Stretching has been paying off for me. I started stretching 4 to 5 days a week in the middle of December. Since we have a monolift we have the ability to squat with a wider stance on our dynamic effort squat days. My flexibility has been very bad for quite a while. The last three squat meets were reminders to me how inflexible I was. I want to take my powerlifting career to the next level and the only way to do that is to achieve a decent level of flexibility on my squat. It would normally take at least 315 pounds before I could touch the box during box squats. A friend told me about a stretch that he and his team uses to stretch the hips. The stretch consists of placing you back on the wall with your feet out the desired width and 1.5’ away from the wall. You then squat down and hold the position and lower and hold until you are as low as you can get. I use a 5 gallon bucket to set down on as a guide. Last week I was able to sit down completely on the buck and hold the position for several seconds. My flexibility is improving. I am also incorporating a tip I learned from the Elite FTS “Dynamic Squat Training Guide”. The tip is to start out on a box that is 2” higher than your parallel box for the first 4 sets and drop it an inch for the last 4 sets. The second week you start with the height you ended with on the previous week and drop and inch on the last 4 sets. The third week you start with the height you ended with on the previous week and drop and inch on the last 4 sets. At the end of the third week you box height will be at the desire height.
I have been hammering my lockout and my strength is improving. I can now do pin presses (aka rack lockouts) with 585 for a double. In October I could only do 500 for a double. My board presses are improving as well. I recently hit a fairly easy 495 in the gym, which is a 20 pound gym PR. With the improved lockout I should hit a PR at the February INSAA push/pull meet.
Since I resolved my form issues with my deadlift, my deadlift has been going good. I hit 685 in the gym a few weeks back, which was a 60 pound PR. It was also a good confidence builder by proving to me that I could continue you to repeatedly pull with good form. I have added grip work to my training in the past month and I am working grip twice a week. My grip has been good, but I don’t want it to hold me back on the deadlift. I also recently read somewhere that grip work can help prevent sore elbows from lockout work.