So I competed in the APA Raw Nationals in Defuniak Springs, FL and despite breaking my all-time record of 661 with 663, I was less than pleased with my performance to be honest. I know that things happen and especially in strength sports when almost everything has to be aligned to get what you know you’re capable of, but it was not what I was wanting, not what I was expecting, and definitely less than I will get next time.
The training leading into the meet was going very well. I decided that after hitting about four meets all pretty much back to back that a break from it all was needed for a few reasons. First, my body was exhausted, I was shot, and it was starting to show. Second, I had spent so much time in “meet prep” that I hadn’t gotten chance to really evaluate my training and look at my strengths and weaknesses to work on them all and bring them together. I hadn’t had down time to really focus on strength, stick points, etc. so a new cycle was due.
I started off with the higher reps and broke each part of the bench down to specific parts (off the chest, few inches above that, just over mid-range, and lockout) as well as the muscle groups incorporated with each with extra focus deltoids, triceps, and chest obviously but also some accessory groups such as rear delts and lats. I focused on speed generation off the chest and started watching film of the lifts I was doing and working on whatever we felt was the weakest. I have always been a strong lockout bencher but over the last couple of years, the speed off my chest has become so much more powerful that the lockout wasn’t able to keep up. So, I kicked my ass to get everything up to par as you are only as strong as the weakest part of the bench. 700 lbs. off the chest with no lockout doesn’t mean a damn thing.
As the meet approached, it transitioned into more specific weaknesses as I had gained significant strength through this cycle of about five to six months and started getting heavier and heavier with reps diminishing. I was consistently hitting over 650 lbs. and over 615lbs for doubles and triples. I worked up to a 675 on a horribly narrow LA Fitness bench and then just after that an even faster 685 and felt that I was as strong as I had ever been. Everything was falling into place, I was about 2 weeks out, and I was sitting at about 249lbs so a weight drop wasn’t even in the back of my mind.
I took the last week off and felt great, rested and ready to go kick ass and got ready for the six hour drive to the show. Throughout the training I had been consistently getting stronger despite distractions with normal life, kids, etc. as well as my family and I are moving in about a month 3 hours away so there was getting a place there, getting ours rented out, storage, job, as well as starting a new business. So, stressors were there but I was good to go.
I made weight fairly easy, a few hot showers and I was on the money at 241.2 lbs. Time to bloat up as I think it was in Shanghai Knights where Jacki Chan said “wet towel not tear” followed by Owen Wilson saying something along the lines of “you said wet towel not tear, not piss towel bend bars”. Very saturated muscles are much less likely to be injured, minor or major so I hydrate to the point at which I look like a bloated lazy ass. Better safe than sorry. So, the saltiest and easiest food for me to eat and has been a tradition (until now) is Chinese food. However, with the food poisoning that soon followed, I immediately regretted that decision. I tossed and turned, my wife had to get me medicine about five different times, was up all night up until I found out the meet had started and was going quickly.
I made it to the show and was feeling ok by then, no real breakfast but ok, definitely better than the previous eight hours. Warmups felt…ok at best. My last warmup backstage was 585 which flew up and then I always get a fourth or at least plan for one so I make my opener my last “warmup” as I make sure that if all goes wrong, I still get on the board. 623 flew up, went to 663 just to break my previous record which went up decent. Went to 677.9 which would break my 275 class all-time record and on the unrack, it felt the lightest yet, great descent, great touch, and on the press, I pushed off groove for some reason, towards my feet almost and it made it halfway until my delts gave out and fell right back down. I missed it from bad form, which of all times to do it was on my third. The plan was to get that and then go over 700 for this meet and then drop to 220 for the next one. So, that will be postponed one more time as I will not be happy until the 242 record is sitting over 700 lbs., then I will get the 220 record over at least 650. I have a few goals after that (which will be post meniscus repair) including the 242 total record but short term-wise, 700 will fall. I know what has to be done and I know my mistakes from this meet. No matter how long you’ve been lifting or how much you know, you can always learn more and I learned a lot from this meet.
So, I’m not happy with it…but will take it…for now. I know that may seem crazy but I know what I’m capable of and I know what I have set my goals at and I will reach them…not satisfied until I do. To throw out one more quote and test your movie knowledge…”It will be mine…Oh yes…it will be mine…”