I’ll be chronicling my participation in the USAPL Raw Nationals (181 class) on this post and will update it throughout the weekend.
You can watch the live stream here http://www.usapowerlifting.com/.
Pre Meet Prep:
Taper started two weeks ago. No heavy pulls in last 14 days. Hoping to be super fresh when I hit the platform.
Ibuprofen loading started 4 days ago so I’m fast, fresh, and this is an old tip I picked up from some high level Olympic lifting dudes.
Big thank you to all those helping me out: Jason D, my brother, Josh, Cody, Dr. Layne Norton, Andy Baker, Rip, Justin from 70’s big (he’ll be helping me out in the meet), and my pops!
Wake up 7:15am- weight 180.8lbs. Only 1/2 gallon of h2o today and no salt just to make sure I make weight tomorrow morning.
Wheels up at 11am from STL to Dallas. I’ll update soon!!!!
Update # 1: Friday 8pm
So on the way down here, about 10 miles outside of Killeen, TX, some gal rear ended my dad and I in a rental car. We tried to contact the rental car company but apparently at around 430pm everyone leaves their posts for their weekend siesta. We’ll see how this turns out. We’re fine, we were just stopped on the highway and saw this lady in a PT cruiser barreling towards us and it was obvious she wasn’t going to stop in time. Not a lot of damage at all, but you know how rental car companies can be. Here’s the damage:
Finally checked in to the hotel around 530pm, dropped out bags off then we went to where the meet is being held, a parish, and here’s the setup:
Then I got all my equipment (singlet, tshirt, shoes, belt, knee sleeves, etc.) checked in and come to find out, my eliteFTS wrist wraps (80cm) are not USAPL legal. Apparently eliteFTS does not have an agreement with the USAPL and thus, they can’t be used at their meets, although I used them at the state meet I qualified for nationals at. Luckily, Titan is here with a booth and I purchased a pair of 36″ wrist wraps from them. They feel fine, albeit a bit foreign compared to my trusty eliteFTS wraps, but I’ll make do.
I weigh in at 7am and then massive chow down is sure to ensue! I have a pretty decent protocol planned up for post weigh in refeed/rehdrate so I’ll update tomorrow during/after the meet. Check ya later everyone!!
Update # 2 : Post Meet Recap
Saturday morning I woke up at 6am after a somewhat restless night tossing and turning. I took a nice hot shower, packed my bags, and my pops and I headed to the meet so I could weigh in, which was scheduled for 7am. We arrived and met up with Justin from 70sbig before weigh ins to determine my attempts. The plan was to do the following:
Bench Press: 140kg/145kg/150kg
Justin advised to open lighter in the Deadlift and go heavier, but at this point in my training I just wasn’t confident in my ability to take big jumps. I’ll talk about this later….
The weigh-ins occurred in the men’s bathroom of the parish where the meet was held and they called us in according to lot number. I was fairly early in the weigh-in process, which was good considering I really wanted to eat/drink at this point. I got called in and stripped down to my compression shorts to weigh in, at which time I was informed that I cannot lift in compression shorts (under my singlet) nor could I weigh in with them on. So I went commando and the official got a nice view of my booty and goods. I weighed in at 80.7kg (177lbs), which made me the lightest competitor in the open division for the 181 class. I knew that I wanted to do this because the qualifying criteria for the Arnold Classic (NAPF Raw Challenge) is something called a Wilks Score. Each lifter has a specific Wilks coefficient based on their precise bodyweight. The lower a lifter’s bodyweight, the higher their Wilks Coefficient. The coefficient is multiplied by the lifter’s total (in kilos), so a higher coefficient and a high total equates to a high Wilks Score. To qualify for the Arnold a lifter needs a 390 or better Wilks Score. My previous Wilks score was 396 when I weighed in at 80.2kg and totaled 582.5. At any rate, yea I was really light and this might have negatively affected my strength, however the sole goal for this meet was to qualify for the Arnold.
After I weighed in I drank a 32oz gatorade, 16oz water + 2 servings Scivation Xtend, drank a protein shake (30g whey protein isolate, 90g ignition (carbohydrates)), and ate 2tbsp of peanut butter. A cup of coffee and a trip to the bathroom later, I was ready to start warming up. My typical warm up routine involves some “air snatches”, foam rolling, and some mobility drills from K-Star (of mobilitywod fame). Needless to say, I was the only one doing air snatches in the warm-up room lol. Since I was in the B flight and was second to go I was determined not to warm up too early. It seems I was the last one to start warming up, but that’s okay as I don’t take a long time once I’m actually squatting to get loose and ready. Here’s my warm up protocol for my opener of 190kg (418lbs): bar x 5 x 2 sets, 135 x 5, 225 x 3, 275 x 3, 315 x 1, 355 x 1, 385 x 1. Let’s go!!!
Squat 1st attempt:
I walked out the bar and awaited the head judge’s “Squat” command. Instead she told me to “re-rack the bar.” Uhhh, what? She told me my knees were not locked out so I couldn’t start the squat. Luckily I got another attempt. I walked it out (again), got the squat command, and buried 418lbs and came back up with it easily.
*check out the sweet TheLabGym shirt I’m rockin’ in the pic.
In between my first and second attempts another judge told me my index finger was off the bar and this was not permitted. I had to think about and change my setup, which kind of threw me off, but rules are rules and they were right. Check this out:
Index finger and thumbs definitely are off the bar. I’m not sure when I started doing this, but I prefer this position as it keeps my upper back locked in. No matter, I changed my grip and went for 200kg on my second attempt.
Squat 2nd Attempt: Unracking the bar felt like crap because of my modified grip. I felt like the bar was going to roll, which it did. But, I still made the lift even though it wasn’t really heavy- it just wasn’t efficient. Here’s a pic of me coming up with 200kg (440lbs):
Look at how high my elbows are! The bar rolled up my back and this rep flat out sucked. But I still made it! Whew. This ties my competition PR squat.
3rd Attempt Squat:
I chose 210 (462lbs) based on the fact that 200kg wasn’t too bad and I didn’t quite have the right setup for that rep anyway. This would be a 5kg all-time PR and 10kg meet PR but it was not to be. I smoked it out of the hole but lost steam about 1/2 way up. Justin said I just stopped driving with my hips and the bar speed cratered. To me, my setup sucked and with the grip/knee things I was dealing with it just wasn’t optimal. 207.5 or 205 would have been fine and this would come back to haunt me.
Best Squat: 200kg
Bench Attempt 1: 140kg. After warming up I and Justin cueing me to drive my heels I smoked 140kg. Normally, I have zero arch or leg drive, but the little bit of leg drive I got out of driving my heels seemed to help big time. This was one of the heavier bench openers outside of the top 3-4 guys.
Bench Attempt 2: 145kg. This was a bit of a grinder but it actually felt better than 140kg. This was also a 7.5kg competition PR!
Bench Attempt 3: 150kg- This was screwed from the start. As I said before, I had to use new wrist wraps and I guess they just needed to be tighter than my old ones because as soon as I unracked this weight, my right wrist wrap slipped big time. I decided to go on an try this weight anyway, because I’ve hit it in training so many times. The pauses were brutally long at this particular meet and this sentiment was echoed by others in my flight. I ended up bringing the bar down about 1″ too high and the bar just stopped going up about 3″ off my chest. Damn.
Best Bench Press: 145kg
In between the bench press and deadlift portions of the meet I grabbed another bite to eat- 6oz turkey, rice cakes, peanut butter, and commiserated with my fellow lifters. I really love deadlifts so I was getting excited about my favorite event. Justin was handling other lifters in the A flight, so I just kind of chilled out in the back room waiting to warm up. Warming up for deadlifts is a really short affair for me so this was a nice time to try and relax and take in the event.
It ended up being myself and the 3 top lifters in my class warming up on the same platform. My warm ups went 135 x 3, 225 x 3, 315 x 2, 405 x 1, 455 x 1. I was feeling good until I saw Alex (the overall winner in my class) do 605 as his last warm up. Talk about crazy strong! At this point, I only needed 230kg (my opener) to punch my ticket to the Arnold so I was feeling pretty confident.
Deadlift 1: 230kg (507lbs): Justin cued me to lock my knees out at the top just to make sure I got white-lighted for my pull. This first attempt was no big deal and felt way better than my last warm up. I think the baby powder helped!
2nd attempt 240kg (529lbs): This was another smoke show and I was really feeling good, albeit tired after a long day. Justin was confident that I’d get my 3rd attempt at 250kg so with that, we were going for a top ten nationals placing.
3rd attempt: 250kg (551lbs): This came off the floor fast but I really had to grind it out towards the top. I’m lucky that my grip is strong because some other lifters were struggling to hold on to their reps as they waited for the down command. This is a 5kg competition PR!
So I ended up totaling 595kg (1310lbs) and taking 8th overall out of a very big and deep 181 class. If I would have gotten 205kg on my 3rd squat (instead of missing 210kg) I would have taken 6th based on body weight. My Wilks Score was a big fat 404 and so I’m GOING TO THE ARNOLD CLASSIC IN 2013!!!!!!
I increased my total by 12.5kg in 3 months, but honestly I was hoping for more. I’ve got some ideas on how to change my training up to really get my numbers where they need to be. My next goal is to set an elite raw total in the 181 class, which is 1398lbs. Hopefully that will be there by March when the Arnold is.
A big thank you to everyone for your support, especially my dad and Justin from 70sbig.com! I had a lot of fun for sure, and can’t wait to get back in the gym.
I’m headed off to Virginia now so I might be MIA for a few days. I hope by Wednesday or Thursday to be back on here and writing again. Catch everyone later.