In the most recent video on his YouTube channel, bodybuilder Jesse James West completely overhauls his usual fitness routine and sets himself a new kind of challenge: get ready for a powerlifting meet in just one month.
"Most preps take about 90 days, but that's not my style," he says.
Over the course of four weeks, West intends to improve his performance in the back squat, bench press and deadlift. He admits that of the powerlifting exercises, he "sucks" at deadlifting, and so this is an area that requires special attention during the four weeks leading up to the meet.
"That was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be," he says on day one. "I can only imagine how much I'm going to lift on day 30."
One of the first differences in his workouts that West comments on is that powerlifters traditionally train with less volume in their sessions than bodybuilders, but that the intensity during competition prep is way higher. In addition to his classic compound movements, West does accessory work that targets the muscles which contribute to those lifts, like chest and triceps.
As the weeks and workouts wear on, West finds his training taking a toll that extends beyond the physical. "I put so much pressure on myself, it definitely causes harm to me mentally," he says. "But it pushes me to be the greatest and best version of myself, so it's like a give and take. Some days it's going to win and it's going to beat me, and some days it's going to push me to the next level and make me great."
On the final day of the month, West tracks his progress. At the start of the challenge, he was able to squat 385 pounds for four reps; now he can churn out double that amount. His bench press has improved from four reps at 275 pounds to seven. And in the deadlift, he can pull 445 pounds for five reps, compared to four at the beginning.
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