1 Week Out! Plans Before The Meet, Knee Wrap PRs, Mash Elite Strength Extravaganza and Stuff You Should Read

June 2, 2013 — Leave a comment

1 week out from the Canadian Amateur Powerlifting Championships on Sunday, June 9, 2013!

Damn. Time sure flies fast.

Plans For This Upcoming Week

Take it easy. I'm probably just going to do my warm ups for my main lifts on Monday and Wednesday for practice, and do a bunch of foam rolling and mobility work all week to keep loose. Also, I want to let my body recover and hopefully any nagging aches and pains will be gone by next Sunday.

Sleep better. I picked up some ZMA and melatonin to help me with this. I've read good things about ZMA, but so far after 2 nights I don't notice any difference. I was expecting some vivid, awesome dreams at least, but they were the vague, normal dreams that I regularly have.

Sleep Supplements

Sleep Supplements

Eat less carbs. In other words, eat less rice. Goddammit.

Water loading. I done this one for my first powerlifting meet last year. Basically drink a lot of water, pee a lot, then stop drinking so much water before weighing in (but keep on peeing) so you piss out a lot of water weight. It didn't really work well for me back then, but maybe I'll temporarily lose more water weight this year with this method.

Current Body Weight

206.8 lb

About 207 lb.

I normally don't weigh myself so in my mind I'm always "around 200 lb". Well, I weighed myself this morning and I was about 207 lb.

That means I need to lose 9 lb to make weight on Saturday (I'm weighing in on Saturday, and the competition is on Sunday).

Hopefully this water loading and pissing it out will help me lose some water weight this year, but I'm probably going to lose the most weight by sweating it off during a hot bath like last year.

Knee Wraps

This past week I discovered firsthand how effective knee wraps are for the squat. I bought them in September 2012 and never really tried them out on heavy sets of squats. Until now. PRs below.

Personally I don't consider using knee wraps "raw" simply because they provide assistance in the lift. There is elastic energy stored in the knee wraps which definitely helps move the weight in the lift, especially out of the bottom of the squat position.

So far, I like them.

They let me handle more weight, and I think the knee wraps will be a valuable training tool in the future for me. I'll probably do something like squat with knee wraps one week, and then the next week or so, attempt the same weight without knee wraps (Knee Wrap Progression Method™).

I've added 3 more rows to my personal records table to indicate knee wrapped squats.

Anyway, onto the PRs I've done this past week:

Front Squat: 405 lb x 1 (1RM with Knee Wraps)

On Wednesday was my first time wearing knee wraps for a 1RM attempt, and probably my 5th time wearing them ever for a lift.

I missed on this weight a couple of weeks ago, and weight knee wraps I got it with not much struggle. Eventually I'll want to front squat 405 lb without the assistance of knee wraps.

Overhead Press: 235 lb x 3 (3RM)

Held it on the top for the last rep, and when I brought it back down somehow I lost balance.

I tried to bring it back down under control, but the bar slipped out of my hands while trying to catch it.

It dropped on the edge of some rubber mats I had in front of my rack, and the bar bounced right into my shins. Here's the aftermath:


Shin damage from OHP :/

Low Bar Squat: 500 lb x 2 (2RM with Knee Wraps)

I've been struggling to get 500 lb x 2 in the low bar squat, but thanks to knee wraps, I got it on Friday!

Actually felt like I could have went for another rep. I didn't even make a squat face on that last rep. Might try 3 reps in a couple of weeks, or attempt 500x2 without knee wraps.

High Bar Squat: 500 lb x 2 (2RM with Knee Wraps)

I like to keep my low bar and high bar squat workload balanced, so I did this on Saturday:

This was a bit harder than the low bar squat at 500 lb x 2.

Mat Pull: 550 lb x 1

I read somewhere that you shouldn't really deadlift so close to a meet, so I opted for a partial deadlift instead. I just wanted to make sure that my thumbs and my mind will be able to handle the load that I'm hoping to pull (I deadlift with a hook grip).

I figure if I can deadlift 550 lb off of 6 1/4" mats with a hook grip, and I can deadlift 560 lb off the ground with straps (which I did last week), then I should be able to deadlift 550 lb off the ground using a hook grip during the competition next week.

Mash Elite Strength Extravaganza

Mash Elite Strength Extravaganza

I heard about this event from Greg Nuckols, who, by the way, is an absolute monster (a nice, good guy monster), smart and wise beyond his years. I would subscribe to his blog if I were you.

This looks pretty awesome.

From the Mash Elite Strength Extravaganza Facebook page:

This event will be the greatest test of strength ever devised. A two day event with weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman events all included, it will answer the age-old question, "who is the strongest athlete?" It is guaranteed to have events in which you excel, and also events that expose your weaknesses. Whoever emerges victorious at the end of two grueling days of competition can rightfully claim greatness in the realm of strength athletics.

The event is basically this:

  1. Saturday Morning - Olympic Lifts (Snatch, Clean & Jerk)
  2. Saturday Afternoon - Powerlifting (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift)
  3. Sunday - Strongman (Log Press, Tire Flipping, Farmers Walks, 18" Deadlift For Reps, Stones, Truck Pulling etc)

More about how this event is going to be run, weight classes and scoring here.

It kinda reminds me of the good ol' days of mixed martial arts (which was then known as NHB, or no-holds barred) where barely anyone was a "mixed martial artist" and they only trained in one style. Back then, they would pit fighters from various disciplines (style vs style) to see which fighter and style was the best.

This seems like it's pitting strength athletes against each other in some mixed-strength competition to see who is the strongest in each weight class.

It would have been cool if they brought back the old school clean and press into the competition though!

But I like this idea, and it will be interesting to see how this will turn out, and if it'll catch on as the next "big thing" since CrossFit.

Stuff You Should Read

  1. A Lion in Iron: It’s Not That Complicated, Part 3 by Alexander Cortes
  2. 5 Reasons Women Shouldn’t Be Intimidated by Powerlifting by Caitlyn Trout
  3. West of Westside by Daniel Green
  4. Barbell Training as Rehab by Karl Schudt

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