Step 1 of many to a 500lb raw squat

I'm back from a much needed vacation to see my family.  Vivian and I had a really nice time in Boulder, Colorado and for me, it was great to see my family again after 3 years.  Strangely, no one seemed to have changed much--kinda like my raw squat prowess or lack thereof.

While getting older comes with a few more aches and pains, it also brings a small amount of perspective.  When I was 25 years old and on my first go-round with the powerlifting, I, like just about everyone, extrapolated my rapid initial progress into weights I thought I'd be lifting in a few short years.  Back in the day, I figured if I was totalling 1400 lbs a few years after starting to compete that I'd be in the 1700's in a few more years.  Back in the late 80's, early 90's this was basically raw with wraps since the gear of the day was so unsupportive that one didn't even bother training for it, you just put it on a few weeks before the meet and hoped it didn't blow out on meet day.  I mean, it seemed so reasonable at the time.  I was a 90kg lifter and figured if I kept gaining weight and strength in a linear fashion that adding an average of 100 lbs per lift should be easy.  If I remember correctly (it was a long time ago), I think my first real competition was in 1987 or 1988 and I totalled 1267 lbs as a 181 lb lifter.  My last full meet was in 1991or so and I totalled something around 1425 lbs as a 198 lb lifter.  I lifted in a push/pull as a 220 lb lifter in 1992 and did something like 325 BP/644 DL.   And that was that.  Life intervened, I was transferred to Toronto from sunny Los Angeles and powerlifting became a distant memory until 2007.

I like to think I never fully realized my potential during my prime 'strength' years but the reality was that I was still far behind the top lifters of the day.  That last push/pull meet I did, I finished in 3rd place.  First place was taken by a lifter named Ron Fedkiw, he bench pressed 500 lbs and deadlifted 700+.  He was also a genius and  went on to get a PhD and become famous, not for powerlifting but for creating stuff that is way over my head but is used to make movies that I can understand.
Ron Fedkiw, super strong and a genius, talk about winning the genetic lottery...

Anyways, all that to make the point that I was a few standard deviations behind the quality of the strength athlete that was putting up elite totals.  Which brings me to Sheiko's classification table. (thanks to for the table)
My best raw totals put me in the Level 2 category of Sheiko's table.  Frankly, if I were an athlete under the old Soviet system, I would've been kicked out of Sheiko's sports academy for being so unaccomplished after training for more than a few years.  Despite not being in the class of athlete that Sheiko's programs were designed for, I foolishly tried to do them in years past as well as whatever elite lifter's programs were published in Powerlifting USA.

Not surprisingly, I've made very little progress since that 1425 lb total back in 1991. Still, I refuse to believe I cannot get stronger so my plan to accomplish my goal of a 500 lb raw squat is built not around the latest strength programs circulating on the internet but around the basics.  I have to go back to the beginning and train like a beginning lifter because, strength-wise, that's what I still am.  Simple, linear progressions of the basic pushing and pulling movements along with tactical emphasis on my specific glaring weaknesses (like quad and core strength).

I used to pooh-pooh the leg press.  Laughing internally at 'bodybuilders' using 1000lbs thinking to myself that  leg pressing didn't carryover to squatting big weights.  Then it hit me...I can barely squat 450 lbs.  Maybe if I could leg press 1000 lbs, I'd squat more--I know I'd squat more.   I was being dogmatic and stupid and thinking I was in a different class of lifter than I was.  So, going forward, I'm going to do those exercises I used to think were stupid because they weren't specific to the competition squat.  Things like leg presses, partial squats, anything that can be loaded heavier than I'm used to lifting.  Basically forcing me to stop being such a pussy and lift heavy things until I force myself to get stronger.  Heck, I might even start doing rack pulls, not because they'll help my deadlift but because they'll train my body to do what it's never done before. 

As for my workout today, after squatting 405x2 for 5 sets, I finished with 2 sets of 5 with 495 in the squat lockout.  It felt heavy and my body complained but that means it'll either break or get stronger.  Overhead pressing and barbell rows followed and it was time for home and food.   Overall a good session and a nostalgic return to the days of the high school weight room when we loaded up as much weight as we could and did partial squats in the power rack.  I'm thinking I never should've gotten away from loading up the bar,    I still had so much more work to do training my body and my mind to be strong.

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