How To Use High Intensity Training To Prepare For A Bodybuilding Competition – Mike Lipowski

Mike Lipowski competing at IDFA 2012
Mike Lipowski competing at IDFA 2012

In addition to founding Pure Physique and serving as the president of the International Association of Resistance Trainers (IART), Mike Lipowski is a professional natural bodybuilder, international fitness speaker and author, co-founder of the Drug-Free Athlete’s Coalition (DFAC), and has been voted Westchester’s Best Personal Trainer.

He works with fitness professionals, competitors, and everyday people who are looking to set and reach their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals using an “untraditional but focused” approach, helping clients develop the best version of themselves through applied muscle and strength science.

Giveaway: Corporate Warrior listeners can get a FREE 92-page eBook written by Mike Lipowski, detailing the exercise science principles, concepts, approach, and training methods he uses as a HIT-based bodybuilder.  Get your copy here.

Contact Mike:

  • mikel [@]

In this episode we cover:

  • How to prepare for bodybuilding competitions 12, 6, and 3 months out
  • How to determine your muscle fibre type composition
  • How to design workouts based on your muscle fibre types
  • … and much more!

Listen Below:

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This episode is brought to you by, providers of the best online courses in high intensity training that come highly recommended by Dr. Doug McGuff and Discover Strength CEO, Luke Carlson. Course contributors include world-class exercise experts like Drew Baye, Ellington Darden and Skyler Tanner. There are courses for both trainers and trainees. So even if you’re not a trainer but someone who practices HIT, this course can help you figure out how to improve your progress and get best results. Check out, add the course you want to your shopping cart and enter the coupon code ‘CW10’ to get 10% off your purchase!

This episode is brought to you by Exercise Science LLC, your one-stop shop for all your exercise needs. Exercise Science, a high intensity strength training studio based out of New Orleans, is owned and run by Exercise Physiologist and Body By Science contributor, Ryan Hall. Ryan has been featured on the podcast twice and both are among my most popular episodes of all time. Exercise Science LLC have the expertise, experience and the tools to maximise physical strength, improve performance and functional capacity in just 12 minutes per session. I’m a big fan of Ryan and if I were living in New Orleans, I would seriously sign up in a heart beat. To book a consultation now – click here.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY: How do you prepare for a bodybuilding competition? Please let me know in the comments at the bottom of this post.

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Show Notes

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People Mentioned

  • Ricky Morris

    So, I guess the question I have for Mike Lipowski then is: what does he recommend for people who’ve also tried super slow protocols with poor results? I know he says he then did blitzing for his competition, but I was wondering if he still ever uses super slow cadences, and what his general average cadence and frequency is now days as well as his present results? Is he able to use super slow with satisfying results at all, or does he use zero cadence, or does he stick with more of a 3/3, 4/4, or 5/5 etc.?

    • Michael Lipowski

      Hey Ricky, I haven’t used a super slow (or any slow rep protocol) for myself or clients for the last 14 years except for the rare, rehab client. For the purpose of bodybuilding or optimizing appearance I have not found super slow to be useful at all. I followed the protocol religiously for nearly 2 years and watched my physique (and that of some clients) deteriorate, compared to using a standard 3x/week Nautilus protocol. My recommendation for others who have used SS with poor results is to:

      1) Examine your training frequency. Slow reps are not the only limiting factor in these protocols but the exceptionally low frequency. Personally, I train 4x/week about 80% of the time, 2-3x/week 10% of the time, and 0-1x/week the remaining 10%. However, I will adjust the intensity of effort if I feel extra recovery is needed and I add a deloading week once every 8 weeks. I’ve found for most individuals who do not do any other activity outside of resistance training, 3-4 workouts/week is best for maximizing hypertrophy and maintaining one’s best appearance. (Much of this has do with glycogen depletion and loading.)

      2) My cadence for most exercises is in the range of a 2/3 or 3/3. Any slower than this feels as though I’m moving intentionally slow for to much of the set. Meaning, after the first 2-3 reps I want my tempo to be within the aforementioned range while attempting to move faster on the positive and still controlling the negative. That said, coming off of SS I used a 4/6 and 5/5 but even that felt artificial compared to my current cadence. Plus, I’ve found no “safety” issues with respect to clients moving at 2/3, 3/3/, 2/4 cadences.

      • Cheers Mike!

      • Ricky Morris

        Thank you, Michael! Do you use warmup sets too, or do you generally find one set to failure to be enough?

        • Michael Lipowski

          One or two warm-up sets at the start of the workout and then it’s all “work sets” from that point forward.