Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meet Report

Without some big crazy introduction here is how the day went -

Felt like shit when I got that up yesterday morning, and here I sit writing this with a full blown cold. Drainage, sore throat, and all sorts of shit. Lovely.  More on this later. 

Anyway, I passed it off as meet jitters, ate breakfast and went off. 

Started warming up in the back and my left VMO felt tight. Like it wouldn't release.  

Stretched it for a long time but no dice. 

There were 5 flights in this meet and 10 guys per flight.  The first two flights were raw and the next three were geared.  Due to nerves I started warming up a bit early for squats, then had to kind of re-warm up later as the first flight (I was in the second flight) started on their third attempts.

I opened on squats at 550. Shook a bit from nerves but the weight itself was super easy. 

Went to 600 for my second. The plan was to stay conservative on the opener and second attempt, then look for something good on the third.  So 600 was the planned 2nd attempt.

I unracked it, and it felt light so I already knew 640 was in the bags. Took it to the basement and felt my left VMO pop at the bottom.  I finished the squat so easily that when I told my wife I tore my quad she was shocked.   

I passed on my third. 

Took my a while to get my head around the injury.  It took a lot out of me physically and mentally because I had put a lot into doing well at this meet.  But my wife told me, "quit being a fucking pussy and go bench mother fucker.  Do what you came here to do." 

That pretty much settled that.

I close gripped 369 easily for my opener. 

Went to 418, and when I unracked it my right ass cheek tightened up into a fucking knot and I was in all sorts of pain. Still made the lift but it was harder than I had thought. 

So instead of 440-450 I played it safe and went to 430. 430 ended up being easier than 418 and now I was pissed that I left some on the platform.  The 440 was easily there.

I wasn't sure how pulls would go because by this point the meet had been going on for about 9 hours and my left vastus was stiff and painful.  I knew that transition point was going to be painful and my hope was to pull fast enough off the floor to let the speed move the bar past it without too much muscling it up.  Because that was not going to happen on this day.  I had ground out a 650 a few weeks ago, but I figured that would probably be out since the injury.

Opened at 570 and smoked it.  No pain on this lift, so I was feeling ok about things.  Maybe that 650+ would have a chance.

Smoked 622. 

But when I walked away after the 622 the pain in the leg was excruciating. I knew I had 650+ in me but not if that VMO wasn't going to fire properly. So again I stayed conservative and went 633 again hoping the momentum would carry it over that sticking point. It popped off the floor like no weight on the bar but at the transition point there was just nobody home and I shut down. 

1650-something. Whatever. I'm supremely disappointed. Many good months of being smart and staying injury free. I am happy I gutted it out and won best lifter award (don't ask me how, I don't think it's purely based on total). 

Got to hang out with Ed Coan quite a bit, and Ernie and Eric Lilliebridge.  Ernie told me it's the same shit with him now. That he hit a 2K raw total in 07 but since then he can barely get through a training cycle w/o an injury. Coan said the same. That it was injury after injury in his later years. Now he has a hip replacement. 

Anyway, I will compete again and I know without the injury I was easily good for 640-440-670 yesterday. Two more good training cycles and I think I can push the dead up above 7 and the bench closer to 500. Ernie told me if I learn how to use a belt and wraps properly and push my dead over 700 and bench right up next to 500 I could be right on top of 2K (around 1950) but I don't know if that's my thang, with the belt and wraps.  

either way, it was a good journey and I already know some things I did wrong as far as planning and training and am going to remedy that for the next meet.

I also wanted to say that this meet was ran about as well as a meet can be ran.  It was incredibly professional and everyone did an awesome job.  They even had several massage therapists in the back for anyone who needed it (I guess I shoulda taken advantage of that with my VMO?).  The judging was INCREDIBLY strict.  I mean no one got gifts, everything was to the letter.  I didn't see a single high squat passed, no hitched deadlifts, and pauses on bench were long enough that you could call it a fucking pause for the love of God.  Ted Isabella did a phenomenal job as did everyone involved.  I can't say enough how great the event was.


  1. I can see where your training went wrong Paul. You lack the Eric Lilliebridge tan. That magnificent tan will immediately add 300lbs to your total. So next training cycle, less time under the bar and more time in the tanning booth.

  2. Sorry about your knee. Way to stick it out and win the damn thing, though.

    I was thinking the same thing as Ernie in get this man a belt and have him destroy everyone at USAPL raw nationals or something.

    You also looked like a monster, if that's any consolation. It definitely made me motivated to eat.

  3. Too bad about the injury. Good job overall though.

    Ed Coan is the man. Met him at the Arnold and got my Ed Coan book signed by him. Cant believe how short he is!

    That is one of the reasons (besides the birth of my little hellian twins) I gave up powerlifting. I just couldnt get through a cycle without getting beat the fuck up. There are some who are successful through their 40s-50s-and even 60s, but I dont know how.

    Good luck with the next one.


  4. Eric is such a wad with that. I asked him how many times a week he's tanning and he's like "uh once". Then his friend Josh pipes up and goes "no it's three times".

    Soon as I get home I'm in the tanning bed 3X a week, no matter what.

    I'm not worried about the injury. It's not significant. The vmo recovers pretty fast. At least it wasn't the adductor. I think I fixed that problem once and for all with the good girl machine. That will be a staple in training from here on out.

  5. sorry you ran into problems. all the lifts looked great though, i cant believe how close you bench! it makes sense though to put you optimal benching position, and to use the right muscles to do it. you're a beast!

  6. Keeps my shoulders from getting beat up.

  7. Congratulations on your meet! I know you didn't total what you wanted, but the important thing is you got back on the platform and competed again. I was really impressed with all your lifts. It just looks stronger when someone squats narrow and deep, benches inside the rings, and deads conventional. I recommend some knee sleeves to keep the knees and teardrop warm next time. Enjoy your deload week!

  8. Congrats on the cycle, getting to the meet, and garnering some accolades there, despite the set-back.
    I've started this type of training for the first time and I'm in my mid-thirties. Lots of writers advocate signing up for meets as necessary next-gear motivation. I'm not drawn to it, and this story makes me think that's for the best. After this experience, would you still recommend meet-cycles and competition to novices over 30 who are primarily trying to use strength training as a health and life-style change?

  9. I understand you disappointment, but I think you did a great job, and gave all you had in you today.

    Good luck recovering, and keep us posted!


    Mark From Holland

  10. Nilster - Yes! I still recommend guys signing up for and doing a meet. It's not just the lifting that matters but the experience you get and the people you meet. I've never done a meet where I didn't make some new solid friends and had a great time.

    Mike and Mark - Thanks. I'll be back and better shortly.

  11. Way to grind through. I can't say I would have been able to keep pushing after all that went wrong. The wife calling you out probably helped too lol. Congrats bro. Can't wait to follow your next training cycle

  12. The wife is awesome. If any shred of pussification starts to creep in she will snuff that shit right out.

  13. I am sorry for you Paul, but still you gave your best.

    Regarding the injuries I had a conversation with one of the older guys in my gym (there are a lot of 50+ lifters who still compete honorably). First I need to say that I am from Middle/Eastern Europe, so people train with fairly huge volume compared to you Americans (I refer to 5/3/1, your 54321, guys like Ferruggia, etc). My colleague mentionted that he thinks that keeping the volume high, in spite of high absolute intensity (I have seen this particular guy deadlifting 300kg+ several times), keeps the older body(especially tendons and other connective tissue)more used to "hard work" than the "American" "top set" approach.

    I personally use a Doug Hepburn approach, but am too young and too wet behind my ears to be able to judgde which approach is better regarding life-long-term training success and just wanted to ask you about your opinion.

    Have a nice week!


  14. congratulations paul, total might not have been what you were hoping for or capable of but good stuff anyway.

    leave the belts and wraps alone, do it real RAW and know that it's all you!


  15. Great report Paul. No BS, as usual. I'm sorry about the vastus injury, but keeping on going through that was the real athletic coup of the meet. I can see why they gave you best lifter.

  16. Thanks guys.

    No reason to feel sorry for me. I tried that and my wife wouldn't let me. I sucked it up and finished. I did what I came to do for the most part, which was finish! That was still a goal. I'm always going to be chasing a number so it's not THAT big of a deal. I'll be back and better than ever.

    1900 beltless!

  17. You made those lifts look pretty fucking easy man! Best of luck with the recovery and the next comp!

  18. They were. That's what good attempt picks do!

  19. You did a great job under difficult circumstances Paul. Good luck with the healing.