T Nation

Quest for 2000 lb. Total


A little background on me:

Training almost 20 years and competitively powerlifting 15 of those years. Started out as a 198er and have competed as high as 242. Currently in the 220's and as of now, my strength is a good as it's ever been.

Best total: 1806 @ 238
squat: 639 @ 220
Bench: 474 @ 220
Deadlift: 722 @ 220
38 years old

All of this has been done drug free and in single ply Titan gear. I usually compete in the USPF and AAU. Those are the two prominent feds here in So. Cal.

Firm believer that if a goal isn't written down, it won't happen. So here we go: I will total 2000 lbs. by the end of 2010. There, I said it.

Where I am now: I have a meet on March 28. It's a USPF State meet in Los Alamitos and also a qualifier for the USPF Nationals later this year. Shooting for a 1900ish total for this meet. I'd like to hit 650 sq, 500 bench, and a 750 dead.

Last meet was an AAU event about 10 months ago. Hit a 1780 total @ 220. Went 10 for 10 that day and I was conservative with my attempts except the deadlift. I broke my own AAU deadlift record with a 722 on a 4th attempt.

Training: Beginning in January, I was doing a program similar to 5/3/1, actually it was the "Bigger Faster Stronger" program that I modified for powerlifting. Funny how VERY similar Wendler's program looks to BFS. BFS has been around for almost 40 years. Anyway, I've used this template since 2002 and it consistently works well.

I had an epiphany regarding my squat stance and technique, so I looked for a program that would drill the squat relentlessly. Sheiko to the rescue! Simply, I printed off Sheiko program #29 off the log Eric Talmant writes on Elite and put sorta conservative raw numbers into it. I followed it almost word for word except for the deadlift (I only pull off the floor). This cycle lasted 4 weeks and damn near killed me and my training partner.

We are in week 4 of the Sheiko 5 week competition peak. I knew the high squat volume would do good things for me, but I didn't expect it to be that good. My squat and bench are way up and I even hit a gym PR in the deadlift. I didn't touch a weight above 80% for over 9 weeks and crushed a 738 dl. I'll take it.

So, there we are. Let the games begin...


Those are some damn impressive numbers, especially that deadlift. I'm along for the ride!


You are one strong sunofagun. I'll be watching.


Thanks for the support! Hope to make it an interesting journey...

Monday 3/9:

Squats - Excellent squat session today. First day in almost 5 weeks that I didn't feel like my head was going to explode. I've been battling a head/chest virus since the first week of Feb. and I thought it would never go away. It really put a damper on training. Maybe it helped me to avoid overtraining? Who knows...

Warmed up to raw 80% using the Sheiko template and put the gear on. This has really turned out well since I think most of the sheiko stuff is raw oriented. It doesn't tire me out and I can keep the squat volume up while getting used to the gear.

435x2 raw
495x1 straps down, wraps
555x1 full gear
606x1 full gear

606 is going to be my opener on the 28th, since I reached depth and the weight was easy. I actually paused in the hole 2" below parallel. Barely felt like anything was on my back. I'm telling you, sheiko is the shit...I use a previous generation Titan Centurion with the legless Titan briefs.

I have kinda come full circle with the gear all the way from a clapped out Z-suit to a super-jacked Titan Super NGX+. Realized that I'm a better squatter with looser gear and a shoulder width stance. Looking at 628 for a second attempt and will give that a ride next Mon.

Finished up with 2 arm kettlebell swings for about 200 reps. I don't know the weight, but it's one big heavy fat fucker.

Bench - Raw work via the template. Forearms are killing me since starting the heavy shirt work. I get bilateral tennis elbow (benchers elbow?) with the shirt. Any type of wrist extension hurts like hell and I live with ice packs on the radial heads. Sucks. Overall, weights felt like they always do.

Finished with 60 reps of dumbell flies and about 100 reps of band pushdowns.

Added some additional standing abs with the blue band.


Wednesday, March 11

Deadlift- took it a little easier today. Warmed up with the raw sheiko numbers to 80%. Put on ol' reliable Centurion 42 and legless briefs.

606x1 straps down
672x1 full gear
716x1 full gear - felt a little slow, but that's what usually happens after hitting big weights the week before and a hard squat workout on Mon. Looking to open with 694 and second with 727...

Finished with kettlebell swings and standing abs.

Something I didn't expect to happen while doing sheiko was a nice little increase in the DL. All of the squat volume translated into about a 15 lb. gym pr. If you look at the template, it's all about the squat and bench. Relatively little pulling. I added in some Pendlay rows to get a bit more upper back volume in. I was skeptical at first, but it's worked out well so far.

Bench- Raw work via template. All of the raw work has been done with a close(er) grip. I threw a raw competition grip max into my percentage calculator and decided to move my grip in about one hands width. This has done wonders for things.

Finished with strict military presses and light dumbell presses.


March 13:

Bench- Raw work via sheiko template

Put on Katana
405x1 3 board

468x1 Good lift. Paused with all commands. This is my opener.

501x1 Good lift. Paused with commands. I think my butt raised a bit, I couldn't tell that well. My partners didn't notice anything. The bar speed was good, it touched easily, and it wasn't killing me on the chest.

501x1 No lift. I wanted to clean this rep up a bit, so gave it another ride. We jacked the shirt down a little less than an inch and belted it. Amazing how much more effort it took to touch. It threw the bar out of the groove higher on the chest and I wound up losing it over the face. Another example of how sensitive the Katana is to jacking it down.

Squat- raw work via template. Doing all sets below 75% beltless.

Finished with 60 reps of tricep pushdowns and 50 light goodmornings.


Some recent vids:

Bench, March 6 - no belt and the collar was almost at my Adam's Apple.

Deadlift, March 11 - This was a nice PR (13 lbs.) for a gym lift. I had a bit of trouble locking out since I forgot to throw baby powder in the bag.


Monday March 16:

Squat- warmed up via sheiko template.

606(275k)x1 Good lift.

It was good in the fact it was below parallel and completed. Everything else about it sucked. I set my feet up about 4-5 inches too wide before unracking and walking the weight out. I thought I brought them in on the walkout, but I had ZERO pop off the bottom and a long struggle to lockout. I'll have my training partner que me on this on my attempts.

628(285k)x1 Good lift

This went the way it was supposed to go. Nice and easy descent, great pop off the bottom and effortless lockout. I felt like I could have gone 660(300k) tonight.

705(320k) x 1 walkout and hold.

Finished with standing dumbell presses and kettlebell swings.


Great job on the huge deadlift PR and the 285 squat looked so damn smooth, looking really good! Now is it coasting time?


Doing great bro-you have got some amazing numbers for 220


I'm going to work my DL opener on Wed and bench opener on Fri. After that, it's rest time until the 28th. I'll do some light isolation stuff and kettlebell swings during the week before, but not much more.

Alpha, Mrodock: thanks for the props!



Wed 18:

694x1 This is my opener for the 28th. Went nice and smooth, no problems.

Raw work via sheiko template

Finished with Pendlay rows, tricep pushdowns, band pull-aparts.


Friday Mar 20:


warmed up via sheiko template

405x1 3 board shirt seater

468x1 - Good lift. This was easy! I wet the chest plate and let it ride up to the adams apple.

505x1 - Good lift with all commands. Easier than I thought. Had a bit of a dip at the top on the left arm. Might have been 2 whites or 2 reds.

It's rest time now for the 28th.

Goals for this meet: Total Elite @ 220, first 1900# total, first 500lb bench in comp.


I'm just getting into sumo pulling and already one of my hips has felt funky. Any tips on keeping the hips healthy?

Hope you kick ass at the meet and achieve all of those massive goals!



I do basic static hip flexor, hamstring, adductor, and abductor stretches combined with dynamic movements. I might foam roll the IT bands if I remember too. Nothing too exotic, just the basics. Magnificent Mobility is a great resource for all of this. I am lucky that my wife and I are chiropractors, so I have her to monitor anything wierd and I can explain exactly what needs to be addressed.

I think if you follow what Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson have written about hip mobility/lumbar stability, you'll be fine. You can probably find most of the good stuff on here.

I wouldn't go balls to the wall with sumo just yet. On deadlift day, warm up sumo style up to about 60-70% of conventional 1RM and then do heavy sets with conv. Once you get accustomed to it, go up in weight (4-6 weeks).


I'll keep doing the stretches, and put in a few more Magnificent Mobility exercises. I tested my max my 2nd time pulling sumo and hit a higher number than my conventional, 480 compared to 470. So I decided to start pulling sumo in my Sheiko cycle (started 2 weeks ago). I think my hips will be alright, just had some tight left hip external rotators in week 2.

I'm working on that though and the other hip flexibility stuff (I do have pretty flexible hips in general) so I'm not too concerned now that I figured out what was going on the other day. So in Sheiko I will very rarely go above 70% so I should be alright.

Thanks for the tips and keep kicking ass!


Sounds like a good idea. Sheiko will definitely give you the most amount of reps to practice technique.


A couple of vids from last week:

Bench: 501x1 projected second attempt

Felt great out of the rack. Easy descent and touch, could have held the weight at the bottom for a much longer pause. Good speed off the chest. The speed actually surprised me and I sort of forgot to fire the triceps at the top. That's why you see that bit of stall at the top. Could go either way- 2 reds or 2 whites.


694x1 projected opener

Felt really good and easy. I made a big jump from my warmup weights going from 606 to 694. Didn't really make much of a difference. Nice to know I can drop that mid-600 warmup and take the extra time to focus on the opener.

Now, can anyone name the background music? I need band name and title of the song.


I love the "hooooly shit" in the background, don't know the song unfortunately.


3-28-2009 Meet Report

USPF California State Championships, Los Alamitos, Ca.

Entered: 220 Open

1st: 606 missed (lost my balance on the way up...fuck!)
2nd: 606 missed again (2 reds on depth...double fuck!)
3rd: 606 Good lift (very pissed at this point)

1st: 462 missed (mis-grooved and let it drift over my face...fuck me!)
2nd: 462 Good Lift (really fucking easy)
3rd: 501 missed (my first attempt at 500 in comp. Got it half way up but ran out of gas)

1st: 694 Good lift
2nd: 727 Good lift (5 lb PR)
3rd: 733 missed (almost made this one. had it 3/4 of the way up and stalled at lockout)

Total: 1796 (6 lb. PR)
1st place 220 lbs Open

Overall a very mediocre meet. I left a lot of weight off the bar for stupid technical things that rarely affect me. I never lose balance in the squat or get called for depth, and I managed both of those this meet. It was a big step backwards for me and I am fucking pissed. It took me a while to write this up since it was leaving such a sour taste in my mouth. I did get the 3rd ranked deadlift in the country this year in the 220 lb. class and was on Powerliftingwatch.com. I guess that is something.

I am going to fucking kill it in the gym and get those numbers that I know I'm capable of.

I'll have some of the vids up in a bit.