Training with Team Newfoundland

Last week I mentioned in a training log entry that I was going to be travelling to St. John's, Newfoundland for business.  Newfoundland lifting great, Tom Kean, read the entry and offered to let me join his crew for a training session while I was there.  In addition to inviting me to train with him and his crew, he also suggested some sights to see for the first time visitor.  Since my business was finished fairly early in the day, I had time to see the recommended sights.

looking down at St. John's from Signal Hill

Icebergs off of Cape Spear
view from Quidi Vidi brewery

Beer made from iceberg water
After sightseeing, it was time to hit the gym.  I was pretty excited since it's not every day one gets to train with one of the best lifters in Canada along with his crew.  When I got to the gym, I met Tom and was introduced to the other lifters at the session, Tony Granville and Stacey Price.  Tony and Stacey are still junior lifters being under the age of 23 yet both already have extensive competition experience.  Stacey has been to Nationals and Tony has been to Nationals and the Junior Worlds.  In addition to training with champion lifters, they also had their own Eleiko bar and plates and a competition spec ER rack so the equipment was exactly the same as one would find in official competition.

Tom and his crew train all three lifts in a session but since I squatted last Friday, I was planning on bench pressing and deadlifting today.  Watching them go through their squat sets lent me a great opportunity to observe and ask questions.  After they finished squatting, I worked into their bench press rotation.  My goal today was to train to a heavy single.  Since the equipment was competition spec, it would serve as a great dry run to test out my meet attempt schedule.  In addition to having great equipment, I would also get a lift off and expert sets of eyes for feedback on bench press form.  

Immediately, this paid off as Tom observed that I was starting the press with the bar too far back, almost over my chin instead of starting at a point above the upper chest.  With his expert lift offs placing the bar in a better start position, he saved me at least an extra 4-6" of horizontal bar travel.  The combination of great equipment, lift offs, form tweaks and the motivation of training with others led to the best bench session I can remember.  If my competition peak continues on it's current trajectory, a third attempt at 150 kgs is a distinct possibility.  This is mind boggling to me as just 6 weeks ago, I was hoping so somehow scrape out a 142.5 kg bench press.

Bench Press:  70kgs x5x2 sets, 100kg x3, 120x2, 130x1, 135x1, 140x1, 145x1, 147.5x1, 120x5x2 sets.

After that session, my current plan for bench press attempts will be:  140, 147.5, 150

Deadlift was next and my goal was to work up to a decently hard single.  Things went pretty well and my hook grip held up through a top single with 260 kgs.  I will likely open with that and jump to 282.5 kgs for my second.  Deadlifting with the much stiffer Eleiko bar compared to the deadift bar used at my last competition will impact my deadlift some so I'm going to play it a little more conservatively.

Deadlift:  120kgs x3, 145x3, 175x1, 210x1, 240x1, 260x1

These went up pretty easily although the 260 was slow off the ground.  I'm still getting used to how the hook grip sets and it's really slowing my ability to rip the bar off the floor.  

Tom Kean repping out light deads
Tom, Stacey, me, Tony
  Overall, this session was a great reminder of how beneficial it is to train either all the time or at least occasionally with lifters more experienced than I.  Between the motivation from all lifters pushing themselves to the experienced eyes on form, I'm certain that I achieved things today that would not have happened if I were training alone.  Oh yeah, that Iceberg beer is pretty tasty too!

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