Tucker Loken – Contest prep – 10 and 9 weeks out

It’s been a good couple of weeks thus far. Diet was easy for the first few, but getting tougher as I progress. No really bad cravings yet, and luckily once per week I still get a cheat meal until about 6 weeks out, so I’m getting the most out of them.

I can’t give out all of my macros and diet info, but the biggest variable that’s been changing is my carbohydrate intake, so I’ll list that each week

10 weeks out – 650 carbs daily

9 weeks out – 600 carbs daily


My training was inconsistent for the first couple weeks, and I was trying to figure out how to get onto a normal program. I’ve been battling some injuries during the off season, and with the show right around the corner I can’t quite just stop and heal up, so I’m having to work around them. I was stuck to a lot of machine and DB work for a while, but things are on the mend and I’m able to get back to the Big 3, or at least a variation of them. The good thing is that my issues seem to be getting better as time progresses, rather than worse, so that’s a sign that what I’ve been doing has been working.

My training is fairly standard bodybuilding work for the time being, with a few exceptions.

  • I’ll deload the big movements every 3 weeks because that’s worked so well thus far to help keep getting stronger and progressing. I’ll still take the hypertrophy hard, because you can’t have that much of a fluctuation in training intensity during prep, but I’ll increase the reps, lighten the weight, and change the order of when I hit the big compound movements. This will both keep the body guessing, and will provide time for me to recover and stay healthy (or at least less injured).
  • Some people advocate for higher reps during the contest prep phase, but for someone with my body type, foregoing low rep ranges and heavy weight is the exact wrong thing to do. I already have trouble holding onto mass and size, and overall thickness is my biggest weak point. The best way to improve that is, you guessed it…. Moving heavy stuff. The best way to maintain it is the same.

I’ll basically be working up to a tough set of 5 or maybe a few lower if I’m feeling strong that day on a key lift for my legs, chest and back, and then smoothing out the edges with standard bodybuilding type training after that. I’ll leave a few in the tank on the heavy stuff to avoid injury, but I’ll be taking the hypertrophy work to failure. I’ll keep this up for the first half of prep at least, and if need be with a month to go I may increase the rep ranges on the big movements just a little to avoid injury.

The logic is that you need to give your body a reason to hold on to the muscle mass it has. When it’s dieting and in a deficit state, it doesn’t want all the muscle it carries, so you need to convince it with heavy ass weight that it still needs everything you’ve built in the off season. Sets of 15-20 won’t do that at all for you, but sets around 5 or even less will tell your body you’re going to be consistently moving heavy weight, so it needs to be ready.

I’m still warming up each workout with the McGill big 3, along with a laundry list of exercises to do to correct some core weaknesses I have, given to me by PRS teammate Paul Oneid. It takes forever but it’s been working and I’m getting better every week.


Week 10 legs – quad focus with a little bit of hamstrings. Hammies will also be hit on back day

Front squats top set of 5 at 405 lbs RPE 7-8

Pause back squat 3×6 at 315 lbs

Hack squat 12,10,8 drop set

High rep leg press 20,15,12

Leg extensions 15,12,10

Leg curls – I cramped up in a bad way and had to do extra hamstring work on my back day


Week 9 legs

Front squats top set of 2 at 455 lbs RPE 8-9

Pause back squat 3×6 at 315 lbs, then rep out for a set of 15-20

Hack squat 12,10,8 drop set

High rep leg press 20,15,12

Leg extensions 15,12,10

Leg curls 15,12,10,10


For back hypertrophy days, I’m switching between beginning with pulldown motions and beginning with rowing motions, to make sure I emphasize both width and thickness.

Week 10 Back/hamstrings day

Standing single leg curls 15,15,12,12

Lying leg curl SS w/ DB stiff leg dead lifts 12,10,8

Lat pulldown 15,12,10,8

Weighted pullups – 3 sets of 5 with 20-30 lb DB between my legs

Single arm reverse grip pulldown 12,10,8

DB rows – 12,10,8 with the 100,110 and 120 lb dumbbells

Light BB rows – I’ve always had a little bit of an issue feeling both my scapula contract symmetrically, it seems that each rep the left or right contracts a little bit more than the other, so I’ve been bumping down the weight so that I can feel and control it. I did 4 sets of 10 reps with 225

Cable lat pullover SS w/ DB lat pullover 15,12,10


Week 9 back day/hamstrings day

Standing single leg curls 15,15,12,12

Lying leg curl SS w/ DB stiff leg dead lifts 12,10,8

Heavy DB rows – Worked up to a top set of 10 with the 150’s, then backed down to the 100’s for extra reps

BB rows – same idea as last week

Chest supported T bar rows 12,10,8

Wide grip lat pulldowns 12,10,8

Bodyweight pullups – sets of 5 cause I was tiiiiiiiiiired

Reverse pec deck SS w/ face pulls 15,12,10



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Tucker Loken
Tucker Loken is a Bodybuilder turned Powerlifter turned Powerbuilder from Eugene, Oregon. He did his first bodybuilding show when he was still in high school, and has been training male and female competitors for shows since 2011. Several years ago he decided to take a step away from his normal routine and learn how to get strong. He worked with Brian for 9 months, added 200 pounds to his raw total and qualified as an Elite lifter in the 220 pound weight class. He returned back to bodybuilding much stronger and now incorporates the 10/20/Life philosophy into his training to keep himself healthy and making continual progress in the Big 3 as well as adding size and shaping his physique. Now part of Team PRS, he brings his unique expertise of nutritional knowledge and how to balance Bodybuilding with Powerlifting to help athletes achieve their best potential.
Tucker Loken

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