3 training tips from a world record powerlifter and mother of two

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Download the app Close icon Two crossed lines forming an ‘X’. It indicates a way to close an interaction or ignore a notification. Powerlifter Tamara Walcott has broken world records in heavy deadlifts, squats and bench press. She cycles her workout to build strength while avoiding burnout and prioritizing recovery. Walcott also uses a sports psychology technique to keep her mental game as strong as her muscles. Loading Something is loading.

Tamara Walcott, known to fans as the Plus Size Fitness Queen, recently lifted 641 pounds during the competition, breaking a world record.

But she had no intention of becoming an elite hitchhiker. When she first walked into a powerlifting school in 2017, Walcott, a mother of two, was looking for some self-care amid a divorce and hectic life. And shortly before breaking a world record (for the first time), Walcott said she almost gave up powerlifting because of the stress of being good enough.

With multiple records now under her belt, Walcott is now training to beat her own best scores.

“Every time I go to battle it’s me against me,” she told Insider.

To keep raising the bar, Walcott said she trains hard but smart, schedules sessions to avoid burnout, recovers enough between workouts, and builds psychological strength as well as physical.

She trains in 12-week cycles, gradually increasing to the maximum weight

Walcott said her training is divided into specific time blocks scheduled around competitions, with a dedicated day for each of the key powerlifting exercises — squat, deadlift and bench press.

Currently, each training cycle is 12 weeks long, gradually building up to heavier weights. It’s only after 10 or 11 weeks that Walcott begins to lift almost to her maximum effort, she said. Before worrying, she works with weights around 70-80% of her max.

A technique known as periodization, training in cycles or blocks of time (“block periodization”) can help build strength and refine technique while preventing burnout or injury from overtraining.

Walcott said sticking to a program is key to optimizing strength.

“Don’t rush to get there, everything takes time,” she said. “I see people where their coach sends them a 125 lbs program for three sets, they want to do 200 lbs for three sets and end up getting injured.”

Walcott supplements heavy lifts with an extra hour of exercise per workout: For the lower body, she works on leg extensions, split squats, or hamstring curls; upper body includes moves such as lat pulldowns, face pulls, and chest flys.

Heavy lifting requires adequate rest days and active recovery

To build strength and avoid injury, Walcott said she prioritizes rest between workouts. After hard days of deadlifting, she takes two days off to allow her muscles to fully recover.

And in some cases, she will need extra time to make sure her body is fully prepared.

“If I know I’m feeling fatigued, I’ll wait a day. Then I’ll do my lift the next day. I’m very in tune with my body,” she said.

On non-gym days, Walcott said she cycles at home as a form of active recovery. Low-impact exercise between training sessions helps promote blood flow and faster muscle recovery, experts previously told Insider.

She visualizes success before she ever steps to the bar

To handle the pressure of lifting hundreds of pounds, Walcott said she practices visualization, a technique endorsed by elite athletes and sports psychologists.

“Before the competition, I already visualized myself winning and performing every lift,” she said. “When I walk up to the bar, I’ve already completed the move before I even start.”

Lifting weights is “80% mental,” she said — to tap into your physical strength, you need to build the mental strength to take on big challenges.

“Squats didn’t start moving for me until I was mentally over the fear that this bar would crush me. This is a lot of weight on my shoulders,” Walcott said. “My mind has changed significantly as I’ve grown into powerlifting.”


This post 3 training tips from a world record powerlifter and mother of two was original published at “https://www.insider.com/3-training-tips-world-record-powerlifter-uses-move-heavy-weights-2022-3”

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