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Full Gear Workouts

By Gary F. Zeolla

Below are three messages I posted on the Weightlifting Discussion Board.

Deadlifts - 400!

As I posted previously, I’ve been using full gear about once a month for each lift. And for these workouts, I’m playing it like a contest and doing three singles. Yesterday (5/5/04) was DL day. My “attempts” were: 370, 385, 400!

400 DL! I was so psyched! I've been adding five pounds each month all year to my DLs. However, my goal all along has been to be able to open with enough to break my records at IPA Worlds July 9. My current record is 380 (open and masters division at 114s). So that means I need to add at least 15 pounds to my DL in the next two months to be able to safely open with 385.

>Someone replied to the above that it doesn't matter what you open with but what you end up with. He also said that the open should be something you can do for 2-3 reps. I replied ...<

I know. But the idea of opening with my records is giving me a goal to shot for. Also, I doubled 370 without the suit the week before. That is why I "opened" with 370 for this workout. So yes, that is my plan, to try to get to where I am doubling 385 without the suit. That should make for an easy opener.

My goal is to be able to go: 385 - 400 - 415. That way I’ll get the record out of the way on the opener, then go for the even 400 on my second attempt. If something happens I’ll have a second shot at it. But if I get the 400 on my second, then the third attempt would be for a “true” PR (my best DL in college at 114s was 410). But that’s two months away. As I said, to be able to do this, I need to add at least 15 pounds to my DL. That is the main goal right now.

Squats - 400!

I did it again! For my full-gear squat workout Saturday (5/8/04), I used the exact same weights as I did for my full gear DL workout three days before. Specifically, my "attempts" (all singles) were: 370, 385, 400

400 squat and DL! I am so excited. One problem though, with no one to watch my depth on squats, I cannot say for sure if they were low enough or not. I had problems with depth at my last contest and only got my opener of 365 passed. But that was good enough for the IPA record (open and masters at 114s). I've been trying to sink my squats more in training since then, and with the above workout, I am already doing enough to open with enough to break my record at IPA Worlds on July 9. And 370 will probably be my opener at the contest.

With the depth issue, my goal for the next two months is to work on really sinking my squats and to get my squat up enough so that 370 is fairly easy, easy enough that I can really sink it if I have to. My attempts after that will depend, of course, on how my training goes over the next two months, but also on what the judging it like at the contest. So it's hard for me to set a "goal" as to what I want to end up with.

Going back to my workout, with it being a Saturday afternoon and absolutely gorgeous weather here in the Pittsburgh area, when I was done squatting, I couldn't find anyone to help my take my squat suit off! I was basically the only one in the entire YMCA. There was a female working the front desk, but since I only wear a jock strap under my suit, that wouldn't work.

So I wandered around for 5-10 minutes until I finally found someone in the Nautilus room that I sort of knew. So I asked him. On our way to the locker room, another guy I sort of knew was just on his way out of the locker room, so I grabbed him and turned him around. And with both of them helping me, it was still a big struggle getting the suit off. I would never have gotten it off myself. But it was worth all the hassles was to squat 400!

Benches - not quite as good

My full gear bench workout yesterday (5/10/04) didn't go quite as well my full gear squat and DL workouts last week. My "attempts" were: 205 - 215 - 225.

I thought for sure I would get the 225. But I got it halfway up and stalled. Oh well. But still, my IPA master's (40-44) record at 114s stands at 200, so the 205 "opener" would be enough to break my record. And once I'm at contest weight of 114 and if I could get the 225, that would be just about double bodyweight.

However, the wildcard is my bodyweight. I'm currently weighing about 120, and the big question is how much strength I'll lose dropping 6 pounds. But I will be weighing in the day before, so that will give me time to get my weight back up some. So I'd still like to be able to use the above attempts at my contest on July 9. The 205 seemed plenty easy for an opener. But to account for the possible loss of strength from cutting weight, I really need to get my bench up over the next two months.

And finally, over the past week, in my three full gear workouts, I went 8/9 and "totaled" 1015. That's a big improvement over my 5/9, 940 total at my last contest. But, of course, lifting in the gym and at a contest are two completely different things. But still, my main goal for my next contest is to total at least a grand, and these workouts let me know that I am on the right track.

I'll have one more set of full gear workouts next month, and that will be it until the contest. But I do feel that using full gear once a month and doing three singles is working out very well. It is helping me to get used to the gear, giving me practice picking attempts, and helping me get used to doing max singles. I don't feel as sore and tired afterwards as I used to when maxing out.

Full Gear Workouts (Week of 5/5/04). Copyright 2004 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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