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Barbell Logic

Dec 21, 2021

Matt & Niki discuss training & programming when you prioritize PRs and chasing numbers in the gym. This is a re-release of episode 347.

This really applies to intermediate & advanced lifters, as PRs tend to come with novice & early intermediate training. As you advance as a lifter, life can prevent optimal training, so priorities shift. Sometimes training works primarily toward quality of life. Sometimes training even takes a backseat. Occasionally, though, we prioritize training and decide to chase numbers. 

Sometimes this happens at whim, as life seems to provide you the opportunity & desire to prioritize PRs. Other times, though, you might plan this out a bit more, with certain times of year (e.g. fall) where you chase pushing the weight up on the bar. 

This may involve a meet, but it doesn't have to. It's fun to have a PR week you can look forward to, where you don't have to beat yourself down with lots of heavy attempts on one day. If you do want to do a mock meet, then know what will motivate you--you might want an audience or fellow lifters. 

We're probably looking at a goal--unless you're super advanced--of peaking 6-8 weeks out, which is enough time to prioritize intensity & peak for most people but not so long that you get beat up and burnt out.

Consider if you want to prioritize 1 lift, a couple, all 4 of the big lifts, or something else (maybe you're chasing a chin-up PR or some Olympic lift numbers). 

If you're chasing numbers, you'll back off volume and drive up intensity. Conditioning will take a back seat, as we're prioritizing training on weight on the bar. This is not the time to lose weight. You don't necessarily have to gain weight, but this can be a fun time to eat in a caloric surplus and bump up your weight (and then, especially if you plan out your training year a bit more in blocks, post PRs might be a good time to transition to weight maintenance or loss while trying to maintain strength). This might be a time to use that "fat hole" on your belt.

You can't miss training sessions when you're chasing numbers, and you can't have things like holiday parties wreck a training session. Ensure you're lifting after good sleep and with good food (as much as you can control) and if you have to shift sessions around to avoid bonking during a session, that's fine. 

Plus, Matt shares funny stories with internet companies and kids' checklists. 

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