Today is a sad day for me. It is the 5th anniversary of a great man’s death.


On this day in 2012, Rich Angelo died tragically in a triathlon. Rich was more than a friend, he was a mentor and a brother.
I have written about him and how he affected my and countless others lives in a manner that cannot be paid justice.

TPS Rich Yoke, Disc Injury? It's Not the End! Part 3 + Video
I just wanted to start this column off with a nod of respect to a man who will never be forgotten.
Rest I peace Rich.
I’ve also written a few times on training with lumbar disc injuries and how it’s not the end of your training.

Disc Injury? It's Not the End! See Why.


The Edema Press: How, Why, WTF: Bench with a Brokeback

for more background on this.
This article is the culmination of over a year of hard work and dedication by one of my lifters, Sabra Mitchell as she returned to the platform last week and made her multi-ply debut.
Sabra, or The Chief, has made it a mission to not let injury stop her and with a 100% level of commitment it didn’t.
We came up with a long term training plan with the following goals:

  • Get healthy and symptom free
  • Get lifting again
  • Build strength
  • Prevent reinjury
  • Return to competing: only now multi-ply, not raw
  • Destroy records

As each goal was reached we moved on to the next phase.
This can be frustrating for lifters. Lifters don’t work out. The TRAIN and they compete.
Having to go back to baby steps can lead to frustration and questioning why we do this.
A true competitor doesn’t let these feelings stop them.
She is a true competitor.
Multi ply lifting is the fringe now, but it used to be the norm in powerlifting.
She wanted to go full on gear and make a run at seeing how far she could go.
Well, I’ll tell you; I think she is going to go far.
We set out the training cycle to do a Push/Pull first. Let’s just get the feet wet and see how the body responds to a meet prep cycle was the thought process and we can go from there.
The training cycle went as I expected it to, but not as she did.
About two weeks out she was nervous that she peaked too soon as in our test week, she thought all the weights were too light and a conversation was needed.
This is where coaching comes into play. I explained that this is exactly as she should feel and it means that the peak worked, and now trust the process and the taper.


Disc Injury? It's Not the End!: Meet Day

We were at the RPS Maine Push/Pull Championships which was run by Jamie Matta with the help of Mike Lawrence and his crew.
I can’t say enough about Jamie, Mike and all the crew. They ran an outstanding meet.
It was typical RPS; smooth, efficient and fun. What more can you ask in a meet?
I decided to keep her conservative at this meet as we were not doing anything other than getting a total to base the next training cycle off and to see how the body responded to competing after a severe disc injury.
The Chief competed in the Master’s 148 division Multi-Ply division in Metal gear of course.
We went through warm ups and she was firing on all cylinders.
We opened the bench at 155-smokeshow.
Stick to the plan and go to 165.
Again, smokeshow.
Third attempt: 175.
This looked like a solid third. It was hard, but solid.
On to the pulls.
We switched her from conventional to Sumo after the disc injury as the Sumo is easier on the back. (no big science words here)
We opened at 365 which is a weight she can almost hit raw. Not too hard, actually easy.
Learning to pull in a suit is challenging and I wanted to keep it on the easy side as the suit can push you out of position. I wanted her to go 3 for 3 on the deadlift.
365 was a smoker.
Second attempt: 390.
Again; another smokeshow.
Third attempt: 405.
She has never hit 405 in the gym but I knew she could here. I was confident she could do it, and almost deviated from the plan and put her in for 415.
I wrangled myself in and stuck to the plan. I trusted the process.
405 was another smokeshow.
All three deadlifts were World Records in her class for RPS.
For all of you who have an injury, let this be a model to work from.
We have a Master’s class lifter who has a full time job, kids and a hectic schedule with a one hour commute to the gym for training.

Add to that a debilitating injury and you can see, it would have been easy to quit.
With patience, dedication, a trust in the process and a never give up attitude, you can return to lifting and set PR’s just like she did, and will continue to do!
Watch her performance here.


More stuff:
I just finished my second training block as I build my bench back one plate at a time.
The goal of the first block was to touch and press a light weight with no increase in hip pain/problems.
I did that and hit a super hard to touch but easy to press 315.
I’ve dropped a shit ton of weight so I had to switch to a new smaller Jack bench shirt for this training cycle. The goal here was to touch 365 and then 405 in the next block.
Yesterday was my test day.
Warmups went well and nothing hurt for a change.
The plan was to take 365 to a touch in the Jack shirt.
After 4 attempts I called it a day on the touch.
I just could not get it to touch, and it probably shouldn’t have as it was pretty light.
I was about 1” away on my last attempt.
All the attempts pressed fast and easy. Just couldn’t get the touch.
I decided to end on a good note and switched to a one board.
That went down and up FAST.
So, while I didn’t reach my goal of the 365 touch, I don’t know if I could have in the smaller shirt.

I am confident that I’ll touch and press the 405 at the end of the next block.
I am pretty psyched that I am benching again, and will now start to handle more weight.
I’ll keep you posted.
And, for your enjoyment, here’s a few pics from Comic Con.

Disc Injury? It's Not the End! Part 3 + Video


Disc Injury? It's Not the End! Part 3 + Video

I take my son every year and it’s actually a really good time.
I’m not really a comic book nerd, but it’s still fun.

Disc Injury? It's Not the End! Part 3 + Video

Disc Injury? It's Not the End! Part 3 + Video

Disc Injury? It's Not the End! Part 3 + Video

I think we can take a lesson in lifting from Comic Con.
In lifting there are a ton of federations, there is Raw, Single Ply, and Multi-Ply and a lot of bullshit that comes with it.
At Comic Con, there are all kinds of different nerds (no offense) with different likes, but there is no bullshit.
Everyone goes, everyone is respectful and everyone has a good time.
Isn’t that what we should do?
Outside of Powerlifting, no one cares about it. We are all we have.
We all share the love for the sport.
Just like the Comic Con people.
Can we try and be more like Comic Con people and stop the bullshit about federations, gear, raw and everything else and just love the sport?




TPS needs your vote.

We’ve been nominated on the Boston A List in three categories:

  • Best Gym
  • Best Personal Trainers
  • Best Boot Camp

This is a popularity contest meaning most votes wins.

We are up against some BIG BOX gyms that have thousands of members and every vote counts.


If you like my logs and have a few minutes to spare, please give us a vote in one or all three categories.

The site is a bit confusing to vote on.

If you vote in one category, say Best Gym, you can go back to the Fitness category and click on the other ones, such as Best Personal Trainer and vote in all three.


Best Gym 

Best Personal Trainer 

Best Boot Camp



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Vincere vel mori