T Nation

Help Me Get the Edge on My Gym Nemesis

Hey guys

For those who have been following my log this is all old news but in a few months time I’m gonna take on my gym nemesis at my first powerlifting meet.

There might be a lot of info that I forget to provide but hopefully I can give you guys a good picture of what’s going on. If any further info required pls ask.

So pretty much: Me vs my gym nemesis. Highest total wins. Full power meet in non IPF fed including monolift knee wraps and deadlift bar.

Right now I could go to the gym and hit SBD 200, 120, 230. Under sub optimal conditions so with a few months training and a peak will be more.

He was/is stronger than me at his peak especially in the bench press. He has recently had a break from the gym so is working his way back to strongest levels and beyond. Some of his best numbers in the past include:

Squat: sleeves 215kg gym lift on low dose cycle, 190kg in comp end of 2017

Bench: 140kg TnG triple on cycle, 130kg in comp end of 2017

Deadlift: 240 conventional with straps (pulls sumo in comp) on cycle, 220 in comp 2017

He threw down the gauntlet earlier this week with some big numbers.

IMO a bit ambitious but not impossible

It’ll come down to how well he gets back to previous strength levels and beyond and how much I can gain on him or past him in the next 3 months and there’s lots of variables that make things hard to call.

So I’ve been trying to get every little advantage I can over him:

  • Putting myself in good training environments among more experienced, stronger, supportive, inspirational etc. lifters like here on T Nation and my new gym i recently signed up at

  • Using comp equipment e.g. deadlift bar, stiff bar. Use of monolift is part of this too and something he really has little access to.

  • Using knee wraps and practicing and planning to get a real good pair. We are both unfamiliar with wraps so I hope I can really make up ground in this area

  • Considering getting a crew together to handle me meet day and/or getting my girlfriend or someone to wrap me to save energy

So without doing anything too unsportsmanlike what other ways can I give myself an advantage leading up to and during the meet?

Ideas? @chris_ottawa @MarkKO @joerywesselingg @strongmangoals @Vincepac1500 @danteism @FlatsFarmer

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Do you have to stay in a particular weight class or can you weigh whatever you want? If you don’t have a weight to make, up your caloric intake substantially.

I don’t think training in a monolift, practicing with the ‘right’ bars, etc really matter at all. I hit an elite total and PR’ed every lift in my first meet, and all the equipment was unfamiliar to me. That stuff doesn’t matter.

Practicing in knee wraps and learning to get the most out of them will matter. I’d try to get in 5-10 sessions with them. It will be helpful if you can get someone else to wrap your knees, but not absolutely necessary. Just make sure the way you wrap them in training is the same as in competition.

Other than that, just keep training hard and consistently. That’s all you can do. There’s nothing special about the fact that you’re competing against a particular person. Your numbers will be what they will be.


Did you walk your squats out in the meet? I have never heard a good story of someone’s first non-walkout squat from a monolift in a meet, I did one meet with a monolift and the meet director advised us all to walk out our squats if we weren’t using a monolift in training.

As far as deadlift bars, some people never touch one until the get to a meet and they are fine, in my case it took several months of using a DL bar to get back to my stiff bar numbers. It’s going to vary from person to person.

I did not. That was the advice I was given, to go ahead and just walk it out since I was used to it, but once I got in there, I didn’t see a reason to. It felt fine to just unrack and squat. I preferred it.

That’s interesting. Yea I had never touched a deadlift bar before that meet, just used the shitty bars at my commercial gym. Using the deadlift bar at the meet felt amazing.


It sounds to me like you have everything covered. The only issue is that your program isn’t designed for someone squatting in wraps, you need to sort that part out. As for what @flipcollar said about getting 5-10 sessions in wraps, I would say it depends. Personally I would want 3-4 months in wraps before a meet, but also not a ton of work in wraps in any session. It also depends what sort of wraps you are using and how they affect your squat, with the ones you have right now you are basically good to go but you won’t get much carryover.


I guess there’s always an exception. You see how Malanichev always walks out his squats, he says it’s because his gym doesn’t have a monolift and they can’t afford one. I wish I had a Rogue rack instead of the one I have now, I would buy the monolift attachment and instantly add lbs to my squat.

Check what this guy, with a 800+ DL, has to say:

I own and have used pretty much every brand of barbell out there. When it comes to the deadlift, I find it easier to use a stiff bar over a deadlift bar. There is a lot less room for error with a deadlift bar, as positioning issues become much more apparent. A lifters deadlift numbers should be very close regardless of the bar being used. When someone can pull significantly more with a deadlift bar over a stiff bar, it comes down
to a lack of leg strength.


I can’t say whether or not his reasoning is correct, but that’s one way to look at it.

I think things change once you get to a certain weight on the bar. In the OP’s case, the stiff and deadlift bar should actually be about the same anyway, I doubt 240 lbs is going to make even a deadlift bar flex much.

EDIT: I’m dumb. I didn’t pay close enough attention to the numbers. KG, not lbs. oops!

I can’t agree with Dylan’s assessment of the bars though. Leg strength is pretty good for me, and I definitely get more out of a deadlift bar. My view on it has always been that people who are very fast off the floor tend to benefit most from a deadlift bar, because you rely on that quick acceleration to get the bar above the knee before the lift gets difficult. I think it’s safe to say, though, that this is definitely one lift where everyone responds differently.

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The biggest, most important stuff will be to loose the fitness chick, instagram mindset.

Wear a belt. Figure out how to use it, and then lift in it. As a Powerlifter, you want to use the equipment of Power Lifting. “Beltless” training is valid and worthwhile, but if you’re not wearing a belt the majority of the time “Beltless” is meaningless.

Stop deadlifting with bumper plates. The wide plates seems to make a bigger difference in the way the deadlift comes off the floor than what bar you use. Thin metal plates, not puffy bumpers!

Get bigger. Forget about how your thighs look in tights and gain some pounds.


huh? I’m a little confused, I don’t see how these comments are relevant to the first post. Are you bringing in topics from another thread?

Yeah, from his log. He mentioned it in the first post but didn’t link it. He’s got tons of videos of his lifts.



@flipcollar and @FlatsFarmer covered it pretty damn well.

Training environment, bars, etc are pretty irrelevant. Yes, bumper plates are probably good to avoid but I trained with bumpers for my first few meets and didn’t have issues. Same with a mono. First time I squatted out of a monolift was my first attempt at my first meet and it was fine. I’m with Flip, I figure five to 10 sessions in wraps should be ample.

Since you’re going into this to win, train that way. Do everything you can to have as many advantages as possible. Be smart and leave feelings out of it.

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As long as your rack is 3x3, and your pin holes are 10 inches apart then you should be right. Well, pin size as well…

What size do the pin holes have to be? On my rack I think they are 1" in diameter.

Bodyweight wise I’m looking to come in hopefully a bit heavier than him and be right at the 82.5kg class limit. There’s like an agreement that neither of us is gonna rock up weighing something ridiculous like 100kg

I see what you mean by this stuff not really increasing my numbers much at the end of the day but can we think of it as maximising potential and avoiding any stumbling blocks that hopefully will trip up my opponent

In terms of the wraps themselves when should I transition over to a heavier pair like a certain amount of time out from a meet or how would I know when the right time is?

Solid advice flats.

Belt wise it’s a work in progress on deadlift actually today I’m planning on seeing if angling the belt lets me get into a better start position or brace better. On squats I found having the front lower than at my back feels better than having it level. Maybe the opposite goes for deadlift?

I do have a lot of vids with bumpers lol but I recently signed up at a gym with calibrated plates and deadlift and stiff bars. Monolift too. It’s a hit to the Instagram not filling the bar with bumpers but I’ll stick to it religiously. I can tell already the bar whips a little different with the bumpers so if I stick with calibrated I can get familiar with how much slack the bar will have in comp

Also thighs look better in tights when ur fat lol

I would just go ahead and get another pair right now if you have the cash. Or at worst maybe 2 months out, but you never know how you will like the stronger pair and you might need to try something else.

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the goal is not for the belt to feel comfortable.

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If you really want an edge, the key to success is lifting more weight than he does.

There are many paths to success: