This past weekend was the APF Gulf Coast which also was the first leg of the UPC, Ultimate Power Championship. The UPC is an event where they give away a belt for the best bench, the best squat, best dead, and the end of the year event includes Champions in total from each type of lifter: youth, women’s , master’s, and Open.
I would be lying if I said I did not want the belt for best bencher. I have been having a hard time with lifting the past two months as I have really struggled to maintain strength as I have dropped weight. Also, I have completely changed my lifting technique and that has taken its toll as well. I assumed 565 or more would win me the belt and set it out as a goal and then to break 600. However, LEARNING LESSON: compete and try to win the meet you’re in before you worry about anything else crazy like records.
Also, this was my second time trying to squat at a contest, (compete as a full meet participant) which means I had to squat, bench, and deadlift. This changes many things in preparation, energy levels, food needs, strategy, etc. A fellow senior lifter was nice enough to share fruit with all lifters and it tasted great, cleansed my pallet and definitely kept my energy levels up. LEARNING LESSON: Bring way more food to a meet since it is an all-day affair. And bring fruits, carbs, liquids and more because you don’t know what will be available at the venue and don’t want to live on Coke and Snickers for optimal performance.
The idea of squatting had me terrified because while I can leg press over 2200 pounds for sets, and do the squat machines for large numbers, I have not been able to literally be flexible enough to squat. I have spent three months stretching my shoulders and arms to just be able to place the bar behind my head, (which has hurt my bench) and could not get low enough. My first lift was what I thought, red lights meaning a bad lift because I did not get deep enough. That being said, I felt good about what I could do next and was stoked to hit my second attempt of 387.00. My third attempt for 411 was red lighted for depth and watching the video I truly thought it was good. LEARNING LESSON: Make sure you hit depth on your first lift or else judges will be all over you and expect more from you than average white light depth.
Well, at least I have knowledge that I can get to depth and plan to spend the coming months working on depth with heavier and heavier weights. Hopefully 600 is our goal for APA Nationals in April. This moves us to bench where I opened with 525. This went up easy, and I felt good that I was in the meet with a bench above 500 to start. My second bench of 545 came of the spot weird, I think I flattened out and just did not have a firm enough control and my mind right, LEARNING LESSON: Before you lift get your mind clear and focus on all the proper steps of a press or you will get buried. For my third attempt I went after the same weight and nailed it pretty easy using proper form. The hard pill to swallow is I had probably 575 in the tank easy.
On Deadlifts I opened with 545 and hit it easy. My workout partner and I decided since I was not in the running for total lifter numbers, that my second attempt I would go straight to my PR of 606. I have 600 in the books this year and want to get to 700 so moving up made sense. I missed it by an inch but felt good about my ability to get it with better form.
So how did I do, my bench was good enough to set the APF National record for 308 Open Raw Bench only. That being said I lost by a fraction of a decimal point to a phenomenal bencher who is the best 181 pounder in the world for best bench overall. I lost by such a small margin, that had I cut 2 pounds of bodyweight or had I done 5 more pounds on the bench which went up easy, I would have won the belt. Congrats to my fellow lifter Joe Hill. Sure my teeth gnash a little but I am glad for the lesson I have learned. LEARNING LESSON: always do everything you can from taking off two extra pounds to checking the computer to make sure you have done everything you can to win. Losing because a person out performs you is one thing, losing because I was not prepared cannot happen.
Time to train for APA Nationals in April; I would love to set a record so that I can say I own a record in 4 federations, but I know first train to win. This will be an awesome 12 weeks of training and I will kill myself to accomplish my end goals. Baseline goals for April include 600 Bench, 600 Squat, and a 700 deadlift. Time to train!