Spokane's USPLAWA "Rookie" Meet - My First Powerlifting Meet Spokane's USPLAWA "Rookie" Meet - My First Powerlifting Meet

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Thread: Spokane's USPLAWA "Rookie" Meet - My First Powerlifting Meet

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019

    Talking Spokane's USPLAWA "Rookie" Meet - My First Powerlifting Meet

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    Yesterday I participated in the USAPL Washington “Rookie” meet here in Spokane. As the name implies, all participants were rookies who have never competed, or haven't completed, a USAPL meet. The format was great, as each participant was assigned an experienced mentor to walk them through the entire process, from arrival to awards ceremony. And it was only a few miles from the house, so no trying to sleep in a hotel somewhere.

    I started this training cycle in May after taking a complete break from my NLP over the winter; I learned quickly late last year that heavy squats and deadlifts do not go well with backcountry (or even resort) snowboarding, which is my focus every year. The warm-season lifting improves my fitness for the winter, but keeping up the heavy lifts during winter negatively impacts my preferred activities. So my NLP has a spring/summer/fall season, although the training cycle is broken by 7-10 day backcountry volunteer trail crew hitches to open or clear trails using the same old manual forestry tools that my grandfather used; again, the lifting complements that activity.

    Going into the event, I treated it as an extension of my NLP, based on advice buried in the forums here (I really wish I could find who posted that advice so I could thank them). On Tuesday, I did my last workout session to set my openers — Squat (310 3x5), Press (195 3x5, with the first set as singles following commands), and Deadlift (335 1x5). Everything felt good, although I had been been dealing with some left hip/glute issues thanks to momentary inattention and back rounding while lowering a deadlift rep earlier this month.

    Going into the event Saturday morning, I set my openers for 309/193/331 (adjusting for kg conversion) with two goals — 1) going 9/9, and 2) totaling 900. The first was manageable, the second would be more of a stretch. Also, I wouldn't make any changes to my movements for the lifts, e.g., no super-wide grip for the press, no sumo, etc.

    As soon as I started warming up for the squat, the hip/glute issue flared up, so I dropped my opener to 303 just to make sure.

    Vitals - 51 y.o; 6'0”; 225lbs.

    Squat – 303 (red/depth); 303; 314. PR
    Press – 193, 198, 209. PR
    Deadlift – 331, 342, 358. PR
    Total – 882

    Squats – That red on my very first lift, which felt good, didn't help, but watching the video that my wife took proved it to be a good call. My next two squats were all white lights, although watching the videos, I definitely need to work on depth; they were close.
    Press – All three bench presses felt and were good. This is my weakest, least confident lift, even as I approach lifting my body weight. I had no issues with the commands and I probably could have gone another 5lbs.
    Deadlift – All three were good. My second lift was a PR and based on bar speed off the platform and going into my last lift of the meet, I conferred with my mentor and I decided to just go for it. That 358 (a 23lb PR) didn't turn out to be the grind that I expected. I walked away thinking that I could have pulled another 10, which no doubt would have been a grind.

    So I didn't make my goals (9/9 & 900lbs), but I still PRd all three lifts (not meet PRs, but actual PRs) and I learned a hell of a lot, so it's still a win.

    The meet was extremely well-run and moved much quicker than I expected, yet still took just over six hours to get all 60 lifters through each of the lifts on the single platform. It was fantastic to see participants with ages ranging from 8 to 72, of all shapes and sizes, pushing themselves to their personal limits.

    As the snow flies right now here in Spokane right now and 7-10” is collecting in the mountains, I'll be ramping up the cardio to get ready for skinning up the mountains (which can be known as a climb of a thousand single-legged squats). But instead of taking a complete break from lifting through the winter, I'll have to see about incorporating the ideas in Andy Baker's “How to Train Without a Plan” to keep my lifts higher next year. That and continuing to mine great advice from the forums and article archive.

    And I can hear Rip saying “now, if you'd do the f*cking program...”


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Murphysboro, IL


    Old Guys Rule!

    Nicely done. At your relatively tender age, you have a lot of potential for further gains in your total. Especially in the deadlift I suspect. You don't have to sweat depth with that one, and perhaps your hip/glute problems won't affect you if maintain vigilance over your form with respect to rounding your back. It wouldn't be surprising if you managed 400 in that lift.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2019


    Thanks Mark. I sure did have a good time, being the second oldest there. There was a lot of inspiration in the crowd, especially the oldest. She's 72, weighs 125lbs and lifted a total of 352 (110/77/165) and looked to be having the time of her life. Watching folks like her, as well as the older folks on the slopes, keeps me focused on how I want to be in the closing decades of this life.

    And thanks for the encouragement. I'll keep working on all of it. After decades of participating in endurance sports, I never thought that I'd actually think that the weight room was fun, but it is. My wife looked at me like I was nuts when I said that I couldn't wait to get back in and do my power cleans. But a few days of recovery first, just to be sure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Chandler, AZ


    Well done, Bill, and congratulations on the PRs!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2019


    Thanks, Rob. It was a hell of a lot of fun.

    Even after reading about your experience in the week post-meet, I got to thinking about how the tonnage for meet day wasn't as high as a training session, but I still planned on taking it easy. Hit the gym on Wednesday at 60% and everything felt good. Then the balloon went up for our local trail crew. They needed another crew leader to help supervise a group that was going out to build new trail on Thursday, so I threw up my hand. After about six hours yesterday of digging into the forest bed, tearing out large root balls and lugging 50-60lb buckets of rocks up the hill, I am thrashed today, which is unusual for that sort of day.

    That's what I get for thinking. Clearly the stresses of a meet are more than simple math.


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