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Getting Ready for USAPL American Open

Getting ready for the USAPL American Open meet on Dec. 11…

Getting used to my new squat suit, tested what will probably be my opener, 515. Then tried some reverse band squats at 565. At the bottom they pull about 80 lbs on the setup I use, so it was about 485 on the bottom and 565 on top.

I usually work out alone, and there aren’t many powerlifters in my gym. Anyone want to give me some constructive criticism?



don’t know why the links didn’t come through, but hopefully they will work this time:



i cant really tell from the video, but it seems that you squat narrow. Am I correct? If you do, spread your stance and sit back like your gonna use the restroom. Check out the Elite Fitness site for superior help. I also posted some other pointers on my SQUAT SUIT post. Good Luck

You seem REAL unstable setting up, it seems like your spinal erectors need some help. If you train westside methods, switch out squat training with some type of goodmorning every 2 weeks

I counted roughly 6 steps out of the rack on your 515 squat. Need to take the minimal possible. Heavy walkouts or putting on lots of chain will help.

How do you get into your squat suit without other powerlifters around? Where is your spots on squat?

I actually squat real wide…my feet were almost touching the sides of the power rack.

I did have a bad misstep on the 515. Usually I take 3 steps and I’m set. Not sure what happened on that one, but on my third step something went wrong, and it took a few steps to recover. I have been doing lots of good mornings, but I agree, my erectors do need a little more work. I deadlift sumo, so they don’t get as much work as they could.

As for a spotter, there wasn’t anyone I trusted enough there. I had some guy curling in another power rack pull my straps up. I set the pins in the rack to catch the bar if something happens.

Thanks for the feedback!

Your depth looks good. Your first one (495) was the best.

It sounds like you have some USAPL experience (we are USAPL’ers) On the technical side, setting up the 515, you never lock your knees or stand still enough to get the squat signal. You would have waited for what seemed like an eternity for the squat signal. Also, make sure you get in the habit of locking out your knees and demonstrating control of the weight at completion. Hold it for a one count in your head before you rack.

Also, I can’t tell how wide you grip the bar, but your elbow’s need to come down and get closer to your body. Judging by the videos, they are in a position that when you hit a limit attempt, will have the potential to push you forward. Check it out. If we were training with you, we would try to get you to keep your elbows in the position they are in when you first get under the bar before you start to unrack. IMO, that’s where they need to be throughout the lift.

Are you currently doing alot of band work for your squats? If so, this could contribute significantly to the stabilization on your walkout. My recommendation would be to get off the bands 3-4 weeks out and go to straight weight or chain. This will help you stabilize the weight.

Otherwise, your strength looks good. The way you handle that 515 tells me you should be good for 540-560 come meet day.

Good luck, dude.


that was my second time in that suit with the straps up, so it still isn’t very comfortable. two more workouts in it and i’ll be a lot better off.

i go pretty wide with my hands on the bar. and closer and my elbows start aching. i’ll start paying more attention to elbow position.

as for the sloppy setup and finish - damn. that is what i am most critical of when helping people, and of course now i find myself ignoring my own advice. i wasn’t even paying attention to that when i watched the videos, thanks for pointing it out.

looking to go 515, 545, 560 or 565 on my squats. everything feels good so far, so it should work out.

thanks for the help!

My advice is to begin to duplicate meet conditions about 4-5 weeks out from the contest. This means do get used to Squatting, Benching and Deadlifting on the same day. This means training at aproximately the same time of day as the meet will take place, ie, if you are used to training at 6pm, and the meet starts at 9am, you are going to be at a disadvantage. You also want to wear the same equipment and to lift with an equipment set-up very similar to meet conditions. If you are used to training in a power rack in front of a mirror, and the meet had squat racks in the middle of a gymnasium, it tends to throw off your lifting. I used to pack up a set of squat racks, some plywood and go to large open room, set everything up and do my workouts there and then load everything back up at the end of the session. This is a pain in the butt, but it really helped my lifting. When you are lifting, dont worry too much about others, focus on turning in your best performance. I would suggest to open with a weight that you can just blow away with perfect form on the squat and bench. I had officiated tons of meets and when I see someone “struggle” with their opener-whether it is a technical issue or a strength issue, I pay a lot more attention on attempt number two. I also think you should open with a solid weight on your deadlift, since there as not at much chance of something going wrong with the deadlift as there is in the SQ and BP. On your second DL attempt, go for your top lift and pass the third-the meet atmosphere is always good for extra deadlift poundages. If you use all three attempts on DL, you tend to wear yourself out for a really big Deadlift, so go for it on #2 and in the worse case scenario, you have a third attempt if needed.

best of luck,

Keith W.