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As some of you may remember, I mentioned in one of my previous blogs that I never thought I would be ready for competition by this summer. However, with the excellent progress I have made lately because of my torn spinal erector healing and the competitive urge inside of me, I have decided to compete in the USAPL U.S. Open Deadlift Championships in Fort Lauderdale, FL on July 11. Although this contest is not a national qualifier for the 2011 Arnold Classic, it will still provide a good test to see where I am in terms of being able to post a decent Wilk’s score at an ASF Qualifier later this year.
I am in the final stages of preparation for this contest. In fact, my heavy pulling was completed this past Saturday. I was scheduled to pull my opener in the new Metal King IPF deadlift suit. However, even with the help of an experienced powerlifting gear tailor, I have not been able to get this suit to fit right. As a result, the script for Saturday’s training session got altered a bit. I decided to do some heavy pulling with bands, and was able to work up to 600 plus 240 pounds of band tension with just a belt as my gear. A video of this lift can be viewed on my YouTube site.
The bad news is that I will not pull a heavy straight weight in a suit before this contest. The good news is that my strength levels are at an all time high. I have really focused on attacking my grip training with an intensity that I have not had before, and it is paying big dividends. My grip is stronger than ever. I thought my lockout strength would suffer in the deadlift after having to drop rack deadlifts for some time because they are a high-risk movement for re-injuring my torn erector. However, I have simply used alternative means to work the lockout, and have done so with great success. The band deadlifts, snatch grip RDL’s and heavy, high rep DB rows have ensured that my lockout strength is up to par. Finally, the leg strength is really coming along as well, which helps my pull off of the floor – nothing fancy here in terms of training, just the tried and true 5x5 raw squat program used with great success by Brad Gillingham. In fact, my last heavy workout before this contest will be this Tuesday, where I will attempt to complete my best 5x5 session yet. After this, it will be some moderate deadlift accessory work next Saturday and then an unload week before the contest.
HMB has continued to be a staple in my daily recovery. I highly encourage all those using HMB or considering using HMB to take your first dose BEFORE training. This continues to pay big dividends for me in the recovery process. In fact, it does not seem to be much of a process anymore. The pre- and post-training consumption has consistently ensured that I can train hard during each training session. A big thanks to MTI and Optimum Nutrition for their support!