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!


6/12/16 – Week 1, Day 1 – Max Effort Lower

After a long deload week I kicked off another training cycle today. Last week for various reasons I went about my deload by focusing on stretching and stayed away from weights. I took this time to get my nutrition back on track and stock up on what I need to put together a solid eating plan. I finally have a check in the bank from work so I can finally afford to buy some quality food to supplement my training after being broke as a joke during the end of the school year. The first session of this training cycle went fairly well, my only complaint is that I felt pretty week after not touching a weight for a week but my conditioning and mobility seemed to be on point. The session went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Front Squat
    • 45×10, 95×5, 135×5, 185×5, 225×5, 275×3, 295×3, 315×3
    • 205×5, 235×5, 265×5
  • Paused Back Squat
    • 225×8, 245×7, 265×6
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift
    • 225×10, 275×9, 275×9
  • Pull Throughs – 4×20
  • Paused Hypers (on Glute-Ham Raise) – 3×12
  • Standing Cable Ab Pulldowns – 4×15

I chose to do front squats as my max effort variation for the squat emphasis days for this six weeks for a few reasons. It is easy to do with minimal spotting assistance, I have no safety squat bar to use as an alternative, and it will force me to keep my upper body tight which is a point of emphasis for me during this training program. I have mentioned that my schedule this summer is hectic and by that I simply mean very long hours (usually twelve hours a day) for a majority of the week (usually six days a week). I am hoping that this will be reduced now that I am entering my fourth week of work and have been trained for the most part. I am now working nights for half of my work days as well which affords me the opportunity to train before going in to work. This was the case with today’s training and it seems to have worked wonderfully. Tomorrow I will again train before work and hit max effort upper work. I am 90% sure that I will be using incline bench as my bench variation but reverse band bench is another choice I have thrown around. I appreciate everyone who has hung in there and offered me encouragement over the last few weeks. The end of last semester and the summer hit me hard but I am pushing back and impleementing a new game plan to prosper through it. Adapt and conquer.

The workout song of the week is an oldy but a goody. New Noize by Refused.

Until next time!

Training Update – Week 1, Day 2 Through Week 1, Day 4 – Balancing Training and Final Exams

Stress is the name of the game at the moment as I work my way through the thick of finals week for this semester here at Purdue. To be honest, getting in the gym and training has been, and always will be, my go to when I am going through a period of high stress. Brandon is constantly reminding the team during weeks like this that we need to make sure not to overdo it as the body can’t tell the difference between stressing about an exam and the stress training places on the body mentally. It is very important for me to listen to what my body is telling me during this week which is why I just now finished my final training day of week 1 this morning. I decided to take Saturday and Sunday off to recover and study so I can’t be at the top of my game in the gym and in the classroom this week. The last few days of training went as follows…

Week 1, Day 2 – Max Effort Upper

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Bench Press (Using Elitefts 2 Board Shoulder Saver)
    • 45×10, 95×5, 135×5, 185×5, 225×3, 275×3, 295×3, 305×3, 315×3
    • 205×5, 235×5, 265×10
  • Close Grip Incline Press
    • 135×10, 155×8, 185×8
  • Dumbbell Floor Press
    • 60×20, 70×15 ,70×15
  • Bent Over Swiss Bar Rows
    • 95×20, 105×20, 115×18, 125×17, 135×15
  • Reverse EZ Bar Curls – 3×20
  • JM Press – 4×20
  • Stir the Pot – 4×15

Week 1, Day 3 – Dynamic Effort Lower

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Speed Squats (vs. Elitefts Pro Light Bands)
    • 210x10x2
    • 220×5, 255×5, 285×10
  • Speed Conventional Deadlift (vs. Elitefts Pro Average Band)
    • 275x8x1
  • Bulgarian Split Squats
    • 70×10, 80×10, 80×8
  • Band Leg Curls (Using Elitefts Pro Light Band) – 4×10
  • Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns – 3×20
  • Reverse Hyper Situps– 4×10

Week 1, Day 4 – Dynamic Effort Upper

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Speed Bench (vs. Elitefts Pro Mini Band)
    • 135x9x3
  • Close Grip Bench Press (vs. Elitefts Pro Mini Band)
    • 155×5, 180×5, 205×10
  • Seated Overhead Press
    • 115×12, 135×12, 145×10
  • Cable Rows 
    •  140×20, 160×20, 170×15, 180×15, 200×10
  • Face Pulls – 3×20
  • EZ Bar Skull Crushers – 4×20
  • Hanging Leg Raises – 4×10

There has been a lot of good stuff going on with my training and I’ll try to hit the main points.

  • My max effort upper day this week was interesting as I am utilizing a new piece of equipment we have aquired called the shoulder saver. This pad wraps around the bench bar and provides a reduced range of motion such as that of a two board. I am focussing on making sure I pause all these reps during the cycle to practice being explosive with the bar coming off my chest. I was wanting more weight for my top set but shut it down as soon as my form started to break and left some in the tank for my upcoming heavy chest days.
  • I have looked back through my training logs from last summer (when I made the most progress on the bench as I ever have) and will be using some of the accessory movements from those training days in my routine this coming cycle. JM press is a great example of a movement which had great carryover to my competition lifts.
  • Speed squats and deadlifts felt awesome at the end of last week. I pulled conventional because I do not yet own a pair of short average bands and can pull sumo with the longer, pro length band. Additionally, I want to start rotating my sumo and conventional pulling on speed days so that I can make sure and stay balanced. I did not know what to expect while pulling conventional but I was pleasantly surprised when I felt very fast and powerful off the floor.
  • I rounded out the training week with my dynamic upper body day this morning. Speed work for the bench lets me build explosiveness but also gives me a lot of chances to practice getting tight, setting up correctly, and unracking the bar which are all thing I have struggled with on meet day. The close grip work that follow allowed me to thoroughly toast my triceps just to round out the day.

I am very excited for the upcoming weeks of this program. My workouts seem to be going better than ever and I can tell that I am finally starting to find a great balance between training hard, recovering, and taking care of my body so I can avoid naggy injuries and train healthier and harder. The second half of this semester has been a struggle and I have had to learn a lot about balancing the various places I have invested my life. As I said, getting in the gym, letting everything go, and hitting it hard has always been my way of relaxing and cutting loose. Now more than ever in my life it is an outlet to let everything roll off my shoulders for a couple hours and focus on something I truly enjoy.

Being a college student and training definitely isn’t always ideal especially when trying to set up a regular schedule. We are not on scholarship here, we do not get specific time carved out of our day to practice our craft, we do not get free passes to take exams early or get to sign up for classes ahead of anyone else. Each of us on Purdue Barbell make the time for ourselves, whether that means getting up early in the morning or staying out late at night, to get our training in and better ourselves. I am proud to call this group of exceptional students my teammates and can count on them at any given day. The old joke about having to pick two of the three places to spend time in college (social, academic, or rest) is definitely on point. I can speak for all of us when I say we have to make sacrifices in our personal lives to fit everything but that is where priorities come into play. All this being said, I have zero regrets about how I have spread myself out during college and don’t plan on changing a thing. I don’t know if it’s because I am about to become a senior or what but I have been thinking back to all the experiences that powerlifting has allowed me to have and just have to smile. I am in no way close to being done, I’m still just starting, but it has been a heck of a ride so far and it’s just going to get better from here.

12/1/15 – 12/6/15 Update

I am in fact still training despite my lack of training log posts. As finals approach I have been having to really prioritize my life and posting just hasn’t been making the cut. It seems as though things are starting to wind down except for studying so hopefully that means things will begin to normalize. As for my training, I am about to leave for the gym to complete my DE Lower day in week 4 of this training. Even though I have been hard pressed for time I have been able to keep up on training days and I remain on schedule as of now. Next week is finals week during which I will wrap up this offseason cycle, hit a deload week and get another 4 week cycle in before I get into meet prep mode. This semester has been a challenge but training has been the one thing I can count on to get away from it all and de-stress. Outside of that I continue to train as usual following Brandon’s latest programming and getting stronger by the week. More posts and video will be up soon. Until next time!

The Great Training Update: Covering Oct. 29th Through Nov. 5th

What I’ve Been Doing

It became evident this week that I would not be able to post individual log updates due to time constraints and the fact that I find it hard to believe that you care what my 10 rep max is on bicep curls. Instead, I thought it would be a much better idea to wait until I had the time to put together a decent post outlining my progress and outlook for the coming months of training. As of today, I have finally finished my post meet, high volume program Brandon had me on and I can say with all honesty that it was time to be done. I enjoyed training in a way that is out of the ordinary and doing different things but my itch to get back into powerlifting training has risen to new heights. To be fair, the high volume bodybuilding split program did help me a lot to increase endurance and put some size back on. Additionally, the high workload and intensity allowed me to increase my calories without any negative effects.

What’s Next?

Going forward, I plan on taking a deload this next week. This will allow me to finish resting up, recover, and prepare my program for the following week. I will be talking with Brandon about what max effort variations I should put into the program and, as of now, I will be back on the Beta Test program that I was on before my last meet prep over the summer. For my deload, I would like to use a pre-made deload week off of one of Brandon’s older programs just to get back into the major movements and get used to bands again. Powerlifting again also means that I will be making trips to Brandon Smitley’s place to train and hopefully getting lots of video for critiquing.


The semester is starting to get busy but so far I have been able to balance training and school work. I am excited to see what gains carry over from the high volume program to my powerlifting and getting back to lifting big-boy weights. I anticipate having to watch my diet a little more closely as well but it is all a work in progress and I will change one thing at a time as I transition back to powerlifting. Until next time!

RPS North Kentucky Throwdown – Recap

My first powerlifting meet of the year is in the books and, as always, there is a lot to take away from a day so packed full of excitement and opportunities for learning. The day began at about 6:30am when my eyes popped open and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was just too excited for the day ahead. I weighed about 250 when I woke up which is my normal training weight so I just ate a standard breakfast and packed my stuff. We arrived at River City Barbell around 7:30 and set up base camp for the day, greeting the rest of the team as they arrived. After a quick rules meeting, I began stretching out and foam rolling while the first flight took their squat attempts. I assume that the rest of my teammates will be writing similar meet recaps so I will not go into too much detail as to how everyone performed. I will break down my lifting experience from yesterday by lift as follows.

Squat – 

Squat was my biggest question mark going into this meet. My previous meet PR was 446lbs before yesterday but I knew I had made great strides in this area and would blow that number away at this meet. I had hit 475lbs in sleeves alone while squatting at Brandon’s gym with a monolift but couldn’t afford to over estimate my ability, especially with my opening lift. I decided to set my opener at 450lbs as this was going to be easy and also a new personal record. I smoked that rep and continued on to hit 480 and finally 500 with the same sense of ease. I know I left 20 or 30 pounds on the squat platform but I will come back to get those later. I hit the numbers I was planning on hitting and built confidence going into the bench. Overall, I got a 54 pound PR on the squat and that is a massive accomplishment. I finally performed to my full potential on the squat during a meet after screwing up during the last few outings.

Bench –

Things came off the rails a little on the bench but i still set a new personal record. I had hit 345 in training on the bench but once again did not want to overdo my first attempt and risk messing up too badly. I hit 315 as my opening attempt but was called for lifting my butt off the bench. After consulting with Brandon, I decided to retry the 315 press and got it up no problem on my second attempt. This put me in a tough spot regarding what weight to go for on my final attempt but I called 330 trying to be conservative. On my final try, I got stuck with 330lbs about half way through the lockout and had to have my spotters take it. Again, I left 10 or 20 pounds on the platform but hit a new personal record in a meet.

Deadlift –

Deadlift has been my ace in the hole ever since I started competing. If you told me I had to add an extra 5lbs to my total to win a meet I would get it on my deadlift. Yesterday however, I was put in a position where I had no idea what condition my deadlift was in. For the month leading up to the meet I had not been able to pull heavy which left a big question mark for the lift that had been my best in the past. I set my opener conservatively at 515 and decided to see how warm-ups felt before making changes to that. Warm-ups went very well so I decided to stick with the 515 opener. This weight went up like nothing along with my second attempt of 535. On my final attempt. I called for 550 pounds which would have been a 5lb meet PR for me. I gave this weight everything I had but I just couldn’t get the bar above my knee. I know that if I had just been able to pull it an inch further I could have locked it out. Overall, I did not do re-injure anything and deadlifts felt better than they have since mid-summer. I was happy with finishing my day on the platform in one piece and with new PRs on two of the three lifts.

Conclusion –

My only real goal for this meet was a 1400lb total. I fell a little short of that, finishing the day with a total of 1350 but I did leave poundage on all the lifts that I could have gotten. As I mentioned briefly at the beginning of this post, there is a lot to be learned during a powerlifting meet. One’s weaknesses become very apparent very quickly. Although I fell a little short of my goal I know I was capable of hitting the right weights, the cards just didn’t fall that way. I now have a very clear picture of the weaknesses I have which need to be brought up and what I can do differently to improve my chances going forward. As for right now, I plan on resting most of this week and getting caught up on school/administration items. I will probably get back in the gym around Thursday and start following a new, Post-Meet program that Brandon is about to release. This will be a high volume, bodybuilding style program which will get me back in shape to start lifting in an off-season style once that concludes. I appreciate all the kind words I have received during this prep and from my meet results as they are ever encouraging. A big shout-out goes to all of Purdue barbell who competed and cheered us on yesterday. I have the best team I could ever ask for of that I have no doubt. Until next time!

North Kentucky Throwdown – Weigh-Ins and Update

I just woke up from my post weigh-in meal and I have decided that it is time to give a little update on how things are going thus far. Ethan Lenn, my training partner, and I arrived to Cincinnati late yesterday evening and settled into the hotel. My diet yesterday included a sleeve of almonds and approx. 8oz of distilled water. This past week I used a water loading technique to flush my body of all trapped water weight, sodium, etc… Put simply, I peed a lot, ate little, and lost weight. According to a scale I brought from home, when I went to bed last night I weighed around 238 which is a full 4lbs under the my target for the 242 weight class. I decided not to risk drinking or eating anything before hitting the sack because I did not know exactly how accurate it would be compared to the one that would be used at weigh ins.

After a night filled with dreams of cupcakes and doughnuts, we woke up this morning at around 7:30 and left for the gym at about 8:40. We are staying a very short distance away and arrived within 5 minutes. I weighed in at 235 which is well below my necessary mark, too low to be more precise. We then returned to the hotel, crushed the continental breakfast buffet, and went into a food coma for a bit. That brings us up to the current time while I sit here, croissant in hand. To get the fluids and nutrients back into our bodies, Ethan and I made sure to drink a bottle of water slowly at first followed by some pedialite to get things going again. After that settled it has been an all out carb massacre here with no slow down in sight. I am feeling great, fresh, and ready to go for tomorrow’s meet. We got a sneak peak at the lifting venue and it looks to have a great atmosphere and lots of heavy weights thrown around come tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow I will try to get a meet recap put together depending on how I’m feeling after the competition is over. Either way, videos and updates are soon to come along with my plan going forward after the meet. For now, I shall continue to eat, hydrate, and rest. I have been working toward tomorrow since February and I expect awesome performances by myself and Purdue Barbell as a whole. Boiler Up!

Purdue Relay for Life 2015 – Little Sleep, Lots of Caffeine

Definitely a long night but a great one! I hope we can get a team together again next year, raise our goals, and defend our tug of war championship belt!

Purdue Barbell


Purdue Barbell threw together a team for this year’s Relay for Life at Purdue University. The event started at 6:00PM and ran until 6:00AM the next morning. Needless to say, lots of sugar and caffeine was consumed by all. We managed to raise over six times our initial fundraising goal and would like to thank every single person who donated to the cause!

View original post

Current Training Status Update

Lets start things off with a summary of where I am in my training. I recently competed in my third full powerlifting meet since becaming an active competitor almost exactly one year ago. My lifts at that meet were as follows: Squat – 440, Bench – 297, Deadlift – 529. As of today, my body weight is 239lbs. My coach, Brandon Smitley, released a new training program for me which I began this past Sunday. The entirety of this offseason program will be put on this site as I make my way through it. My current plan is to remain in offseason training through summer and compete again in October at my first RPS meet.