You just finished your meet and now you find yourself in post-meet purgatory. It doesn’t matter if you hit PRs across the board or shit the bed; you want to get back to training. There are another five pounds to conquer, and we can’t let it slip away. Those four to six weeks after a meet can set up your next cycle for success. No one talks about it, but your training during that time is extremely important to help prevent burn-out, repetitive use injuries and can give you some time to be away from the gym.

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Jumping right back into training sounds like a great idea, but is it? Most of us do very similar movements in the same planes over and over, year in and year out. The six weeks post-meet are a great time to change up the dynamics of your training, improve your GPP, flexibility, mobility, and give your body the break it needs to have a long career of breaking records. If you are young and new to the sport, you may be able to jump back into training, but you must also think about two, five, and ten years down the road.

The week after the meet is a time for reflection. It is time for questions and planning. What hurts? What looks weak? What is weak? Why did I miss that lift? Was I struggling to make it through the meet? Am I in shape? The answers to these questions will help guide you into the next few weeks and what you should be doing. During the next few weeks, you will place more emphasis on bodybuilding, GPP, and rehab/prehab work rather than focusing on building strength at this time.


These are the rules I use for my clients and myself. Unless you have a meet in the next 16 weeks, we are pushing for three to four weeks without a bar on the back or in the hands stressing the nervous system.

Week 1 Post-Meet

This first week is a time for you to take some time out of the gym. Spend time with family, catch up on things you avoided in meet prep, or just be lazy. It is a great time to go outside for walks, bike rides, or other activities that keep you out of the gym. If you must go into the gym, do whatever you want, but all exercises must be bodyweight or small bands for recovery. Keep the sessions in the gym to three or fewer. I prefer two. No bars or dumbbells whatsoever. The sled is the best option this week. Bodyweight exercises and cardio can also be done. Keep the sessions short and move the whole time. Build your GPP levels and work on taking off any extra body fat if needed.

Week 2 Post-Meet

During Week 2, we still want to keep bars out of our hands and off our backs. You are allowed to introduce bands and dumbbells for isolation exercises only. The inclusion of the belt squat is also acceptable, as it does not load the spine, but reps should be kept above 10. Keep the sessions moving and work on feeling better. Don’t be afraid to do different exercises than normal. We are trying to cut back on the repetitive movements we normally include in our meet prep training.

You can still cut down on your time in the gym, but that does not mean abandoning your training partners. Go and help your team, then get your work done, and enjoy some time outside the gym. Training days can also be increased to your normal schedule if desired.

Week 3 Post-Meet

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Going into Week 3 is where you will need to make the best decision for you. If you are beaten up and far from a meet, you can continue to keep the bars out of your hands and off your back and use dumbbells for compound movements. This still allows for progression but slows it down, unless you need to accelerate the process.

If you feel good and a meet is up and coming, you can add specialty bars for benching and squatting. Training should still be higher rep. Keep the work more focused on muscles and less on the central nervous system. After three weeks, many lifters are nearly back to normal. They will be ready to resume most normal training. But everyone is different, and you need to be setting yourself up for future success.

Week 4 Post-Meet

Some of you will return to normal training at this point. If you have time, I recommend using specialty bars for the first few weeks of normal training. This lends very well into bringing up weak areas before moving to a straight bar. Six to eight weeks of using a straight bar should be enough time to acclimate to it unless you are a true beginner.

The weeks directly following a meet are never glamorous, but they are very important. If you build your GPP to new levels, you will be able to continue to do more work, pushing your strength to new heights. Taking some time off and away from the gym will keep you hungry and give you some balance in your life.

Build your post-meet system just like you would before a meet. Future success will come from proper execution of these weeks.