Powerlifting Meet Weekend

This past weekend involved my participation in the USAPL meet in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Last Monday also marked my 25th birthday, so when people asked what I was doing to celebrate, I gingerly responded with, “cutting weight, eating chicken, and sleeping early when I can.” Needless to say, I did not do the “usual” celebration with power hours and late nights in the city. In fact, I saved the celebration for the weekend, where I found myself on this bad boy for literally hours:

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This definitely took the edge off after a few nights of tossing and turning along with one whole day of fasting.

My training for my second powerlifting (PL) meet involved a conglomeration of cluster sets for the main competition lifts, along with an assortment of isometric related exercises (board press, pin squats, pause deadlifts at mid-shin, etc).

Goals
Mainly come out of the powerlifting meet uninjured. This will come with an ego-check at the meet’s doors in combination with an acceptance of my own strength levels. Other than that, my specific numbers I wanted to hit had to take into account a large lack of sleep on top of cutting weight.

Next time, I simply won’t cut weight in order to work on my absolute levels of strength as opposed to working on the relative strength levels!

Number Goal:
Squat: 365
Bench: 250
Deadlift: 420

Meet Results:
Squat: 346
Bench: 231
Deadlift: 391

For the squat, I simply need to work on depth issues. This is one issue I’ve had since day one – some federations accept squats at parallel, and if that were the case in USAPL, I’d be officially holding a 395 back squat. However, an extra inch or two below parallel (inguinal crease of the anterior hip visibly lower than the top of the knee in the bottom of the squat), and I’m relegated to what I currently have.

Anatomically and functionally I need to work on left glute max strength along with increasing my hip internal rotation. That will come with time.

Bench is something I consider to be my slow moving tortoise – I’m going to be slow in progress, but always progressing nonetheless. In about one year’s time I’ve jumped from 225 and flirting with 230, to working with 250 more frequently.

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My bench press.

My final attempt for the bench press (248lbs) in this meet resulted in me rushing the rack command because I was so excited that it felt so light. It popped out of the hole so easily, and just continued to rise! Next time I need to be more cognizant of the lifting commands…

Deeadlift is a fickle beast, and I’ve jumped around with form the most with this lift. Leading up to the meet, I had been practicing my lifts in the sumo deadlift stance. If I’m attempting to lift maximal weight, it just makes sense from a physics and leverage point of view – reduce the distance a weight has to travel, and less total work is required net net, so an absolute amount used can be increased.

However, with that notion there is the function of muscles, and after chatting with co-workers and a manual therapist, I just didn’t quite feel like sumo deadlift would keep my goals in mind. With conventional deadlifts, I felt more of a pop out of the bottom, and sumo I only feel that pop mid pull. Whether that is a lack of glutes, too much reliance on upper traps, or a combination of the two, I decided to stick with conventional.

Morning musings aside, I pulled 391 and it felt easy. After unsuccessfully finding ammonia, or nose torque as my powerlifting friends call it, I likewise was unsuccessful in my third attempt of 418lbs. It came an inch or two off the floor, but I simply didn’t pull it off. I’ve skirted with 415 a few months ago, and I hope to look back in a year’s time and see how much I’ve improved since then.

Conclusion
Long story short, I feel as if my performance was par with my expectations. I will need to make sure that next meet, I don’t cut weight, as this largely affected my psych and energy levels throughout the day.

With sleep, adequate foodage, and with requisite hyping up to Ludacris and Skrillex radio, I know I will easily surpass the benchmarks I previously set for myself.

Also, just randomly taking note of the warm-up area, I took three simple statements away from observing others:

  • Don’t use a meet to gauge depth in the squat, play with bench grip, or deadlift stances.
  • Don’t mess with your openers.
    Utilize this opening attempt to build confidence, not to destroy your other chances for a successful lift in other attempts.This is like if you had three free throw shots in the very beginning of a basketball game. The first shot won’t affect the total at the end of the day, but if you miss all three because you put so much pressure on yourself, this may affect your overall attitude from the beginning.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
    There is always someone who is shit-tons stronger, faster, leaner, etc than you. The real question is how will you let that affect *your* performance? You just don’t give up in the middle of the powerlifting meet because you aren’t going to get number one – you come back, stronger, smarter, and better able to perform than the previous time.

###

Keep it funky.

-MA

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