Remember to reload before you de-load. Your time outside the gym dwarfs your training time (assuming you train 10 hours per week, thats only 6% of your total week). Maximize that time before worrying about how to change the time spent in the gym.

An Example of My Training Program

The following is an example of one of my training programs. Specically, its very similar to my program leading up to the IPL World Championship meet. Does it adhere to my (1 : 2 : 3)-rule? Not exactly, but closely. (Remember how I said there was grey areas and overlap?) Did I only do what was in this table? No. There was plenty of other 2nd Tier and 3rd Tier work thrown into my workouts: curls; face pulls; triceps extensions; pull-ups; and row variations aplenty. The programmed weights are calculated from my goal weight. The weight I chose was what I would like to lift on my rst attempts at the IPL Worlds. This was a 375 squat, a 265 bench, and a 475 deadlift (roughly my third attempts at my last meet). Was this my actual max? No. For example, my actual max for squat was around 405 415 on a great training day. But using this method I trained in a sustainable manner that allowed me to hit that 407 squat in competition with relative ease. I believe I had another 10 15 pounds in me. The judges and spotters said I could have easily done 20 more. Watch the video and make your own determinations. 7

The percentages are as follows: Week 1 85% 87.5% 90% 80% Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 87.5% 1 3 90% 1 3 92.5% 13 90% 2 2 92.5% 2 2 95% 22 92.5% 3 1 95% 3 1 97.5% 31 82.5% 7 3 85% 5 3 87.5% 10 3

13 22 31 75

The top three rows are make up the 1st Tier. The bottom row is the primary assistance work that builds the majority of the 2nd Tier. See how I was talking about that grey area? On week three and four the primary assistance work is within that 85%+ range. Why is that? Because that is controlled over-reaching, which is very helpful for strengthening your 2nd Tier performance and capacity. Ill touch more on that in Section 6. If you look closely you can see that I programmed the 2nd Tier accessory work to decrease gradually in volume as the intensity of the 1st Tier work increased (until week four where it jumps back up to 30 total reps in conjunction with a peaked amount of intensity). That week sucks, but its only 25% of the month, and you can handle it. Believe me. Below is what that above table would look like with calculated reps using 375, 265, and 475 for squat, bench, and deadlift.

Week 1
Mon Squat 318.75 1 3 328.125 2 2 337.5 31 300 75 Tues Bench 225.25 1 3 231.875 2 2 238.5 31 212 75 Wed Dead 403.75 1 3 415.625 2 2 427.5 31 380 5 51 Thurs Fri Bench Squat 225.25 1 3 318.75 1 3 231.875 2 2 328.125 2 2 238.5 3 1+ 337.5 3 1+ 212 75 300 75

Week 2
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Squat Bench Dead Bench Squat 328.125 1 3 231.875 1 3 415.625 1 3 231.875 1 3 328.125 1 3 337.5 2 2 238.5 2 2 427.5 2 2 238.5 22 337.5 22 346.875 3 1 245.125 3 1 439.375 3 1 245.125 3 1+ 346.875 3 1+ 309.375 7 3 218.625 7 3 391.875 7 3 218.625 7 3 309.375 7 3
The only change I made was to the set/rep scheme for programmed 2nd Tier deadlifts; because Im not awesome enough to handle 7 5 deadlifts.
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Week 3
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Squat Bench Dead Bench Squat 337.5 1 3 238.5 1 3 427.5 1 3 238.5 13 337.5 13 346.875 2 2 245.175 2 2 439.375 2 2 245.175 2 2 346.875 2 2 356.25 3 1 251.75 3 1 451.25 3 1 251.75 3 1+ 356.25 3 1+ 318.75 5 3 225.25 5 3 403.75 5 3 225.25 5 3 318.75 5 3

Week 4
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Squat Bench Dead Bench Squat 346.875 1 3 245.125 1 3 439.375 1 3 245.125 1 3 346.875 1 3 356.25 2 2 251.75 2 2 451.25 2 2 251.75 2 2 356.25 2 2 365.625 3 1 258.375 3 1 463.125 3 1 258.375 3 1+ 365.625 3 1+ 328.125 10 3 231.875 10 3 415.625 10 3 231.875 10 3 328.125 10 3 This is damn near what I did leading up to the IPL Worlds. I squatted and benched twice per week and deadlifted in the middle of it all. It might look like a lot to some, and to others it might not. Those tables exclude most of my 2nd Tier and 3rd Tier work. On deadlift days for example I would do 5 5 at 275 lb of 3 decit deadlifts pulled conventionally (I pull sumo in competition). I would also do chin-ups or pull-ups, usually for 5+ sets of 8 10 reps. Shrugs or rack pulls would be added in also at the end of it all. One week I would work up to a max single or a max triple on shrugs then the following Wednesday I would do 5 5, or just do sets of 5 increasing weight until I couldnt. A brief explanation of the Thursday bench and Friday squat day: notice the + on the days later in the week. Those are the days where I would rep out that last set. Also during that workout my primary assistance work, the rst and only programmed work listed in the table above making up my 2nd Tier, would have a greater emphasis on the pause on the chest for bench or in the hole for squat. That should clear up some slight dierences on my programmed second days. Another thing to consider is my nonprogrammed assistance work, which would also be dierent on the second training day that week than it was on the rst day. On Tuesday I might have done close grip but on Thursday I might have done weighted dips. On Monday I may have done jump squat but on Friday maybe I did box squats. Pressing days would have close grip, OHP, incline, or dips as 2nd Tier work, with pull-ups or chin-ups supersetted throughout. (Behind the neck presses supersetted with Pendlay rows are fun as hell.) If not those it would be band pull-aparts or barbell rows for 30+ total reps, rarely using a weight more than 135 lb. At the end of my pressing workouts I would do cable triceps extensions for 3 5 sets of 15+ reps supersetted with curls for the same set/rep scheme. If not curls, then face pulls. If not face pulls, then light cable rows. I dont like to program the ner details of what I am going to do in my 2nd Tier and 3rd Tier. I will put down one or two exercises that I will hit for sure (decit deadlifts being one of them), and then play the rest by ear day-by-day. What do I mean by play 9

it by ear? Well, I would consider what I did last session or last week on that same day. If I did strict press last Thursday and now its Thursday the following week, I might do push press instead. If I did jump squats on Monday and box squat the Friday prior to that, then this Friday I might do front squats. The idea is that you switch things up. Keep your training interesting, well rounded, and fun. Maybe you arent like me. Maybe you like to program all the details. Thats great. Do your thing but make sure youre building a pyramid thats only as wide as it needs to be. If you are spending a ton of time in the 3rd Tier, chances are you arent working hard enough at the top of your pyramid. I can easily bang out 25 lb cable triceps extensions supersetted with face pulls for 100 total reps each in about ve minutes. Thats not a lot of actual time spent in the 3rd Tier, but it is more than sucient volume to ll it and support your 1st Tier and 2nd Tier.

Over-Reaching and Supra-Maximal Loading

Both of these techniques are great tools to have at your disposal. Like all tools they are only useful if you know how and when to use them.

6.1

Over-Reaching

Over-reaching is the idea of pushing your intensities with extra volume. This is often seen in AMRAP sets, or as in my example table above. Use this for no more than a week at a time. Otherwise you are not really over-reaching your abilities are you? The goal of over-reaching is to approach, as closely and in as controlled a way as possible, that ever-feared and most-reviled nemesis: over-training. Doing AMRAP every day on all your main lifts is damn stupid and looks a whole lot like Crosst. Dont do that. Its uncontrolled, haphazard, and fails to properly utilize the concept of over-reaching to your advantage. Instead, plan one or two sets per week for AMRAP (optional) and then program a brief period of increased intensities and volume as done in the table above.

6.2

Supra-Maximal Loading

Supra-maximal loading is the idea of overloading one of your main lifts in a variation of its true self. Examples of this would be rack pulls for deadlifts, or deadlifts with chains or bands. Using those methods you are moving supra-maximal loads in the lockout portion of the lift. This is similar in nature to what Louie Simmons calls dynamic eort: using sub-maximal loads for supra-maximal speeds (taking a light weight and moving it as fast as you possibly can). I believe dynamic eort is a variation of supra-maximal loading. You arent loading the bar with a weight heavier than what you could do in normal ROM; you are de-loading the bar to a weight you can move faster than you could normally in full ROM (when lifting in your 1st Tier that is). Therefore you are supra-maximally loading your speed. You dont need chains or bands to train supra-maximal loading. You only need a little creativity and the desire to move light weights fast as hell (as traditionally done in the Westside method), or a whole lot more than your 1RM in a limited ROM, or a whole lot less than your 1RM in an increased ROM. Doing decit deadlifts supramaximally loads the bottom portion of the lift by making you work harder in that portion 10

of the ROM. Examples of supra-maximal loading for squats are: walkouts using 125% of your max; Anderson half squats; or squats to a high box for the top portion of the lift. Examples for shoulder presses are push presses, etc. You get the idea Im sure. Making the true lift harder in one form or another is supra-maximal loading. Should this be in every workout? No, not necessarily. But it helps to include it at least every other week in one form or another. In the table above I would do jump squats on Mondays and then squats to a high box or lockouts on Fridays. That way I was supra-maximally loading my squat every workout, just in opposite ways. Supra-maximal loading is always considered 2nd Tier work. Over-reaching is when you are intentionally pushing your 2nd Tier into your 1st Tier.

Conclusion

This isnt a program like 5/3/1 or Starting Strength, its my training philosophy. The tables are merely examples of what rep/set schemes I like to train with. Sets and reps I can manage (and enjoy training with) to accomplish moving the weight I need to move while also adhering closely to my (1 : 2 : 3)-rule and pyramid structure. Im not going to outline precise sets or reps for you, only you know what you like to do in the gym. The examples I provided are what I found work for me within my training philosophy. What you like doing is something you are more likely to continue doing. Thats the key to building strength. Thats the true foundation of your pyramid; each tier must rst be supported by training consistently and frequently. Even if you have the perfect program, with each set and rep for specic exercises planned out for weeks on end, it is all useless if you do not stick to it. Similarly, if you arent in the gym training with focus, eort, and desire then you will build no pyramid at all. All you will have is a neat piece of paper. Some numbers and units, a pretty piece of paper, and the abstract concept of a plan. Using this method you can be the architect, the engineer, and the mason that builds your entire pyramid of strength. That way it will be pretty, strong, and gradually rise to greater heights.

References
[1] GZCL, [Meet Report] 2012 IPL World Powerlifting Championship, reddit thread (2012), available at: http://www.reddit.com/r/weightroom/comments/131rj2/meet_report_2012_ ipl_world_powerlifting/. [2] GZCL, The GZCL Method for Powerlifting, blog post (2012), available at: http://swoleateveryheight.blogspot.ca/2012/11/the-gzcl-method-for-powerlifting. html.

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