2013 Ontario Powerlifting Assoc 3-lift Classic Championships meet report

I can honestly say I had a great meet even though the numbers wouldn't suggest such a thing. My training in the last 8 weeks leading up to this meet was extremely inconsistent due to a variety of things but my goal for this meet was to get everything out of what I had and to learn as much as possible.

I spent Friday evening spotting and loading the bench press only competition and then supported Toronto Rex PL club teammates Trish and Mark Boyle while they competed in the Saturday Morning and Mid-day sessions.  Trish won Best Open class female lifter while Mark set a number of PRs.  Overall a great day for Mark and Trish!  After a quiet dinner I got to sleep ready for my 0530 hrs wake up call in preparation for the 0630 weigh-in for my session.

I normally only wake up that early if I've got a tee-time.  I tried to train in the early morning once but that lasted one day.  Needless to say, I wasn't feeling super confident as I waited for them to call my name to get on the scale.  After weighing in at 109.4 kgs, I got some breakfast with Mark and finally started to feel like I belonged among the living.  To add to all of the other issues that have imposed upon the quality of my training, I managed to come down with a some kind of head cold--either that or the warm south winds of the past few days blew some hayfever up here.  I had no voice on Saturday and a little bit of it today.  I was also hoarking up some nasty phlegm.  None of that felt like it would sap my strength but it was just another distraction.

Of the lifts I've been able to train, I've had the most effective sessions with the squat.  So, it was not completely unexpected that I was able to grind out a 2.5 kg PR and my first ever 2xBWT raw squat with my 222.5 kg 3rd attempt.

222.5 kg squat, 3rd attempt

I had concerns about the bench press because I had failed with 325 the past couple weeks.  My PR is 155 kgs or 341 lbs so I was not that excited about giving up so much ground.  My opener with 140 kgs/308 lbs was very easy but rather than jump to 147.5 kgs/325 lbs, I went to 145 kgs/319 lbs for my second attempt. I didn't want to take the chance of missing 325 again and leaving 5 kgs on the platform.  I ended up getting 145 kgs with ease and called for 150 kgs/330 lbs for my third.  While this was 5 lbs more than a weight I had missed in the gym, I pressed it smoothly possibly leaving 2.5 kgs on the platform.

150 kg bench press, 3rd attempt

At this point, I was only 2.5 kgs behind the pace I had set at my previous meet when I set a PR in the total with 660.  However, the deadlift was the one lift that I had trained the least effectively over the final 8 weeks.  When my warm-up rep with 455 was not nearly as explosive as it normally was, I knew that I was going to be in for a grind.  My opener was 260 kgs/573 lbs.  This weight in previous competitions was usually handled fairly routinely but today it was slow off the floor and lacked significant acceleration to the finish.

I contemplated taking 275 kgs for my second but stuck with my normal 20 kg jump and called for 280.  I knew this was going to be a battle but one of the things I wanted to get out of this meet was some experience fighting for a lift.  My teammates Mark and Trish had shown unbelievable fight in grinding out squats and deadlifts the day before so I used their effort as inspiration for my attempt at 280 kgs.

I got on the platform knowing that I was not going to give up on the pull no matter what happened so when it remained stapled to the ground, I just kept pulling and humping my back until it finally broke free.  Inch by slow inch, I kept the bar moving until I just couldn't get my shoulders back far enough to get the down signal.  I tried to sell the lockout but the excruciatingly long pull got the better of my hookgrip and the bar popped out of my left hand as I tried to get my shoulders back.  In total, I pulled for 11 seconds and almost completed the lift.

My previous 285 kg deadlift from my meet in June was also slow but it only took 5 seconds from start to finish.  This time, with 5 kgs less, it took double the time.  Even though I missed the lift, going through that experience was instructive.  While I definitely don't want to grind out 11 second pulls, knowing that I can is a nice chip to have in the confidence bank.

world's slowest missed deadlift?  11 seconds to miss 280 kgs

I used to think this was a slow pull, 5-6 seconds.

After missing that deadlift, I was completely gassed.  Rather than pass my third, I put in an attempt and timed out to give the remaining lifters in the flight an extra minute of rest.

Even though my final total was 632.5 kgs, 7.5 kgs less than I lifted at last year's Classic Provincials, I was very happy with my lifting at this meet.  My squats felt the best they've ever felt and getting a read on the boost I get from the competition environment was valuable.  Since I unintentionally removed a confounding variable of effective training from the equation, it's a little easier for me to gauge how much 'extra' I get from lifting in competition.  I also whittled down my competition warm up schedule by a few reps and did not notice any detrimental effects.  The deadlift miss was valuable because it gave me a read on how much I can 'will' out of the bar (not 20 kgs if my opener is slower than expected) and because nothing broke.

Assuming I can stay healthy in the coming months while preparing for Nationals, I have a nice idea of what I need to do to get everything on track to establish a new PR total the week of March 31, 2014.

Squat:  warm up, 135x5, 275x1, add belt, 365x1, low bar, add wrist wraps, 405x1.
     Meet:  att 1, 205 kgs, good, att 2, 215 kgs, good, att 3, 222.5 kgs, good, PR

Bench Press:  all reps paused, warm up, 135x5, 225x3, 275x1
    Meet:  att 1, 140 kgs, good, att 2, 145 kgs, good, att 3, 150 kgs good

Deadlift:  warm up, 455x1
     Meet:  att 1, 260 kgs, good, att 2, 280 kgs, not good.

Total:  632.5 kgs, weighed in at 109.4 kgs.

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