Meet Recap

3 Apr

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt


The quote above has followed me for a long time. I keep it in my wallet (it was on a business card I received once). I kept it in my locker when I played baseball, and I taped it inside my wall locker when I went through basic training. When I first stepped foot into Total Performance Sports, I noticed a cork board on the wall. In bold letters, this quote was pinned to the top corner. Surrounding it, were updates from different power lifting and strongman meets / shows.

At first, it didn’t convince me to train for a power lifting meet. However, it did kind of bug me. I’m like that, if you can do it, I can do it. For better or for worse, that’s largely how I operate.  Give it a month or so, and training with a group of guys, who are all trying to get brutally strong in three lifts, rubs off on you. It’s sort of a survival of the fittest environment. It wasn’t just a pride thing, it was a challenge. I had never trained solely for this kind of output.

About 5 months ago, the quote got taped inside my training journal, and I decided I wanted to do this.

The process was a major change in how I was used to doing things. I had just finished OCS in August, and for the past two years, my training had been focused on building a lot of relative strength, and aerobic capacity. I decided, if this is my goal, then I’m going to go after it hard. This included eating a ton, training hard, and taking time to recover. When it was all said and done, I could reassess and see what I thought.

These are estimates but here is where I started from September 2011: Maybe 185lbs, Squat 315-325, Bench 275, Deadlift 425

The second week of March 2012 I was: 220ish lbs, Squat 435, Bench 315, Deadlift 515

Here are the results from the March 31st meet: Weighed in at 215.3lbs, Squat 455, Bench 285, Deadlift 525

Training for the meet has been awesome. I was super focused on something, and I was able to greatly surpass my initial goals. I thought I would start this post off with that brief description of why I did it, and where I was coming from. Here is a little more on the day of the meet, lessons learned, and my future training plans:

10a: My training partner Jamie and I arrived at the facility where the meet was being held. We left the house at 9a, and thought the drive would take longer.

11a: We weighed in, I was 215.3. I think the recent warm weather had me eating less like an absolute horse. I had seen numbers as high as 230 late February / early March.

11:30 – 2:30p: Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. I was mostly hoodie up, headphones in status.

2:30 – 3p: Started rolling, mobility and some activation work. My general warm up process looks like this:

– Lax ball upper back, feet, glutes, and knee tacking.

– PVC Roll everywhere really, and do T-Spine Extensions on the roller

– Stretch hip flexors against band, figure 4 stretch on wall with bands, shoulder IR with bands

– Mobility work for ankles, hips, t-spine and shoulders

– Activation via glute bridges, wall marches, band stuff for the low traps and shoulders

3p: Start taking warm-ups in the warm up room: Bar x 5 twice, 135 x 3, 185 x 3, 225 x 2, 275 x 1, 315 x 1, 365 x 1

3:2oish: Take 405 as an opener, no problem, felt good to get the first lift in.

3:45ish: Take 455 as a second attempt. This is the number I said I would be happy with. It actually felt really light on m back, unfortunately I pitched forward and had to grind it out because I was off-balance.

4p: Missed 475. Grinding 455 took a lot out of me, I felt confident with 475 on my back, but didn’t get more than 4 inches out of the hole = fail.

4:15 – 5:45: Wait, wait, wait to bench. I was feeling tired as hell from the squats, and I was suddenly really hungry.

5:45: Start taking warm ups for the bench. Bar x 5 twice, 95 x 3, 135 x 3, 185 x 1, 225 x 1, 255 x 1. Warm ups felt surprisingly good. I suck at benching, and I was tired.

6p: Hit 285 for an opener. This felt fine, but watching the video my bar path sucked, and I flared my elbows out a lot. The bench command takes forever to get, but the press command didn’t seem so bad.

6:15ish: Miss 315 as my second attempt. The weight felt fine in my hands, the bench command seemed like forever, I just had nothing there when I went to press = fail.

6:30ish: Miss 315 again. I knew I needed a prayer to make this happen, and it wasn’t answered, the squats drained me. In hind sight I should of gone 300, then 315. I should also get stronger.

6:30 – 8p: Wait, wait, wait. Spent a lot of time trying to forget my poor bench performance, and wondering how I was going to wake up to pull. I love to deadlift though so I knew I would bring something.

8p: Take my DL warm ups: 135 x 5, 225 x 3, 315 x 1, 405 x 1.

8:15ish: Open with 455, felt as easy as it should feel.

8:30ish: Pull 515 for my second attempt. I had pulled this twice in the gym, it felt just as easy here. I wonder if I should go 545 as I wanted to originally. I am convinced it’s better to just take away a PR, plus after what happened on the bench I don’t want a repeat.

8:45ish: Pull 525. Actually felt better than 515. I probably did have the 545 in me, but I was happy to walk away with a PR, and go 3 for 3 in a lift.


All in all, not a bad day. Also, not a bad first meet. I was happy to set two PR’s and chalked the bench up to the bench being my forever nemesis. Here are my thoughts on what I need to do to improve:

Squat: Keep squatting, I made a lot of improvement, and it’s by far the most improved lift I have right now. I think in general I need to taper down from even more volume. Additionally, I need to keep my next cycle more sub maximal and wait to hit PR’s at the meet. I would like to crush 475 next go, and take a run at 500. I think this is doable because I am continuing to hone in on technique.

Bench: I need to just be stronger. I should be able to press 315 with my arms, shoulders and pecs. The addition of using my lats and legs should be on top of that. I need to push my assistance work harder. As Chad Wesley Smith alluded to in a recent seminar here at TPS: “If you want to bench “#”, you need “#” shoulders, pecs and triceps.” I definitely do not have 315lb shoulders, pecs and triceps. Lastly, I need to do more pause benching, and groove technique big time.

Deadlift: I think my pull is solid, technique wise. As I get stronger it should continue to go up. I don’t think it warrants any kind of different approach.

In general, I plan on working to a higher volume and tapering down from a much higher base. It’s a long day, and I need to be doing more hard work to prepare for it. Also, I plan on doing more energy system work so I have a better level of preparedness come meet day.

From a body comp standpoint, I am not comfortable where I am. I plan on attacking the nutrition much cleaner, and possibly rolling in at the low 200’s near the meet. At that point I will decide whether I want to drop to 198 class. I’m not setting any records, so basically I am going to eat clean, and see what happens. If I’m there as a result, I will go with it. If I’m not I will go in where I am.

I really enjoyed the process, and having something to train for. Furthermore, I got a lot of muscle gains and just look physically like more of a lifter than when I started. I will continue to compete, and treat this seriously. As I have I written before, I’m not into half assing things. If I am going to do this, I am going to do it to the full of my ability.

Next meet is June 30th. I have 12 weeks to prepare. In my head I want: 475, 315, 550. I’d like to go in confident in those as second attempts and take a run at: 500, 330, 570 to total 1400.

I also want to give a shout out to my training partner Jamie Smith who did very well. He hit 475, 335, 545 at 213lbs.

Additionally Team TPS killed it, check out the video I posted yesterday for numbers and to see the lifts!

My head, doubling as a tomato.




One Response to “Meet Recap”


  1. 25 Lessons From My 25th Year « Greg Robins - May 4, 2012

    […] Power lifting is a ton of fun. Training with a purpose will do more for you than any flashy program, or BS […]

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