2013 AAPF National Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships Part 1

2013 AAPF National Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships Part 1

May 5, 2013

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[Above: Angelo Giannosa 29 Years Old 300kg attempt (successful)]

The 2013 AAPF Championships were held as part of the First Michigan Athletic Performance Expo which was held at the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids, Michigan from April 26-28, 2013.  The Expo included the Nationals, a crossfit championships, strongman contest and a grip contest and was the first year of this Expo run by Ezra Salmon of Performance Edge.  The meet was live-broadcast via the Performance Edge uStream channel.   The schedule seemed interesting:

Friday – Bench Only (Raw and Equipped) at 5pm

Saturday – Equipped lifters and men’s crossfit started at 9am with strongman starting at noon

Sunday – Raw lifters and women’s crossfit started at 9am.

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I headed up on Thursday evening.  They had arranged for several low-cost hotels at about $70-85/night, making the trip a little more affordable for many.  We ended up staying at a nearby Holiday Inn and Suites (I wanted the whirlpool baths and used Priority Club points for the stay) which was just over 2 miles away and near food and a mall.  If I had known it was prom weekend and that there were multiple girls (high school) sports competitions going on in the area I would have looked for a hotel where we could stay on an upper floor!  More on that later!

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Friday morning was weigh-ins for the bench night and equipped powerlifting.  The scoring table was run by Benjamin Sanda who also handled weigh-ins that morning.  Things were a little hectic, so several of us assisted until additional meet people arrived – everything still ran very smooth.  The platform was a raised stage – positives – the judges were on the same level as the lifters, the wrapping area was behind curtains on the platform, and the curtains were set up with entrance and exits – negatives – the stage was kind of springy (portable stage).  I have been at meets where the judges are off the stage which results in a much deeper squat being required in many cases.  Judging was arranged by Joe Smolinski, the organizer of the CanAm meet coming up in July, with a second AWPC/WPC ranked judge, Clark Yeo, assisting.  I have met the other judges in the past, all were strict but excellent.

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[Clark Yeo and Joe Atef]

My on-site coach, Joe Atef, came in later in the day.  He was originally going to participate in this meet but backed out due to a special invitation to another meet at the end of June.  We were asked by a few bench-only lifters to assist as a few people had trouble getting to Grand Rapids in time – there was a large contingent of Illinois lifters.  One thing I truly have to say about our sport, and I hear it time and again: we adjust easily to change and all the lifters who have survived more than a few meets are right there to help each other.

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[Post Weigh-In Appetizer courtesy of IHOP]

In any case, as I had starved myself into the meet (borderline SHW) I was on my eating binge with a huge IHOP breakfast and smaller meals leading up to the bench only competition.  A quick trip over to Target took care of the Advil I needed for my jammed thumb (yeah, I was so looking forward to bench when I couldn’t even handle the bar a few days before).  We returned from a Burger King run (really, really bad idea as I found out that night – especially as I added onion rings) to find that the bench competition actually started at 5pm sharp!  Yep, you heard it – at 5:01pm lifts had already started!

“Great,” I thought, “an on-time meet.  That’s going to throw off my warm-ups!”

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[Warm up area – no lack of room!]

The lifts went very well and everything ran smoothly.  The scoreboard was located by the lifters in the back of the stage which had enough room and plenty of weights.  The only comment I have on this part is that the audience was unable to see the scoreboard – something that they may want to consider for the following year.   The evening ended at a reasonable time.

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[The Stage]

My hip flexors were a little tight so I figured a 20 minute session in the whirlpool would be a good idea.  Yeah.  Then it was time to sleep – 10pm seemed right so that I would be well rested for my first full equipped powerlifting meet (the previous Illinois State meet was used for tuning and only consisted of openers).  What I had not expected was the rather…. Exhuberant?… couple in the next room, the kids upstairs who must have decided that it would be fun to leap from the bed to the floor, and the chaperones who, louder than the kids, kept shouting in the hallways and surrounding rooms to keep the noise down.  At about 2am I lost conciousness while the noise continued.

Saturday morning – flights were up before we arrived at 8am.  The board was kept updated, which was very convenient, rules meeting at 8:40am and, you guessed it, we started at 9am SHARP!  There were two full flights and one flight of 10 (my flight).  During warm-ups I realized my folly from the night before – yep, hip flexors were loose, but I couldn’t tighten anything else up either – I was way too loose (lesson – never, ever use a hot tub or whirlpool the night before squats).

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[Crossfit Area]

Everything ran very smooth that day.  Unfortunately, I missed my 265kg squat opener on the first attempt (exactly parallel, but I started leaning forward – call was that I didn’t break parallel), on the second attempt I was brought down deeper but went too slow resulting in the problem with the long legs on my Ace Squatter – my knees were pulled in and went forward causing me to drop.  I have to say, over three days of lifting, the spotters were extremely good and very fast loading and unloading.  We only had one incident were a lifter had locked out and managed to spring the weight off his hands and onto his chest (very light weight).  It was an unusual drop and no way anyone could have caught it – but they did, just as it came into contact.  In any case, they caught me – I have never lost weight in a competition and only once during training, so this was a new experience for me.  The head judge thought I lost conciousness while I was being pissed off at myself for losing it.  The suggestion from my head coach was that the weight was too light (accurate) and that I was too slow (as also commented by several other of my lifting brothers).  The third attempt I overruled, kept it at the same weight, got pissed off at the bar, dropped and catapulted back up.  Three white lights.  Still in!

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[Ahhh….  I mean Auuugh?  I’m not sure if this is the picture of just before I lost it or on my way back up on the successful attempt – sent by a friend]

Got around and took some fast iPhone pics of the venue and the crossfit and strongman contests.  I am still being sent photos so should have some more that I can put up in a future article.

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[Strongman Area]

Bench was pretty cool.  I went up with my extremely loose Viking shirt expecting a very painful lift (thumb) but the swelling was down.  Nailed the 190kg opener (418lbs), took a second at 202.5kg (meet PR), then got over-excited on my third attempt which would have been an AAPF 308 Masters 2 Equipped World Record at 210kg and brought the weight down too high.  The thumb had also swollen so I could not do some of the ‘tricks’ I do when I get stuck and hovered about mid-way before the bar was taken.  I am very happy with my bench seeing as I was not expecting to get anything more than the opener and I did not expect to go beyond 200kg with that shirt.

Deadlift also wen t very well with my final lift of 232.5kg (512 lbs) being a meet PR in which my goal was to break 500lbs at this meet.  Yay!  (patting myself on the back).

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEKP45nUw_c&feature=youtu.be[/pro-player]

[First time over 500lbs in a meet – using extremely loose briefs]

Took gold – welcome to AWPC Worlds and Team USA 2013!

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[Next Stop – AWPC Worlds (after the CanAm bench meet)]

The total moved me up in the Powerlifting Watch ranks to 10th National 308 Class Multi-Ply Masters.  So, I’m happy as that was Goal #2.

The day went well with far fewer ‘bombs’ than expected.  I know a lot of the lifters that made it and many are planning to compete in Idaho Falls at the end of August (AWPC Worlds).  I was proud of the WPC 2012 Team USA I participated with at Vegas last year, I am just as proud of the brothers and sisters I will be competing with this year!

When I was asked – Yes, I would do the Expo again.  Great job Ezra, spotters, judges and everyone else who assisted in putting this meet together!

Meet Results: http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/node/4405

Next will be Part 2 – Raw Lifters and Crossfit.

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