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This is my second ever powerlifting meet.

2013 CPF Amateur Powerlifting Championships  Deadlift 3rd Attempt  255 Kg  562.2 lb

Long story short, here are my results:

Weight Class: 90 Kg (198.4 lb)
Weighed In At: 89.5 Kg (197.3 lb)
Age: 33

Squat: 235 Kg (518 lb)
Bench Press: 170 Kg (374.8 lb)
Deadlift: 255 Kg (562.2 lb)
Total: 660 Kg (1455 lb)

PR's in all lifts!

My primary goal for this meet was to break all of my personal records in all three lifts, and my secondary goal was to get the national record for my weight class.

Short story long, here’s my “meet write up”:

Meet Details

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So this was the CPF Canadian Amateur Powerlifting Championships sponsored by Rescindx Apparel that was held on Sunday, June 9, 2013 at Resurrection Catholic Secondary School in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

I signed up for the Men's 90 Kg (198.4 lb) weight class, open division.

It's my second time competing at a powerlifting meet, and my first time competing in the Canadian Powerlifting Federation.

Even before the meet, I had a feeling I would like the CPF because their rules (which are the WPC rules) allows for the reverse grip bench press, among other things. Many other powerlifting federations are a bunch of gripcists who do not allow the reverse grip during the bench press for some reason.

Meet Preparation

It’s really broken down into 3 categories:

  1. Training
  2. Recovery
  3. Eating

1. Training: Increasing Intensity & Building Confidence In My Lifts

In general, I increased the intensity (% of 1RM) for all of my lifts, decreased the number of reps for my sets. I kept the volume about the same.

I went hard and heavy up until a little over 1 week before the competition.

Also, I started to do mostly paused bench presses.

Squat: I couldn’t get the 500 lb x 2 low bar squat, but I did manage to do it pretty easily after putting on knee wraps. Even though the competition did not allow knee wraps, I knew that my hips and spine and whatever body parts that aren’t affected by knee wraps are able to handle 500 lb x 2 squat.

Bench Press: A couple of weeks earlier I started going heavier on my paused bench presses, hitting 370 lb x 1 on 2 occasions. I figured if I can pause a 370 lb bench, then 374.8 lb would be doable.

Started doing sets of 3 on Monday, and sets of 2 on Fridays.

I also tried bench pressing on a Wednesday, but I think benching 3 times per week was too much for me. I’m going to be switching back to my older routine of bench pressing on Monday and Friday, and overhead pressing on Wednesday.

Deadlift: This was the lift I was most worried about.

For one, I had to rebuild the pain tolerance for the hook grip.

Second, I had to built the strength back up to pull from the floor.

To rebuild the pain tolerance in my thumbs, I dedicated one day to hook grip L-sit chin ups, along with hook grip deadlifts on another day.

2 weeks before the meet, I managed to hook grip deadlift 550 lb off a bunch of mats.

And a week or so before that, I hit a deadlift PR with straps at 560 lb.

I figured if I could pull 560 lb off the floor with straps, and hook grip deadlift 550 lb off some mats, I should be able to hook grip deadlift 550 lb off the floor.

2. Recovery

I really didn’t focus on doing anything different with recovery until a little over 1 week before the meet.

The goal was to increase the frequency and quality of sleep.

So I power napped for about 30 minutes each day in the afternoon.

Also, at night I started taking some ZMA, melatonin and an extra fish oil pill. I’ve never taken ZMA before, and supposedly it helps you sleep better, recovery better, have crazy dreams etc. But I’m not sure if this really happened.

3. Eating

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1 week before the meet, I was 206.8 lb and had to lose about 9 lb for the weigh in. My diet didn’t really change until a couple of days before weigh ins, and all I really did was eat 1/3 of the rice I normally ate. More on the weight cut below.

1 Week Out

Training

The last week I still lifted, but it was relatively light for the squat and bench press, and I totally skipped on deadlifts.

I only did my warm up for the squat and bench press on the Monday before the meet, and an even lighter warm up on Thursday.

On the Thursday before the meet, I was feeling fresh and itching to lift something heavy, so I decided to go for an overhead press 2 rep max PR at 245 lb!

This could be a stupid mistake if I ended up missing lifts at the meet, but I figure that “245 lb” is relatively light compared to the loads I would be lifting with for the squat, bench press and deadlift, and my body wouldn’t be burnt out from overhead pressing that weight twice.

Weight Cut

My weight cut strategy was pretty simple: piss and sweat it out.

I did a basic water load, where (starting Monday I believe) I drank a lot of water throughout the day. This caused me to pee a lot. On Thursday, I stopped drinking so much water but continued to urinate frequently.

Also, on Thursday I stopped eating so much rice (ie. decrease carbohydrates).

The next step was to sweat it out in the bathtub.

I took a hot bath on Friday night and Saturday morning before the weigh in.

Here was my weight after Friday’s bath:

2013-06-07-weight

I only laid in the bathtub for about 10 minutes before getting out and weighing myself. I repeated the process until I was satisfied with the weight.

Because the meet was held in Kitchener (a city that’s close to where I live), I didn’t have to stay at a hotel and just stayed home.

Problem was trying to take a hot bath at home was a pain in the ass.

The hot water wasn’t that hot, and there was barely any water pressure! It took a very long time to fill up the tub.

I had to boil water in an electric kettle and pour it into the tub a few times to help fill it up.

Even though I only needed to sweat out 4 lb, the “hot bath at home” process was a hassle.

Oh, and I’d like to mention if anyone wants to try taking a hot bath at home for a weight cut:

Make sure you clean your bathtub first before taking a bath!

I didn’t clean the tub for Friday’s bath and man, it felt gross! I felt a lot of grimy, slimy stuff while my body was pressed against the tub Sick smile

Weigh In

After my final session in the bathtub, I was 198.0 lb on my digital scale.

2013-06-08-weight

At the weigh in location, I was 89.5 Kg (197.3 lb).

Sweet! Made weight and my weight loss journey has come to an end.

Post Weigh In Meal

Buffet.

"Hey, you wanna win, you gotta fuel like a winner!" - Dwight Schrute.

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Meet

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Well, I started off the day pretty bad by showing up late and missing my first squat attempt. For some reason, I thought things would run slowly and I could make it just in time to warm up. This was not the case.

Someone greeted me when I arrived and told me my name was already called for the first squat attempt.

Ah shit.

I asked who I needed to talk to in order to figure out what to do, and I was pointed to the announcer who was standing by a set of tables.

As I walked closer, I saw that my name and my first attempt was already crossed off on the scoreboard that was projected onto the big screen, and I was thinking how it would really suck if I couldn’t lift! All this training would have been for nothing!

I was also thinking how it’s going to suck to get yelled at for being late.

Well, I talked to the jacked gentleman with the big traps working the mic about coming in late (I think he’s one of the main guys running the meet? I’m not sure), and at first he said he would let me bench press and deadlift, but since I just arrived and missed my first squat, I couldn’t squat.

DAMMIT.

I was in the moment of coming to terms with the consequences of my tardiness but then he had an even better idea and put me into another flight…Sweet!

Originally I was in “Flight B”, but now I was in “Flight D”, which was the very last flight. It looked like it consisted of mostly girls and lighter guys. I was also the last lifter on the list.

I was kind of hoping to get my lifts in, maybe skip on my 3rd attempt for the deadlift if my 2nd attempt was a struggle, and leave a bit early.

My Mom, wife, brother and 2 of my nephews were there to watch me (thanks!), and I’m pretty sure by the end of the day they were tired of watching people lift weights haha.

Since I was in the LAST flight and the LAST person on the list to lift (for 3rd attempts), leaving early was out of the question unless I bombed out somehow.

Anyway, onto the lifts!

Squat

First time squatting in a monolift. Pretty cool!

Squat warm ups seemed very quick and efficient, almost like an assembly line.

Every lifter lined up in front of a monolift (there were 2 in the competition; 1 for warm ups, and another for the main lift) and took turns squatting. After a warm up set, the lifter would head back to the end of the line while the next lifter proceeds with his or her warm up.

There were volunteer spotters/plate changers during the warm ups as well (my first meet did not have this).

I was rather impressed.

Warm Up

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I pretty much went through my standard warm up for the squat. Low bar, and mostly paused.

I’m assuming the bar is 45 lb:

  • 45 lb: 10
  • 135 lb: 5
  • 225 lb: 5
  • 315 lb: 3
  • 405 lb: 1

Squat 1st attempt: 210 Kg (~463 lb)

Easy opener. I normally squat 460 lb in my warm ups.

The problem I had was squatting on a carpet. Not sure why there was a carpet, but I decided to walk the bar out of the monolift because I figure it was what I was used to, so why change.

But I was not used to squatting on a carpet, and my left foot got caught in the carpet which almost threw me off. Got the lift though.

Squat 2nd Attempt: 235 Kg (518 lb)

This was a +3 lb PR, but it did not count because I didn’t wait for the squat command Annoyed

DARN IT. Newbie mistake (hey, it’s my second meet!)

Also, this time I opted NOT to walk the bar out, and simply get into my squat stance and squat down.

I think I was more focused on getting into my stance and squatting without walking out instead of paying attention to the head judge.

Squat 3rd Attempt: 235 Kg (518 lb)

I attempted the same weight for my 3rd attempt because I did not want to miss a squat.

I got it, but looking back I should have at least went for 237.5 Kg (523.6 lb).

Bench Press

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Time to get some strange looks for my reverse grip bench press!

I changed out of my Three Wolf Moon shirt into a some other shirt with some logos on the back. Didn’t want my body to be slipping on the bench.

Also, a note on the bench rack. There were safety bars on the bench! I was not expecting this, but it made me feel at ease and a sense of security that the bar would not fall on my face if I lose control of the bar and miss the lift.

I didn’t notice anyone changing the height of the safety bars though…

Warm Up

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All paused.

The rack height was lower than what I’m used to, so it was a little harder to unrack the bar by myself. Still doable.

  • 45 lb: 10
  • 135 lb: 5
  • 225 lb: 3
  • 275 lb: 1

Bench Press 1st Attempt: 150 Kg (330.7 lb)

At the time of writing this, the weight of 330 lb is my current bench press 4RM (missed on the 5th rep).

I actually lowered my opener from 160 Kg (352.7 lb) because I wanted to play it safe, just in case I had issues with the bench height, rack height, slipping on the bench etc.

Good thing I did, because for my bench opener, the rack height was initially too low (it was set at a “5”). I had it changed to a “6”, but as they were changing it, the countdown timer on the wall was counting down.

I heard I had 28 seconds to complete the lift as they finished adjusting the height, so I felt a bit rushed to finish the lift.

As I grabbed onto the bar, my Titan Max RPM wrist wrap on my left arm came off. I quickly re-wrapped it again, and as I grasp the bar, it popped off again!

Screw it – I shook it off my arm, grabbed onto the bar with one wrist wrap, unracked it and benched it.

The person who was going to hand off the bar to me…I didn't know (or I just forgot) he was waiting to hand off the bar lol

Bench Press 2nd Attempt: 170 Kg (374.8 lb)

I changed to my backup Schiek wrist wraps because I didn’t want to encounter the same issues with the Velcro not holding. They’re the same length (about 24”), but nowhere near as strong as the Titan Max RPMs.

My paused bench press PR was 370 lb (which I’ve done twice over the past couple of weeks), so this is a +4.8 lb PR.

Bench Press 3rd Attempt: 175 Kg (385.8 lb)

I was pretty sure I could not have bench pressed this weight with a pause (my max touch-and-go bench press is 385 lb though).

Maybe this mentality worked against me because it did go up a little bit after the descent.

In hindsight, I should have been a little more conservative and went for a smaller 2.5 Kg jump to 172.5 Kg (380.3 lb). Or changed back into my Three Wolf Moon shirt and nail this weight.

A comment posted about the video asking:

How did you fail so high up? It looked like you were a few inches from finishing the lift.

At first I thought the bar had just drifted backwards (towards my head) or it was just too heavy. But after watching the video a few times, it looked like my back might have slipped on the bench causing me to lose control. Looking at my knees, it looked like there was a small jolt backwards just before missing the lift.

Even though I wore a shirt with a logo on the back, and slapped on some chalk on my back, I believe I still slipped. DAMMIT. I need to get this slipping on the bench thing figured out.

Deadlift

This is usually my least favorite lift, but for the meet, it was actually my favorite.

Deadlifting just felt easy today. It might have been from the caffeine boost from that Starbucks coffee Christine Beauchamp gave me (th-thanks…by the way, you can read Christine’s meet write up here), or because of the bar used for the deadlift. Or both.

My understanding is that the bar used during this meet was a “deadlift bar” which is supposedly whippier and thinner than a regular barbell.

I was told it was 27 mm in diameter, which made it easier for me to wrap my stubby thumbs around for the hook grip.

The knurling was really sharp though, much, much sharper than my B&R bar. It was like I was grabbing onto a metal stick with a bunch of tiny spikes on it.

Also, it was my first time applying baby powder to my thighs for the deadlift. From what I understand, baby powder (also known as talcum powder) reduces friction, so that the bar can slide up and down the legs easily.

During the warm up, I felt the bar kind of sticking on my thighs as it travelled up. It must have been my thigh sweat causing this, so I headed over to the chalk/baby powder area to apply baby powder to my thighs.

The trick is not to get baby powder on your hands when you apply it to your legs (baby powder reduces friction, so it would make it harder to hold onto the bar during the deadlift). Before doing this, I saw someone else apply baby powder to the front of their thighs and used the bottom of the bottle to spread it around. I copied this technique and it works pretty well.

Lastly, there was one tiny spot on my left shin that was very tender (probably from having a 235 lb bar bounce into my shins), so every time I touched my shin to the bar prior to lifting, it hurt! I put a couple of bandages on it to lessen any bar-to-shin impact.

Warm Up

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I switched to my second/backup Three Wolf Moon shirt for extra power, put on my knee high socks and deadlift slippers.

Also I used a full sized deadlift jack with wheels. Man, it made lifting the bar effortless!

Hook grip.

  • 135 lb: 5
  • 225 lb: 5
  • 315 lb: 3
  • 405 lb: 1

Deadlift 1st Attempt: 227.5 Kg (501.6 lb)

500 lb is usually my last warm up weight for the deadlift. This went up smoothly as expected.

Deadlift 2nd Attempt: 250 Kg (551.2 lb)

+11.2 lb PR!

Also very smooth. I was surprised how easy it felt…too easy.

Deadlift 3rd Attempt: 255 Kg (562.2 lb)

Another deadlift PR! I was actually thinking of passing on my 3rd attempt, but after feeling how easy 250 Kg went up, I decided to go for it.

255 Kg (562.2 lb) went up fast, and I didn’t even make any weird faces. That means I could have pulled a lot more.

I should have went up to 260 Kg though (573 lb) or maybe even more.

The big scary looking guy with the beard standing behind me told me I should open with this weight next time. Actually he offered words of encouragement and some technical advice that I can’t recall at this time before my lifts, which was cool.

Normally I lift alone so I don’t hear anyone talking to me but myself haha.

After the deadlift, my thumbs were throbbing in pain. It was hard to open a water bottle and put on my sweat pants without experiencing thumb pain.

Total

Squat: 235 Kg (518 lb)
Bench Press: 170 Kg (374.8 lb)
Deadlift: 255 Kg (562.2 lb)
Total: 660 Kg (1455 lb)

PR's in all lifts!

I’m pretty sure I could have squatted a little bit more, and deadlifted a lot more.

I’m also a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the 175 Kg (385.8 lb) bench press now that I saw that I slipped on the bench. That would have been a +0.8 lb PR above my touch-and-go personal best.

I’m not sure what place I came in for my weight class (90 Kg), but according to this picture I was “Place – 1”:

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I’m not 100% sure this means “1st place”, but I know the previous amateur raw full power total record for 90 Kg men in the CPF was 650 Kg, so I think I beat that (unless I was looking at old data, or someone else got a higher total during the meet).

We’ll see when the official results come out.

I did win 1st place in something though. Something to do with sub-masters…something something (I forget):

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Random Thoughts & Stuff

  • The popularity of raw powerlifting is growing, and it was evident in this meet. There were 4 flights, and about 15+ people in each flight. The meet was very organized and ran smoothly despite having a lot of lifters.
  • Metal music was playing for most of the meet. When I was trying to sleep, I kept on hearing metal music in my head for some reason.
  • That Excel scoring sheet that was projected onto the screen was pretty cool. It showed pictures of the plates you needed to add the the bar given a certain weight. I’m sure this must have helped the plate loaders figure out exactly what to add to the bar.
    *UPDATE* That spreadsheet is called "Next Lifter". Thanks Craig!
  • Met/seen a few of people from Facebook, Fitocracy, Reddit and Twitter. It’s always interesting to see people from the internet in a 3D environment.
  • Monolift is cool. The great thing about the monolift is that you don’t have to walk the bar out. My question is…why is it called a MONO (meaning single or one) when it requires more than 1 person to operate?
  • I like how the deadlift bar made my deadlift numbers and ego bigger.
  • I didn’t really eat much all day. I normally don’t eat until I’m finished my workout, and during the workout I just sip on a protein energy drink (without the ephedrine). I only ate some beef jerky, some meat stick, and a couple of honey cruller donuts.
  • A bunch of pictures of the meet can be found here in my Facebook photo album. Check it out...if you were there that day, you could be in it!

What Next

  • I’m a “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of guy. Well, whatever it is I’m doing for training, nutrition and recovery seems to be working well, so I’m going to stick to what I’m currently doing. For the most part.
  • Maintain/increase the pain tolerance for the hook grip. Building up the pain tolerance sucks, and I think maintaining it would be a lot easier.
  • Figure out a surefire way to avoid slipping on the bench. It seems to be a consistent problem that is causing me to miss lifts.
  • I might try experimenting with sumo stance for the deadlift. I have a feeling sumo, combined with a hook grip would make for an effective combination.
  • I was thinking about doing sets of 10 reps and 8 reps to get my muscles bigger, but I dunno…I don’t want to get too big. I don’t want to go through the hassle of cutting a lot of weight. We’ll see.

Goals For The Next Meet

I believe there is going to be another CPF meet in my area in December 2013.

The goal will be:

  • Squat: 250 Kg (551.2 lb)
  • Bench Press: 182.5 Kg (402.3 lb)
  • Deadlift: 272.5 Kg (600.8 lb)

Training begins…tomorrow.