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Showing posts from February, 2012

The road to a 292.5 kg deadlift begins

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My success with a 282.5 kg deadlift a couple of weeks ago has made it very clear to me that my next goal is 292.5 kgs.  That number is significant to me because it represents the most weight I've ever deadlifted in my life.  I achieved that deadlift back in 1992 and have yet to match it.  My recent progress has given me great optimism that I will soon be able to match and exceed that lift.

Back in the day, getting on a Powerlifting USA Top 100 list was pretty big goal for me and when I made that 292.5 kg deadlift, I was lucky enough to make the deadlift list at #100.  It was also the one and only time I would ever be on the same page as the greatest of all time, Ed Coan.  In the years between that lift and when I resumed my powerlifting activities in 2008, I had lost the issue with my Top 100 list. Luckily, Rickey Dale Crain through his Crain's Muscle World store had a stockpile of back issues.  Not knowing which issue I was in, I traded about 5 emails back and forth with Mr. …

Squats and push presses

Because my training has been going very well and I feel primed to hit some new PR levels in my next meet in June, I decided to incorporate creatine into my nutrition plan.  I started the loading phase last week so today's workout was the first where I had the benefit of the creatine bloat.

My bodyweight is up about 5 lbs and I could really feel the effect of the creatine on my repetition endurance and recovery between sets.  Mentally, I didn't feel particularly good as Vivian is away on a business trip but physically, my body just kept on going.

My squats went very well.  My form felt exceptionally tight and I was able to exceed last week's total volume by quite a large margin.  I was able to do a total of 29 repetitions with 80% or more of my 1 RM and very few of the terminal reps for any sets were a grind.  Looking forward to seeing how the extra work translates to a new work levels.

Squats:  135x10, 225x10, 315x5, 365x3, 405x3, 405x3, 405x3, 405x2, 365x5x3 sets.

After d…

Are you really "Raw" or does it just describe your lifting conditions?

Whenever people start getting competitive about lifting stuff, the "yeah but's" come out.

"Yeah, but they're on steroids"
"Yeah, but they don't have to work for a living"
"Yeah, but they're built to lift/genetically gifted"
"Yeah, but they don't have to walk out their squats/break parallel"
"Yeah, but they wear those squat suits and bench shirts"
"Yeah, but they were using weight belts and knee sleeves"

Usually if a person is throwing out a "yeah but" it's because that person is really just a bit butt hurt that someone else is lifting more.  Rather than accept and appreciate a feat of strength for what it is, the "yeah butters" feel like they need to validate their own achievements by knocking down someone else's.

With the growth in popularity of "raw" or "classic" lifting, there's a new, rabid group of "yeah butters" that seem to bel…

Deadlift stew and light overhead presses

I mentioned in a comment on another post that I tend to make a lot of my meals in one pot.  Either I'll use a crock pot or a dutch oven and basically throw a bunch of animal protein in with some veggies and whatever random stew ingredients I might have.  I find it's efficient and when I brown bag my lunch, I only need to bring one container per meal.

For today's deadlift workout, since it was supposed to be "light" week, I thought I'd combine a few different moves in a single set.  A deadlift stew, as it were.

I used a 45# plate to create a 2" deficit and then performed each rep with a halt at the knees for a count to destroy any speed off the floor.  Then I locked out as explosively as possible and then did 5 barbell shrugs at the top.  To finish the rep, I did a 3-count slow stiff-legged eccentric.  Each set was a total of three of these halting, deficit deadlifts with 5 shrugs at the top.

Never having done this type of hodge-podge of movements before,…

Mostly back to normal, Squat and Overhead Press day

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My next competition will be an Ontario Powerlifting Association meet sometime in early June.  Since the Canadian Powerlifting Union is an I.P.F. affiliate, their "raw" or "classic" rules allow the use of neoprene knee sleeves.  I like this alot because my old knees feel 100% better when I squat with sleeves versus nothing at all.  I also get about 10-15 lbs of support out of my sleeves so in addition to feeling better, they do help me lift more  weight.

Compared to last week's post-meet workouts, today's workout was a huge improvement.  I felt mostly normal.    Which is a whole lot better than feeling mostly dead as in Westley from The Princess Bride.
Yeah, I just dropped a Princess Bride reference in my powerlifting training blog.  I spent three hours in traffic this afternoon due to an accident on the westbound Gardiner expressway and almost peed my pants.  Strange things go through your head when you're sitting in your car in miles and miles of stop …

Just some restoration work

Went back to the gym today to keep moving and to start getting my body ready for the next competition.  I ended up doing some easy sets of front squats and some very light bench pressing.  My shoulders were pretty tender so two sets of 3 with 225 was plenty.

Front squats:  135x10, 185x5, 225x3x5 sets
Bench Press:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 185x5, 225x3x2 sets

Met a very interesting lifter at the gym today. I very rarely if ever see anyone lifting big weights and when I got to the weight room, there was a very stout, older guy (meaning about my age) absolutely toying with some 405+ lb squats.  He saw my lifting shoes and asked me if I did any olympic lifting or powerlifting.  I told him that I competed in powerlifting, mostly at the local level.  

His name was Dr. Michael Mangan and besides being very, very strong, he was very friendly and offered me a very good tip with respect to my bench press set up.  He actually said I had a good arch but needed to get more lumbar extension to get my …

Analysis of my deadlift form-Update

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Of all the lifts, the deadlift is the one lift that I haven't yet exceeded my previous all-time bests.  My squat and bench press in the past 4 years have both exceeded levels that I had reached during my first foray into powerlifting back in 1987-1992.  The deadlift, on the other hand, has been the slowest to come around.

On thing that I have been working on is to start the pull with a rounded upper back.  It's how I pulled when I hit my all-time best of 644 lbs (raw) back in 1992.  I also pulled with a rounded lower back but that's just a case of getting away with it because I was young and fearless.

When I started the powerlifting 'comeback', I deadlifted like they said to in all the internet blogs, with a flat back.  That worked well until I started getting pinned to the floor with anything even marginally over 600 lbs.  After reviewing old pictures and video, I decided I needed to keep tight in the lower back but allow my upper back to round to shorten the lev…

Back in the gym but still beat-up

Today was the first training session since last Saturday's meet.  I had actually wanted to get back in the gym earlier but in hindsight it's probably good that I didn't.  All week my body actually felt pretty good but mentally I was enjoying the break.  Today's workout was pretty blatant evidence that my body was still recovering.

My initial squat warm up sets, high bar squats with 135 and 225, went well.   My third warm up set with 315 lbs is when I usually start my low-bar sets.  This was the first warning things weren't completely right.  My shoulders didn't like getting into position for the low-bar hold at all.  The weight didn't feel heavy but I could tell my core was working too hard.

Next set was with 365 lbs and usually it would be my last warm-up before work sets with 405.  Today 365 was all I could handle.  I did an ugly triple and after I racked the bar, my midsection cramped up partly like I was going to vomit and partly like that feeling the d…

Meet observation--why do so many still deadlift in shoes?

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After reflecting on my experience and observations from this past weekend's 100% Raw Powerlifting Toronto Open (Canadian Challenge), I couldn't get one thought out of my mind.

The 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation limits the use of lifting gear to a weight belt and wrist wraps.  The lifters must wear a one piece lifting suit (singlet), shin covering socks when deadlifting and "shoes".  While the aim of the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation and any "raw" or "classic" divisions of other Federations is to eliminate the use of performance enhancing lifting gear, at this meet and all others in the past, many lifters insist on wearing a piece of lifting gear that reduces their performance.

What I'm talking about are those competitors that wear shoes to deadlift.



The 100% Raw Powerlifting rules concerning shoes (basically the same as the I.P.F. rules as well):

12. Shoes must be worn during lifts.


a. Shoes shall be taken to include sport shoes/sport boo…

Meet Report, 100% Raw Powerlifting Toronto Open

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After yesterday's weight debacle, subsequent re-feeding and re-hydrating and going to bed a full 15 lbs heavier than my aborted attempt to weigh in at less than 220.46 lbs, I had a terrible night's sleep interrupted by some of the worst abdominal cramps I can remember.  It was bad enough that I actually thought that I might be having a heart attack if the pains weren't so low in my mid-section.  Anyways, after what seemed like a good 30 minutes of agony, I managed to fall back asleep for a about an hour until my alarm woke me at 0600 hrs.

A quick warm-up shoveling the driveway due to one of the few snowstorms we've had this year in the Greater Toronto Area was a nice wake-up.  Soon Vivian and I were driving the 60 or so kilometres to the contest venue at Variety Village in Scarborough.  The drive was slow due to the poor road conditions but we got there in plenty of time.  I actually felt pretty good considering what I had gone through trying to make a 19 lb weight cut…

Weight cutting experiment a failure by 81 grams.

When I committed to tomorrow's 100% Raw Powerlifting Toronto Open, I decided to enter the 100kg weight class thinking my bodyweight would be very close to that limit and any last minute weight cutting would be minimal.  As the date drew closer and my own dietary compliance ended up being less than optimal, I knew if I was going to make the 100kg weight class limit, I'd need to make a significant effort.

I had never before tried to do a significant weight cut on an 18 hr weigh-in.  The most I'd ever cut was 9 lbs based on a Monday morning bloat weight and my actual weigh-in weight the morning of the competition.  In actuality the amount of weight I actually cut in the last 48 hrs before the weigh-in was only 4 lbs.  In most meets that I've entered in the past three and a half years, the weigh-in period has been 2 hrs so there wasn't much sense in dramatic weight cuts since there isn't time to fully re-hydrate.  For the last competition in the 100% Raw Powerlifti…

Last pre-competition workout and cutting weight

Today would have normally been a heavy deadlift day but with the competition this Saturday, I decided to just do some easy speed pulls.  Nothing much to report on them, they were easy as expected and won't impact on my recovery any.

Deadlifts:  315x3, 405x2x5 sets

Did some light overhead presses as well, also concentrating on speed.

Overhead presses:  135x5x5 sets

The main challenge of today and the previous two days has been the "super-hydration" process prior to initiating the water cutting process for Friday evening's weigh-in.  I usually don't bother with much of a weight cutting process because the Ontario Powerlifting Association uses a 2 hr weigh-in policy.  Since 2 hrs doesn't allow for much re-hydration, I'll usually just cut 3-4 lbs accomplished by simply stopping food and water for 12 hrs prior and maybe one hot bath.

For the competition this weekend, the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation utilizes night-before weigh-ins.  This creates a much lar…

Squats and Overhead Presses

My competition, the 100% Raw Powerlifting Toronto Open, is this Saturday so this workout was scheduled to be medium intensity, low volume.  Squats and overhead presses were the main lifts and I planned on working up to some practice singles in the Squat and then pushing the overhead press to whatever I could move.

Squats went about like I figured.  Singles with 405, 425, and 425 went about as well as I would've expected in the last week before the meet.  Not real explosive but I expected that.  This week is about active recovery and as little excitation as possible since I'll be plenty hyped come meet time.  Finished with a single, back-down set of 385x2 reps.  It wasn't particularly clean but it was easy.

Squats:  135x10, 225x10, 315x5, 365x3, 405x1, 425x1, 425x1, 385x2

Overhead presses went well.  After last week's two plate press PR, I wanted to hit that again today to validate the two plate overhead press.  I hate when you hit those PR's that were the result of…

Front squat form check and pre-meet Bench Press workout

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After seeing this recent video posted by elite level Canadian lifter, Jon Stewart, I was motivated to try to put extra effort into my front squat workout today.
Sets of 4 w/160 kgs looking very easy.  
I managed to find someone to video one of my sets with 255 lbs and wasn't totally horrified with what I saw.  Compared to Jon Stewart above, I have alot of work to do but I can already tell I'm getting some useful carryover to my power back squat.  I'm still using the 'zombie carry' to force myself to keep my torso upright and the stress on my quads.  If I were to use the 'california carry', not only does it irritate my left shoulder but it allows me to cheat a bit by getting some forward lean.  With the 'zombie carry' there's no hands to try to keep the bar in the shoulder groove.
A much weaker front squat video
Front Squats:  135x10, 135x10, 185x5, 245x3, 255x3, 255x3, 245x3

After front squats it was time for my final bench press workout before…

Last pre-competition deadlift workout

Nine days out from my competition and knock on wood, things are feeling pretty good in the Deadlift areas.  I didn't pop a new a gym PR but what I did seemed to take very little out of me.  I think my ramping up of deadlift volume this training cycle has definitely increased my work capacity.  If that turns out to be true, I should be able to parlay that into some new PR's (hopefully an all-time PR, not just a 'comeback' PR) in the training cycles after this coming meet.

Deadlift:  315x5, 405x3, 495x1, 545x1, 585x1, 605x0, 525x1x3 sets (super-setted with shrugs)

The attempt at 605 got off the ground but wasn't moving anywhere after that.  Lifting in shoes versus the deadlift slippers at the meet always costs me about 20 lbs.  I also usually get a pretty good psych on at the meet that's good for a little more.  Prior to my last meet in September, I didn't lift anything heavier than 555 for a single in the three months leading up to the meet and I lifted 606 …