Deadlift Meet Report
This past Friday night, I participated in my first ever lifting meet. It was a raw, push/pull meet put on by MetroFlex gym here in Arlington. They host this contest every year, and all of the entry and spectator fees go towards buying backpacks full of christmas toys for kids in Matamoras, Mexico.
Five weeks before the event, I was coming off of a rest week and felt good on deadlifts, so I was testing singles. I manage to pull 425 easily, a 20-pound PR, and after talking to the owner of MetroFlex, I decided it might be fun to enter the contest. I decided against the bench-press portion of the contest, as I have only recently gotten over a nerve-impingement issue in the back of my left shoulder/top of my tricep. I am looking forward to getting back into jiu jitsu and am not interested in getting injured again.... plus, I'm a big pussy when it comes to pressing.
Anyway, Brian (owner of MetroFlex) pumped me up for the event and was convinced that I could pull 500... he's a great guy but a whole lot crazy, so I called Rip to ask him how I should train to get to that number.
Rip talked some sense into me and had me focus on taking the logical next steps in my training. Here's how it went:
4 weeks out:
Plan - pull 405 for 5. (my last set of 5 was 385, and I had been taking 10-pound jumps each week, though this was partially building back up from some rehab. 405 was my previous 1-rep PR.)
Workout - I pulled 405 for 5 with resets. I pulled in my belt (to condition myself to it for the meet), so I had to reset at each rep. Otherwise I end up not being able to get enough air.
3 weeks out:
Plan - pull 435 for 3
Workout - I couldn't get 425 off the ground. I determined that it was a grip issue, a result of too many long days at work where I carry a lot of very heavy plates. (I'm going to school and working at a steak house, waiting tables.) I was pretty pissed off, and my mood was so shitty that my wife and I ended up having a big fight over how "obsessed" I was getting over the meet. My wife is pretty sharp, so a lot of good stuff came from this.
1.5 weeks out:
Plan - pull singles to determine my opening attempt.
Workout - After warming up, I pulled 405, 425, 435, 455. I was pretty fucking impressed with myself. I did this after a hellish day involving 6 hours of driving, starting at 2:30AM, with one kid puking every 30 minutes, the other pissing and shitting himself, and neither of them sleeping... then there was a long day of humoring my extended family of 45+ self-centered, over achievers in a lodge that had the acoustics of an opera house. I was seriously short on sleep, but dangerously short-tempered too... I think this helped.
I rested up to the meet. I had two workouts at the gym during this time, but it was entirely chest and triceps... I could have done without it, but I was caving in to the pressure of having my wife lift her eyebrows as I struggled to button the top of my shirt against a rapidly increasing bloat... that, and the look of disgust she gave me at Thanksgiving dinner as I plowed through a 4th plate of turkey and mashed-potatoes as my vegan cousin looked on in horror.
I spoke to Rip a few times before the meet. I kept insisting that I should try for 500, or at least 475... he finally convinced me that embarrassment would be the worst possible outcome and that I should shoot for 465, a 10-pound PR and be happy if I got it.
I train at MetroFlex, so I'm used to being around seriously big dudes. There were a LOT of people spectating, though... part of this annual event is a wild-game feast (bear, boar, venison, rattlesnake), and it seemed like a lot of people came for the food and the entertainment.
I waited patiently through the bench press which only took about an hour and a half. Then it was time to pull. Surprisingly, a lot of people were warming up who also had not bench pressed.
Warm ups were fun... crowded, but fun. I pulled 135 for 5, 225 for 2, then singles at 315, 365, and 385 2 times. I have a little psych up routine I do when I'm pulling really big, and it was interesting how fast my second pull at 385 shot up compared to the first time, when I didn't do my routine... I was worried about looking foolish doing my "little dance" as my wife calls it in front of 150 people. The I saw the insane shit people were doing and realized I would look pretty tame.
First attempt - 405.
I marched up to the platform, kept my eyes on the bar and didn't look up at the crowd. I slapped myself a few times on the chest, set my feet, grabbed the bar, kissed my shins to it and pulled the thing up like a rocket.
Good lift... easy.
I followed Rip's plan and called for 435 on my second attempt.
Second attempt - 435
I did the same thing, but this time I huffed angrily at the bar a few times. The bar went up a lot slower, but somehow I didn't loose confidence. I walked over to the scorekeepers' table and on the way heard the announcer call for 465 on the bar for the lifter following me (I was the top end of a group working around the same numbers.) I just nodded my head and called for 465 for my 3rd attempt.
Third Attempt - 465
This time I really got into my routine. I kicked a rack of plates on the way to the platform. Then I screamed at the bar a few times... slapped the shit out of myself... threw my hands up then took my position and pulled....
Oh shit! The bar stopped moving just below my knees.
But, the crowd was screaming. This was the first time I had heard them. The gym's massage guy, a crazy ex-marine, was behind me screaming; "KILL THAT MOTHERFUCKER, ZACH!! KILL IT!!"
I remembered what Rip said about not embarrassing myself, and I kept pulling.
At this point, my entire body went numb, and I only knew I was moving the bar upwards by the fact that my point of view was ascending. I wasn't 100% sure I still had a hold of it, except for the screaming of the crowd and the waves of nausea.
I actually considered for a split second that it would be better to black out with the bar in my hands than to fail. I figured that the judge sitting in front of me would catch me if I fell. No shit... this is what was going through my mind.
I got to a point where I was pretty sure I was standing up, and I saw the judge's hand drop... I couldn't hear anything at this point except for ringing in my ears. I took a desperate gasp of air. Then I lowered the bar in as controlled a manner as I could managed. It was not pretty, but they called it a good lift.
I stayed bent over, holding the bar. I realized that if I stood up, I was screwed.
The massage guy came over to me and hoisted me upright by my belt. Then he walked me over to a seat where I planted myself and basked in the applause of the crowd and the kind things that the meet announcer (Brian) had to say about my commitment... blah, blah,
Here's the video:
*note - my wife called it 500 pounds in her excitement... I made her send out corrective emails and to edit it on her facebook page... where she still called it 485. She also thinks I'm hung well... so, I let it go.
So, that was fun! I think I'll do it again next year.
BTW - Rip, I owe you a steak for all your help. When are you coming to Arlington to collect?
Good story. Congratulations Zach!
(can you fix your privacy settings so we c an watch the vid, please?)
Haha, killer lift. Good job :-)
What weight class are you in?