Countdown to NASA Iowa Regionals on April 20th: Winter is Coming

I get to wear one of THESE again.
I get to wear one of THESE again.

There are three Mondays, counting this half-over one, left before my meet. I have two weeks left of training time. I have one deload/make-weight week to survive. On April 20th, Winter comes.

As discussed in my squat fail post from a few weeks back, I tend to think about my lifting in rather dramatic, sometimes even epic terms. It defense of this melodrama, the idea correlating lifting with the term “epic” can be justified if one remembers that one’s lifting career should be thought of as a grand history–an accumulation of events over a long period of time. In past months, I have learned to think of my training in terms of years more than ever, and in that way, while this coming meet is one I take extremely seriously, its pressure is diluted by the fact that it is one point in a long series of points that make up my competitive career.

At this point, I must accept that my strength is probably not going to increase to a much greater degree before the meet. Two weeks of training left means that I will kick my ass in the time I have left to lift–after, I don’t really know or understand any other way to do it–but that my mental focus is now intent on using training sessions to prepare myself for actual meet day. More and more, as I approach a loaded bar I am imagining the look and feel of the loaded bar on the competition platform.

I feel as if my understanding of my weaknesses in my lifts only became clearer towards the end of the time period between my last meet in October and this one. Let’s discuss these weak points as they may manifest at the meet lift by lift:

Squat

I will make this face again.
I will make this face again.

My sticking point in this lift is just out of the hole. Unless you’re an advanced lifter, your sticking point on the squat is likely to be around this point too, particularly if you have similar leverages to mine. I have an annoying habit of slowing my eccentric up too much as I descend into the hole when squatting and have only recently–as in the past few weeks–started to try to address this. If I can keep myself from practically pausing the squat even though I feel the weight of a max attempt on the bar, I may be able to power through my sticking point to make the lift I just missed in training–192. Overall, my confidence in relation to my squat on meet day isn’t high. It’s difficult to miss a projected attempt and not have it temper your enthusiasm about that lift on meet day, but I’m endeavoring not to let this happen. I am optimistic that I’ll handle my eccentric at the meet better than I did on the recent attempt, and that a deload week will help with this lift as I believe it will with my others.

Bench

This is how I feel about benching sometimes.
This is how I feel about benching sometimes.

I haven’t tested my competition grip bench in quite some time; technically since around December. I’ve tightened my technique on the lift to a greater degree since my last meet, but my strength about two inches off my chest is not fantastic, and it will be the deciding point in a max attempt. As I have mentioned in this blog roughly two hundred times, I’m not proportioned well for bench so bar control really throws in a solid curve ball on this lift. If I waver in my control with the bar on the eccentric or even the handoff, I lose a LOT of valuable energy. This was the difference between missing my second attempt and then making it on my bench in October. How do I think I’ll do at the meet? If I don’t make 126, I will be disappointed.

Deadlift

Well…this one is interesting. My rep maxes have gone through the roof–my max deadlift right now is supposed to be 300, but pulling 270 for six and then 285 for three a few weeks later really suggests my max is higher than 300. I’d like to see a pull at 304 or above at this meet. Preferably above.

Now, let’s discuss the further complication to this meet of making weight. I failed to make weight the first time I’ve ever tried it. I failed, however, by one pound. My weight is now down from the point at which I did my trial cut, and I’m somewhat convinced I’m slightly leaner than that time period. I may do some composition analysis regarding my muscular development (this will probably mostly be me ripping on my tiny quads and glutes) and write about it here in a week or so. Overall, I have changed some things leading up to this next cut and am most likely in a better position initially to make weight than I was during the trial. That said, if I do make weight, it will be a new addition to the considerations around participating in a meet, and I have no idea how it may affect my lifting on the 20th. No idea. So stay tuned, and know that the Onion Ring Winter is coming (read: no more carb loading until the meet, so goodbye onion rings. They will be missed).

O, onion ring(s), you will be missed.
O, onion ring(s), how I yearn for thee.
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2 thoughts on “Countdown to NASA Iowa Regionals on April 20th: Winter is Coming

  1. hey i’m a powerlifter too, just found your blog. I’m quite intense with powerlifting like you even developed an alter-ego. i’m damn jealous of you deadlift, almost at 300 but higher bw anyways. wondering why you don’t train conjugate? maybe you do, prob haven’t read enough. good luck in April! check out my writing if you want.

    1. Because I don’t choose to train conjugate. There are hundreds of different training protocols out there and hundreds of them have proven to work for hundreds of record-breaking strength athletes. There is no one way to best train, and there is no single programming variant that works for every body–literally. I do heavy singles sometimes. I do DE training. I also use more Juggernaut/Smolov-ish volume approaches too. I’m very happy with the programming I’ve experimented with so far.

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