Last weekend I had one of the most fulfilling meets of my entire time in powerlifting. I have had a great run in this sport and have been fortunate to have American and National records in the APA, IPA, AAPF, APF, and USAPL. Most of these records were numbers that just kind of happened. I did not have any particular goal; I just went into those meets reaching for bigger numbers than the previous meet.

When I started to compete in the USAPL several years ago, I wanted to break the 275-pound weight class American bench record. That same year I broke the 242-pound weight class bench record, but I really wanted the 275. I wanted to bench over 500 in the USAPL, under strict judging and even stricter drug testing protocols. I benched 490 in March of 2011 and then took my first shot at 502 — the current record was 501.5. I missed 502 but was certain I would hit it next meet. I was wrong. After five more times trying to bench 502, I still hadn’t done it. I went into the most recent meet after having the best bench cycle of my life. I had just benched 525 in July at an RPS meet and was ready to take a shot at the USAPL record again.

The meet was held in Washington D.C. — a two hour drive to a great venue at a large Hilton hotel. Two hours before the start time I weighed in at 273 pounds and was ready to go.


My USAPL squat PR is 660 pounds at 275 pounds bodyweight. I went into this meet a little unsure of how my squat would go. I decided to do this meet when I was already halfway through a training cycle for another meet further down the road. It wasn’t until eight weeks out that I knew I would be competing on this day. I had to drop my training weights and get used to squatting USAPL style again.

I opened at 617. It felt heavy but I knew I had a shot at a PR. I jumped to 650 for a moderate second attempt and got it. For my third attempt, I took 666 as a five-pound PR. I wanted to bury it and make a strong quality lift. Boh called me up and it was a grinder, but I walked away with three white lights. The tone was set for the bench.


I felt good going into the bench and walked around the meet like a badass. I had my sleeves rolled up and told Boh that I was the only dude here with 18s cold. (My arms probably aren’t even 18 inches cold. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not packing any heat.)

I warmed up to 425 pounds and felt good. I opened at 473. It felt strong, but a little goofy. My setup was off and I wasn’t as high on my arch as I should have been. The judging is so tight that I sometimes under do it and set-up about half tilt in order to get whites. As a result the bench felt a little longer than usual.

I called for 502, a new American record. I took a few slaps from Boh and headed to the bench.

I unracked it and felt like a rock. Wow, I thought. This feels light.

I took it down and got the pause command. I popped it off my chest and slowed at lockout. I hit the wall and they took it. Damn, not again. The perfect cycle, the perfect meet, and another big miss. I took about 30 seconds for a shitty pity party and then I focused. I broke down the lift on video. Again, I was half tilt on the setup. I wasn’t as high as I could have been and in turn I touched too high on my chest. This caused me to get ahead of the groove and flare too early to finish the lift.

502, third attempt. I knew what needed to happen, I just had to do it. I put away my new Metal wraps and pulled out my old Metal wraps. I did this for no reason other than to symbolize a change from my second attempt to my third attempt.

My name was called and I went out to the platform. This time I went full tilt and got my setup right. I was arched and strong. I took it down, touched low, and took the lift to lockout for three white. I finally broke that fucking record.

I went to the wife and (I’ll be honest) I teared up. This record was the hardest thing I have tried to accomplish in all my time powerlifting. I failed many times but finally the stars aligned and I nailed it (and by nailed it I mean I barely got it, but that’s not important).


I have never had a solid USAPL meet. I have had squat and deadlift PRs but rarely in the same meet, and never in the same meet that I hit a good bench. I had already hit a PR bench and squat, so I decided to open light and do the math for an 1850 total. I opened at 617 and then did the math to recognize I needed 683 for an 1852-pound total. This would put me third in the country in the USAPL and would also be a USAPL PR total. To be honest, after benching I didn’t care what I pulled.

I pulled the 683 as a second attempt. It was not easy, but it was done. I was certain I didn’t have 715 for a PR, so I picked 700 to pad my total and be reasonable. I lifted the 700 but was called for up and down movement. Three red. I knew I hitched it, so I wasn’t upset. I got out on my toes and dipped before I locked out.

I wasn’t bummed. I already did what I wanted to do — everything else was just a bonus.

Immediately after the meet I was taken upstairs to the penthouse for a drug test. Everything in DC is a maze, and I almost got lost in the hotel. I finished the test, made my way back down to the meet, and we were out the door by 7 p.m. — pretty awesome timing for 50-60 lifters in a 2 p.m. session.

Many thanks to my wife for listening to me whine about how sore I always feel (and how this is the last one). God knows I’ll be doing this forever, but it’s nice to have someone to bitch about it to when I can. My wife is one of those chicks that other dudes compare their wives to. I’m very lucky. Many thanks also to Dave and the elitefts™ staff for all the support. I can’t do what I do without the support I receive.

Now I need to move on and set a new goal. I have always wanted to bench double body weight raw in a meet. Looks like I’m cutting down to 242 soon. Damn!