I was wanting to know how you set up your training. Do you do it or does someone else? Is it a self-made template or do you just wing it? Does it change from meet to meet on how you set it up, such as if you use percentages, exercises, accessory work, main movements, what? Do you do any Westside or Block, or is it a mixture of things that work for just you?




I have set up my own training for a couple of years now. When I came into powerlifting, I trained via the suggestions of others. Fortunately, I learned very early on what works for me and what doesn't work for me. Up until the last few months, my template has been the same. It was coined the "Chaos Method" by one of my old training partners 'cuz he thought I was a moron, haha.

I take a 12-14 week cycle for my meets. That is, when conditions are ideal of course. Sometimes meets just spring up and you have to adapt.

First 4 Weeks:

The first four weeks of my training is all raw and all triples. Also, I don't ever use straight weight in these four weeks. I use resistance from either bands or chains. I usually gravitate towards the chains though, just because they are more badass! I will work up to my absolute heaviest set of three that I can do. My goal the following week is to hit a heavier set of three than the week before, even if it's only five pounds. These are four weeks of just balls to the wall ME every day in the gym. I have found that it takes a huge toll on my body, but it gets me strong as hell!

Week 5:

As I have gotten stronger and the weights have gotten heavier, I have found that I need a week off to heal up. Week five is rest, bodybuilding blood-flow exercises.

Week 5-8 (straight weight)

Briefs only on squat and dead. Heaviest triples I can do, again trying to get heavier than the week before. For bench I am in my shirt hitting full range triples.

Week 8-10

Suit comes on over briefs for squats and deads, but straps down. I hit my absolute heaviest double, trying to increase each week. I may throw a rev band in on week ten. Bench is still full range triples.

Week 10-12

Straps up, full battle gear for squat and deads. I work up to a heavy single, and week 12 is usually a meet rehearsal. I attempt the three weights I am thinking about hitting in the meet. Attempts two and three are usually taken rev band. I want to feel the weight but still stay fresh. For bench I am polishing up my touches, working up to a possible opening attempt. I want to touch in my shirt as much as possible.

Week 13:

Opening attempts on all three lifts.

Week 14:


I try to get as strong as possible using the least amount of assistance I can, as you can see by only using full gear for three weeks total. I want to make sure my body and mind are as strong as possible. Then, the extra added help from the gear is just a bonus.

Some things I am starting to change:

In the past, I would go ME for the first lift and then two more assistance lifts both ME as well. I would literally destroy myself in the gym and end up doing more harm than good. For my current meet I am trying to keep my two assistance lifts to 10 reps and multiple working sets of 10 reps. I can still bust my ass and work hard but not hurt myself under maximal weights. Also, I am trying to alternate heavy squat and dead days. One week I will squat heaving and deadlift DE. The next week, vice-versa. I am trying to keep the same template and same work ethic I have always had, but I have been adapting. I don't do percentages directly. I know what weights I have an idea of hitting in the meet, so every week I try getting one step closer to those weights in training. I never PR in the gym. Most of the time my second and third attempts at a meet are weights I have never tried before, at least straight weight.

I hope this makes sense to you. It makes sense in my head, which isn't saying a whole lot, haha. It starts with a brutal raw four-week cycle, then ME doubles with limited gear, then ME doubles with a little more gear, then full gear ME singles, then meet rehearsal, and then finally openers. The whole goal is to get as strong as possible with as little help from gear as possible. I am learning that adaptation is critical and should never be overlooked.

Thank you for the question, hope it helps!

Marshall Johnson