Meet Report: Pressing the Pieces Together

TAGS: autism awareness, Eric Stone, autism awareness month, bench only, meet report, autism, Brandon Smitley, bench, powerlifting, bench press

athlete

On April 27th, 2019, I competed for the first time in a little over a year at an APF meet hosted by Eric Stone. Anyone who has done a meet by Eric Stone and 2XL Powerlifting knows that Eric and his crew do a phenomenal job of hosting and putting together meets. Eric reached out to me about eight to ten weeks before asking me if I would like to compete in this bench press-only competition to help raise money for Autism and Autism Awareness.

With an offer like this, I couldn’t say no. I love competing, but I love being able to give and help provide awareness and money for charity in any way I can. Before I get to the meet recap, let’s get a little bit of background prior to the meet.


RELATED: Meet Report: Taking Third Place at APF Women's Pro-Am


Background

For those that have followed my log on elitefts, they know I’ve been dealing with some chronic low back pain for the greater part of two years. After a freak accident while training after WPC Worlds and my best powerlifting performance of my career, I had an accident while squatting, and my back has not been the same since. Things have certainly improved, but I’ve still got a lot of movement compensations that I’m still trying to resolve.

Last year, I competed in the XPC Bench Bash, where I had my first bomb-out of a meet. After the meet, months later, I got married, bought a house, and opened up Terre Haute Intensity Resistance and Sports Training (THIRST) with my wife. We’re a 6,500-square feet facility that works with youth athletes and general population clients and provides a top tier atmosphere for serious strength training athletes and enthusiasts.

58570787_2197369517049019_3733700441477742592_o

Needless to say, I’ve had stress overload and I’ve been busier than I ever have been. I’ve had to sacrifice training more times in a year than I have my whole career. I wasn’t sure what my future would be competitively right now and have opted to stay bench-only for the time being until I can get a full grasp on things.

I inform you of this because I wanted to compete in the spring or early summer, and when Eric reached out to me, I knew I had to put up or shut up. I love what Eric has done with this meet, and it was just too good to be true.

Training For The Meet

My training cycle for the meet was a decent one. It wasn’t the best (as I mentioned earlier due to life), but that’s most training cycles when you’ve been powerlifting for a decent time. But I knew I could put together a good day, and after my last meet, I just wanted to get back on the platform, not bomb, and have fun again. I opted to compete equipped in multi-ply and try to beat my PR of 451 pounds.

About three to four weeks into the training cycle, I got a new Metal Jack Bench Shirt. I have needed a new one for some time, as the old one I have was a hand-me-down from Dave Tate back in 2013, I believe after I trained at Westside one weekend. My new shirt fit like a glove, and I made my training cycle fit accordingly so that I could get ample time in to break it in.

Training as a whole went well, and I hit a successful 485 in training with a near miss at 505 at the three weeks out point. My nutrition and sleep were by far my biggest downfalls, as I was working at least 75 hours a week, and unfortunately, I just could not make my schedule fit the needs I truly needed. This is not an excuse, I’m just being honest with myself and you as a reader. If anything let this be a moment for you to understand that these things are just as important as the training cycle you lay out.

The Meet

Since this was a bench-only meet, weigh-ins were at 5 p.m. on Friday the 26th. This kind of threw off my cut down to 132 to begin with. When I got to the hotel Thursday night, I had still about seven pounds to go. I’ve made this cut many times, and I thought I would be good to go with a full day to get the rest off.

On Friday, I woke up and went to the sauna to get the rest of the weight off. This is where I had trouble, as my body started to rebel against me, and I started to show signs of heat exhaustion at about 134.5 pounds. I managed to get off another 1.5 pounds but stalled there. For the first time in my life, I was going to miss weight. I opted to shut it down there, go weigh in with what I was and just have fun and compete at 148.

On meet day, I had ample time to get my weight back up, and I stuck to the plan I had laid out.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Brandon Smitley, MS CSCS USAW (@bsmitley) on

First Attempt

My opener was 413, and I wanted to open in my old shirt since it was looser and broken in. I wanted to really make sure I got in the meet. My opener felt awesome, and everything went perfect and to plan like I had hoped in training. I was in the meet.

Second Attempt

On my second, I wanted to jump straight to a PR attempt. I knew that I had to change shirts between attempts (which I practiced in training), so if something went wrong, I wanted to be able to adjust and make those changes between my second and third. I went with 457, which was a six-pound PR. It moved just like I had hoped it would, and things felt great, other than it was just a big jump.

Third Attempt

Here I knew I was going to have to get gutsy but also try to keep it realistic. By the way my second attempt felt, I knew I had about 15 to 25 pounds in me. I put in for what I thought was 468, but it turned out I gave them 474. By the time I was ready to go, it was too late to change it, so I just went with it. The 474 came down great; I stayed lock in and tight, but once the bar got about three inches off my chest, I didn’t get my right elbow underneath my wrist and lost the right side back toward the rack (while my left was nearly locked out). Just a close miss with a good call on weight selection. I just technically didn’t execute it.

Summary

All in all, I had a great time! I managed to get a PR, helped raise money for Autism (the whole meet raised over $12,000), and I got back on the platform to do my thing. It’s helped light a fire in me to work on my stress management, my training, become a better bencher, and learn the aspects of equipment even more.

I can’t thank my wife Adrian enough for all the sacrifices she made for me to be able to train and compete at the level that I can. Also, to my THIRST training partners and family, thank you for coming in on Saturdays just to help and traveling to help me do my best. And thanks to Mark Glazier at Nutrabio, Dave and Traci here at elitefts, and all the family and friends who took the time to reach out and give me support and donations.

I look forward to getting back on the platform again sometime this year hopefully and take another stab at another big bench press.

benches-home

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...