NOTE by Mehdi: StrongLifts Member Harrison (24y, USA) used to have chronic lower back pain due to scoliosis. 2 years after starting StrongLifts 5×5 his back pain is almost gone and his Squat skyrocketed to 390lb. Here are the results of his recent powerlifting competition where he won bronze.
I am 24 years old and originally from Rockville, MD. Last November I decided it might be fun to enter a powerlifting meet and found the USAPL Richmond Open advertised online. Since this was my first lifting competitively I wasn’t planning to mess around with cutting my bodyweight or anything. I figured I’d just show up and lift my as much weight as I could handle. I hoped to total 1000 lbs.
I competed in the Richmond Open in Mechanicsville, Virginia on Saturday, April 16 in the 90kg/198lb Open division. I went 9 for 9, setting PRs on every lift and earning the Bronze Medal with a total of 495kg/1089lbs. I came in third out of fourteen in my weight class. I was very pleased with my performance.
On Tuesay the meet director emailed everyone that the meet was going to be broken up into a morning and afternoon session due to the large number of participants. Everyone 198lbs and under would begin at 9am, and everyone over at 2pm. I had to be back in DC by 6pm that night, so I needed to be 198.
On Friday morning I checked my bodyweight: 200.5lbs. Manly and awesome, but a little heavy for the event. I avoided salt that day and drank as much water as I could–I think about three gallons. I probably pissed 15 times that afternoon. I reserved a hotel room near the meet location and attempted to wait for traffic to die down on Friday night before making the 100-mile trip from my apartment in Arlington, VA. I had my last meal of chicken breast, eggs, vegetables and fruits as I sat in traffic on I-95 and quit drinking anything at 7:30.
The drive ended up taking nearly five hours through heavy traffic, leaving me only about six to sleep before the meet. Before going to bed I laid in the hottest bath I could tolerate for about fifteen minutes and was down to 197lbs. I woke up at 5 and got to the high school where the meet was being held by 6. I was the second person to weigh in at 6:30: 196.8 lbs. Perfect!
I was feeling hungry and weak so I went to the parking lot and began to feast! I’d packed a cooler with my favorite clean foods. I first had a can of full sodium V8 to replenish any electrolytes I lost from all the water and urinating. By 7:30 I’d downed 4 boiled eggs, half a chicken breast, half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some diluted orange juice, coffee, berries, mixed greens, a banana and a liter of green tea. I was back to full strength with two hours to digest! I headed inside with my cooler and supplies for the rules briefing.
Between having to go in early and stay late a lot at work that week, the long drive and lack of food the night before, I was a little concerned I might not be in my best shape. I ignored all of that and focused on what I could now control- getting motivated and visualizing my lifts. These were less-than-ideal conditions, but that’s why I trained hard!
Powerlifting meets are all about showing how much weight you can lift, not how much you cannot lift. I was amazed that some guys missed their openers. I was pretty conservative in my attempts. For all three lifts I opened with my final warm up weight. For my second attempt I did something that I could do for two or three reps. And for my final attempts I went for a personal record.
I probably should have known this in advance, but in USAPL everything is done in kilograms. I swear I learned the metric system in school and they had a conversion table, but man I wish I’d planned my lifts in kilograms in advance. I train with pounds so for each lift I had to decide whether to round up or down. I rounded down to be sure I would hit the weights. My lifts were as follows:
- 158 kg/348 lbs
- 172.5kg/380 lbs
- 177.5kg/390.6 lbs–PR
- 113.5kg/250 lbs
- 122.5kg/270 lbs
- 130kg/286 lbs–PR
- 159kg/350 lbs
- 174.5kg/385 lbs
Total: 495kg/1089lbs–Third Place
Thank you to everyone inside the StrongLifts Community who gave me such great training tips, advice and feedback over the past two years. I train alone in a gym devoid of lifters and I can’t overempasize how much your support and attitude benefited my training and mindset. I met StrongLifts Member Frozen there. He tore it up and set a state record!
I plan to focus on continuing to increase all of my lifts, especially the deadlift. I seem to have a higher than average bench strength relative to my squats but lower than average deadlift. The guy who took gold has been training for 15+ years and totaled about 1250lbs. Both guys who finished ahead of me had deadlifts in the 500s. It’s good to have a new goal.
StrongLifts Members: follow Harrison’s training log and congratulate him on his achievement. Check also the results and videos of StrongLifts Member Frozen (18y, USA) who competed at the same meet and won 1st in his division.