The Best or Nothing

"I want to be the best in the world," Amit Sapir told his father. Problem was, Amit didn't exactly know exactly what he wanted to be best at. But that was okay – he was 10 years old.

Since then, Amit qualified for the Olympics in weightlifting and became an IFBB pro bodybuilder. Remarkable accomplishments. But one thing still eluded him: being the world's best.

Amit Blue

From the Olympics to Mr. O to Powerlifting

During his wife's first powerlifting meet, something interesting happened.

Amit bumped into elite-level powerlifter Brandon Lilly. They started talking gym numbers and realized that although Amit didn't train specifically for powerlifting, he was so strong he'd automatically be ranked as one of the strongest lifters in his category.

"I couldn't get this out of my head. The thing I could be best at was right underneath my nose the whole time! The thought of being judged in an objective sport where only my performance and ability mattered really spiked my interest," Amit said.

Amit set his eyes on the GPA World Championships in Australia. He'd compete in the 90 kg (198 pound) raw class, meaning no wraps or special suits are allowed.

"I was so excited that I immediately got on the phone with Biotest's Tim Patterson to see if he could help me with my new plan," Amit said. "Tim had guided me with my supplement program for pro bodybuilding. He offered to give me all of the support I needed, so we laid out a plan in painstaking detail."

Amit's Supplement Protocol

Amit Sapir is obviously an elite athlete who's chasing world records and bodybuilding titles. The majority of people would only need the recommended label amounts of these supplements.

Still, it's interesting to take a peek inside the supplement plan of someone who's both a top bodybuilder and one of the world's strongest powerlifters.

Pre-Workout

Two hours prior 1 Finibar™ and 2 servings of Mag-10®
1.5 hours priorAlpha GPC 2 servings
1 hour priorMicro-PA™ 6 capsules
30 minutes priorIndigo-3G® 6 capsules

Just Before and During Workout

Plazma™ 5 servings

Post-Workout

Mag-10® 2 servings

Before Bed

ZMA® 3 capsules
Z-12™ 2 capsules

Daily Staples

Flameout™ 3 capsules in the morning, 3 with dinner
Curcumin 2 capsules, three times per day
Rez-V™ 3 capsules in the morning
Metabolic Drive® mixed with 2 servings of Superfood
Brain Candy®

Powerlifting Recomposition

After weigh in, to recover from weight loss and to rehydrate, Amit sips Plazma™ all day, finishing one whole container of Plazma™ in 24 hours. He has three servings immediately after weigh-in, then one serving about every hour until the meet.

On the day of the meet, he sips four servings of Plazma™ spread throughout the day and eats Finibars™.

Before PR attempts, he consumes one serving of Spike® Double Shot.

The New World Record

It was a tough journey to Australia. Amit had three surgeries during his preparation – left biceps tendon, right biceps tendon, and pec major. Undeterred, he'd simple train one-handed until his injured side healed.

At the meet, his first attempt at the world record, 706 pounds, failed. A few reassuring words from Ed Coan calmed Amit down and on his second attempt he broke the record. On the third attempt, he broke his own record with 722 pounds. Amit was the best in the world.

Amit's Tips for Breaking Your Squat PR

  1. Technique is everything, Amit says. Perfect your technique until it becomes second nature to you. Do this by adding high frequency periods at the beginning of your training cycle.
  2. Periodization is the key in order to know when you push your body in certain aspects of training. Here's a good example of how to do it in a 10-week time frame. The first three weeks, squat three times per week using different variations to target weak points in your squat. During the next three weeks, only squat twice a week with higher volume in each session. In the following three week block before you plan to break your PR, only squat once a week. This is where you want to lift very heavy (use low reps, 1-3 range) and slowly get closer and closer to your goal weight. In the last 7-10 days before the day of the meet you should deload and lift lighter, concentrating only on technique and speed. Amit takes the last three days off before competition.
  3. Don't neglect accessory work. You don't want to have any weak points. Doing only squats, deadlifts and bench press isn't enough for someone who isn't elite. Any weak muscle can translate into a weak point in your squat. When you're training with maximum weight it's a full body lift, so you need a good balance in strength.
Amit Squat

Amit's Training Program

At Amit's level, training plans have to be customized to individual strengths and weaknesses, but here's the general plan Amit used in the last eight weeks to break the world squat record.

8-4 Weeks Out From Meet

Monday – Squat and Deadlift

  Exercise Sets Reps Weight
A Competition Squat 3 8 75%
B Pause Squat (3 sec.) 2 8 65%
C Speed Deadlift * 6 2 60%
D Bulgarian Squat 2 8-10  
D Glute Ham Raise 2 6-8 * *

* Speed Deadlift — As fast as you can with 30-45 seconds between sets.
* * Glute Ham Raise — Weighted.

Tuesday – Bench Day

  Exercise Sets Reps Weight
A Competition Bench 3 8 75%
B Close-Grip Bench Press or Pin Press 2 8 65%
C Swiss Bar Floor Press 3 10-12  
D Rear Delts * 2-3 15/12/10  

* Rear Delts — Pick 2 exercises, preferably dumbbell rear delt laterals laying facedown on bench or rope face-pulls.

Wednesday – OFF

Thursday – Deadlift & Squat Day

  Exercise Sets Reps Weight
A Competition Deadlift 3 8 75%
B Deficit Deadlift (2" deficit) 2 8 65%
C Yoke Bar Box Squat or Pause Squat 5 3 70%
D Bent Over Barbell Row 3 8  

* Yoke Bar Box Squat or Pause Squat — It's important to use this bar as it will help you practice upper back tightness for both squats and deadlifts. Be as fast and explosive as possible on the way up and stay tight in the pause. (10-12" box)

Friday – Bench Accessory Day

  Exercise Sets Reps Weight
A Incline Bench Press * 8 5 70%
B Seated or Standing Military Press * * 3 8  
C Standing Lateral Raise 3 10-12  
D Standing Rear Delt Flye 3 10-12  
E 1 Arm Cable Laterals 3 12-15  
F 2 Triceps Exercises * * * 3 12-15  

* Incline Bench Press — The important thing here is to get the work volume in. Go heavy but not to failure, leave 2 reps in the tank for all sets. Depending on weak points you might want to use a competition bench here. Amit finds the incline works well here because it stimulates and strengthens the shoulders as well.
* * Seated or Standing Military Press — Pick whatever is more comfortable. Amit's preference is a standing military press but seated is also fine, in front or behind the neck.
* * * Triceps Exercises — Amit's favorite: decline skull crushers with EZ-bar or dumbbells. Triceps pushdown is a good secondary exercise.

Saturday – Upper Back Accessory

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Weighted Pull-Up 4 10/8/6/*
B High Hammer Row 3 10/8/6
C 1 Arm Hammer Pulldown (any angle) 3 10/8/6
D 2 Rowing Exercises 2 8-10 each

* Weighted Pull-Up - Bodyweight for last set to failure. If you want to throw in some bicep exercises, this is the day you can do it. 2 exercises, 2-3 sets each. Nothing to failure.

Sunday – Sled Work + Core Exercises + Grip Work

Nothing should be heavy on this day just accessory and conditioning work.

Week 7

Exercise A: 3 Sets X 8 Reps @ 80%
Exercise B: Sets & reps stay the same but increase to 70%

Week 6

Exercise A: 3 Sets X 6 Reps @ 82%
Exercise B: 3 Sets X 6 Reps @ 72%

Week 5

Exercise A: 2 Sets X 5 Reps @ 85%
Exercise B: 2 Sets X 5 Reps @ 75%

Last 4 Weeks

Monday – Event Lifts

  Exercise Sets Reps Weight
A Squat *
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2

2
2-3
2

3
1-2
2

85%
95%
80%
B Bench * *
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2

2
3
2-3

3
2
1

85%
90%
95%
C Deadlift * * *
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2

2
2
None

1
2
 

95%
80%
 

* Squat — 10-14 days out should be your last heavy squat.
* * Bench — 5-7 days out should be your last heavy bench.
* * * Deadlift — days out should be your last heavy deadlift. It takes your body longer to recover so you'll need the time. That said, you need to touch this weight before the meet.

Tuesday – Upper Back Accessory

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Weighted Pull-Up 4 10/8/6/*
B High Hammer Row 3 10/8/6
C 1 Arm Hammer Pulldown (any angle) 3 10/8/6
D 2 Rowing Exercises 2 8-10 each

* Weighted Pull-Up — Bodyweight for last set to failure.
If you want to throw in some bicep exercises, this is the day you can do it. 2 exercises, 2-3 sets each. Nothing to failure.

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Bench Accessory Day

  Exercise Sets Reps Weight
A Banded Bench Press * 8 2-3 ~75%
B Decline Close Grip Bench 4 5 ~70%

* Banded Bench Press — Work on speed/explosiveness.
After this continue with your regular accessory work following the first 2 exercises.

Friday – Squat & Deadlift Accessory

  Exercise Sets Reps Weight
A Deficit Deadlift * 8 2 ~70%
B Pause Squat With Yoke Bar (3 sec.) 5 3 ~70%
C Glute Ham Raise (weighted) 3 6-8  
D Lunge 2 8 * *

* Deficit Deadlift — Speed work.
* * Lunge — Pick a light weight.

Saturday & Sunday – Off

Update: Since this article was written, Amit has set a new world record: 766 pounds.