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New Gear and Final Pre-Contest Workouts

The following are various posts I made in the Weightlifting Discussion Board in regards to my upcoming contest.
These posts are basically a continuation of Training Routine and Two-Week Rotation (8/13/03 - 11/14/03).

Squats! New Gear!

I haven't posted much over the fall as I've been very busy. But I wanted to post about my excitement over how well my squats have been going and the new gear I just got.

I competed at the International Powerlifting Association World Championships on August 8, 2003 at 114s. After that contest I wasn't sure if I would enter IPA Nationals on November 14, 2003 or not. I wanted to wait to see how well my training went before deciding. I totaled 900 at Worlds, which was good for the IPA open and masters (40-44) world records. I also broke records in all three individual lifts as well. So I figured that if I could add at least 50 pounds to my total and be able to do enough to break all of my individual lift records, I would enter Nationals.

At Worlds, I squatted 335 on my third attempt wearing a CMW power belt, Genesis power suit, and 2.0 meter Genesis power wraps. For my workout yesterday, wearing the belt and wraps but no suit, I tripled 340 and then doubled 360! I'm currently weighing about 119, so the double was over triple bodyweight! And, needless to say, I should easily be able to break my squat records.

I believe part of the reason squats has been going so well is due to the good mornings I have been doing. Previously, due to my health problems, my hamstrings were really tight. But doing the good mornings with my legs straight has helped to stretch and strengthen my hamstrings. In fact, for the first time in over two years, while stretching after my workouts, I am now able to stand with my legs straight, bend forward, and touch my toes. The moral of the story is that flexibility is important for a good squat!

In any case, benches and deadlifts haven't been going quite as well, but still good enough that I should be able to break my records in those lifts as well. And with adding at least 50 pounds to my total looking doable, a couple of weeks ago I decided to enter Nationals.

And with entering this contest, I decided it was time to "upgrade" to the best possible gear that the IPA allows. So this would mean a double ply squat suit, 2.5 meter wraps, and a double ply bench shirt.

So I contacted Ricky Dale Crain and Crain's Muscle World about getting new gear. And it just arrived yesterday. What I got was a Genesis double thick power suit, Genesis 2.5 meter power wraps, and a double Xtreme power shirt with velcro. And let me tell you, this gear looks great.

Just by picking up the suit you can feel the difference. It is SO much heavier than my single ply suit. I am really excited to see how much this, along with extra half meter on the wraps, adds to my squat.

The shirt is very heavy and looks great as well. Benches are my worst lift, but with this shirt, they just might get to a more respectable level!

I am so psyched and looking forward to seeing how much this all adds to my lifts. I will try to post how my workouts go next week with the new gear.

Final DLs Before Contest

I will be competing at IPA Nationals, Friday November 14, 2003, in Harrisburg, PA, in the 114 pound, men's amateur, open and masters (40-44) divisions. Yesterday was my final deadlift workout before the contest. The suit I used was CMWs Genesis Deadlift Suit, the same suit I used for my previous two contests.

My workout went as follows:
Warm-ups: free/15, 45/10, 145/8, 235/5, add wraps & belt: 280/3, add suit: 325/1
Work sets: 360/2, 370/2, 380/1

Last week, for my last DL workout without the suit, I pulled 355/3, 365/1. But the 365 was not a full max; I might have been able to do five pounds more, while the 380 above was a full max. So I'm estimating that the suit adds about 10-15 pounds to my DL. That's not much, but then you can't expect too much from a DL suit. But still, 10 pounds is 10 pounds.

At IPA World's August 8, I pulled 365, which was good for the IPA open and masters world records. And, as indicated above, I recently pulled this without my suit. So my DL is up by what the suit adds, or about 10-15 pounds. After 12 weeks of training, I was hoping for a little more of an increase than that. But still, with the suit, I should have no problems breaking my records at my upcoming contest.

Tentatively, I am planning on opening with 355. Since I tripled that without the suit, it should be an easy opener. Then I will try 370 on my second attempt to break my record. I will figure out my third attempt after that.

Final Benches - New Shirt - Difficulties

I will be competing at IPA Nationals, Friday November 14, 2003, in Harrisburg, PA, in the 114 pound, men's amateur, open and masters (40-44) divisions. Yesterday was my final heavy bench workout before the contest. This was my first workout using my new CMW Double Xtreme Power Shirt.

But before getting to the workout, I wanted to mention something about the sizing of the shirt. My previous shirt was CMW's Power Shirt, the least expensive of their line of four shirts. When I ordered the new shirt I wasn't able to give them the size of my current shirt as the size marker got lost when I had it altered. So I just gave them my measurements.

But I later found my old receipt, and it had the size on it. It was a size 36. So I called CMW to see what size they sent, and I was told it was a 30. This really had me worried. My 36 might have been slightly too big, so maybe one size smaller would have been good. But I couldn't see how I would fit into a shirt three sizes smaller.

But when I got the shirt and laid it on my old shirt, it looked to be only slightly smaller in the shoulders. And I got my new shirt with Velcro on the back. And with the Velcro, it actually ended up not being too difficult to put on.

However, once I put it on, it was *very* tight. I actually had trouble breathing deeply. When I got home, I called CMW to see if this is how it was supposed to fit. Ricky called me back and said that if you can get it on, it's not too tight. I kind of figured that's what he'd say, but it helped to hear it from him (thanks Ricky!). Ricky even said that once I get used to it, six months from now I'll be wanting a tighter shirt!

On my old shirt I needed to get the arms altered as they were too loose. But with this shirt, even the arms are very tight. But I do need to get the length altered. It goes way down past my waist. It needs to be taken up by 6-1/2” inches. And all of that extra material on the bottom was really distracting me. I kept trying to fold it up, but it would fall back down and get in my way when I was tightening my belt. So I really did have to get it hemmed up. I took it in today, but I made it clear to them that I needed it back by Wednesday as I am leaving for my contest Thursday morning (11/13).

All that said, for my last bench workout without a shirt I did: 190/2, 200/1.

Below is my workout with the shirt.
Warm-ups: free/15, 45/10, 95/8, 125/5, add wraps & belt: 155/3, add shirt: 185/1
Work sets: 205/1, 215/--, 215/--

I could only get the 185 down to about 2" above my chest. This was something I had worried about in getting CMWs best shirt, that I wouldn't be able to get the bar down.

Since I had gotten 200 without a shirt my workout before, I went up to 205 for my first work set as I wanted to see what the shirt would add. And the 205 came down and went up rather easily. So I went up to 215 for my second set, and I really thought I would be able to get it.

However, I only got the 215 halfway up. So I tried it again, and the same thing happened; I only got it halfway up. I think part of the problem was I was having such difficulty breathing deeply that I couldn't get "psyched" as well as I usually do. But still, what the shirt is supposed to do is get the bar up halfway, so it worked in that regard. I just need to get used to it more and train the second part of the lift.

At IPA World's August 8, I benched 200, which was good for the IPA masters world record. And I want to be sure I break this record at this contest. But given my difficulties in the above workout, I'm really unsure on what my attempts should be. I also have to factor in that I have about five pounds to lose. I lost that much last time without any loss of strength, but still, it is a factor to consider.

I know I have to open with more than 185 since I couldn't get that down, but I want to open with less than 205 as that is the heaviest I got in training. So I figure I'll try 195 on my first attempt. I'm just a little leery about it as I didn't try this in training, so I'm not sure if I will be able to get it down or not. If I get it, then I'll go up to 205 on my second attempt to break my record.

If I can't get the 195 down, then I might still need to increase to 205 on my second attempt since that is a weight I know I can get down. It would make me very uncomfortable to increase the weight after a miss, but I might have no choice. I will figure out my third attempt after that.

What I really could have used was a second workout with the new shirt. But I just got it Friday. I am planning on putting in a light bench workout on Monday.  If I had the shirt I would probably try my opener of 195. But I probably won't have the shirt back from being altered until after that.

If I had gotten the 215 yesterday I would have been feeling better. But as it is, I'm a little frustrated and unsure on my attempts, but I am sure things will work out somehow. But still, the moral of the story is, don't wait until the last minute to get a new shirt!

Final Squats - Walkout problems, but it doesn't matter!

I will be competing at IPA Nationals, Friday November 14, 2003, in Harrisburg, PA, in the 114 pound, men's amateur, open and masters (40-44) divisions. Yesterday was my final squat workout before the contest. This was my first workout using my new CMW Genesis 2.5 meter power wraps and Genesis double thick power squat suit (all legal gear in the IPA).

I would have liked to have used the 2.5 meter wraps for my last two squat workouts. But the package with the new gear didn't arrive in time. It actually came while I was at the gym putting in my next to last squat workout. But as it was, for that workout, wearing just a belt and the 2.0 meter wraps, I squatted 340/3, 360/2

The new suit is a size 24, the same size as the single ply Genesis suit I had been using. But the double thick suit was much harder to put on. The problem is, there is no "give" to the material. It doesn't stretch at all when you're trying to pull it up. But with the help of two guys at the gym, lots of effort on their part, and lots of baby powder, I was able to get it on. And it was worth the effort.

Below is my squat workout using the double thick suit and 2.5 meter wraps.

Warm-ups: free/15, 45/10, 145/8, 215/5, add wraps & belt: 275/3, add suit: 330/1
Work sets: 365/2, 385/2, 400/--

Lat. Pulldowns: [45/10, 85/7] 105/7, 105/6

I did the lat. pulldowns as my last DL workout was 11 days out, and that seemed too long to go without doing any upper back work.

As for squats, it should be noted that the 360 that I doubled the week before was the most weight that I have had on my back since I started lifting again. The workout before I had doubled 350, then 345 before that. You get the idea. My squats have been going great. Add in the new gear, and I knew I'd be handling much greater weights than I was used to for yesterday's workout. I was excited about this, but it caused me problems as well.

I figured I would have problems with the walkout, so I had the spotters help me walk it out on my first set. But they didn't let go of the bar at the same time, and I almost lost my balance. And then the weight felt like a ton on my back, but I still doubled it without too much difficulty.

Given the problems on the first set, I figured it wasn't such a good idea having the spotters help me walk it out. So for my second set I walked it out myself, but I was barely able to get my feet set properly. But I still doubled it. But it was a very difficult double.

On the last set I stumbled on the walkout and had to take an extra step back to get my balance. And then my feet were too wide, but I couldn't pull them in. The weight was just too heavy. But despite not being set properly, I tried it anyhow, and promptly got buried.

However, none of the above really matters as there will be a monolift at my upcoming contest. So I won't have a walkout throwing me off. I can get my feet set where I want them before lifting the weight up. And I simply won't have to have the weight on my back so long. So I am hoping things will be a lot easier at the contest.

At IPA World's August 8, I squatted 335 on my third attempt, which was good for the IPA open and masters world records. Tentatively for this contest, I am planning on opening with 365. Since I doubled this without too much difficulty despite the walkout problems, I figure with the monolift it should be an easy opener. And it will break my records by 30 pounds!

I'll wait to see how my first attempt goes with the monolift before deciding on my second attempt. What would really help is if I had a monolift to train on, but that simply is not the case.

At my last contest I totaled 900, on a 8 for 9 day, which was good for the IPA open and masters world records. My planned openers for this contest total 915. And, of course, I'm hoping to get more than just my openers!

The above was my last heavy workout before the contest. I started cutting weight this morning. I only have about five pounds to lose, so I'm hoping I can lose it without any loss of strength. I'll put in a light bench workout on Monday, and that will be it as far as training goes.

I'm leaving for Harrisburg Thursday morning. Its about a 3-1/2 hour drive from my home near Pittsburgh. I'll be weighing in Thursday afternoon and then competing in the Friday AM session. I'm planning on sticking around at least through part of the day Saturday to watch some of the other sessions, and then driving home that evening. I'll try to post a contest report sometime the following week.

Change of Plans

I've made a minor change of plans for my contest on Friday. I was going to leave Thursday morning and weigh in during the weigh-in session Thursday afternoon 4-8 pm. But last time, I arrived at 2:00 pm, very hungry and thirsty, and it was really difficult having to wait two hours to weigh-in before I could eat and drink anything. And that didn't leave me a whole lot of time to eat and drink that evening without eating too much at once and disturbing my sleep. So I decided to leave on Wednesday this time.

This way, I can weigh-in during the 8:00 am to 12 noon weigh-in session. Then I will have a full day to eat and re-hydrate before my contest starts at 9:00 am Friday. Also this way, I'll get the 3-1/2 hour drive out of the way on Wednesday and be able to just rest on Thursday.

O course, the down side will be having to pay for another night in the hotel. Also I am a little worried about being able to sleep Wednesday night as I always seem to have a problem sleeping in hotel rooms. But last time, I couldn't sleep at home Wednesday night anyway to due having gotten stressed out over family problems. But this way, I will be 200 miles away from any family, so I can just relax! Also, maybe by sleeping in the hotel room on Wednesday night, I'll get used to it and actually be able to get some sleep the night before a contest for a change.

I got my new bench shirt back from being altered today, and I'm all packed and ready to go.

See IPA National Powerlifting Championships - 2003 for a report on how I did at my contest.

New Gear and Final Pre-Contest Workouts. Copyright 2003 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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