Bar x lots
40kg x 6
60kg x 6
80kg x 3
100kg x 3
120kg x 3
127.5kg x 3/3/3/3 Paused
90kg x 3/3/3 Static Lunges with Safety Squat Bar
40kg x 6/6/6 – each side of course Steated Flop n Locks (this is what I call them anyway, I am sure they have a proper name)
40kg x 10/10/10
Bar x lots
40kg x 6
60kg x 3
70kg x 3
80kg x 1
85kg x 3/3/3/3/3/3 DB Floor Press
55lb x 8/8/8 Banded Skull Crusher into Tri Fry
Bar + purple x 5/10 x 2 Table Top/Rotates
I have added commentary into videos to go into more detail. I hope it works for you guys. Let me know what you think.
70kg x 10/10
90kg x 5
110kg x 5
135kg x 5/5/5 Paused
125kg x 5/5 Chins
At the weekend I competed at the Irish Pro Invitational in the Bench Bash. I was originally down to compete full power in what was a superb line up of women. Unfortunately, due to ‘hipgate’ I had to pull out of that. After speaking to the promoter he agreed that I could jump in the with boy’s raw bench bash. This gave me the opportunity to play a much higher risk strategy than I usually would when I lift.
My usual game plan is to gain every 2.5kg that I can as this is the difference between first and second or as was the case at GPC Worlds in Vegas 2015, between Silver & Bronze when I pipped it by that precise amount. I plan carefully what jumps I am going to take from first to second attempt and then from second to third. I also know what increments I am able to take on each lift. This varies with each lift. I can confidently take bigger jumps on deadlift than I can on squats and the smallest increments are on bench. I practice these jumps in training so that my body knows what to expect.
My usual increase on bench press has been 5kg. I will also have an idea of what I optimally would like on the bar for my third attempt. So if I want 115kg on the bar for an ideal third attempt then I will open at 105kg with the plan of 110kg and then depending on how that moves I have two options of 112.5kg if the 110kg was a struggle or 115kg if the bar moved well. My third attempt will be a weight that I have never lifted in training. To note I have never hit the numbers I hit on platform in training, the most I have ever benched in training is 112.5kg.
This quote from Swede Burns is one that many lifters should take on board and one that I have added to my coaching artillery.
I am of the opinion that increments must be practiced, that your second attempt is just the stepping stone between first and third to get you where you need to be for your final total. This means I usually take a bigger jump from first to second attempt and then a smaller one from second to third. This has worked very well for me and everyone I train to get on platform. I always have in mind where I want to finish and work out the steps in between.
As powerlifters we are restricted to the 2.5kg minimal increase on the bar and often for women bench is more restrictive because it is commonly the ‘weaker’ lift. This means that for many the only options available will be 5kg and 2.5kg increments because this is what their current strength capabilities dictate. So for example if you are a novice and you want to finish on 40kg then your lifts would look like this 32.5/37.5/40kg. If this was the plan for one of my novice lifters then they would have hit the 40kg in training and their goal would be to get these lifts passed on platform. First you must achieve before you can over achieve (Thanks Swede Burns for that gem.)
As I have progressed as a lifter I have been able to change my strategies and this year one of the strategic changes I wanted to make was 7.5kg jumps on my bench as this is the only way I would now be able to push the numbers without having to risk a stupidly high opener. At Tattooed & Strong 2016 at the beginning of March I entered bench only last minute as training had been going well as basically due to injury bench was all I could do. As the event organiser I was pretty rushed off my feet for the days prior to the comp so I expected it to be pretty hit and miss depending on how tired I was.
As we were able to set international records I checked what they were and in the 90kg Open class the record was 118kg and in 82.5kg it was 120kg (in M2 I would break it on openers in both cases very easily). I knew 120kg wasn’t happening just yet but thought I could have a bash at 118.5kg on a 4th attempt and weighed in at 82.9kg. My then standing PB was 115.5kg. I thought the 118.5kg was going to be a long shot but what the hell I had nothing to lose and I could use this opportunity to practice the bigger jumps on platform. So, plan was 105/112.5/115 or 117.5 (BIG jump, SMALL jump) and then look at fourth 118.5kg. The third attempt would be dictated by the tempo of the bar on the second attempt. I even had a back up ‘shit day at the office plan’ of 105/110/112.5.(BIG Jump SMALL jump) I believe one of my strengths is adaptation and knowing there is a plan B and even a plan C gives me confidence, I function well on a good back up plan.
Yet as life has it non of the above is what actually happened. On the day opener of 105kg was as an opener should be, confident and to the letter. Bar tempo was excellent and we chose 112.5kg for the second. As mentioned I have done this in the gym but it has never been an ‘easy’ lift however on this attempt it literally flew up. By the time my handler had passed out, removed himself to the back of the platform, turned around I was literally locking out with it. With that I thought fuck taking the 118.5kg on 4th, why waste a lift? 118.5kg went on the bar for third attempt and I got it. NOW it was not ‘easy’ but it was a strong lift, my left shoulder lagged slightly but at no point did I think it wasn’t going. This was a 3kg PB and that little step closer to cracking 120kg AND I had successfully taken bigger jumps on both attempts.
This is actually 112.5kg NOT 118.5kg as stated on the video by your truly!
THIS is 118.5kg for the 90kg Open GPC Women’s Bench Only WR/ER/BR
Fast forward to last Sunday. As the only woman in the bench bash I literally had nothing to lose. It was actually really nice to go into a competition with no self induced or externally perceived pressures. So the game plan was simple. Get 120kg on the bar for third attempt, start higher and take 7.5kg jumps to get there. So we opened at 107.5kg which is the highest I have opened at, 115kg was on the bar on the second attempt, it was again a good solid lift, at this point I was pretty confident I could nail a 117.5kg but I had nothing to gain and so stuck to the plan and put 120kg on (see Big jump to SMALL…you get the idea). Unfortunately that was just a gnat’s fart too much on the bar that day, the bar came down solid and controlled and I fired it off the chest after the press command but it stalled around a third of the way up. It just wasn’t there, but I had it on the bar and it didn’t bury me, nor did I technically unravel at any point, it was simply too heavy that day.
115kg solid second attempt.
120kg so close and yet soooooo far!
The month of March has been super for me for making progress in terms of implementing different strategies that I can now use. For most people competitions are just about hitting PBs and I get that but I like to pick my battles. By setting different measures for judging my performance and how to improve it I feel I can constantly fine tune myself as a lifter. This is something that I drum into all my clients time and time again. Look at different way of measuring your progress, look at what strategies work for you, have a game plan with all options covered, know what increments on the bar you can do and practice them.
For more information on my coaching services and approach to training please email me email@example.com
This past 6 weeks has been a bit of a roller coaster. I somehow managed to injure my hip and what started as a small twinge soon deteriorated into something more serious that left me unable to squat and deadlift. Along with my mentor, Delroy McQueen, we took the decision to pull out of my next planned full power competition in Ireland on Easter weekend. I was pretty gutted as the line up is just superb and it would have been good to be there in the mix. This is where having a mentor like Delroy is invaluable, we both deal with reality and adjust our expectations accordingly and having someone as a feedback system keeps everything in perspective and working on the positives.
Delroy McQueen always in the tick of things even when he is lifting himself.
Keeping the bigger picture in mind, which is the GPC European Championships, a full lower body training ban was imposed. So pretty much all I have been able to do is bench and upper assistance work for the last 3 weeks so that is what I did. Two press days and two back days. First press day is formal bench with tri’s and the second is a secondary bench day and strict press with delts. On the back days it was chins & rows, rows and more rows with retractions and trunk work.
To keep me focused I spoke to the promoter of the competition in Ireland, as I knew that as part of the event the boys were doing a raw bench comp based on Wilks, and I asked if I could be thrown in the mix. He was very much up for that which was awesome. Along with that I put my name down for bench only at Tattooed & Strong which, as many of you know, is a competition I run with GPCGB. Due to that weekend being stupidly busy for me I was under no pressure and I was prepared to pull out at any time if I needed to. Thirdly I entered Ink & Iron which is a push/pull in 3 weeks and a back up option.
I am a firm believer in when you get ‘injured’ you can really optimise that time and often come back a much better lifter because of it. You can only work with the body you have on any given day. I knew what I couldn’t do so instead of bitching about is I turned to what I could do and set goals accordingly.
*Set GPCGB Bench Only Raw British Records in 2 weight cats in Master 2 & Open
*Hit a 120kg Raw bench regardless of BW
*Practice taking 7.5kg jumps on bench
*60kg Strict Press
*Not come last against a flight on men on Wilks.
*Fully rest hip and allow time to heal.
Well so far the plan is going better than expected. On Saturday I not only set the British GPCGB Raw Bench only record in 90kg (weighed in 82.85kg after having to eat steak pie & chocolate milk to get up into the weight class), I also was able to set it a a GPC European and World single lift record. BONUS!!!!!
As always when I lift I have lifting plan with various options depending on how things are on the day. There is always the optimal plan and underlying that there are other strategies depending on what the end goal is. What I do depends on each attempt and the tempo of the bar and how well (or not) the attempt was carried out. One of the goals for this comp was to build confidence in taking bigger 7.5kg jumps which I had been practising in training. So these were my plans:
A:105/112.5/115 – 118.5(OpenWR)?
C:105/112.5/118.5 – Optimal
To say that I had been crazy busy project managing for a straight 36 hours is an understatement. Lifting was to start at 12pm for first flight and I was in 2nd flight so at 11.30 I took of my promoter cap and put on my lifter cap. I told everyone I was off duty for the next hour or so, put on my singlet and in went the earphones. Any dramas would now be dealt with by the rest of the team.
Warm-ups went well with the help of Daz ‘The Walrus’ Sloan. I keep it short and sweet and last warm-up was 97.5kg. I was on about halfway through the flight. Mr. G was then with me on platform to hand out and Del was my bar tempo feedback system. For me the atmosphere at Tattooed & Strong is totally overwhelming if I let it be. After 12 months of organising to finally have up and running one of the most talked about events in the powerlifting calender AND all the very vocal support that came from the crowd as I walked on platform, there is a tsunami of emotion ready to sweep over me at any time.
Putting my wraps on I am shaking like a leaf, the adrenalin is on full pelt and I must now make sure I don’t let it take over and get giddy. There is no need to psyche myself up. I need to focus on getting the job done so I mentally blinker myself and fade everything out and go through my checklist. For the next minute my universe is a single bench between 3 referees. Nothing else is any concern.
Be A Dog!
Whatever happens now I have to deal with it. Stay in the moment. I now go through the checklist like turning the pages of a book, look at one page at a time, do what it says then move on to next page. No skipping pages. No thinking about what happens next. Heads down…no nonsense. Take the bar, wait for the commands and do what you came here to do.
105kg opener really did feel like nothing. A quick confer with Del and we agree 112.5kg is the next attempt. He reminds me to focus on this next attempt and that the decision on third will be made based on the 112.5 and how it moves. Stay in the moment.
I had done a 112.5kg last heavy session and it was a good lift but had moved pretty slow, but I felt good and was pretty confident that I would be able to push it through even if is felt tough. Bar is loaded again, same process, nothing changes, turn the pages and get the job done. 112.5kg FLEW up, looking back at it I think it is one of the sweetest benches I have ever done. As soon as I get up of the bench I look at Del and we both say 118.5kg 3rd attempt to take the GPC Open Single lift record by .5kg.
Now nothing changes. Just stay in that groove and get the job done. Bar is loaded, I can hear EVERYONE and yet I hear no one. Turn the pages, focus and Never EVER Give Up. 118.5kg is my step to 120kg. If I do this I know the 120kg will happen very soon. As Mr G hands off for me and I start taking the bar down I know I’ve got it and think of my cues ‘spread!wrap wrap wrap’ ‘pin’ ‘press’ ‘elbows’. Part way up the left arm lags slightly but I anticipate this and I know not to panic and just keep position and focus on driving my elbows through and it will lockout with the right. RACK!!!!! Job Done!
Right….tick off the first goals hit with added bonus. *Set GPCGB Bench Only Raw British Records in 90kg+WR & ER *Set GPCGB Bench Only in 82.5kg
*Hit a 120kg Raw bench regardless of BW *Practice taking 7.5kg jumps on bench
*60kg Strict Press
*Not come last against a flight on men on Wilks.
*Fully rest hip and allow time to heal.
Singlet and back to making sure everyone has an AWESOME time!
I had the pleasure this year to put on the very first GPC-GB Nodumbelles Women’s Open Powerlifting competition. It is the 2nd Nodumbelles competition I have run but this is the first 3 lift and federation affiliated comp. Both competitions were hosted (as will future ones) to encourage new and novices female lifters onto platform. I just love organising stuff. If I wasn’t in the business of big and strong my next choice of career would be event organising, so I am a pretty happy chump whenever I get to combine the two.
Deadliftng at my first ever powerlifting competition Feb 2011
I am also kind of a list keeper because I am forgetful. This apparently is because I am strong, and a scientist told me that, so I am taking it as my excuse for being a tad dim sometimes (Thanks Polley!) I remember not really knowing what to take to my first competition and just kind of winging it, which I do A LOT! I basically took everything! And then some more! And didn’t take other stuff that I never knew I would need. As I did more comps I managed to refine what I need to take to cover all eventualities. We actually managed to go to the WPC Worlds in Prague last year with only hand luggage for 2 lifters. I am still a tad unsure how this happened.
There was also a ton of stuff that I didn’t know about the whole procedure of entering a powerlifting competition. I was pretty lucky to have some really experienced lifter friends who helped me muddle through. To be honest, though, I was in blissful ignorance. I am pretty sure this is the case for most first time lifters. So I thought I would share a little list that I compiled for the lifters at the Women’s Open. I hope you found it as useful as they did (I think lol).
Now not all items will apply to everyone and you can of course add in your own personal stuff but I think it is a pretty could starting point for any level of lifter.
POWERLIFTING COMPETITION CHECKLIST
1. Athlete Responsibility
Send of entry forms with correct payment.
Ensure all membership subscriptions are up to date.
Obtain a current copy of the federation rules. AND READ THEM
Book time off work if necessary.
Confirm weigh-in times & location.
Make all necessary travel & accommodation arrangements.
Confirm arrangements for coach or handler.
Check qualifying totals/records if necessary.
2. KIT BAG
Nose Torque/Smelling Salts
Slip On or plastic bags for squat suit & bench shirt
Baggy sweat pants
Zip fronted hoodie.
3. Support Bag
Plasters & tape
Copy of Federation Rules
Copy of Qualifying Totals/Records
MP3 Player & earphones
4. ON THE DAY
Turn up on time for weigh in
Have you openers to give in at weigh in
Have your kit ready to be checked if there is a kit check
Check your flight and flight schedule.
Locate where you will be lifting and the warm up areas.
Set any rack heights that you will be requiring.
Locate toilets and changing rooms
Find an area to leave your kit etc
Talk through your plan with you coach/handler
Nodumbelles is the brainchild of women's strength ambassador Tania George to help strength athletes like you surpass training goals and develop strength regardless of your current level.
You'll find Tania training and coaching at Olympic Gym, Eccles, which she co-owns with her husband Paul George.