Skip to navigation Skip to content
Back To Articles

Louis-Alexis Gratton |

How Mickael Cloutier totaled 2000lbs

In september 2019, Mickael Cloutier became the first lifter in the Quebec Powerlifting Federation and one of the very few Canadian lifters to total 2000lbs in drug tested conditions, without equipment. His determination and work ethic got him there first and foremost, but we thought we’d offer some insight into how we reorganized his training since he started working with us.

When he came to us a year ago, the frequency of heavy lifts in his training was high. He worked with 90%+ on all competition lifts almost every week. The amount of volume wasn’t problematic per se, but combined with the high intensity and frequency, fatigue was very high, and it was difficult for him to complete most of his training sessions.

Recovering from an 800lbs squat at a bodyweight of 300lbs will take a lot more time than recovering from a 315lbs squat at a bodyweight of 125lbs, even though it might be 95% of 1RM for both lifters.

Such high intensity training can be suitable for beginners or very light lifters, who don’t lift enormous weights; but as competitors get heavier and stronger, lifts above 90% of 1RM shouldn’t be too frequent in training, especially if volume throughout the program is to be high enough to support lasting training adaptations. This might come as a bit of a surprise, as you would think any given % of 1RM has the same effect for every lifter, since we’re talking about relative intensity. But the bigger you are, the more force you can generate and the more tissue you will disrupt. Recovering from an 800lbs squat at a bodyweight of 300lbs will take a lot more time than recovering from a 315lbs squat at a bodyweight of 125lbs, even though it might be 95% of 1RM for both lifters.

The first step I took, then, was to reduce weekly intensity. We reduced the lifts above 90% from almost every training session to about once every three weeks, keeping other heavy sessions between 80% and 90% of 1RM. This allowed me to slightly increase volume as well and there was a lot less undesired fluctuations in weekly performance. We did that for about two months, and then made the switch to squatting and deadlifting heavy once every two weeks. That’s right. Only two heavy sessions a month on squat and deadlift. Bench press was kept at one heavy session a week, usually alternating between a competition bench press one week and a close variation the other week, such as bench press with chains or with bands.

This allowed Mickael to push even harder on a heavy training session but have plenty of time to recover before the next one. Fatigue was much lower and he was a lot fresher every time he needed to hit big weights, resulting in a multitude of training personal records. For light squat variations, most of the time we alternated between front squats, safety squat bar squats and high bar squats. For light bench press variations, we used a lot of incline bench presses and close grip bench presses, usually for higher reps and followed by chest and triceps accessory exercises.

His full training schedule, after those changes, looked like this:

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Week A - Heavy Comp. Squat
- Light Comp. Deadlift
- Heavy Comp. Bench Press - Light Squat Variation - Light Bench Press Variation
Week B - Heavy Comp. Deadlift
- Light Comp. Squat
- Heavy Bench Press Variation - Light Squat Variation - Light Bench Press Variation

We took his best total in competition in the -120kg weight class from 1884lbs to 1923lbs; and in the 120kg+ weight class from 1940lbs to 2000lbs. We now plan to compete exclusively in the 120kg+ weight class for a while and see how far we can push his total without any body weight restrictions.

Share this article