Something that I have been using a lot recently in training especially with my female athletes is using fractional plates.
Fractional plates are very tiny plates that weigh in at 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 lb. increments.
These are amazing to use and I have seen some of my athletes hit constant PR’s by applying the Kaizen Principle to training.
Essentially what I am doing is having them make very small and steady gains consistently instead of having them jump too heavy and miss a lift.
For example, one of my athletes Nancy only weighs 115 lbs. and had a PR bench of 115 lbs. Her goal was to bench 120 lbs. However she had tried benching this on her own 3 times in 3 different workouts and missed each time.
One session I worked her up to 115 which was her PR and instead of adding the standard 2.5 lbs per side I only added .5 per side and had her go for 116 lbs.
She got it.
Then I had her go to 117 lbs.
She got it.
I kept adding slowly until I worked her up to 120 lbs and she GOT IT.
She left her session with me very happy and walked away with a PR that she had been stuck on.
A few weeks later she hit 121 lbs on the platform in a powerlifting competition.
Sometimes a 5 lb jump can be too much for a female client and they need slower jumps to improve.
But come the end of the day it’s all about improving and getting stronger.
If I could add 1 lb to every workout on squats over a year that would be a 50 lb increase. Let’s just say I would be very very very happy :).
Even in my own training I make small 2.5 lb. to 5 lb jumps in my sets and PR’s because slow and steady wins the race and reduces missing lifts and lowers the chance of injury.
Using fractional plates is a great way to improve strength and performance gradually.
To get more information on fractional plates check them out at Rogue Fitness. They are an essential piece of equipment when I train my female athletes.
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Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.