The most efficient way to prepare for powerlifting competitions is to follow a well-planned peaking program.
The training schedule should be designed to meet all the needs of the powerlifter – strength, recovery, and hypertrophy.
For that reason, we’ve brought a 12-week program that you can follow for meet prep and training for competitions.
Fred Hatfield, popularly known as Dr. Squat, is one of the most revered figures in the world of powerlifting. He was the first person to squat more than 1,000 pounds.
Before his unfortunate death, he came up with a 12-week peaking program that is perfect for intermediate and advanced lifters for competitive training.
The Fred Hatfield peaking program is quite comprehensive and contains instructions on each stage of the training cycle that the powerlifter needs to follow precisely for the best results.
The program also comes with a powerlifting meet attempt calculator to allow lifters to figure out the conservative, aggressive, and moderate attempts for each of their squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
The peaking program spans over eighty-three days and follows an undulating pattern, where training intensity and training volume go up and down after each training session. This pattern is especially useful for experienced lifters as they get the necessary stimulation to progress beyond their plateaus and prepare for various competitions.
It is the perfect program for meet preps, as the focus during the latter stages of the training cycle is purely on recovery and maintaining strength. During the initial days, however, the powerlifter has to focus on eliminating perceived weaknesses by incorporating necessary assistance exercises in the schedule.
After the completion of the fourth week, however, assistance training should be done to increase the strength of the lifter and not to eliminate bodily weaknesses. For this, the lifter should put greater emphasis on concentric movements as compared to eccentric movements.
The Dr. Squat peaking program works especially well because it has different blocks where the powerlifter focuses on different areas of improvement.
At the same time, the training schedule leaves enough time for the body to rest and recover between two continuous training sessions and between training sessions of the same muscle groups.
To summarize, here are the basic principles used in this 12-week program:
- Use of undulating periodization to allow advanced and experienced lifters to move past their plateaus and engage in competitive training.
- Plenty of recovery time between two similar training sessions allows the body to rejuvenate and prepare for the meet day.
- Increased emphasis on eliminating weaknesses at first and then focusing on increasing strength with accessory exercises.
Fred Hatfield (Dr. Squat) 12 Week Peaking Program
Dr. Squat’s training module is designed in such a way that it challenges even the most advanced and experienced lifters.
The 12-week cycle, however, is not aimed at overtiring the body.
- There are at least five recovery days between squat and bench workouts.
- In between two successive deadlift sessions, there are six days for the body to rest.
- Similarly, there are four recovery days for light squat training sessions and six recovery days for heavy squat sessions.
It is also advisable that powerlifters try and plan two short workouts on the training day instead of tiring themselves in a single, long training session.
Apart from focusing on exercises, Dr. Squat also demands a lifestyle change from the powerlifters. From the second week onwards, there should be a greater increase in decreasing body fat percentage. Similarly, dietary habits and sleep schedules must be optimized to meet bodily requirements.
At this stage, supplements should be taken as per the requirements of the lifter.
From the fourth week onwards, assistance exercises must focus on increasing strength, focusing on explosive concentric movements. Now, powerlifters must take supplements for accelerated recovery and tissue repair.
From the eighth week onwards, all assistance exercises must be stopped. To allow the body to recover and rest properly, the powerlifter should only focus on the three core exercises. There should be a greater emphasis on improving the form and maximizing acceleration.
After following all these techniques properly, you should witness a two-pound to eight-pound increase in your 80% performance after every five days.
But for achieving such progress, some additional instructions play a significant role in making the training program work efficiently. Here’s a run-down of these instructions:
Instructions on Therapy, Assistance Exercises, Techniques
After this, it would be time for the powerlifter to perform in the competition:
Contest Day (Saturday)
Overloads in Squats and Bench Presses (S&B) (120%)
S: 105% + 5 pounds
If you follow this training program carefully along with all the additional instructions, you will see a 5-pound improvement in your 80% level after every five-day cycle. The increase could also range between two pounds and eight pounds depending on the athlete.
Because of this 5-pound increase, you will also notice a proportionate increase in your ongoing 85, 90, 95, 100, and 120 percent levels.
Fred Hatfield (Dr. Squat) 12 Week Peaking Program Spreadsheet
Fred Hatfield was a powerlifting legend. He came up with a comprehensive 12-week program that all powerlifters can follow for efficient peaking.
You can download his entire 12-week peaking program from here.
Make sure that you have the Sheet with you at all times because Dr. Squat’s instructions and proram principles are key to achieving desired results. If you don’t follow them carefully, you might end up disappointed.
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With the right peaking program, even advanced and experienced powerlifters can improve their 1RM for meet days and competitions. You can follow the Fred Hatfield peaking program to achieve exactly that.