12 Week Mesocycle with Meet Taper: Dietary Guidelines Included

Written By Kevin Cann

In my last article, “Programming for Strength Gains” I broke down the science behind what makes a good strength program. In this article I am going to give out a 12 week program including a meet taper. This program was written specifically for one of my competitive powerlifters.

The exercise selection and volume was chosen specifically for her based upon her strengths and weaknesses. It worked for her. In her second meet ever, and in less than a year of total training, she set all of the New England RPS records for her weight class and division. She tied the squat at 300lbs, but lost on the bodyweight tiebreaker, bench 175lbs, deadlift of 365lbs, and total of 840lbs. She is a raw lifter in the 198 class, knee sleeves only.

Before we get into the program, I want to say a few other things. I have worked exclusively with legendary Russian powerlifting coach Boris Sheiko. My programming is heavily influenced by him in terms of its setup. Many people will grab a Sheiko program from the internet and run it on their own. Keep in mind that these programs were written for a specific individual and may or may not work for you.

Also, the weights are relatively low and the volume in the lifts is relatively high. This is to cover a lot of what I discussed in the previous article, but also to master the technique of the lifts. Technique is an often overlooked piece of a program. We often discuss volume and intensity to get stronger, but we cannot forget about physics. Physics plays just as big, if not bigger, role in allowing us to lift more weights. You may be able to get pretty strong with poor technique, but you can only fight physics for so long. At some point you WILL lose that battle, whether to injury, or to a plateau. Find a qualified coach to help you with this.

Day 1 (week of 2/1)
2 sec Pause Squat 50%x5, 60%x5, 70% 5×5 (35)
Bench w/ Slingshot 65% x3, 75% x3, 85% x2, 90% 2×2, 95% 3×1 (13)
Squats 50%x5, 60%x5, 70% 5×4 (30)
DB OHP 4×8
Hypers 4×8

Day 2
Deficit DL 50%x3, 60%x3, 70% 4×2 (14)
3secPause Bench 50%x5, 60%x4, 70% 5×3 (24)
DL w/ Bands 50%x3, 60%x3, 70% 4×3 (18)
Abs 4×10
Triceps 5×8

Day 3
Bench Press 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 5×4 (32)
Squat 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 5×2 (22)
Board Press 55%x5, 65%x4, 75%x3, 85%2×3, 90% 3×2 (24)
Pecs 5×8
Lats 4×8

Total Lifts: 212
Day 1 (week of 2/8)
Squat 55%x5, 65%x4, 75%x3, 85% 5×2 (22)
Bench w/ Bands 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%4×3 (21)
RFESS 4×8
Abs 4×10
Pecs 5×8

Day 2
DL to Knees w/ 2 sec Pause 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%2×3, 75% 3×2 (18)
3,2,1 sec pause Bench 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%5×3 (21)
DL off Blocks 60%x3, 70%x3, 80% 2×3, 90% 3×2 (18)
Triceps 4×8
Front Delts 4×8

Day 3
1.5 Squats 50%x4, 60%x4, 65% 4×4 (24)
Bench Press 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 5×2 (22)
Squats 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 75% 4×3 (21)
Goodmornings 5×5
Biceps 4×8

Total Lifts: 167
Day 1 (week of 2/15)
3 sec pause Squat 50%x5, 60%x4, 70% 5×3 (24)
Bench Press 55%x5, 65%x4, 75%x3, 85% 5×2 (22)
Goodmornings 5×4
OH Triceps extension 5×6
Pecs 5×8

Day 2
DL w/ Bands 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 4×3 (24)
Bench w/ Slingshot 65% x3, 75% x3, 85% x2, 90% x2 95% 2×2 (14)
Deficit DL 50%x3, 60% x3, 75% 4×2 (14)
Abs 4×10
Reverse Hypers 4×10

Day 3
4,3,2 sec pause Bench 50%x3, 60%x3, 70% 5×3 (21)
Squats 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 5×2 (22)
Board Press 55%x5, 65%x4, 75% 4×5 (29)
Rear delts 5×6
TRX Rows 4×25

Total Lifts: 170
Day 1 (week of 2/22)
Squats 50%x5, 60%x5, 70% 5×6 (40)
Bench Press w/ Bands 50%x4, 60%x4, 65% 5×4 (28)
KB Swings 4×12
Triceps 4×12
Pecs 4×8

Day 2
DL w/ Pause at Knee 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 75%4×2 (17)
Bench Press 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 4×2 (20)
Rear Delts 5×6
Hypers 4×12
Abs 4×8

Day 3
Bench Press 50%x5, 60%x5, 70% x3+7+2+8+4+6 (40)
Squat 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 5×2 (22)
Goodmornings 5×6
TGU 4×1

Total Lifts: 167
Day 1 (week of 2/29)
1.5 Squats 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 4×3 (24)
4,3,2 Sec Pause Bench 50%x3, 60%x3, 70% 5×3 (21)
Squats 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 4×2 (20)
Jefferson Curl 5×3
Tricep Pressdowns 4×10
SLSU 4×10

Day 2
Bench w/ Chains 50%x5, 60%x4, 70% 4×4 (25)
2 Sec Pause Squats 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 4×3 (24)
Board press 55%x5, 65%x4, 75%x3, 85%x2, 90% 3×1 (17)
Flies 5×8
Front Delts 5×6

Day 3
DL w/ Chains 50%x5, 60%x4, 70% x3, 75% 4×3 (24)
Bench Press 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 4×2 (20)
Block Pulls (below Knee) 55%x3, 65%x3, 75%x3, 85% 3×3 (18)
Rear delts 5×6
Hypers 4×8
Lat Pulldown 4×8

Total Lifts: 193
Day 1 (week of 3/6)
Squat 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 80% 2×2, 85% 3×1 (16)
Bench 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 80% 5×2 (22)
Pecs 5×8
OH Tricep Extensions 5×8
Goodmornings 5×5

Day 2
Bench Press 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 80% 2×2, 85% 3×1 (16)
Deadlift 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 80% 4×2 (17)
Abs 4×10
Rows 5×8

Day 3
Squat 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 75% 4×2 (17)
Bench Press 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 75% 4×2 (17)
RDL 4×8
Reverse Hypers 5×8
TGU 3×1

Total Lifts: 105
Day 1 (week of March 14)
Squat-TEST 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 80%x2, 85%x1, 90%x1, 95%x1, 100%x1, Smash a PR
Bench-Test (same as above)
Pecs 5×8
hypers 5×8

Day 2
Bench Press 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 75% 4×3 (21)
DL-TEST (same as day 1)
Triceps 5×8
Delts 5×6

Day 3
Squat 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 75% 5×3 (24)
Bench Press 50% x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 80% 4×2 (17)
Jefferson Curls
Hypers 4×8

Total Lifts: 89
Meet Week
Day 1 (week of 3/28)
Squat 50%x3, 60%x3, 65% 3×1 (9)
Bench Press 50%x3, 60%x3, 70% 2×2, 75% 3×1 (13)
Abs 3×10

Day 2
Bench Press 50%x3, 60% 2×2, 70% 3×1 (10)

Total Lifts: 32

She took the week off after the meet to let her body recover. The following were her first two weeks back into the gym.
Day 1 (week of 4/11)
Squat 50%x5, 60%x4, 70% 4×4 (25)
Bench Press 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 4×2 (20)
RFESS 3×8 each
Reverse Hypers 4×8

Day 2
Bench Press w/ Bands 50% x3, 60% x3, 70% 4×3 (18)
2 second Pause Squat 50%x4, 60% 4×4 (20)
Board Press 60%x3, 70%x3, 80%x3, 85% 3×2 (15)
Pecs 5×8
Triceps 4×20

Day 3
Dl to Knees w/ Pause 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 75% 4×2 (17)
DB OHP 4×8
HLR 4×12
KB Swings 4×12-HEAVY
Lat Pulldown 4×15

Total Lifts: 115
Day 1 (week of 4/18)
Squat 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 5×3 (27)
Bench Press50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 5×3 (27)
RFESS 4x8each
TGU 3×1

Day 2
2 second Pause bench 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 4×2 (20)
Squat 50%x5, 60%x4, 70%x3, 75% 4×2 (20)
DB Bench Press 4×12
DB Flies 4×8
Jefferson Curls 4×3

Day 3
Block Pulls 50%x3, 60%x3, 70%x3, 80% 4×2 (17)
CG Bench Press 50%x5, 60%x5, 65% 5×5 (40)
Reverse hypers 4×8
Triceps 4×8
Pecs 4×6

Total Lifts: 151

Nutrition can be tricky in this situation. You need to be able to eat enough to recover, but there are weight classes. This was Danielle’s second meet so we were not concerned about the weight. As a beginner just step on the scale and lift your weights. Do not attempt to cut weight until you are more experienced, or going for a world record. The goal of competing at this stage is to get that experience and begin building the foundation of a competitive athlete in the sport.

The first piece is getting the calories situated. I have found that most people require 12-14 calories per pound of bodyweight to maintain weight. Men tend to be towards the higher end and women more towards the lower end. Anywhere within that range is a good starting point.

If you are gaining fat, decrease the calories, if you are leaning too quick or not recovering from the training increase the calories. For protein intake, 1g per pound of bodyweight is easy to calculate. Carb intake should be between 1-2g per pound of bodyweight. This is again just a starting point. Those attempting to cut weight will be on the lower end and those attempting to gain weight on the higher end. Starting at 1.5g per pound is a good start. If you feel you are not recovering well increase the carbs and if you are gaining weight too quickly decrease them. Divide your weight by 3 and that should be the minimal amount of fat in your diet in grams. You should also consume 3 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day, at least. These do not count towards the total carb intake.

Remember that our goal here is performance. The calories are extremely important for recovery. With that said it is more beneficial to get your carbs from fruits and sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and occasionally white rice. Protein should be from meat, fish, and eggs, and fats should be healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and butter.

A 200lb man would consume 200-400g of carbs, 200g 0f protein, and 65g of fats. Total calories would be between 2400 and 2800 calories per day. 300g of carbs, 200g of protein, and 65g of fat brings us to 2600 calories per day for an example. Try to get the majority of these from the paleo template of foods.

However, if you have the choice of eating something non-paleo, or not eating, you have to eat. Make sure you are drinking at least 1oz of water per pound of bodyweight as well. Danielle was also doing a weekly 30-45 minute session in the sauna a week for recovery. A magnesium supplement is a nice addition as well as your magnesium stores can become quickly depleted under more intense training.

This article covered a lot and if people have questions please ask in the comments below and I will do my best to respond to all of them.

Original Source: 12 Week Mesocycle with Meet Taper: Dietary Guidelines Included

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