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APF/ AAPF Ohio State Powerlifting Championships - 2020

Contest Report

By Gary F. Zeolla


One Personal Record
Seven APF Records
One All-time American Record




      I competed in the Ohio State Powerlifting Championships for the American Powerlifting Federation (APF) and the Amateur American Powerlifting Federation (AAPF) in West Lafayette, OH, on Saturday, September 12, 2020, held at Blackstone’s Gym. I competed in the APF federation, 114-pound weight class, men’s masters (55-59 age) category, Classic Raw (raw with wraps) division.

      Note that the APF is not drug tested, while the AAPF is drug tested. However, I did NOT enter the APF because I began to use performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). I entered the APF, as I entered the AAPF previously, so I already hold the open and masters record in that division (see APF/ AAPF Ohio State Powerlifting Championships – 2017). Therefore, I entered the APF this time, so that I could break and set records in the APF open and masters classes for 114s.

      There were no records in the APF masters (50-59) division for 114s, so all I had to do is not bomb out, and I would set all four records. There were, however, records in the open division. The Bench record was out of reach, but I was hoping to break the Squat, Deadlift, and Total records.

      I was also hoping to break my own All-time Masters (50-59) Raw American and world records in Squat, Deadlift, and Total.

      For my final workout logs leading up to this contest, see 2020 Tetra-Trinity #2 Powerlifting Training Strategy, Rotations V and VI.


Weigh-ins and Post Weigh-ins


      I weighed 123.8 pounds on Friday (9/4). I needed to weigh 114.5 at 9 am Friday (9/11) to make weight for the 114-pound (52 kg) weight class. That meant I had 9.3 pounds to lose in seven days. And that is exactly what I lost. I weighed-in right at the weight class limit of 114-1/2 pounds on the first try.

      That last point is important, as my last two contests, it took multiple tries over a couple of hours to make weight. This way, I had even more time to eat and rehydrate to get my weight back up for the contest. By the next morning, my weight was back up to 119.6 pounds.




Gear: Crain: power belt, Genesis wrist wraps, 3.0-meter Genesis knee wraps, APT heavy knee sleeves.

Warm-ups:  --/15, 65/9, 135/7, 170/5, 200/4, Sleeves: 230/3, 260/1

Sleeves: 285, Wraps: 320, 335
Sleeves: 285, Wraps: 320, 335 (miss) 

      Squats had gone great throughout my Training Plan leading up to this contest, so I was hoping to better what I did last time. My first attempt with sleeves went very well. That was good to break the APF open record. But I then switched to wraps for my second attempt. I had used this pattern at my last contest. It works well, except it takes a bit of time to take off my squat boots and knee sleeves, then put my boots back on, stow the sleeves and get my wraps out of my gym bag. That takes away from rest time between attempts. But that is why I make the switch between attempts one and two rather than between attempts two and three.

      In any case, my second attempt felt heavy. And I was having a hard time getting my head into the game and concentrating (more on that later). But I still went ahead with my planned third attempt with 335. That would be good to break my own All-time, raw, masters (50-59) world record.

      I got psyched up as best as I could. Took the weight off of the rack, came down nicely, and began to come back up. But about one-third to one-half of the way up, I stalled, and I just could not get it moving again. And that was the end of that.

      Afterwards, the head judge called me over and said I had sunk my first two attempts just right. But he said I sunk this attempt too far, and that is probably why I missed it. He also said I was looking forward at him as I got set, and that almost caused him to give me the “Squat” signal too early. I should look up until I am ready.

      On that last point, I know that, but as I said, I was not concentrating. On depth, as I was wrapping, I was thinking maybe I should cut the lift a bit higher, with my second attempt being so hard. But I feared, with it being an All-time record, the judges would be stricter, so I should be sure to sink it. I guess I should have gone with my first thought.

      But whatever the case, I was really bumped. I really wanted this lift. But it was my own fault for letting myself be distracted. But whatever the case, it was time to put Squats behind me and focus on the next lift.




Gear: Crain: power belt; APT wrist wraps.

Warm-ups: 45/15, 65/9, 80/7, 95/5, 110/4, Add gear: 125/3, 140/1

Planned: 150, 160, 170
Actual:   150, 160, 170

      My Bench training had not gone well for the first half of my Training Plan, but then it picked up in the second half. But that slow start kept me from even attempting to better what I did last time. As it was, I just planned on repeating my attempts from my last contest. The only difference was I missed my third attempt a year ago, so I was hoping to get it this time.

      Warmups felt good, but I was thrown off by the benches, both in the warmup room and on the platform. I use the hook on my power rack for bench racks. They angle outward, so I can easily slide the bar up and out myself, and usually that is the way the hooks are at contest, so I stick with unracking the bar myself. But the racks on these benches went straight up, and there was no way I could get the weight out myself. I was able to recruit someone in the warmup room who was not lifting to give me a handoff for my final warm up set. I then had one of the spotters give me a handoff for my contest attempts.

      It always worries me having someone handoff for me who has never done so before, as, with my short arms, they tend to lift the bar up too high, pulling me out of my arch. And that happened on my first attempt. Fortunately, it was very easy, so I still got it without problems. I then told the spotter about it, and he died a good job on my next two attempts.

      My second attempt felt good, with plenty of strength to spare, so I went with my planned third attempt. But it ended up being a lot harder than I thought and hoped it would be. But thank God I had gotten my head into it by now, was really psyched up going in, so, as the bar almost stalled, I kept pushing and inching it up bit by bit. It was a bit unbalanced, but not excessively so. And somehow, I barely locked it out, and the head judge immediately called for it to be racked. I wasn’t sure if I had fully locked it out when the bar was taken, but I got three whites, so I guess so.

      I was exhausted afterwards, but very excited. It was the second time I had pushed out such a hard Bench. And like that time, I was really out of breath (more on that later). But I only had a few minutes to bask in that glory, as I had to prepare for the next lift.




Warm-ups: --/15, 45/9, 135/7, 185/5, 235/4, Gear: 285/3, 335/1

Planned: 360, 380, 405
Actual:   360, 385, 405

       Like Benches, my Deadlift training had not gone well for the first half of my Training Plan, but then it picked up in the second half. And my final peaking workout went great. That put me in a position to attempt to better my pull from last time. Deadlift warmups went well, though the final warmup felt heavy. But nevertheless, I kept with my planned attempts.

      My opener was hard, but it didn’t have me too worried. My second attempt was good to break the APF open American record. I got it, but it was very hard, much harder than I had hoped. However, I didn’t even think about changing my plans for my third attempt. I just knew if I got very psyched up, I’d get it. And that is what I did.

      I was very psyched as I squatted down to the bar. As I grabbed it, I just KNEW I would get it. I pulled, and the bar barely started to move, but it moved, then I inched it up slowly but surely to lockout. Then I held it, and held it, and held it, and held it, and held it. I’m serious! I think I held it a full five seconds before the head judge gave me the “Down” command.

      I can only assume that since this lift was also for the All-time, raw, masters (50-59) world record, the judge wanted to be sure I really had it. But the rules do not say you have to hold it for five seconds! But whatever the case, thank God I have been working on my grip, ever since I missed my final attempt a year and a half ago by losing my grip. And that grip work paid off.

      In any case, after I finally got the “Down” command and set the bar back down, I went crazy. I was so excited. Then I crashed into a chair, out of breath, just like after my final Bench attempt. Two full max final attempts left me wiped and very sore later. But it was worth it.


Attempts Ratio and Total


      I have gone 9/9 or 8/9 at every contest I've entered since I started competing again in 2015, and the latter was the case here. That missed third Squat attempt (which I should have gotten) put a damper on the contest overall, but I prefer to focus on the very successful third Bench and Deadlift attempts.

      I totaled 895 to tie my 50s PR. But I was frustrated, as, if I had gotten that third Squat, I would have broken 900. But still, the 895 total was good to break the APF American record.


Over 100 Federation Records


      With the seven federation records I broke or set at this contest, I have now set or broken over 100 different federation records in the past 17 years, since I started competing again the first time in 2003. By my count, the exact number is 102. And please note, that is different records. I am not including the many times I have broken my own records. As far as I know, all of these records are still standing.

      I have been able to break so many federation records by entering several different federations over these years, by entering different gear division, by entering both drug tested and non-drug tested divisions, by entering both the open and masters divisions, and most of all, by continuing to compete as I have moved up through the different master age categories. I started at 40-44, moved up to 45-49, then 50-54, and now 55-59. Next year, I will move up to the 60-65 category. Each five-year jump gives me a whole new set of records to go after.

      I thank the LORD I have been I have been able to compete through all of these years. Well, actually, I wasn’t able to compete from 2010-2014. If not for that five-year break, I’d probably have even more records by now.


Hotel, Venue, and the Contest Itself


      This was the second time I entered this contest at this venue, so see the above linked to contest report from 2017 for details about the hotel and venue. And for pictures of both, see APF/ AAPF Ohio State Powerlifting Championships – 2017 – Pictures.

      Everything was the same as last time, except the weather was a better this time. It only went down to 60 degrees the morning of the contest, then it only went up to the upper 70s. That meant, it was not too cold in the morning nor too hot in the afternoon. It was also a mostly sunny day, with no threat of rain, even though the forecast called for rain. That meant, I had no problems leaving most of my gear in my car and going out between lifts to change gear around for the next lift. There was also now a picnic table just outside the back door of the gym, so I sat at that to eat my between lift snacks.

      On the contest itself, it was a small meet. In fact, the meet director said I was one of only three people who had preregistered. He figured that most were waiting to be sure the contest actually happened before turning in their entry forms. As it turned out, there were only nine full power lifters and seven Bench only lifters. That made for a small contest, with only one flight for Squats and Deadlifts, but two for Benches, with the Bench-only lifters all being in the first flight. That meant I was first up for Squats and in my flight for Benches, but I was second for Deadlifts, as the lone female went before me for that lift.


The Coronavirus


      The hotel and contest site were literally in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but corn fields all around. The hotel was virtually empty. In fact, I think I was the only person on the second (top) floor, as only once did I even hear anyone in the hallway and I never saw anyone else.

      I wore a mask when I checked in and checked out, though the counter person did not. I took disinfectant with me and disinfected a few things before touching them in the room. The TV remote was small enough that I sealed it inside a snack zip bag. As such, I am not concerned about having gotten infected at the hotel. But the contest is another story.

      This contest would have driven Drs. Fauci and Birx crazy, as there was no social distancing and little mask wearing. I wore a new Penn State mask my dad got for me to weigh-ins. A couple of other lifters who weighed-in at the same time also wore masks, though the meet director who was weighing us in did not. But at the contest itself, even those two lifters were not wearing masks.

      I wore a mask as much as I could at the contest, as I was getting set up on through my first few warm up sets. But by the time I got to my final two warmups, the mask was restricting my breathing too much, so I took it off, and left it off until I was done with my final attempt for that lift. I put it back on until the next warm-ups, except of course while I was eating my snacks.

      Also, that Penn State mask wasn’t fitting right, as it kept sliding down, and it was restricting my breathing too much, so I switched to my boring light blue, disposable masks. But even those would have restricted my breathing too much while actually performing my contest attempts. In fact, if I had worn one for my final Bench and Deadlift attempts, I probably would have passed out. You just cannot put forth full physical effort with a mask on.

      That is probably why no other lifters were wearing masks at all. But then, neither were their helpers, and only a few people in the audience were. Altogether, there were at least 50 people in the gym, probably over any indoor gathering limit in Ohio, though I am not sure what its rules are at the moment.

      But then, with the back door open and two garage doors open at the other end of the gym, and two industrial strength fans running the whole time, there was plenty of circulation. As such, I have no idea if this contest would be considered to be a “super-spreader” event or not.

      All I can do is wait and see what happens. But I have no plans to go anywhere for a couple of weeks, just in case. But I will say, it did bother me that no one except me seemed to pay the virus any attention. But then, I just concern myself about myself and let others do as they may.


My Health Situation


      But as for myself, I barely slept the last few nights before this contest. Sadly, that is often the case the week of a contest. That is why I took a quart of iced tea with me, to keep me caffeinated to get though the contest. And that worked, in that I did not feel overly tired, until the contest was over.

      However, the reason I did not sleep the night before the contest is related to a health difficulty. I am not going to do into details, but suffice it to say, I was very disturbed by it. In fact, as I lay awake, I thought about the doctor’s appointment I have next month. When I go to it, I know what the doctor is going to recommend, and I am not happy about it. Again, I will not go into details. But I will say, this situation and the drugs I need to take as a result is why I did not compete from 2010-2014, and If I need to go on them again, that could be the end of my powerlifting career.

      All of this was still on my mind as I prepared for Squats and on into my attempts. That is why I said my head was not in the game and very possibly why I messed up my form and missed that third attempt. If I had the same mindset as I did for my third Deadlift, I would have gotten that Squat attempt. But thank God I was able to focus after that, and the rest of the contest went well, including getting those extremely difficult final Bench and Deadlifts attempts.


Future Plans


      However, those final Bench and Deadlifts attempts left me very wiped and sore. I really felt it that evening back at my hotel room and in the morning as I was packing up to head home. I have some thoughts on changes for my training to try to prevent that next time. For that matter, those two attempts were harder than I thought they would be, so I have some thoughts about that for my training as well.

      That is assuming I will be able to continue to train hard and to compete. But again, I just am not sure at this point. I already have a new routine written up, though I will make these couple of changes to it before I begin again.

      After a week off, I will start training again on Sunday, September 20, 2020 with plans on competing again, though I won’t know for sure until my doctor’s appointment next month. But still, tentatively, and God-willing, my next contest willbe in March or April 2021. If I compete before the end of March, it will be the last time I will enter the masters 50-59 age division, as I will turn 60 at the tend of that month. If not, then this contest would have been my last contest in that age division. But if I do compete again before the end of next March, that means, that contest would be the last chance for me to increase my records in that age division before moving up to the 60-69 division.

    If I can still compete after turning 60, that will give me a whole new set of records to go after. If that happens or not remains to be seen. All I can now is pray and let it all in the LORD’s hands as to what the future holds in regard to powerlifting.




      Below is a picture of me holding my trophy after I got home (click for a larger image). I posted a pic like this before, only wearing a Steelers shirt. I said then, it combined three things that are important to me: powerlifting, the Steelers, and my Christian faith. But now, with professional sports gone woke, I have little interest in even my formerly beloved Pirates. But I got the shirts, so I still wear them.


For my first workouts using this plan, see 2020-21 Tetra-Trinity #1 Powerlifting Training Plan: Rotations I & II of VI.

For the full meet results, see 2020 APF/ AAPF Ohio State Meet Results.

Powerlifting and Back Pain

    The first book is geared towards the beginner to intermediate powerlifter. It presents sound training, competition, dietary, and supplement advice to aid the reader in starting and progressing in the sport of powerlifting. The second book details how I overcame years of crippling low back and was able to return to the sport of powerlifting.

Starting and Progressing in Powerlifting: A Comprehensive Guide to the World's Strongest Sport

Overcoming Back Pain: A Mind-body Solution (Second Edition)

See also this series on Amazon (#ad).

The above contest report was posted on this site September 14, 2020.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
Powerlifting and Strength Training: Contest Reports

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