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Barbell Logic


Oct 31, 2023

We discuss 3 lifter pathways: competing, just training (thriving), and recovering. How do these looks, who might find themselves in one of these pathways (and why)? Andrew & Niki explore this.

3 Lifter Pathways - Competing

This pathway involves a state of life where life can support training. For these lifters, training is a high priority.

Nutrition supports training, lifters likely give up other pursuits to support training.

Obviously, life needs to cooperate (and sometimes it does not), but insofar as you can prioritize training you do.

6 months out from the competition, the training can remain fairly general, though the more advanced the lifter is the earlier the training has to be more specific.

As the meet approaches, training will incorporate more heavy singles and doubles. The competition lift will be practiced. The lifter may perform a mock meet.

Lastly, the lifter will peak, letting build up fatigue dissipate and allowing performance to increase (it's easy to screw the timing up here).

3 Lifter Pathways - Just Training

This is really where most people should be most of the time. Training is a priority, but not the top priority. Training is a tool for their deep goals of health and fitness, and nutrition and sleep can support that.

Ultimately, though, if you want to go for a run or a hike, you don't sacrifice this or other physical pursuits for your training.

The volume slot in a training week is the primary stress and needs to be productive. For the intensity slot, it's more akin to practice or skill work. It is heavy, but not scary or grindy.

3 Lifter Pathways - Recovering

For these lifters, training has to take a back seat. This could be due to an injury or major life setback.

It could be, however, a phase of life where time and recovery ability is limited. The lifter wants to continue lifting, but it cannot be as high a priority as the other two pathways.

Metrics may need to reflect the shift in focus. This could be going for rep PRs. It could be consistency. It could be pain (looking for less pain). It could be enjoyment of time in the gym.

3 lifter pathways exist, and they reflect different stages and phases of life. If you train long enough, you'll experience all of these.

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