[Meet Report] Canadian Powerlifting Federation (CPF) No Frills Bench Press Bash 2014

August 24, 2014 — Leave a comment


Weigh In

  • 1st attempt: 100.5 Kg (221.565 lb) * PR!
    • Bodyweight PR. Note to self: Google how to stop gainz.
  • 2nd attempt: 99.9 Kg (220.2418 lb)
    • Removed singlet, shirt and socks. Made 100 Kg weight class.

Bench Press

  • 1st attempt: 160 Kg (352.74 lb)
  • 2nd attempt: 175 Kg (385.809 lb) * PR!
  • 3rd attempt: 182.5 Kg (402.344 lb) * PR!

Full Meet Report

So I competed at a bench press only powerlifting competition yesterday. I had known about this meet for a while now, but I was undecided whether I should do it or not until last Tuesday.

I figured I should do this meet because it was probably going to be the only competition I would do this year. On top of that, it's within walking distance from where I live.

And I'm not usually surrounded by strong people who lift heavy weights (at least, not in real life), so it'll be nice to be around a bunch of big, strong beefcakes all wearing tight-ass singlets.

Lastly, it gives me something to blog about!

Meet Details

Held on Saturday, August 23, 2014.

Backyard meet that's located about 20 minutes from my home...20 minutes of walking that is!

Weigh ins at 11:00 AM, rules meeting at 12:00 PM and benching began at 1:00 PM.

Meet Preparation

Well, for my 4 day meet prep, it was pretty much this:


That meant no benching, and no pushing myself up from a prone position.

Reason why is it was after Tuesday's bench training that I decided to do this. My triceps were pretty fried from reverse grip benching 370 lb x 3, followed by 330 lb x 7.

So, best bet was just to rest and hope for the best on the platform.

For the rest of the week, I rested on Wednesday, squatted on Thursday, and rested again on Friday (normally train 5-6 days per week).

Also, because my current training revolves around hitting some sort of personal record everyday, I'm used to maxing out for 1 or more reps on a regular basis.

Rack Height

Looking over the old CPF meet report, my rack height was “6”. But watching the videos, “6” seemed too low, so I'm going to try something higher. I'm used to unracking the bar by myself, even with a reverse grip, and one of the keys is getting the height of the J-hooks high enough so that the arms are almost locked out.

Mark's video from last year’s No Frills bench press meet, it looks like an “8”. I'm guessing our arm length are more or less the same, so 8 should be good.

Possible Attempts

Anyways, possible attempts were:

  1. Opener: 160 Kg (352.74 lb)
  2. 2nd Attempt: 175 Kg (385.809 lb)
  3. 3rd Attempt: 182.5 Kg (402.344 lb)

A Note On Weight Selection

I think I read from Dave Tate about opening with a 3RM, hitting a PR on the 2nd attempt, and then going for broke on the 3rd attempt.

I was thinking about opening at 150 Kg or 330.7 lb because it would be similar to my last paused reverse grip bench warm up set. It's also the same opening weight that I used last year at the last powerlifting meet that I competed in.

Considering the fact that I'm stronger now compared to last year, and got 7 reps with 330 lb earlier this week, and my 3RM is currently 385 lb, I decided to open with something a little heavier.

However, I felt a little conservative because I haven't really been practising paused benching on a regular basis, and I would be benching on an unfamiliar bench without sandpaper duct-taped onto the bench, so I decided to go with 160 Kg (352.74 lb) as my opener.

The 2nd attempt is 175 Kg (385.809 lb). This would mean a 0.809 lb PR LOL.

The 3rd attempt at 182.5 Kg would be breaking the 400 lb mark. Wasn't very confident about this even though I can touch-and-go bench 400 lb for a double, and current 1RM is 415 lb (without a pause).

Another option I was thinking about was opening with 170 Kg (374.786 lb) with a REGULAR GRIP, then reverse grip the rest of the attempts in order to get a PR on the opener and 2nd attempt.

The Weigh In

I hit a bodyweight PR on my first attempt when weighing in, which was 100.5 Kg. Goddammit! A puny 0.5 Kg over the 100 Kg weight limit.

Took off my shirt, singlet and socks.

My second and final weigh in attempt was a nice 99.9 Kg haha. Good enough to compete in the 100 Kg weight class!

The last time I competed was in the 90 Kg weight class. I am not looking forward to cutting weight to make 90 Kg in the future.

There was no weight cutting for this meet, since it's more or less an informal, backyard driveway garage lifting competition with a 1 hour weigh in. I'm happy because cutting weight is a pain in the ass, and all I want to do is lift some weights.

In fact, I actually tried BULKING HARDER for this meet just to make sure that I could bench the most I possibly can during the competition! Wanted to be as big and bloated as possible, while still being able to weigh 100 Kg.

Bench Shirt

Another concern was having my back slip on the bench.

I made sure that I wore a shirt that I had PR'd in on the bench, so I went with my tight, white Marc Ecko Star Wars shirt:

Warm Ups

Tried to keep it as close to my regular warm up weights as possible:

  • Walked 20 minutes to meet location [heavy breathing]
  • 135 x 5
  • 225 x 3
  • 275 x 1
  • 315 x 1

The Lifts

Opener: 160 Kg (352.74 lb)

Easy, as expected.

2nd Attempt: 175 Kg (385.809 lb)

Easy, not as expected.

+0.809 lb PR!

3rd Attempt: 182.5 Kg (402.344 lb)

My man Adam Wathan offered to chalk up my back before this attempt. I felt like I walked out of a cloud of smoke after haha. Easy, definitely did not expect 400 lb to move this fast.

Afterwards, Adam told me he “put some ‘roids in the chalk” LMAO. Died.

Looking Back At My Warm Ups Attempts

Going into the meet, the attempts that I initially choose seemed wise.

Considering that my max paused reverse grip bench press was 385 lb, and my max touch-n-go reverse grip bench press is 415 lb, going for a small PR on the 2nd attempt on an unfamiliar bench with no sandpaper duct-taped onto it, and lifting in an unfamiliar environment seemed to be the right thing to do.

Also, going for something just over the 400 lb mark on the 3rd attempt would be +15 lb on my paused 1RM, so it seemed like an aggressive but doable weight.

But the headshake of disapproval from the judge on the right of the video (Rich “Tiger” Singh) says it all: Should have added more goddamn weight to the bar!

In hindsight, looking back at the videos, I should have went a little heavier. At least 2.5-5 Kg more on my 3rd attempt. Or maybe all attempts.

If I had access to the Delorean time machine from Back To The Future, I would drive it 88 miles per hour, and accepted to lift in 2 divisions (originally registered for open and sub-masters, which a recent rule changed would have allowed me to lift twice), giving me a total of 6 attempts on the platform! That way, I could be conservative for the first 3 attempts, and just keep on adding weight for the consecutive lifts.

Or I could have done a regular bench press for the first 3 attempts, and then switch to the reverse grip on my last 3, allowing me to PR in both variations!

Unfortunately I don't have access to a time machine, so that's not going to happen anytime soon.

What’s Next

The next CPF meet in Ontario will be October 25, 2014 all the way in Newmarket at the Concord Fitness Club. Most likely not going to do that one, because it's a lot further than 1.4 km walking distance from my home. My mind might change, so we’ll see. If not the October 25th meet, then something local in 2015.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing, and hopefully not add anymore bodyweight. Don’t want to get too big.

And big thanks to Bruce McIntyre for running this meet! I think the No Frills bench press meet is going to be a yearly tradition for me now.

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011