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Showing posts from June, 2013

Week 1, Day 3 Foundation Phase

Although my upper back and hamstrings were still very sore from Thursday's deadlift session, I figured I could turn that into a positive since it would hold me back somewhat from working with too high an intensity.  I want to ease my shoulders back into a higher volume of bench pressing but for now, I'm going to substitute some bench pressing with overhead pressing.  It's still a press and the change in angle and extra core work will pay benefits when it's time to concentrate on the competition lifts in another 7 weeks or so.
Overhead presses went pretty well, I worked up to a single with 225 and felt fairly stable.  I tried for a second rep but the upper back fatigue from Thursday put an end to that.  I finished with one back off set with 185 but I could feel my stability waning so I shut it down there.  Lots of time to ramp up the volume.
Next up was beltless squats and I was curious to see how they'd feel with my hamstrings feeling so sore.  They actually felt p…

Week 1, Day 2, Foundation phase

I thought the leg press/pause squat pre-exhaust sequence was a tough one but my deadlift pre-exhaust sequence might be worse (meaning better).  I was still sore in the quads today but the residual DOMS is less than last week so I'm slowly adapting to the Day 1 leg workout.  I'm not sure how sore I'll be in the hamstrings and back in the coming days but I suspect it could be pretty epic.  Either way, I still have a squat and press day in a couple days so I'll have to figure out a way to get through it.

Today's session was a pre-exhaust movement of snatch grip stiff legged deadlifts.  I worked up to three worksets of 5 reps.  I followed that by working up to three worksets of 3 reps in the snatch grip deadlift.  Like my squat sequence, it just so happened that I ended up working with about 65% of my 1 RM in the deadlift but it felt like more than enough of a load tonight.

While that sequence was hard, it didn't leave me as winded as the leg press/squat sequence s…

Week 1, Day 1, foundation phase

Tonight's session went a bit better than last week's but I'm beginning to really love/hate pre-exhausting pause squats with leg presses.  After last week's session, my quads were sore for three days.  That's something that hasn't happened in a long time, a good sign that the stresses were new and should encourage adaptation.

I went heavier in the leg press because they're feeling better very quickly but I was really winded going through my pause squat sets.  I added two extra sets with the ultimate goal being 6 fast sets of 3 before
I bump up the weight 20 lbs.  By the time I was finished with the squats, I really didn't want to finish my prescribed sets and reps of barbell rows and paused bench presses but I did it anyways.

Everything I've done so far is on the lower end of the intensity scale, 80% of my 1 RM for top sets of paused bench presses and only 65% of my 1 RM for the belt-less pause squats but the workload is still a challenge. I expect …

First workout since the meet

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I never look forward to the first couple training sessions after a meet.  The weights always feel heavier, move slower, and it takes longer to recover between sets.  The good thing is, I've got a good 5 months before my next competition so there's plenty of time to work on building up a new plateau.

While at the meet, I spoke with a buddy from the Niagara Powerlifting Club, Matt Cuthbert.  He was there helping out his teammate, Gerry Frenette.  Matt is one of the good guys in the Ontario powerlifting scene.  He's always ready to help out and he's got a good eye for technique critiques as well as suggestions for improving it.

Matt gave me a great form cue that made a difference in my competition bench presses and he also gave me some training suggestions for the future.  The form cue was to squeeze the bar as tight as possible with the whole hand but especially the pinky fingers on each hand.  To be honest, I had never done that.  I always squeezed the bar but the press…

Some additional photos from the meet and a thank you to those that referee.

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I was able to grab some additional photos of our Team, Toronto Rex Powerlifting, accepting the Best Team trophy as well as a photo of me squatting and accepting the male Best Lifter trophy.

Big thanks to Tannis for this photo and the next photo of me accepting the male Best Lifter trophy.


The last photo was taken by Harnek Singh Rai.  Harnek is one of twelve IPF International level judges in the Canadian Powerlifting Union.  In addition to refereeing at many meets at all levels, Harnek brings his camera and when not refereeing, takes many photos of lifters and volunteers.  Many times, a lifter's best photos documenting his or her participation are the result of Harnek's work memorializing competitions.


Harnek is one of many volunteers that give time and travel, largely at their own expense so that lifters such as myself have the opportunity to compete.  While the recent influx of new competitors has vitalized provincial powerlifting associations across the country, there is a …

Meet Report, O.P.A. UTM Open 3 lift, 660 kg PR total

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Today's meet went far better than I expected.  The skinny:  I set PR's in the squat, bench press, and Total.  I also won best lifter, our team, Toronto Rex Powerlifting won the team trophy, and teammate, Trisha Boyle in her first meet since April 2012 and only about 6 months removed from having a baby won Female Best Lifter.  My other two teammates that lifted, Mark Boyle and Kinnon MacKinnon both set tons of PR's and won bronze medals in their respective weight classes.  Overall a very good day for the whole team.  Big thanks to teammate Tannis Waugh for taking video of everyone's lifts and helping manage warm-ups.  She's recovering from some injuries so she'll be on the platform soon.

Apparently whatever I did to force a peak after so much time off worked to regain most of the progress I had made through May 4th, the last good session I had before my vacation.  I ended up hitting a PR in the squat of 220 kgs going 3 for 3.  The last squat was pretty tough, I …

Meet week training session

Still trying to force a peak after 5 weeks of basically no training leading up to this meet.  Since I didn't hold my training levels long enough before I went on vacation, there isn't any 'muscle memory' to fall back on.  At this point, I'm just trying to tune my nervous system into giving up a 1 RM effort and hoping meet day adrenalin makes up the difference.

Squats felt better than last Thursday and I had hoped to get a single in with 475 but I got pinned out of the hole.  At least the 455 was faster than last week.  I should be good for 475 on Saturday but it's still disappointing since I had hit a 495 single the week before I left for the cruise.

Bench presses are responding well and I was able to work up to a paused single with 330.  At the very least, I should be able to match the numbers I lifted at my last meet.  Interesting that a 5 week deload basically erased 4 months of progress.  I hope I reclaim that progress quickly after this meet since I'll…

Tested openers for meet next weekend

Prior to my vacation on May 9th, my training was going very well and I was looking forward to setting some PR's in the squat, bench press, and total on June 15th.  What I didn't completely expect was to so thoroughly enjoy cruising around the Mediterranean and visiting foreign countries for the first time.  It was such a great trip that Vivian and I have already committed to another cruise next May.  I can definitely say I won't be competing any time soon after we return from that trip.

After we got back on May 18th, I was of no desire to pick up the training so I spent a good 3-4 days just enjoying the afterglow of the trip.  When I finally got back in the gym to squat and bench press some three weeks after my last heavy squat and bench press workout, my knee decided it was still on vacation.  I took another week off and that session went pretty well.  While on the trip, my chronically painful broken wisdom tooth started really acting up so I scheduled an extraction for J…

Spotted, loaded on day 1 of the Toronto Supershow and had two wisdom teeth out today

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The Ontario Powerlifting Association held a powerlifting meet in conjuction with the Toronto Pro Supershow this past weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.  Since many of the competition organizers were either friends or teammates from Toronto Rex Powerlifting, it was an easy decision to volunteer to help out on the platform.  I was only able to attend one of the two days but it was still a great experience.

Spotting and loading at a powerlifting meet is a decent amount of work but I ended up back spotting squats and lifting off bench presses so I didn't have nearly as much plate wrangling as the other 4 spotter/loaders.  On the day I worked, no spotters and no lifters got hurt so it was a pretty good day.

Observing a meet is always a good motivator and I left Saturday feeling pretty excited about competing in two weeks even though my recent vacation and minor back and knee issues have disrupted my training volumes.  After the final deadlift was pulled, I noticed there wa…