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Bench Press/Deadlift Competition

This is my first opportunity to get online since the Hyde Park Gym Push/Pull Contest on Saturday afternoon. But, I’m very happy to report that when all was said and done, I went 3 for 3 on both my bench presses and deadlifts, and ended up with the Men’s Best Lifter Award!

It’s been a little over 8 years since I’ve competed in a powerlifting meet. When I found out about the push/pull meet about 5 weeks ago I decided to lift in it because I thought it would be a good way to force myself to lift some heavier weights in training, and to force myself to start doing some deadlifts off the floor again. At that time I had no idea how much weight I would be able to lift by contest time, but I figured that I would just “play it by ear”, see how things went, and then lift as much as I could without hurting myself. Even though I set out to lift in the meet just for fun, the idea of training for a powerlifting competition again was very exciting and has really pushed my workouts up into a higher gear this past month.

When Saturday rolled around I was excited, nervous, tired, and somewhat distracted. On Friday evening my truck started leaking power steering fluid so fast that it was undriveable. I had already bought movie tickets for my daughter, Molly, and I to see Don’t Mess With the Zohan (hilarious movie). We were able to take the bus to the theater, but had to walk nearly 4 miles home (12:45-1:45am). I was exhausted from doing the Shredder Walk during the afternoon heat and adding 4 more miles before going to bed made it impossible to get a good night sleep. Then I had to get up a couple hours earlier than I wanted because we had to take the bus to the gym. I had 2 clients to train, a posing session with David Nall, another client to train, and then just 15 minutes to prepare before the meet was to start. Once I got finished with all my clients I was able to get my mind focused on lifting and my excitement level started to rise. But, I knew my legs were tired and as I started warming up on the bench press I found that my shoulders were fairly sore, so that made me nervous.

Based on my training, my goals for the meet were 300 lbs in the bench press and 450 in the deadlift. After I got through several warmups my shoulders started feeling better and I was getting more confident about the bench. Then I went outside. It had to be nearly 100 degress in the parking lot (we were lifting outside). My first attempt on the bench was 270 lbs. I got myself psyched. Then I positioned myself on the bench and stared up into the sun and bright blue sky. It was very different not having a point on the ceiling on which to focus my eyes. The other problem was that the parking lot was uneven and the bench was sloping down to the right a bit. With these issues distracting me, I struggled with my opener. I went 280 for my 2nd attempt. I was better prepared mentally and the weight went up smoothly. Although I wanted to press 300 lbs on my final attempt, I also had promised myself not to get hurt. I felt like a 20 lb. jump was just a little too much so I went for 290 for my last bench. I got myself super-psyched and when I lifted the weight it felt easier than my lifts at 270 and 280. Oh, the power of the mind….

290 bench

290 lb. Bench Press

As soon as we finished the men’s bench press we started warming up for deadlifts. Because my legs were fatigued and i was getting somewhat dehydrated from the heat, my warm up weights were feeling a little heavy. My opening weight was 405 lbs. I didn’t think it would be any problem at all, but once again the slight slope of the parking lot affected my lift. We were lifting facing downhill and the slope was just enough to pull the weight forward a little, making the lift much harder than it should have been. I lifted 435 on my second attempt, and again could feel the affect of the downslope. For my final attempt I was determined to pull 450. I took note of women’s champ, Tina LeBlanc’s final deadlift. Tina had turned around for her last deadlift and pulled it easily. I knew I would need every advantage, so I did the same. The weight came off the ground quickly, but started stalling at my knees. I started shaking violently, but was determined to keep my back tight and finish the lift. It was a long slow pull, but I finally locked it out! 450 lbs was an absolute max for me at that moment. I don’t think I could have lifted even one more pound!

405 Deadlift

405 lb. Deadlift

450 deadlift

450 lb. Deadlift was really heavy!

I felt very good about going 6 for 6, even though I ended up 10 lbs short of my bench press goal. It was still the heaviest I’ve lifted in about 8 years. It was great fun lifting in a competition again! And while it was a competition, we all had a wonderful time helping each other, cheering each other on, and slapping high fives after jobs well-done. I was satisfied and ready to head for the house, thinking that surely my buddy, Marc Heard, would win the best lifter trophy. Molly and Diana talked me into staying for the announcement of the winners….”just in case”. And, low and behold, with bodyweight factored in I was able to edge Marc out for first place! (Marc benched 350 and deadlifted 550)

Marc Heard about to attempt a 600 lb. deadlift

Tina LeBlanc won the women’s Best Lifter trophy. I don’t remember what her best bench press was, but I know that she easily pulled 225 lbs on her final deadlift.

With women’s winner Tina LeBlanc

Thank you to Brook Jones of Hyde Park Gym, and to Amalia Litras and Patty Farley of GrassIron for hosting the competition. I think everyone involved had a fantastic time and came away inspired in some way.

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