3/4/17 – Max Effort Lower – Week 2, Day 1

The Arnold Classic has come and gone once again and never disappoints. Once again a large group of Purdue Barbell made the trip to Columbus, OH to witness some of our heroes in action. Going to the Arnold together has become somewhat of a tradition within the group and having one of our own members competing in the XPC Powerlifting meet over there this past Friday made it even that much more special. Nic Edmondson, a Junior in the club, competed as an elite lifter on Friday morning at the competition and represented the club as well as anyone ever could. Nic has a great career ahead of him and we are very proud to call him our teammate. As for me, I was a spectator to the XPCs on Friday and then an attendee of the big expo on Saturday. During our time in Ohio, we were able to get into the Elitefts S4 Compound on Friday evening to train. It seemed like everyone you could every want to meet from the powerlifting community was there and the atmosphere was amazing. Ethan and I ended up jumping into deadlifts with Christian Anto and his training partner, Steven. I had never deadlifted against before and I think I fell in love. As soon as I am able to train in a gym that allows them you can bet that they will a regular part of my programming. As for the rest of the session, things broke down as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Conventional Deadlift (vs. Chains)
    • 135x2x3, 225×5, (add 40lbs chain), 315×3, 365×3, (add 80lbs chain), 405×1, 435×1+120lbs chain, 455×1 + 120lbs chain (miss)
  • Conventional Deadlift (3 second pause at knee)
    • 225×3, 275×3, 315×3
  • Belt Squat
    • 225×12, 315×12, 365×12
  • Wide Stance Hack Squat
    • 185x4x20
  • Back Attack Upper Back Extension – 3×12
  • Hanging Leg Raises – 4×10

If you listen to the video you can hear Christian yelling ques at me and I cannot thank him enough for taking time out of his own training to help me. You will never find an Elitefts athlete that is not willing to drop everything at a moments notice to epitomize their company motto: Live, Learn, Pass On. This is what makes this company such an incredible organization and why they will continue to succeed. I can only hope that I grow to show the same character traits in my own life as their athletes do.

As for my current position in training, I will in fact be competing in the World’s Strongest Boilermaker competition on April 8th. This gives me a little over a month until I have to be ready to go. To prepare for this I have had Brandon modify my programming slightly to reflect the movements that I will be doing for the events. Not much is really changing except that I am overhead pressing instead of max effort benching on the odd training weeks and hitting a lot more incline bench work than normal. This will be my first time competing in strongman and I’m honestly doing it mostly to have a good time with my teammates. That being said, I am taking this seriously and will do what I need to in order to perform well on meet day. To make this happen I will be traveling to Force Barbell a couple times so that I can practice using strongman equipment. I am feeling really good even having just competed 2 weeks ago. Spring Break 2017 is coming up this next week which will me to focus on training and recovery that much more. Having this new challenge to take down has me that much more excited for training and I look forward to trying something new for a few weeks. Until next time!

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RPS Mafia Mayhem: Meet Write-Up

My final powerlifting meet with Purdue Barbell is in the books and the feeling is bittersweet to say the least. Looking back over 7 semesters, it seems like yesterday I was traveling to Cleveland, OH for my first meet. I squatted 425lbs that day and nearly bombed out after only hitting my final attempt. Fast forward to 3 1/2 years later and I am the president of this club, watching my teammates wrap each others knees and break all time club records. We have come a long way from 10-20 students who just wanted to be the strongest around to a self-sustaining organization with an amazing network of coaches and mentors who make us better than we could ever be as individuals.

Travel, Weigh-Ins, and Pre-Meet Action

This past weekend we competed in our team powerlifting meet for the semester. We chose the RPS Mafia Mayhem meet in Louisville, KY this time around. I decided after long debate to cut down to the 242 weight class once again after not competing at that weight since a year ago in the Spring. Long story short, I made weight on Friday morning and used the rest of the day to rest and get some calories back into my body. Most of our teammates and family that came down to compete or cheer us on got into town Friday during the day. We all ate up, shared some laughs, and got plenty of rest in preparation for Saturday’s lifting.

Squats

The day began at 9am when the first flight began their squat attempts. There were a little over 70 lifters signed up for this meet so we knew starting out that it was going to be a long day. For squats, the flights took almost exactly an hour per and with 4 flights for each lift, I did not begin warming up until around 11am. I took my first squat attempt of the day at about noon. My attempts went as follows…

Opener: 518 (Good)

Second: 523 (Good)

Third: 556 (Good)

My opener, for some reason, felt like a third. It moved very slowly and was a grind from the hole all the way to the top. Because of this, I only made a five pound jump for my second attempt. I have watched and re-watched the video of my first lift and I still have absolutely no idea what I did wrong but I went on to absolutely smoke my second attempt. I was now stuck in a spot where I was hitting my groove with squat but had to take a huge jump to hit a new PR. I chose to take the jump and walked away 3/3 on squats with a 5 pound all-time PR at 556lbs.

Bench

Anyone who has followed my progress as a powerlifter knows that the bench press is by far the lift that I struggle with the most, especially on meet days. That being said, I have made great strides with this over the past year and knew I was good for a PR last weekend. I opened a little more aggressively than normal and decded to make small jumps in order to get as much out of my presses as possible. Although I missed my third attempt, I did manage to set a 6lb PR with my second lift. My attempts went as follows…

Opener: 314 (Good)

Second: 325 (Good)

Third: 330 (Miss)

Deadlift

This one is a little harder to talk about but its all part of the day so I need to go over it. Going into deadlift I was dragging. I began my warm ups at around 6:30pm and tried to get myself going for one last round of lifts. During warm ups I was feeling good and the weights were moving like I felt they should. I even took a last warm up which was closer to my opener than normal just to make sure I was going to kill my first attempt. I did in fact kill my opener but that is where the good news ends. During my second lift, my left hip cramped and pulled with the bar right below my knees and I wasn’t able to recover from the slip up. I took the weight again but it was a no go. This was very disappointing for me considering that my deadlift is usually my best event for the day. My pulls went as follows…

Opener: 528

Second: 556

Third: 556

Conclusion

Put simply, this meet was in fact a success. I walked away with two new PRs on the squat and bench as well as a PR total for myself in the 242 weight class. Although there are a couple of attempts I wish I had one more shot at I have to look back at this experience and realize that I did in fact accomplish my goals. As I had said a few weeks before meet day, my first priority for this meet was to have fun and enjoy the company of my teammates around me. Years from now when I look back on my last meet with Purdue Barbell I am not going to remember my exact total or how the lifts felt but what I will remember is the moments I shared with good friends. Now its time to enjoy this milestone and start getting geared up for the World’s Strongest Boilermaker competition in April. More training and updates to come shortly, but for now I’m going to catch up on my sleep and calories. Until next time!

2/10/17 – Dynamic Effort Lower

As Christian Anto mentioned to me yesterday, “The last few days of training before a meet are bittersweet, aren’t they.” Winding down a meet prep cycle does in fact have a weird feeling to it. For the past 5 weeks I have been ramping up to the heaviest weight I have had on my back since at least the previous meet and then, right as you are feeling as strong as ever, the weights go from 100 to 0. That is how today was for me, everything moved very well from warm ups to my last set of abs but with the lack of work I had on the schedule today it just seemed too easy. It will all pay off next weekend when it is time to bring all of it and more to the platform but when you have been training and conditioning yourself for months to push a little harder or go a little farther, sessions like this just leave you wanting more. The session went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Speed Squat (vs. Elitefts Pro Average Bands)
    • 275x6x2
  • Speed Deadlift (vs. Elitefts Short Average Bands)
    • 285x4x1
  • Band Leg Curl (vs. Elitefts Pro Light Band)
    • 3×20
  • Band Ab Pulldowns (vs. Elitefts Pro Light Band)
    • 3×15

On the bright side, I was able to get down to NBS Fitness in Memphis, TN to lift today. Getting to see Christian and David Allen is always a pleasure and having them around for training is a god send. I even got to take my final speed squats of meet prep out of a mono and get used to setting up correctly. These last two weeks of prep everything has fallen together nearly complete and all that is left is to rest, recover, and make weight for this meet. Yes, I have chosen to once again compete at 242 and will be starting my water cut on Sunday. A couple of diet changes has had the weight falling off by the day over the past week and so far this has been the easiest cut of my life. I have learned a lot from cutting down in the past and it is showing this time around. Keep an eye out for video and write-up coming out post meet day. My openers are set, the hotel is booked, and my teammates and I are ready to show them what we got once again. All aboard the gain train, lets do this. Until next time!

1/30/16 – Max Effort Lower – 3 Weeks Out

The last heavy squats of this meet prep are in the books and I could not be happier. This morning, Ethan Lenn, Austin Elpers, and I got up and to the corec bright and early to get into our wraps for openers, seconds, and thirds. After a shaky first attempt at my possible opener at 515, I settled into the competition groove and nailed the rest of my reps. Below are the weights which I took this morning…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Squat
    • 45×5, 135×3, 225×3, 275×2, 315×1 (added belt), 365×1, 405×1, 445×1
    • Last Warm Up: 485×1 (added Elitefts 2.5m Krait Knee Wraps)
    • Opener: 515x2x1 (Added Elitefts 60cm Juniper Wrist Wraps)
    • Second: 535×1
    • Third (w/ Reverse Elitefts Pro Mini Bands): 555×1

There was supposed to be a few accessory exercises to be completed after squatting today but with time constraints creeping in on us to get to class, we went ahead and packed up after squats. To put it into perspective, we arrived at the rec at 7:50am and I finished the last squat at 10:05am. That is just how it goes when you have three guys squatting, two of whom are being wrapped for 5 of the reps each by one poor soul. While I’m on the topic I would like to give a huge shout-out to Austin for waking up early and coming to the gym with us primarily just to wrap our knees. Powerlifting is a team sport and do not let anyone tell you different. Ethan and I would not be able to do the things we have done and well as we have done them if not for the great members of Purdue Barbell that surround us such as Austin.

Now for a quick mid-prep update on how I feel the next three weeks will go. I have already knocked out both Max Effort days for this week which leaves me with 8 sessions to go before meet day; 2 this week, 4 next week, and 2 the final week. I am currently sitting at about 261lbs body weight meaning that I am 14 pounds underweight for the 275lb weight class and 19 pounds overweight for the 242lb weight class. I have already began cleaning up my diet but I have yet to decide whether I am going all in to make 242 one last time for my final meet with Purdue Barbell. For this week, my plan is to stick to my diet adjustments and monitor how my body responds. If the pounds fall off easily and I feel good then I will consider making the cut, if I harden up and the weight doesn’t move then I will continue my nutrition plan and go into meet day at whatever weight my body feels best at. I have one more heavy deadlifting day that I NEED to nail my reps in because of my piss pour performance last week and another heavy bench day which I am not nearly as concerned for because of my success with pressing thus far. Overall this prep has gone 90% right with just one or two hiccups but after today, I have all the confidence in the world that my PRs will fall come meet day. Thank you to everyone that has been supporting me during this prep and also to everyone that is coming out to watch Purdue Barbell compete in 3 weeks. Until next time!

1/16/17 – Max Effort Upper – 5 Weeks Out

Bench pressing continues to feel very solid as I move into week 2 of meet prep. The percentages were bumped up slightly this week with reduced rep schemes. Everything is moving fairly quickly and by that I don’t just mean the weights, I mean this prep itself! The sessions are flying by but maybe its just me getting used to this prep schedule. Either way, my bench attempts and accessory work went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Bench Press
    • 45×10, 95×5, 135×5, 185×5, 225×2, 255×3
    • 285x2x3
    • 295x3x2
  • Dumbbell Incline Bench
    • 50×12, 60×12, 70×12
  • Chest Supported Row
    • 110×12, 120×12, 130×12, 140×12
  • Dips – 3×12
  • Band Flys – 50 Reps
  • Band Pressdowns – 50 Reps
  • Band Pull Aparts – 100 Reps
  • Band Ab Pulldowns – 4×12

I could definitely tell that the extra 10 pounds had been added to the bar when I moved to 295 for my three doubles but I set up like I have been practicing, let it sink in and moved all three sets just the way I wanted to. After having ran a volume program for 4 weeks, these training days feel like they are too short but I know I need to let myself recover more from these bigger weights. Whenever I find myself second guessing something that I am doing I just have to remind myself that I have Brandon write these programs for me for a reason. He hasn’t let me down yet and knows what he is doing. The last thing you want to do during a meet prep is to overdo it and put yourself out of a meet (e.i. train smarter not harder). There is no sense in hitting a bunch of accessory work if it does not help you move toward peaking on meet day. There is definitely a time and place for volume work to build a muscular base but during meet prep is not that time, especially a six week prep. I will be taking my first heavy squats tomorrow evening after our Spring Call-Out. Hopefully I will be able to get some videos for those. Until next time!

1/11/16 – Max Effort Lower – 6 Weeks Out

Meet prep has arrived. Today was my first of three max effort deadlift sessions during this program leading up to the RPS Mafia Mayhem meet in approx. 6 weeks. I was very happy with how my pulls moved today and was even able to get a couple of my top sets on video for once. My four week stint in hypertrophy work seems to have my joints and back feeling great. I can already tell that I am going to enjoy this prep and feel like I am set up to knock down some big numbers come February 18th. Here is how training broke down today…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Sumo Deadlift
    • 135×5, 225×3, 275×3, 315×3, 365×3, 405×2, 445×2, 475x2x2
  • Rack Pull (Below Knee)
    • 315×3, 405×3, 455×3, 495×3
  • Leg Press
    • 585×15, 635×15, 675×15
  • Glute-Ham Raise – 3×12
  • Stir the Pot – 3×15

Between max effort bench and deadlift over the last couple days all of my numbers have felt to be on point. It seems like the last month or so has been a rollercoaster of moving around and working out in new places so it feels nice to be back in the corec around the equipment I have been using the most over the past 4 years. I love being able to meet new people and train in new gyms but when it comes to meet prep I will take consistency over a lot of things. I was not able to get my second set of 475 on deads videoed today so you will just have to believe me when I say that it moved a lot faster than the first set which is shown above. Overall my body is feeling better than it has going into a prep in a long time but I have learned that when you feel the best is when you have to put the most effort into recovery techniques and warming up properly. This will be my final powerlifting meet with Purdue Barbell and I intend to go out with a bang. Two more dynamic day are left this week before we roll right along into week two of meet prep. This is gonna be a good one. Until next time!

1/4/16 – Week 4, Day 2 – Chest/Shoulders

This volume program keeps moving right along and brings me to the final chest/shoulder day before I start my meet prep next week. Technically, I am 7 weeks out from the RPS Mafia Mayhem meet that we will be competing in and I am very ready to start moving bigger weights in preparation for the platform. I have been enjoying the amount of incline and dumbbell work that this program contains. Taking this time to focus on building muscle groups instead of individual lifts has allowed my little nagging aches heal up and, in my opinion, has my bench feeling better than it ever has. I look forward to a great inprovement on the bench press come meet day. Today’s training went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Slightly Inclined Dumbbell Bench
    • 85x3x8, 90x2x8
  • Incline Bench Press
    • 185×8, 205×8, 225×8, 245×7
  • Machine Press – 3×8
  • Dips – 2 Sets (10 Reps, 11 Reps)
  • Rear Delt Raises – 3×25
  • Lateral Raises – 3×10
  • Machine Overhead Press – 95×10, 115×10, 135×10
  • Band Pull Aparts – 3 AMRAP Sets
  • Ab Wheel Rollouts – 4×10
  • Deficit Pushups – 3×12

For the rest of this week, I am not sure if I am going to finish out the final back day and arm day of this program. On the one hand I would like to finish all of the training days, but on the other it may be beneficial for me to take a small deload from the gym until I jump into heavier weights once met prep begins next week. I believe it will just have to be a day to day decision as to what I feel is the best move for me in order to begin meet prep at 100%. The current goals from now until meet day is train as hard as possible and smartly as possible meaning to gain as much strength as possible while also avoiding injury. For now I will rest up and begin preparing both mentally and physically for a great run these next six weeks. Until next time!