Lessons Learned Leading to WPC World Powerlifting and Bench Press

Lessons Learned Leading to WPC World Powerlifting and Bench Press

Nov 11, 2012

I did learn that I was not the only one a little disappointed in a number of my lifts at the WPC Worlds. I did stay in and I did land silver in both bench press and powerlifting in my age and weight category (Masters II, 308 Class, Raw), so not complaining. I did hope that my last RAW meet would have resulted in some higher weights and there were a few issues here that did effect my final numbers. However, it was really the past several months, and especially the past few weeks, leading into the competition that really made the difference.

Full Power

If it weren’t for my training, the outcome of this competition would have been very different. Starving myself into weight, including one of the lift days, and violent illness did have an impact here, both avoidable, but I was still able to stick through both situations due to conditioning and good strategy.

An overview of my lifts at WPCs, both days, here: http://youtu.be/1p4KJM4TEi4

So, lets start with the longer term:

Worlds ended up being my 7th RAW competition, as well as having performed one equipped push-pull competition, in the last 13 months (a total of 8 competitions). While the primary purpose was to gain as much competition experience as I could, it also meant that I was never out of competition preparation following the first of the competitions on October 29th, 2011, right up until November 8, 2012. This means that I maintained the same type of program the entire time, with the exception of muscle confusion changes every three weeks, without any true adjustments. This means that after I set my base strength between January, 2011, and the end of September, 2011, I have not made significant gains other than ‘finesse’ improvements (experience). I did overload, overtrain, and switch-up different types of programs, but never had a chance to experience the full benefit of each program.

This upcoming year I am limiting myself to four competitions with a majority of time to be spent on learning equipment and program improvements for strength increases. I have already selected the strength program and have to review the team schedule to determine the best times to combine equipment training and strength/speed training. The next competition that I will have will be my first fully equipped meet in March, 2013, and will be the APF/AAPF Illinois State meet.

Next is the last quarter:

Traditionally the end of the year is a heavy travel time for my industry. This year was no different. Starting with a vacation trip to Croatia/Serbia on August 18, 2012, I was on the road almost every week until two weeks prior to the competition. I did make a point of visiting at least one gym at each stop, but ended up, as a result, cutting back on volume and had strength training limitations due to the types of equipment at each location. It also meant I was eating a lot of restaurant and hotel food. While I avoided the worst of the food types – fast food and pizza – the increase in salt and low quality food did not help in the least. The weight gain also did not help leading into the competition as I was stressed over whether or not I’d make weight. Stress, of course, does not help. Also, the constant sitting did not help my hip flexors and, as a result, my squat. Depth was definitely and issue!

This upcoming year I will take a closer look at travel and make some distinct choices about whether or not ‘I’ need to be the person on that travel. Learning to say ‘no’ will be one of my hardest challenges this upcoming year.

Last 3 weeks leading up to the competition:

Well, decided to get involved in a few fund raisers which included a push/pull meet and a truck pull. Yep, the first was at the end of October and the other was a week prior to Worlds! In addition, I added several long hikes and aerobic work right up until the week before the meet. As my biggest issue was flexibility in my hip flexors (squat depth) we did concentrate on that and I had the additional issue of having overtrained. Several times over the year I had performed ‘back-to-back’ meets including the CanAm bench press meet on July 21st followed by the Chicago Bash on July 28th. I do know that my GPP was up as I still had energy after the truck pull and long hikes, but that did not help in additional strength.

Starting immediately, I will be limiting the number of meets for 2013 preparing to compete in the AWPC Worlds and will not do back-to-back meets over the next year. For 2-3 weeks prior to a meet I will avoid aerobic work and will not compete in other types of competitions/demonstrations during that period.

There are other lessons, but these will be the major ones that I consider doing differently. I do know that my decision to bring a coach that knows my skills with me, and could serve as my sanity check, was invaluable for the Worlds. Either coming with a team or coach that knows you is a must, especially in something this significant. If I had not, I am not so sure I would have ended with the medals that I did achieve!

Good lifting, my friends.

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