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Full Gear Workouts

By Gary F. Zeolla

The following message was posted on the Christian Powerlifters Forum.

As I posted previously, I had planned on entering IPA Nationals on November 19, 2004. But for various reasons, I decided not to. So instead, this past week, I put in what I call my “full gear” or “practice contest” workouts. For these workouts, I wear all the same gear I would at a contest, and do three singles, like at a contest.

I do these workouts every few weeks if I do not have a contest for a while. This gives me a chance to practice using the gear and in picking attempts. It also gives me a good idea where my lifts are between contests. For these workouts, I don't do any assistance work. That way, they aren't overly taxing, and it gives me a break from my regular workouts.

First, let me say that my bodyweight is currently about 120, but I compete at 114s (all weights are in pounds). And by way of comparison, my lifts at my last contest (IPA Worlds, July 10, 2004) were 405 - 210 - 410 - 1025. Also, I compete in the IPA, which allows 2.5 meter wraps and double-ply gear. So that is what I wear.


385 - 405 - 420

The first two attempts felt great, but I had serious problems on the last attempt. It felt very heavy coming out of the racks. I had a hard time getting set, then I only went part-way down and realized that I wouldn't get it, so I started back up. But the bar then inexplicably slipped off my back! I was in a power rack, but there was no one else in the gym to spot me. The weight slammed onto the safety bars, bounced halfway out of the rack to the right side, and almost went through a wall!

My left knee hurt afterwards, but I didn’t think it was any serious. I did, however, bend the bar and the safety bars. I already replaced the safety bars with a couple of metal bars I found at a hardware store.

In any case, I think the problem was that for my regular workouts I usually only wear a belt and 2.0 meter wraps. But for my full gear workouts, I use 2.5 meter wraps and a double-ply squat suit. And I think the difference in weights being handled is just too great. For my last regular workout I squatted 380/1, so that was a 40 pound jump. But I am going to start wearing my 2.5 meter wraps for my regular workouts. The 25 pound jump to 405 was not too great, so I think the extra 5-10 pounds the extra half meter of wraps add should suffice.

In any case, the 405 felt easy enough that I am sure I would have gotten 410, and maybe even 415.


200 - 215 - 225

I was going to try 230 on my third attempt, but after the problems with my squat workout, I decided to play it safe and only went up to 225. I ended up getting it with strength to spare. I am sure I would have gotten the 230. Oh well.


375 - 395 - 410

For this workout, instead of my single-ply deadlift suit, I decided to try wearing my double-ply squat suit. Since I use a sumo stance on DLs, and since the IPA allows double-ply gear but CMW does not make a double-ply DL suit, this seemed to make sense. And it worked out well. The double-ply squat suit added about 5 pounds more than the single-ply DL suit.

I had planned on going to 415 on my third attempt, but again, after the problems with squats, I played it safe and only went to 410. And again, I got it with strength to spare. I probably would have gotten the 415. But most of all, thank God, my knee didn’t bother me at all during this workout.


My first contest since I started powerlifting again was in April 2003. At that contest, I went 9/9, and that felt great! But I’ve missed attempts at each of my contests since then. The reason being, I’ve been trying to squeeze out every last pound out of my final attempts. But I am beginning to think it would be better to leave some weight on the platform and go 9/9 than to risk missing an attempt trying to get another 5-10 pounds. In the end, I would probably total more that way, and it would be safer as well. So I am planning on being somewhat more conservative in picking attempts in the future, as I was with benches and deadlifts for these workouts. I guess the problems on my third squat attempt really shook me up.

Also, as it turned out, I am glad I didn’t enter IPA Nationals. If I had, and if I had done the same at the contest as I did in these workouts, I would have just repeated what I did at my last contest for squats and deadlifts, but I would have added 15 pounds to benches and thus to my total. But this would not have justified the expense of going to the contest.

As for why I haven’t added too much to my lifts since then, as I mentioned previously, I’ve been having some setbacks health-wise over the fall. So I’ve had to undergo some additional treatments, and these have really drained me. But I’m about done with the treatments and am starting to feel better. So I am confident I will start seeing some steady progress in my training.


Full Gear Workouts (11/24-28/04). Copyright 2004 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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