I am down to the final month push. I can't believe I am going to be competing in the 198 lb class. My weight is good with my lowest body weight of the week down at 212. This should make the cut very reasonable.

It's been a great training cycle thus far. I know this because I have not missed a single lift and my body feels pretty damn good. This is amazing because feeling terrible prepping from meet to meet is what caused my semi retirement.

With my weight in check and my body feeling good, the only thing left is to peak for the meet. One of the programs a few of us have used going into a meet is the T Baggin's Squat Cycle. We have used it successfully for bench meets a number of times. It comes from Wendler's 5/3/1 for powerlifting book, which you should buy if you don't have it.

Unlike most of Jim's recommendations, the percentages are based off of a true max versus his 90% training max numbers. Beware though, use a current max, not a projected max (use a rep calculator if necessary). My training partner and I used a projected max and we ended up missing reps in training. That is a serious no no when peaking for a meet. First, it beats your central nervous system up. Second, it can mentally ruin you going into a meet.

So the goal is to keep the body feeling healthy, maintain my bodyweight where it is, and taper my training to peak for the meet. Here are the tweaks for the last month push.

-Dynamic bench with doubled mini bands 8x3
-Band pushdowns 3 sets of 15
-Band pullaparts 3 sets of 15
-Standing band rows 3 sets of 15
-Band curls 3x15
-45 degree back raises 2 sets of 20

My shoulders feel really good so I am able to make the switch to dynamic bench with the straight bar for the last month. This will reinforce my bench form. I think people underestimate the importance of dynamic work. It needs to be treated as important if not more than your primary bench day. You do more reps on DE day and that's a lot of opportunity to get better or worse.

I added bands because they make me fast. My bench goes as my speed goes. It's my strength so I capitalize on it. I move the weight up as long as I feel good. It's not uncommon for me to finish up in the 80% range with band tension. When it stops moving fast that's when I know it's time to stop increasing the weight and to sometimes even drop it back down.

The assistance work is all light band stuff after speed bench. Just enough to circulate some blood to the different areas of the upper body. At this point, heavy assistance is unnecessary and can be counterproductive.

-Rear elevated split squat 5 sets of 10 (each leg)
-Back raise 5 sets of 10
-Pullup 5 sets of 10
-Glute ham raise 5 sets of 10
-Roman chair situps 5 sets of 10

No changes here. As I have said in past months, this day is just too keep my body healthy. It does wonders for my posterior chain, in particular my hips and back.

Week 1 65% 2x2, 75% 2x2, 85% 2x2
Week 2 70% 2x2, 80% 2x2, 90% 2x2
Week 3 75% 2x2, 85% 2x2, 95% 1x2
-Close grip bench with shoulder saver w/4 chains, work up to a max triple
-Inverted barbell rows 3x15
-Band pushdowns 3 sets of 15
-Band facepulls 3 sets of 15
-45 degree back raises 2 sets of 20

There are the weekly progressions for the T Baggins cycle. You should never miss a weight. Really perfect your form here. Coming into the last month I do want to keep pushing myself, so I like working up to max triples on the shoulder saver. Same goes here, don't miss. Just keep dialing up the strength. As you can see there's minimal assistance. As you get closer to the meet focus on the main lifts and just do a little light assistance. That stuff isn't making your stronger at this point. It's just keeping you moving on different planes and keeping your body happy.

- Safety bar box squat 3/5/1 5 pro's
- Wide stance dynamic squat 9x2 (FSL work)
- Dead squat bar/Trap bar dl 3/5/1 5 pro's
- Dead squat bar RDL'S 3x5 (FSL work)
- Planks 3 x 1 minute - added
- 45 degree back raises 2 sets of 20

I added in the dynamic squats and rdl's for FSL work last month and they have really worked out well so I am keeping them. My posterior chain is making great strides. So much that I have been able to move my stance out a bit and go back to Chuck Taylor's, flat bottomed sneakers versus elevated heel lifting shoes.

For the squat and the deadlift I am sticking with Jim's 5 Pro's model. No need for AMRAP on squat and deadlift coming into a bench only meet. I have found this method just enough to stimulate my lower body while not beating me up for the bench.

That's it. Right now life is good. I am as ready as this beaten bedraggled body can be for my debut in the 198 class. Thanks for reading. I know my training is a pretty big departure from your traditional 5/3/1 program, but it works for me. If you have any questions please feel free to post them below.