T Nation

2011 USAPL Summer Powerfest - First meet in 2.5 years


I decided to knock the dust off the platform and get back out there for the first time in over 2 years. Having recently switched to lifting raw I felt a lot more relaxed going into the meet not having to deal with gear.

I weighed in at 179lbs lifting in the 181lb weight class. I have always been a very poor performer on stage compared to lifting in the gym. Going into the competition I had hit a 520 squat, 340 bench, and 520 deadlift. These lifts were not maxes at the time so I was hoping to perform better and total 1400. I ended up totaling 1367 for a new USAPL TX state record in the raw 181lb open category. The attached video can be clicked through to see all the attempts in order with the poundage of each. I finished with a 507 squat(raw tx state record), 342 bench, and 518 deadlift.

I didn't expect it to be this bad but the days after this meet I feel like a truck ran me over. My future goals include getting that 1400 total. I need to work on hitting my opening squat because I always screw that up due to nerves. This doesn't put me in a good position for my third attempt having to stay at the same weight as my first for my second lift. I don't think the third squat was deep enough but I was told from the side is looked like it barely made it. Thanks for the support I get from some of you out there in the T-Nation community.

EDIT: video is not showing up so I am uploading it to my hub and will try to embed it after that. It is a large file.


Impressive squatting. Depth on the last one looked fine to me. Way to bounce back after missing your opener.

Also, good strain on the last deadlift and bonus points for the excessive eccentrics.


Nice lifting. I'm really more impressed by a solid meet coming after missing a squat opener, than anything else.


Not a bad way to get back on the platform. Congrats on breaking the state records man. Any chance of you starting up a log over here?


Thanks for the kind words. I lifted in college for Texas A&M and while still in college I did some independent lifting due to not having time to meet with the team. I always seemed to tank on my first squat opener. Most meets I miss it even when it is light for me. For instance I missed that 485 opener having done an easy double with 495 in the gym and having hit 520 once. I was really hoping for 523-535 in the meet but I had to drop some weight for my class and dropped 2lbs I didn't even have to.

In terms of starting a log I probably won't but I am always open to answering questions. I don't think enough people would care to read what I do in the gym for me to go through the trouble of putting it on here. I do write down everything I do from the time I enter the gym until I exit.

I can't decide what type of training to go with starting now and into the future. I have so many goals and things that I love about lifting. Part of me wants to keep powerlifting but part of me wants to pursue some goals of olympic lifting and amateur strongman. Neither of those competitively, just something I want to do in the gym for myself. My future goals are totaling 1400 in powerlifting, front squatting 405, snatching 225, etc. It takes so much time and effort to hit each one and so much focus that it is near impossible to reach all the goals I have in my head at once.


So how do you train your squat? That 507 is damn impressive for 181.


From January until May I ran 5/3/1 as it was written except I did a staggered deload instead of deloading every lift on the same week. I felt like my body would respond better to that instead of having three hard weeks a month and a whole week of deload. In terms of the squat day, that is my favorite lift so I tend to push myself harder on that. During June and July I swapped weeks and did heavy singles on the 3's day and the 5/3/1 day. I made the singles heavier than prescribed by wendler. I always perform my heavy squat for the day and then go to a deadlift variation such as deficit pulls or lockouts. On deadlift days I followed up my heavy deads with a squat variation, typically front squats, pause squats, or box squats. I never trained squats high, they are always done to depth and as heavy as I can take.

Six weeks out from the meet I tweaked my back doing lockouts. Soon after I was still able to perform heavy squats but no deadlift variations. I somehow manage to squat through back injuries which I attribute to good form. I feel that by doing a squat variation and a pull variation on the same day I am pretty fresh for both. If I were someone that felt squats a lot in my lower back then I would not be able to do this. I would sometimes also follow up my 5/3/1 days with one last set of 20 reps at a lighter weight. I just felt that I enjoyed doing a burnout set after lifting heavy. I only messed with my foot stance when I do box squats. Sometimes I would place my feet wider than normal but I never changed my stance when performing the 5/3/1 prescribed reps.

I hope all that made sense...


Nice job. I was there and saw you do your squats. I was supporting a friend of mine who also set a record for squat in his category. He is 48 yrs old, weighed in at 148 lbs, and squated 363 lbs.

I have the 5/3/1 program but havent followed it. Looks like it paid off for you and I need to give it a try..


Yeah, thanks for that man. I'm running a squat specialization program right now (my squat sucks), but I'll definitely look into that once I'm done.


I would say read it all the way through and then draw up a plan of action taking your history into account. I didn't like the idea of deloading all the lifts on the same week so I tapered the program slightly to fit my needs. In the book he talks about several things to do after 5/3/1 but I usually did my own thing after the prescribed squat/bench/dead/OHP numbers and percentages. I did push the crap out of the last set and set many rep PR's. If you need a microsoft excel document that you can type your numbers into just e-mail me at john.smiley@tylerisd.org and I can send you what I made. All you have to do is change the one rep max boxes and all the other #'s are linked to that and will change automatically.


Strong fucking lifts! What were your maxes when you started 5/3/1, and what kind of assistance exercise did you use? Thanks.


I don't know what my true maxes were before starting 5/3/1 but I would venture to say squat and pull was around 475-485 and bench paused around 325. Lets just say before 5/3/1 I had a somewhat bad feeling when I would force myself to go above 405 on squats/deads. By the time of the meet working up to 5 plates each side was no big deal even though it didn't show quite as much as I would have liked it to in the meet.

Assistance for squats I sometimes did on my heavy pull day and assitance for deads I did on my squat day. I know that sounds funny but I was fresher as I have mentioned in an earlier post. A typical squat day I would squat heavy and then perform heavy lockouts or maybe some speed bulls against the band. I really like doing 4-8 sets of 3 on deads against the band with 30 seconds rest.

I feel that for my upper body pressing day I would follow up bench with some chain resisted bench or incline d-bell, nothing fancy programming wise. I actually would do chest/back on the same day. After I focused on my heavy benches I would normally superset chest/back for at least 2 more exercise of each. I did a decent amount of 1-2 board pressing but not paused because I have had elbow problems. So a typical upper body day might look like this...

flat barbell benchpress for reps prescribed for the day
Superset #1 weighted pullups 4x8 with 2 board pressing 4x5
superset #2 plate bent row 3x8 with incline d-bell benchpress (<45 deg angle) 3x6
superset #3 weighted dips 3x8 with d-bell rear delt flies 3x10

I know many would bash on doing supersets with a powerlifting routine but it allowed me to still focus on some aesthetics while making my workout shorter. Any other questions or routine anyformation I am happy to give.


Thanks...did you follow the 1 major body part a week rule? Im doing that now as my standard program. I stay sore for days at a time so I need that time off between hitting that body part. I ussually WO 3-4 times per week hitting the big 3, then if I make the 4th day I'll hit arm, calfs, etc. My issue is that if I eat more to try and shorten the muscle soreness period, I gain too much weight...vicious cycle.


What do you mean 1 major body part a week? Some of the time I only managed 3 workouts a week and sometimes 4. When I only got three I would cut out the overhead press day because I felt my bench was really strong as opposed to my squat and pull. In my belief you can eat more but eat clean and time your macronutrients so that you don't gain too much weight. It is true you need calories to heal your body, stop soreness, and gain muscle but if you are putting on say 2lbs fat for every 1lb muscle then maybe your calories are too high or your food choice is poor. Let me know if you need anything else, I am here to help.