Category Archives: Powerlifting Meet Recap

Are you Strong Enough to a Powerlifting Meet? Judge for yourself after you read my experience

Share with someone who might be thinking about doing their first powerlifting meet. Another one of my popular blog posts is the one of my first meet.

A powerlifting Meet, a Play by play experience from a lifter.

6:36am I was wide awake. I was surprised of how I felt considering I had some trouble sleeping.  I didn’t feel nervous, but I’m pretty sure I was.  I had some caffeine a little later than usual the day before and was wondering if that was the reason.  I probably felt so alert because of the mild adrenaline pump that was to come for my powerlifting meet.

Unlike the morning of my first powerlifting meet, I was much more calm and focused.  The excitement wasn’t getting the better of me.  The main concern is how well I would squat today.  A few weeks ago I pulled some spinal erectors near my SI joint (I made a few videos about my injury).  Effectively irritating my SI joint which took about 12 days to recover.  

I went downstairs into my home gym to foam roll my stiff tissues with a kettlebell handle and get some mobility work in. It takes me forever to warm up to squat.  It would be so easy to not squat, but after seeing Brandon Lilly squat 110lbs months after his injury I was determined that my problem was nothing but a scratch.  If it came to be, I would squat at least 135lbs.

I practiced wrapping my knees as well as using my newly aquired iron rebel wrist wraps the day before.  They still needed braking in, but they were better than the Valero wrist wraps that I ended up returning  to Sports Authority.

pink rhino iron rebel wrist wraps

They were pink, only color left

7:45am We leave to Vacaville to Old Skool Iron.  My very pregnant hungry wife was nice enough to drive.  I do a video blog on the way there.  It actually helps me relax.

If you’re there supporting a friend, significant other or family member, it’s best to get there early so you can get good seats.  This was only my second powerlifting meet (at the same location), and it felt awkward to film because it was jammed pack (not to mention it was raining back in Feb).

It seemed pretty normal to have a camera person film their friend while they did their attempt, so even if you don’t get a good seat up front you should be okay.  However, with a pregnant wife, I wanted to make it as easy as possible so that she wouldn’t have to keep going back and forth.

8:17am  I arrive and do a last minute equipment check of an elbow strap brace I use for squatting.  It helps reduce the medial elbow pain when I squat. It’s a band-aid for poor shoulder mobility.

Photo Jun 16, 5 37 25 PM

They said it was too long and it can’t have velcro, bummer.

I talked to the USPLA organizer for the meet, Steven Denison.  I previously sent an FB message to him about not squatting.  He seemed a bit erked that I changed my mind last minute (again).  I’m going to make a guess that there were a lot of last minute changes including several that didn’t make weight.  This caused a slight delay in the first flight from starting.

Here’s  a video a video of a subscriber that follows my youtube channel.  Nick, strong guy. Killed it on the squats.  He cut down from 220 down to 198lbs.

I did a short warm up by working with 185lbs and 225lbs.  Sets of 3-5 reps.  The most important thing I finally figured out was my set up under the bar. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to squat in a way that didn’t give me elbow pain while simultaneously staying tight in the upper back.  As I get under the bar, I touch the place where I would do a high bar squat, then slide further forward while squeezing my shoulder blades together for a low bar squat.  Simple, but a routine I’ve forgotten.

A lot of powerlifters who I follow on youtube and listen to on podcasts don’t seem to emphasize set up enough.  Setting up to me is like looking through the crosshairs of a sniper rifle.  You might be out of bullets (or saving them, like saving strength) or not ready to shoot your target, but you can still check to see how things look.  You can pay attention to where your hands are around the gun.  Where your finger is in relation to the trigger.

In the case of the barbell in powerlifting you can practice set up everyday.  Why not? Practice unracking the barbell.  Practice deadlifting with 135lbs. Practice how you take your breath in.

That what I did for 5 days leading up to my first meet.  I was over prepared, and that’s why I did so much better.

Squat 1st attempt

3 white lights!  The white lights indicate each judge giving a thumbs up or down.  One on each side and one in front.  After the lift is completed, each judge will credit the lifter with a white or a red light.  You need 2 out of the 3 lights to be white for the lift to be good.

There was something wrong with equipment.  My socks were too high.  In raw classic there needs to be 2 inches above and below the knee wrap of exposed skin.  I also forgot to take off the elbow wrap I was using.  I felt bad about that because they said no earlier. I was just using it in warm up.

Squat 2nd Attempt

After each attempt you either had to go to the desk to give your next attempt numbers or someone one will come up to you after your lift to ask what you wanted to try for on the next attempt.

It’s crazy how “light” the weight felt.  Something about the environment and all those people watching you lift that gets the adrenaline going. 297lbs felt almost the same as 363lbs.

Squat 3rd Attempt

When it’s your turn to go up, you’ll hear the announcer say something like:

“Jon is up, Ryan is on deck, Billy is in the hole and Tim is 4 out.”

When you’re in the hole (or 3 out) you need to go up there and start wrapping up your knees and wrists (if you’re using any).  When they say “4 out,” it goes by really quick.  And if you’re nervous it will be like a blink before it’s your turn.  There’s usually a seat up front next to platform for setting up your knee wraps.  Your coach will either wrap you up or you’ll just wrap yourself up.

I wish I practiced using wrapping up my knees more.  I really didn’t use them much because I was planning on going with knee sleeves or just no knee support at all, but changed my mind last minute.

I’m so glad squats were over.  The most stressful lift and arguable the most dangerous.

Here’s a one of the strongest guys squatting ~660 in single ply gear

Bench Press 1st attempt

The general rule about setting your attempts

This is what I’ve heard from many people when it comes to setting attempts.

First attempt should be an easy 3 rep near max.

Second attempt should be your heaviest 2 rep max.

Third attempt should be your PR set.

For me, 265lbs in the gym for a pause bench was not an easy triple, but I know I can pretty much hit that on any given week. The closest to kg was 120kg or 264lbs.

I did a few sets of 2 reps with 225lbs in the warm up room.  I really focused on staying tight.  They didn’t really have any pull up bars (or space for that matter) to set up for my normal mobility routine, so I had to improvise when compared to my standard shoulder mobility routine.

When raw benching for powerlifting, it’s important that you have good mobility to go into shoulder extension and internal rotation.  That just means your elbow going behind your body without your shoulder shrugging forward or up.

The middle part of my lat on my right side cramped up like crazy.  Luckily I got a soft ball to mash that out.

After my second attempt, I learned a lot about myself.  Here’s the thing I learned. I always seem to have an issue with my lock out when it comes to benching.  I’m usually pretty strong coming off the chest after a pause, but for whatever reason, my lock out sucks and on that set I realized what it was.  After my elbow passes 90 degrees I let off the gas pedal bit.  I think it’s unconscious.  When the judge said “bench” I came up with the 303lbs strong and I was thinking, “shit i got this!”  But then hit that invisible wall at the 0:09 second mark in the video.  I slowed down my rep and I don’t know why.  This is where I thinking training with bands or chain might help be stop this bad habit.  I need to focus on following all the way through.

Some may suggest that my second attempt was too big of a jump, and it probably was. I made the jump because in my mind, I can’t hit 300lbs for more than one rep in any given bench day.  Of course, that’s probably psychological, but my other matter of thinking was that if I went for 297lbs, there was a good chance I might miss 303  on the 3rd attempt.   So I just went for a small PR. My experience training is that I have trouble hitting multiple paused reps above 280lbs in the same session.

Once I got stuck, you can see my lips move telling the spotters I’m done. On my 3rd attempt on my previous meet (video starts at 2:44)  I tried to grind for 5 seconds and still failed.  Ultimately I irritated my left AC joint that prevented me from benching and back squatting heavy  for 3 weeks;  so I cut my losses right there.

I learned something very valuable at this meet.  I found out that I don’t follow through aggressively after my elbow passes 90 degrees.  I want to say that around about the 110 degree mark of the bench, I have a subconscious slow down of completing the lockout.  It’s as if I’m a few steps from the finish line and decide to slow down because I’m so close.  The unfortunate reality is that gravity is still working against me and any loss of momentum during max attempts will result in a miss or a really ugly grinder.

This is where I think training with chains and bands could be useful.  Really being put in a condition where I have to fully lockout out the weight.  However, I’ve always felt that training with bands messed with the bar path too much.  If I had a choice, I would bench press with chains if they were available to me.

Powerlifting Meet Deadlift Attempts

Most of my mobility work is done, because for me, squatting has the greatest demands on my flexibility (or lack thereof).    However it’s still good to do a little bit.  Doing the hamstring floss has always been a staple for me.  Gets me into a really good deep hip flexion for a solid pulling position on the deadlift.

I was also creative enough to jerry-rig my own uni-lateral hip thrust.  Hip thrust with bands was an idea I got from Chris Duffin on this video at the 1:40 mark.  A standing banded hip thrust that helps with deep flexion at hips along with an accompanying aggressive hip extension.

The space required for what Chris Duffin demonstrates was not available to me, so what I did was I did it with one leg.  almost like a 1-legged rdl.  It seemed to help a lot.

Warm ups were 135 for 10 reps and 225 for 5 reps.  I did practice singles with 315-365lbs.  I rehearsed my approach, grabbed and ripped.  I always big on form,but when it comes time to max lift, you gotta hope that all your training up until that point falls into place when you grab the bar for an attempt.

It’s almost like you have to fall into some sort of rhythm.  A rhythm of breathing, or maybe like a dance.  Something that puts you mode to walk up to the bar and give your very best physical, mental and technical efforts.

I chose to do a 484lbs (220kg) opening attempt.  I won’t say this is an easy triple, but on any given day I can lift this with 99.99% accuracy.  When I looked at the roster, I was the second heaviest opening lift.  It was satisfying to know that my deadlift was high up there, unlike my bench and squat.

1st Deadlift Attempt

2nd Deadlift Attempt

How to have a successful Deadlift

I’ve been able to distill my current deadlift approach as follows:

1. Approach the bar, placing one foot with the proper distance from the shin.

2. Position second foot

3. Distance check my shins to the bar. If I were to flex my knees my shins would almost touch it.

4. Squeeze glutes

5. Take a long deep breath into spinal extension

6. Grab the bar with my right (under hand) pulling some slack out of the bar. ~40lbs

7. Grab with other hand (overhand) pull another 40lbs of slack out of the bar.

8.  Take another big deep breath. Getting a double sip of air to increase my abdominal pressure.

9. Knees flex forward

10.  Violently and abruptly extend the knees and hips while simultaneously rocking backwards.

11. Don’t let go

Much of this routine has been learned organically.  Everything happens so quickly.  It’s my “pre lift routine” which would be similar to a pre shot routine that is similar to what a golfer does before hitting the ball.

The hardest thing I’ve been trying to do in training is to approach 135lbs the same as I would a 600lbs deadlift.

One the big mistakes I’ve noticed with many lifters in the warm up room is lowering the deadlift too slowly.  I know for a fact that this waste a lot of energy.  I suppose it might makes sense to do so if you have a bad habit of following judge commands and dropping the bar after a deadlift, but lowering quickly is the only way you can conserve energy.  315lbs is light, but lowering it like a stiff legged deadlift will impact energy usage.

484lbs came up like slicing butter.  Not my best bar path, but definitely easy as expected.  When I went to give numbers for my next attempt, I thought about giving my previous pr of 247.5kg, but decided to PR it try 250kg.  At the time of giving my next attempt, I thought if I missed it I would get a second chance.

A few moments later I realize that was bad thinking.  From when I finished my 1st deadlift opening attempt to my next attempt I zone out.  It was if I had tunnel vision and could hardly hear anything.  I was in a meditative state.  Listening to my breath and keep my nerves calm.

I made commitment that once I gripped that bar I wasn’t going to let go.  I was reminded by an Elite Crossfitter I saw in a video.  It was a deadlift and box jump workout.  315lbs deadlift and box jumps for 21-15-9 reps for time.  The guy that won that event said in a later interview that he made a commitment to not let go of the bar.  315lbs isn’t heavy but 21 reps is a lot of F*cking reps. I think it was Scott Panchick or Marcus Hendren.

(For the record, crossfit doesn’t help strength in powerlifting, but these elite guys have a solid mental game. Hate crossfit or not, it still takes certain level of mental capacity to reach high levels in any sport.)

When I was 4 out, I went up close to the platform thinking about  what Jeremy Hamilton said in an Omar Isuf Video on youtube.  Approach the bar like you’re ripping a head off of a lion.  It’s what I imagined. Putting King Mufasa in a headlock and ripping his head off.

A messy headless lion.

During: I don’t know what happened, the bar just went up.

After: It was crazy watching it. I was in disbelief.

I felt something in my left shoulder get slightly overstretched during the attempt so I chose to play it safe and decline my 3rd attempt. It felt like my subscapularis.  It was a hell of a mind F’ just getting up there for the attempt.

I surprised that I won bronze.

bronze medal powerlifting meet
does this guy even lift?

A great experience, looking forward to the next one.  I got some big personal goals this year.  600lbs deadilft and a 330lbs paused bench.

Thanks for reading, share with someone who might be thinking about doing their first powerlifting meet. Another one of my popular blog posts is the one of my first meet.

Strength is never weakness:)


Your First Powerlifting Meet, a Play by play of my experience

The last fitness related competition I competed in  was the 2010  San francisco Marathon.  I wasn’t a specular runner (5hrs 23 mins), but after running  bay to breakers, and half dozen half marathons, I thought it was time to tackle the full.

sf marathon 2010 - 1


I’m an X-Runner turned powerlifter and I’m sharing my experience at my first ever powerlifting meet. The following is a blog post of my first hand experience of doing a powerlifting meet.   (a USPA Lifting meet)


sf marathon 2010

Here are my lifts from my powerlifting meet at Old Skool Gym in Vacaville, California.
Old Skool Gym Vacaville California


USPA Powerlifting Trailer

It was not only my first Powerlifting meet, but it was my wife’s as well.

I give play by play account of my experience leading up to the event.  I wanted to give a “day in a life of..” type of blog post as it is much easier to write.

2/7/2014 Friday  (Day Before Pacific Open)

After I got my son ready and dropped him off at school, my friday started with watching Tommy Boy.  As I hung out with my 1.5 year old daughter, I tried my best to stay relaxed about tomorrow.

Last minute I decide to make a Deadlift Nerd T-shirt using an iron design printed from a computer.  Here’s a video of how I did that. I used avery iron transfers I bought on amazon.

Later that day I went to go pick up my son at school.  I waited in the car and got a comment on an instagram photo from one of my buddies, Tony (workout2eat).  Here’s his comment, highlighted in yellow below.

old skool gym instagram ryan pacific coast powerlifting meetMy

My jaw dropped.

I went to USPA’s website and checked when the weight classes lifted and it turned out that the 90kg / 198lbs weight class lifted on Sunday not Saturday.  All lifters  82.5kg / 181lbs and under lifted on Saturday.  This meant my wife was going to lift Saturday and I was going to lift Sunday.

What a huge cluster #$%* !!

I had clients and a TRX class to teach on Sunday.  This meant I had to cancel all my appointments and figure out another day of baby sitting for our kids.

I had to cancel my clients and figure out the babysitting situation.

Either case, we decided to go to early weigh in that evening so that we didn’t have to stress about it in the morning.  Naomi didn’t have a belt yet so we need to stop by sports authority to get one.

Got there and found out  I couldn’t weigh in!

There is a 24 hour rule.  Yeah I know a bunch of rookie mistakes.

So I go back to the car where my wife is waiting (because of our kids and it was raining) and have her go to do her weigh-in and equipment check.

She had to come back to the car to get her shoes and singlet. A velcro belt is not allowed.  Also, a leather belt with padding on the back must be cut off it were to be used.  I have a Schiek Nylon Coutour weightlifting belt (which I love – my review of it here), and thought it was not legal because it was more than 4 inches wide in some places.  It turns out a velcro nylon belt is not allowed. I should’ve read the rule book more closely.

She forgot to bring her singlet, so they asked her to come back early tomorrow morning to have it checked.

It worked out that my belt fit her, so she just decided to use that instead of going out and buying a new one.

I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t weigh in, because I hadn’t eaten all day.  At that point, the only thing I did to cut some weight was I ate 3 grapefruits and had some dandelion root.  I only had to cut about 2-3lbs, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t over.

It just sucked because my day of dieting had to last past dinner.  We went for sushi and all I had was salad.

Photo Feb 07, 6 27 58 PM

When I got home , I weighed in at 196.5 and 198.4lbs.  I have 2 scales that I used to average to ensure accuracy.  (I know, I’m a bit anal retentive about things like this). Not too bad after dinner, but I wasn’t sure if I would cut enough fluid before the next morning.

So I decided to try some epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) as a laxative to ensure I made weight.  It didn’t work as expected.  My stomach bubbled, but no bowel movement.  Strange.  I took 3 leveled teaspoons.

I figured by the next day, I should be 197 as long as I drink anymore water.  I wasn’t dehydrated, but I was sure to control my fluid intake to make sure I made weight.

2/8/2014 Saturday – Naomi’s Day (lifting started at 9am)

5:45am  Get up, get kids ready and weigh myself.  I lose almost 2lbs over night and weigh in on both scales under 198lbs.  Forgot what it was, but I was not worried about making weight anymore.

Because it was raining so badly that day, we didn’t want to drive to my sister-in-laws house the day before.  I hate driving in the rain. I figured I could manage the kids while Naomi lifted. (bad idea)

6:30am  We get there early to weigh in so that Naomi could check in her equipement.

7:30am I stayed in the car with the kids while I played Flappy Bird.

Photo Feb 08, 7 10 35 AM

8:30am I waited in line with Ender and Elle to weigh in at 9am.

Photo Feb 08, 9 01 30 AM

I weigh in at 88kg or about 194lbs.

For the most part, having the kids with me wasn’t too bad initially, but as the day wore one, it got more and more difficult.

9:30am We watched mommy do her first squat attempt. She gets 2 reds and 1 white light.  No lift :(

It turns out that having the family cheering in the background was too distracting.

10:00am  Laxative decides to kick in (from last night).  Not fun while you’re holding an almost 2 year old and managing a 6 year old in a gym that is too small and overcrowded crowded.

My daughter was squirming a ton, which probably meant diaper change time.  By that time my bicep was pretty tired trying to hold her.

I missed Naomi’s second attempt because I had to go to the car to change Elle’s diaper.

11am  I tried my best to manage the kids.  But they were hungry and fidgety.  Naomi sent us home.

11:30am-1:30pm I stayed at home feeding the kids lunch and trying to find someone to watch the kids for a few hours, and luckily my best friend thomas was willing to help out.

1:50pm  Drive back to Old Skool gym to support my wife do her last few lifts.  I miss her bench press, but she was able to bench 99lbs with 3 white lights!  A huge PR.  She hates bench press.

I was able to see my wife’s first 2 deadlift attempts.  She did an amazing job.  Here’s the video of the lifts I was able to record at Old Skool Gym Pacific Coast Open Powerlifting meet.

4:45pm Had to leave again to get the kids because my buddy had to go.  Drive back to fairfield to get the kids then drive back to Vacaville to pick up Naomi.

5:25pm Pick up Naomi.

Here’s our discussion right after my Naomi’s first meet.

2/9/14 Sunday – Ryan’s Day

Thanks to my Aunt and cousin, we were able to make arrangements for our kids.  Needless to say, this day went much smoother.  Like 1000% smoother.

We were still a bit rushed because we overslept a little and had to drop Ender off at my cousin’s.

8:15am Arrive at Vacaville at Old Skool Gym.  45 minutes to warm up should be enough time.  I check in with the judges to get my measurements for my squat and bench.

Measurements for Setting Squat and Bench

For setting up squat, it’s pretty simple.  They set it up for you and you unrack the bar to see if it’s at your desired height.  If it’s too high or too low they adjust it and they tell you the numbers (measurements) to give the broadcaster.

For the bench press at the powerlifting meet, they ask if someone is going to help you unrack the bar for you.  I was so glad to know that  you could unrack the barbell yourself.  I know that I could lift more weight if I had help, but I didn’t have practice setting up like that.

I also asked if it was okay to lift my butt off the bench to unrack the weight.  They said that was okay too. (if your hips come off during the actual lift you will get red lights)

USPA had safety bars to ensure that if anything were to happen, you’re less likely to get hurt.

Here’s a picture of the rack on the lifting stage.

When you see the lifting stage for the first time, you can get kind of nervous.  It’s a feeling of “oh sh*T this is real” type of feeling at the bottom of your stomach.  Keep in mind, we’ve never attended a live powerlifting meet.

8:30am I’m freaking out because I have less than 30 minutes to warm up.  When I compete here in June, I’ll be sure to do all my mobility stuff before getting here.

Here is what I do before I squat.

I felt a little rushed in to my warm up, but I think it worked out for the better because I typically take too long and get mildly fatigued before hitting my working sets.


1st Attempt: My opening squat was 385lbs / 175kg

I picked this as my opener because it it’s something I hit in training for a double.  In one of my training videos I hit here, the same day I hit 405lbs.

My goal for this meet was to hit 405.  I’ve only squatted 405 once, and when I did the form was not perfect. (Here’s a video of that training session 2.5 weeks prior) In fact, I almost lost my balance.  The bar travels backwards on the way up and that feeling is scary.

For me, a major component of powerlifting is fear.  Fear of getting hurt and fear of missing.  The numbers are psychologically demanding, simply put, they are f—- scary.

As you can in the video, I nail my opener.

2nd Attempt: 407lbs / 185kg

What’s 2 pounds above my gym PR?  A cool thing I had working for me was that most plates in gyms are inaccurate +/- 2 pounds.  I learned it from a video by Omar Isuf.  (couldn’t find the video, comment the link below if you know so I can update ths post)

This means that squatting 405 could’ve easily been well over 407lb.  I wasn’t able to film it, but I nailed it.  I could feel the 20lbs+ difference on my back, but my legs couldn’t tell.

3rd Attempt: 429lbs / 195kg

I almost lost my balance, but recovered.  I felt myself push into a posterior pelvic tilt (at least that’s what it felt like)to grind the weight up.  I think it’s interesting when this happens.  It feels much lighter when this happens.  The bar path goes slightly backwards as it goes up.  I’m so glad I have spotters.

I was so relieved to be done with squats.  After that attempt, my right knee felt some mild pain.  I went back and did a slow motion review of the lift and noticed that my left knee buckled in slightly as I lost my balance.  This probably forced some asymmetrical loading of my right knee which probably caused the problem.  When I go back to training I’m going to have to weed out that problem.  I’m not sure what it is, but I’m gonna fix it.


1st Attempt: 281lbs/ 127.5kg

There are so many things I could’ve done to make this lift better.  One thing that is apparent is that my left arm trembled.  A weakness on my left side was due to not being tight enough in the traps, rhomboids and lats (I think).  I tightened my lats last minute to finish my lock out.

If I had consciously started contraction of my lats from the outset the lockout, it would’ve been much faster.

2nd Attempt: 297lbs / 135kg

I commanded the weight to rise. You here me say “get up there!” Sort of like powerlifter turned youtube star  CT Fletcher in his famous bicep video. Dudes got some crazy arms.

Three white lights and the lifts is good!  Looking back at these attempts I could’ve worked a lot harder to incorporate a much more aggressive leg drive.  There’s always a risk of my hips leaving the the bench and getting red lighted, but there was still a lot left in the tank.  I can tell because if you look at my legs and hips, their involvement from he outset of the lift was very minimal, I could have had more.

bench press 135kg

3rd Attempt: 308lbs / 140kg

It looks like I had it!  I wasn’t fast enough off the chest and I know that if I had lifted my head as I lowered the weight I would’ve locked it out.  I practiced in training, but very intermittently.

My previous gym PR for bench press was 305lbs.  Although I missed the lift, I’m quite happy with my performance.  I’m happy because I’m really a lot stronger than I realized.

In my own workout career, I have yet to bench 3 plates on each side, or 315lbs without mark bell’s slingshot.

In between attempts

The powerlifting meet was ran in flights.  Flight A, B and C.  On my day, there were about 15 lifters per flight usually grouped by weight class (but not necessarily).

Each flight would finish all 3 of their attempts on whatever lift they were on then the next flight would go and do their 3 attempts and so on and so forth.

I was in flight A, and my order was based on what weight I picked in comparison to other people in the competition.  Ideally, they don’t want to remove weight off the bar so each person would go based on their attempt.

So if we happened to be in the same flight lifting together and I was attempting 100kg and you’re attempting 102.5kg, I would go before you because I have less weight.

It makes sense  so that they transitioning between lifters is faster and they don’t have to remove plates to often.

Your first meet tip #1: take your time warming up and do you’re last warm up set 5-10 minutes before you do your first attempt.  This may be hard to time, but it will make sure you’re fully primed.


1st Attempt: 518lbs / 235kg

My favorite lift, the deadlift.  My obsession back in October 2012 was to deadlift 500lbs.  At the the time I couldn’t get 300lbs.  I had some butterflies of missing the lift.  Thinking of Omar Isuf 500 pound deadlift challenge when I got 3 reps and missing the 4th.

One of the great advantages of you filming your self and sharing it on youtube is that you can always reference back.  I remember that I did pull 525lbs in the gym without a hitch.  In fact it felt “light.”  I did a ‘slow’ non-aggressive deadlift.

Re-watching that video on my phone quickly subsided those butterflies.

2nd Attempt: 534.5lbs / 242.5kg

I remember pulling this thinking I might fail.  Luckily I’m physically stronger than that.  It’s really a mental game when it comes to powerlifting sometimes.  I was truly at the outer edge of my strength, in this case about 2% above my gym pr.  It sounds kind of ridiculous looking back.  “Will 2% more weight really stop me?”

I had a mental hesitation and you can see it on my 2nd attempt during the lift.  Right in the beginning before I hit mid-shin I tipped forward slightly.  This is a weakness and a sign of form break down. When there is a sign of form break down there is a higher chance that the lift will be missed.  You can see in this slow motion video of me pitching forward and rounding during a 475lbs deadlift.

My wife, Naomi filmed it and when I reviewed the video I was estimating how much pitch and round I would make on a heavier attempt.

I play it safe and go up only 5kg.  I so badly wanted to go up 10kg but I don’t think I could mentally tolerate it.

3rd Attempt: 545.6lbs / 247.5kg

I rip this sh*t off the ground!  I was thinking about Chris Ramos’s 639lbs dead lift at supertraining gym in sac. There’s zero hesitation. If there is one thing that deadlift nerd instagram is good for, it’s for motivation before a 90% + lift or powerlifting meet attempt.

I just heard this recently from a video on Omar Isuf’s youtube channel. Where Omar Isuf interviews Jeremy Hamilton. Great video about building strength.

 Attack the bar like you’re ripping a head off a lion – Jeremy Hamilton

Why you should compete, My experience and Closing remarks


As I said in the beginning of this post, the last time I competed was in 2010 when I ran the San Francisco Marathon.  Four years later and I’m doing the polar opposite of my previous competition.  From running a treacherous 26.2   miles to lifting a heavy barbell 9 times.

I remember now why I signed up for these things.  They give you purpose and focus.  It makes fitness more than fun, it makes it meaningful.

So many people spend so much time trying to diet, lose weight and get in shape.  Seldom do I hear people focused on getting better.  Getting better at what they’re doing.  That’s what makes competition so valuable, sports make you focus on getting better and not dieting or getting bigger muscles.

Competition pushes to be at your best.  This easily translates to real world activities .  That’s why you should compete – to be your best.