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Ask the Master

copyright 1996 by Rich Peters

Question ? Easy Answer by Rich Peters
How much will my Bench Press go down when I pull wt.? Your BP will suffer the most when you loose wt. You can plan on losing about 3 lbs from your BP per lb. of bwt lost AFTER the first 3 lbs of  lost bwt. The lighter you are the more dramatic the effects.
Why does my shoulders hurt all of the time? Your Bench Press movement MUST go up at least in a 30 degree angle for the pressure to not be felt by your rotator cuffs. generally, if this angle is used you will feel soreness right in the area of the Pec Major and the Deltoid tie-in and not the rotator cuffs and joints.
Why are my Gym lifts so much higher than my Meet Lifts? Most lifters do not realize that when you do singles or doubles, your body max's out, peaks, and immediately starts to rebuild. If you do singles or doubles the week before the meet you can almost certainly deduct 5-7% from the weight that you did in the gym from your meet performance.
How can I get proper depth on my Squat? Most people have no idea what controls your depth on the Squat is your foot placement. Your feet have to be placed at the right angle to keep the pressure off your hip joints for you to achieve proper depth. If you are having hip or lower back pain, you are almost certainly Squatting with your feet in the wrong  position.
Why do I miss my big DL right at the knee level everytime? Foot Placement. If your feet are straight ahead you are only using about 70% of your hip strength and your balance is in front of you instead of over your hips.
I was lifting so good, but at the end of the meet, I lost. What happened? Strategy ! If you don't understand how losing lifts effect your total, you are driving blind. About 30% of ALL Meets are won by the smart lifters, not the strongest!
My gym lift was the same wt. that I did as my opener but I bombed out! What's wrong? Try weighing your gym wts. It is not uncommon for some 100's to weigh only 90-95 lbs. each and 45's to weigh as little as 35 lbs.
My shoulders hurt all of the time! Rotator cuff strain or tears. Using the wrong angle when Bench Pressing will cause sore shoulders.
Why do I miss my big bench press at the top of the lift? Is my Tricep strength weak? Chances are you are getting the wrong angle on your bench from the starting point on the chest. If the bar gets out in front of you on the way up, you will loose about 25% of your leverage. Try working the proper angle on your bench. Start at nipple level and finish with the bar directly above your eyes. You may also need to work on your wrist movement. The wrists should be laid back at the bottom and as the bar rises to the top, the wrists should be straightened. Laid back at the bottom and straightened at the top.
What type of meal should I eat the night before the meet and the morning of the meet. Lots of Carbs. Pasta, Noodles, Fruits, Veggies, etc... the night before. Fresh fruit, orange juice, oatmeal, cereals, etc... Stay away from anything with high fat. Fried eggs, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes, etc.. are to be avoided.
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Beginning Powerlifting

copyright 1996 by Rich Peters

Getting Started

Probably the hardest thing for most potential lifters to do is to actually get started lifting. So many times I have heard people say "I'm going to start competing when my lifts get a little higher". What most people do not realize is that by attending your first competition, you will learn that it was the wisest thing you ever did . You will be surrounded by experienced lifters and people who know and love the sport. You will realize very quickly that in NASA, the lifters are very friendly and very helpful. NASA is the one organization where we take pride in our lower American Records. Drug Free Powerlifting is supposed to have lower Totals and the Lifts are supposed to be lower than regular Open meets. Logic should tell a person that the Organization that has the lowest totals probably has the cleanest lifters. This is not true, of course, 100% of the time, but NASA Records are constantly lower and the average record is broken by less than a  9 lb. average. So in other words, if you are afraid of having a lower total, don't be. The lifters realize you are a beginner and you are Drug Free. The main thing for you to do is get in the meet, break the ice, have fun and learn all you can about this sport. The best advice I can give a future Powerlifter is to compete. Its fun, and don't worry about your total or your lifts being high enough. The whole object of this Sport is to have fun while getting stronger and enjoy doing it and one way to really enjoy this sport is by meeting all of the wonderful people that make up NASA Powerlifting. The good thing about NASA is that we are NOT a political organization, we are a business just like your health club or the gym where you train, and even the Olympics. We provide a service to our customers. We have been conducting Powerlifting Meets for over 30 years and we are growing stronger every day. NASA welcomes all new Powerlifters whether they are beginners or seasoned veterans. NASA is a place for all lifters of all levels where everyone is treated as a World Champion regardless of your total.


The Right Form

The thing that surprises me the most in this sport is the number of lifters that compete without the basic knowledge of proper form and technique. I can tell you that the name of this game is "Leverage". I provide Training Tapes to lifters every year who are amazed to find out how simple this sport really is if you know and understand the basic fundamentals of it. I meet lifters on a regular basis who spend hundreds of dollars on suits, supplements and all kinds of equipment, and then enter four or five divisions in a meet, only to find out they don't have a clue about powerlifting itself. My advise is simple, buy our NASA Training Tapes and become a Very Good Lifter almost overnight. You will learn more about form, leverage, technique and the principles of Powerlifting from these Tapes in one day than you will in the next 5 years if you don't have them. This is an absolute fact. I give advise to at least 30-40 people a week via E-mail and I try to explain these principles, but I simply cannot sit and spend all day and night on my computer giving advise. I always think, why doesn't this person spend a little money and do it right? Break down and spend some money on something that will get you to the top without a bunch of BS sets and reps, off the wall gimmicks and some steroid crazed idiot's interpretation of the sport. You will not learn proper form for this sport in your local gym. I can absolutely promise you this. I can also attest to the fact that thousands of lifters over the years have wasted their entire lifting career listening to someone who doesn't have a clue as to what they are talking about, yet they are coaching other lifters! 

The "Program"

The single most often asked question I have asked of me is, "What kind of Program will work for me?" I can tell you this much, the program that will work best for you is the one that you are intelligent enough to be able to construct for yourself, built around your strengths and weaknesses and your time schedule. You must be able to point out your weaknesses and strengths as a lifter. You need to understand that Powerlifting is a sport of Control, Leverage and Discipline. Too many lifters in this country think that the ability to slop weight up makes you a Powerlifter. Trashy lifts are usually red lighted. Sloppy lifts are the ones that will injure you! The lifters that get noticed are lifters that can control the weight and earn every lift. These are the lifters that win National Meets and set real records.

So to sum up this portion of the article, I say to you, learn the basic principles of the sport, put those principles to work with your schedule and your leverage and become a first class lifter. Remember this, it doesn't it take any longer for the Champions to workout than it does the losers. Get our Training Tapes and save yourself a lot of time, trouble, effort and injuries. Trust Me on this One lifters. Remember, you get what you pay for in this world and free advice is everywhere. And usually that is what this advice is worth, nothing. I make a living from making people stronger and successful in this sport, I'm the only one in the world that can make this claim. I've been here for 30+ years and hopefully I'll be here much longer. The success of this Organization depends on its lifters making progress and being successful. If this happens, you will keep returning to our meets, that is my goal by giving and selling advice. A good product that produces results. Something very rare these days in this sport.

I am going to now give you some free advice that IS worth something. I will cover each lift and give a VERY BRIEF review of things that you MUST do to be successful in each lift. Try these things out in the gym and if you like the results buy my tapes. That's fair enough isn't it?

Things that most lifters never learn of know about Powerlifting

* Pointing the toes out controls your depth in the squat

* When you miss a Deadlift at knee level the problem is your foot placement, not upper back and shoulder strength

* Unequipped or Single Ply Bench Press misses at the half way point is not a lack of triceps strength, but more likely foot placement, angle of ascent, and lack of wrist involvement.

* In over 1200 Power Meets that I have conducted, I have never seen one single BP missed because of weak Triceps.

* Torn Biceps are caused by poor or improper foot placement

* Foot placement is the single most important factor in the entire sport

* 90 % + of all lifters have poor to extremely poor technique

* The single most cause for poor technique in this sport is because Powerlifting is an off shoot of Bodybuilding. The goal in BB is to NOT involve the hips in the movement for fear of making them too large and thick.

* Shoulder Pain is caused by stretched or injured Rotator Cuffs, because of poor execution and angle of the press.

* That lack of wrist use is the major cause of stalled - failed BP's

* That your mind makes the decision as to whether or not the lift is heavy or not BEFORE the attempt is ever began.

* That in 50% - 70% of cases, the strongest lifter never wins, the smartest lifter does.

* That what works for another lifter will most likely result in a 80% failure rate if applied to another lifters routine

*That you must be able to make form changes during the meet to become a great champion

* That a simple change in foot placement can add 15-50 lbs to your Deadlift or Squat on meet day

* That if you do a Max Single within a week to 10 days of the Meet, you can automatically take 5% to 7% off that amount for your max on meet day

* That if you have to do a Max Out or Single to find out where you are as far as your best, your program stinks. What good is your program if you can't tell where you are without doing your max to find out?

If you know all of the answers to these questions, and all of your answers can be documented, then you can go on to the next Web Page. If you are like the 90% of lifters I have met over the past 25+ years you probably don't have a clue as to what I am talking about. This is the point I'm trying to make, most lifters don't have a clue as to what makes a great lifter or why. I guess that's why only 10% of all Powerlifters ever become National Champions, the other 90% are basically trying to learn the sport as they go.


A Good Beginners Program

This simple beginners program is for lifters just starting out. This workout is based on an average beginner at a bodyweight of around 200 lbs. The weights I list are not important, the number of sets and reps are very important. If you have my tapes, most of this will be very easy to understand, if you don't have the tapes try to understand. Remember this in this sport- More is Not always Better, and Speed Kills. Always use lighter weights and form and technique are of the utmost importance. Never workout alone, always use spotters, and never do Max Singles or Doubles. Don't use equipment when training, your body is what needs the workout, not your equipment.


Bench Press


135- x 10 reps, very deep, toes pointed out at 45 degree angles, head held back firmly. Tight Grip on the Bar

185 lbs x 8 reps

225 lbs x 5 reps

265 lbs x 5 reps

300 lbs x 5 reps

325 lbs x 5 reps

350 lbs x 3 reps

350 lbs x 3 reps

350 lbs x 3 reps

This would equal a 450 lb - 500 lb Squat in a meet with a squat suit


135 lb x 10 reps, toes pointed out at 45 degree angles and behind kneecaps before lying down, hands placed on the bar so that when the bar is flat on the chest the arms are perpendicular with the floor, wrist laid back in the bottom position, flexed erect in the locked out position, bar pushed up at a 65 degree angle to lockout. Pauses should ALWAYS be done and should be at least 1 second to 3 seconds in length. The pause is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of the Bench Press.

185 lbs x 5 reps

225 lbs x 5 reps

255 lbs x 5 reps

275 lbs x 3 rep

275 lbs x 3 reps

275 lbs x 3 reps

This would be equal to a 315 to 330 lb BP with a Bench Shirt at a meet

This workout should be done only 2 times a week. Some do it only once per week.

Rest is very important

Don't be concerned about assistance exercises while learning the Basics of this lift.


135 lbs x 10 reps, toes pointed out at 45 degree angles, head back, body tight.

185 lbs x 5 reps

225 lbs x 5 reps

275 lbs x 5 reps

300 lbs x 5 reps

325 lbs x 3 reps

350 lbs x 3 reps

This would equal about a 425 lb to 500 lb Deadlift in a meet

Deadlifts, if done while training the Squat should only be done once every 2 weeks



Your First Meet

Before you decide to enter a meet you need to think about several things very seriously. First, decide why you are entering the meet. Are you doing it for experience ? To win ? To just have fun ? To meet new lifters and make new friends ? Why ?

Lifters who enter their very first meet just for the reason of winning are setting themselves up for a big disappointment. Entering your first meet should be for all of the reasons above except for just winning. Everyone wants to win, everyone wants to do good and everyone wants to have a big lift or total. But to enter a meet for only that purpose is unreasonable to say the least. I believe it is unreasonable for a person to go into a situation that he has absolutely no concept of what he is dealing with to assume they will be the best at it. Disappointment is the main reason for lifters leaving the sport. When you consider that the mass majority of lifters in this sport don't even understand the basic concepts of it, how can you expect these same lifters to master it. NASA is educating its lifters as to these concepts. There is so much garbage around in our sport today it makes a knowledgeable person sick inside. A person that knows and understands this sport has a hard time sitting back and listening and watching it taking place. There are people who know very little or nothing  about or sport, giving advise to beginners that cause these inexperienced lifters to either fall short of their projected goals or experience failure at a time in their lifting career when they should experience success. NASA has developed it's entire program around a concept that, if followed accordingly, will allow each and every lifter the opportunity to experience success all along their lifting road. Our Divisions, Meets and even our Records are designed to allow each and every NASA member the opportunity to experience success in varied degree's. NASA's whole object is to promote the sport and make it grow. For Powerlifting to grow people have to stay involved in it. To stay involved, they must experience success. Who do you know that stays with something that is a constant failing experience ? Not very many people are hell bent on experiencing failure constantly.

copyright 1996 by Rich Peters