USPA Strode Station Open Meet Write-Up

Another meet day has come and gone and as promised I have the full scoop on what went down this past Saturday (2/27/16) all ready to be laid out for your reading pleasure. Five Purdue Barbell powerlifters, including myself, competed in the USPA Strode Station Open in Winchester, KY. Competing with this group always seems to be an awesome experience and this weekends meet was no exception. Each of us hit the platform in full stride, hit new PRs, and brought home some hardware as an added bonus.

Travel and Weigh-Ins

My training partners, Ethan Lenn and Austin Elpers, rode down with me last Thursday morning to Winchester to get settled into the hotel and finish our weight cuts. This was Austin’s first sanctioned meet so we made it a point to make sure he knew how things were going to play out and what to do to be ready. A long night of trying to sleep on an empty stomach on Thursday was followed by weigh ins on Friday morning. All of us made weight without incident and the rest of the day pretty much consisted of stuffing face and intermittent napping. We had a great family presence come in to watch us lift which is always a good time. I think just about everyone had at least one family member come out to cheer us on and share the day with the team. Friday got finished off with a big group dinner feast at Applebee’s where we were joined by non other than Brandon Smitley himself. Brandon is currently in prep for the XPC Finals meet next weekend at eh 2016 Arnold Classic Festival so getting caught back up with him and seeing what his goals are going into meet day was a nice treat. After dinner the post carb load coma hit and everyone went to bed as visions of PRs danced in their heads.

Meet Day

Now on to the fun stuff… meet day. Saturday morning we headed over to the meet venue. The competition was held at Crossfit Strode Station, a very nice gym that was out of the way and had plenty of space to handle the meet. The rest of the team joined up with us shortly after arriving and lifting began.


My squat is definitely the lift that has been coming along the fastest out of the big three. This being my first time lifting in a USPA meet and not walking out squats in competition for about a year, I chose to open relatively low at 465lbs. 465 went off without a hitch so I made a jump to 495 on my second which was also a good lift. For my final lift I stuck with somewhat of a tradition by letting Brandon pick my weight so I have no idea what I’m lifting. Brandon is awesome at seeing how the weights move and making good judgement calls as to what my attempts should be. This combined with me not knowing the weight kinda allow me to clear my head and not psych myself out. My third attempt was again all white lights and I ended up hitting 518 lbs, an 18 pound PR. I know I have more in the tank going forward and I have not even come close to my ceiling on the squat yet but that will have to wait until next meet. I start the day 3 for 3 with a new PR so I cannot complain one bit.

Bench Press

After squats I rested up a bit and grabbed a bite before warming up for the bench. Coming off of three good attempts I was pretty stoked to get on the bench but things took a slight detour as I missed 314 lbs on my opener and again on my second attempt. Bench has been my achilles heel for the past meet or two and has been pretty frustrating. I have hit 315 consistently in the gym for the past year or two but something is wrong technique-wise that I need to focus on in the coming months. Nonetheless, I was able to hit 314 easily on my third attempt and stay in the meet still able to go for a PR total.


After my close call on the bench, it took me a little while to get my mind right when we moved on to deadlift. A meet is very mental especially as the day moves on and fatigue sets in. It is really hard to stay in the zone for such a long period of time especially when you have to go from lift ready to resting and back again. I opened on deadlifts with a 505 lb pull and never looked back. Something about having a good opening lift got me back on track and dialed in. I went on to pull 535 as a second and finished the day with a new deadlift meet PR of 551 lbs.

Below I have attached a video of my final lift on each of the movements.

At the end of the day, I can’t ask for better competition experiences than what Purdue Barbell has given me. There are always going to be little hiccups and bumps in the road but that is why we come home from meets, adjust our goals, and get back to work. When my grand father first brought me into the gym and taught me how to lift properly he would always say “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”. It never meant much at the time but as I move farther along with my powerlifting training and begin to come across weaknesses I never knew I had, all the little things that I have done along the way to get where I am become very important. I count this meet as a success just as I have every other meet. I PRed on two of the three lifts and have a new PR total. I am very proud of the team as a whole for once again conducting themselves very professionally and leaving it all on the platform.

The Road Ahead

As for me right now, I plan to take this week of for rest. I will probably get in the gym once or twice but just to do some light recovery style work. Once I my body heals up and stops aching I am going to run Brandon’s post meet volume cycle once again which will hopefully allow me to put some size back on and take a load off of my joints for a bit. Brandon will be working with me over the next few weeks in deciding what movements I should start off with once I get back into powerlifting training and other adjustments to fine tune my sessions. Since we are not going to be lifting as a team until next Fall I will be taking a nice long offseason for the rest of spring into summer. I guess I will just have to see how strong I can get! Until next time…


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