The 2012 Arnold was a fun meet for me. We got into Columbus Thursday night and hung out Friday per my usual pre meet routine. I checked my weight, watched some of the lifting at the venue, caught a movie with Alisson and mostly watched my weight during the day as I was right on the borderline of being too heavy as usual.
Saturday I weighed in at 263.5 (I think) and went right in to warming up. Everything felt fine in the warm up room with my last weight being 675.
For squats, my first attempt at 750 was a little weird. On the descent I lost my balance and stepped backwards. The whole thing was confusing and didn’t feel right. My wife Alisson pointed out that I had taken an extra wide stance when compared to training. She was right. After the first squat I was rattled and didn’t want to be there anymore. I got ready for my next attempt and saw that Dan G had called 805 for me. This surprised me, but Dan replied, “we came here to win this.” Dan’s call was exactly what I needed. I went out and set up with my usual moderate stance and got the weight. Now I was fired up, the last attempt we went 816. The attempt was hard, but I got it.
Into bench the warmups felt fast and easy. The first attempt was 507. Last year at the Arnold, my training was indicating a 550 bench and I could only muster out 507 at the meet. I was very determined to not let that happen again. My first attempt at 507 flew right up. We went to 530 something and this weight flew up faster. After that attempt both Dan and I knew I had 560+ in me that day. We were trying to keep up with Mann and he wasn’t missing any attempts. We took 563 for my last attempt. I drove it off my chest but it immediately got crooked. I had to grind and finally got my right arm locked out but it was sloppy and the judges said no lift for downward movement. The bench is a crapshoot sometimes with me. It seems like if I hit the right groove, and the shirt is pulled down, and everything clicks that I can drive 570 up. But, any errors and you can automatically deduct 50 lbs. My bench has gotten better each meet but it still is frustrating.
Into deads we were now behind Mann and I told Dan I wanted the 2000 lb total I have been trying to get for a while. So, we opened with something easy on deads, then went to 300k to get my 2000 lb total. The last two meets my deads have been strong in training and I have been confident I would hit a 700 lb dead. However, after benching the guy in third was now attempting to jump past me with his attempts. Dan played some strategy and put in like a 738 lb attempt for me, forcing that guy to pull an impossible weight to go ahead. Well he went ahead and pulled it. So, my last attempt was at 740 something, I pulled it to my knees and that was it. This has been the second meet in a row now where my deadlift numbers do not represent my actual strength, but that is okay. At men’s nationals this summer we are going to call 650 and then go to 700 and I get it, awesome, if not, so what.
So for the meet I hit a PR total of 2013 and had a PR squat. I was very close to a PR bench. The Arnold is my favorite meet and the funnest to go to. After lifting, Alisson and I went to the saturday night finals for bodybuilding and strongman and that was very fun. There are lots of great people watching at the Arnold, and is a very exciting venue. It was also great to see Blaine Sumner hit the 1035 squat, even though it was overturned. Very cool.
Leading up to this meet I switched up my training a little. For some reason I found myself fascinated with the 1980’s lifters that won IPF championships year after year after year. Specifically Doug Furnas, Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski. These guys all trained their squat the same way and had huge 1000 lb squats back in primitive gear. The funny thing is that their squat training was super minimal, (one hard all out set) with little assistance. And mind you they were all on copious amounts of exogenous testosterone to speed their recovery. I find it curious that most drug free guys want to do 5 hard sets of squats three times a week ala Sheiko but then turn their head when you mention that the biggest, best drug using lifters of the past only did one hard set per week. I trained this way for the meet and obviously I hit a PR. I don’t know if it was the training method that yielded another PR, but it was a PR for me at 265 lbs nonetheless. I am going to do another cycle this way, and I will see if there is some repeatability.
Another thing that I have been battling is getting stronger while not gaining weight. In the past if I put on the feedbag, the strength comes in no time. I have a slow metabolism and keeping the weight down is hard. This training cycle I cleaned up my diet more and I think that will be the answer for me for the meets to come. I typically am an idiot and bloat up to 275 a month after my meet. I feel good and my strength increases, then I have to start to cut weight coincidentally when the weights get really heavy. My focus going forward will be to keep the weight steady. Maybe even gaining a few lbs the last month of lifting would be glorious.
Overall it was a fun meet, and even more enjoyable with fellow RMLC lifters Jen and Blaine there. They had great meets and deserved it. See you at Men’s nationals!