The Lexen Xtreme 2008 IPA Columbus Pro-Am was both a positive experience and, most likely, the last time I’ll drop to 148 lbs. Dan Dague put on a great meet, complete with a perfect venue where we could stay, weigh in, eat breakfast and compete all at one location. The most enjoyable part of this meet for me was being able to compete alongside my team members Jo Jordan, Kalin Chester and Rich Gregg at the same meet.

I brought my own scale which I knew was two pounds heavy. Unfortunately, when we compared it to the meet scale, it matched. This meant I would actually have to get my bodyweight down to 146 lbs to make weight. I honestly didn’t think this would be possible, because even after carb depleting and sitting in the bathroom for hours with the sauna suit on, I was still two pounds over the morning of weigh-ins. I had to use the hot tub to lose these last couple of pounds, and I could barely even walk by the end of it.

My dependable Orlando Barbell employee Kalin stayed with me in my hotel room, along with my wife Trinity, and was forced to deal with my angry, dehydrated and starving self getting up at 3:30 AM the night before weigh-ins - the night before he competed - to stumble my way into the shower to sweat. Despite this, Kalin had a good day. He competed in the Junior 165’s where he squatted 550, benched 525 for a Junior world record, and pulled 475 for a Junior world record total of 1550. When he saw me prior to my weigh-in, all he could do was give me an uncomfortable glance - noticing the veins bulging from my head - and say “skinny.”

Rich Gregg was competing in his first big meet in a while at 242. He squatted 750, benched 500, but then had issues with his opening deadlift and unfortunately missed 610 on all three attempts. He should be back to get his head on straight in our meet next month.

Mitch McMahon came along to handle all of us and did a great job. It can be stressful trying to time everything correctly and keep everyone happy - especially under such overwhelming conditions with some of the biggest names in powerlifting roaming around.

I can’t leave out my wife Trinity, who endures a year’s worth of verbal abuse in the twenty-four hours before my weigh-ins. If she wasn’t around to help me through, there’s no way I could do what I do. Thanks to all of you. Now on to the meet…

Rumors were flying about how strict the judges were on the depth of the squats on amateur day. We knew this was the case since both Kalin and Rich only hit their opening squat attempts. Since Mitch had been calling our depth, we knew it was too late to change anything, so we all agreed to keep everything as planned.

I opened with 745 on the squat and received two reds for depth. The judges told Mitch that I needed to get another half inch to an inch deeper. We listened, and did just that. I came back to repeat it on my second for three whites. I had hoped to attempt 785 on my third to get closer to a 2000 total, but knew it made sense to stick with the plan of 765. Dan announced that this was a 5x bodyweight squat, which I hadn’t even thought about. This just added to the pressure. I set up with everything feeling right, sat back as far as I could, forced my knees out and listened for Mitch’s call of, “UP!” I struggled some but stood up with it for another three whites.

I realize that there will always be internet judges and critics, but while I was talking to Dave Tate after my squats. Louie Simmons told me that my squats were 2-3 inches deeper than where he would have called me. That’s good enough for me. Honestly, as wide as most of us stand, I don't think you can get much more than an inch below parallel. The funniest part of this brief conversation was Dave telling Louie, “I almost didn’t see you!” Louie was wearing all camo. At least I thought this was funny.

The benches almost went exactly as planned. I opened with 525, struggling as I always do on my opener, but got a successful attempt in. I went to 565 on my second thinking that 560 was the all-time highest 148 bench, unaware that Joe Ceklovsky had benched 600 the day before. I locked it out for another three whites. I went for 4x bodyweight on my third with an attempt at 595. As I lowered the bar I could feel and hear my shirt ripping. I got the press command and pushed it about halfway up but knew without the full support of my shirt it wasn’t going to happen. My shirt had ripped in two places in the left armpit area. Definitely not the best timing for this, but I was happy with the 565.

I was really hoping to pull over 600, but was still very concerned about the grip issues I’d had at the Southern States. I could see that my hands were slightly swollen from rehydrating combined with the bench, so I began submerging my hands in ice – alternating them - to reduce the swelling. I waited until they were on the third attempts for the second flight to stop icing and get my circulation back to begin my warm-ups. Everything felt fine. I opened with an easy 550 to secure being in the meet - breaking my world record total in the process with 1880. I went to 600 on my second, which felt even easier than my opener. Trinity had talked to Brett Brown during the meet and discovered that if I pulled 625 my total would match Kutcher’s percentage over bodyweight for total.

I honestly thought I was good for it. They announced that Angelo was up with 635, which didn’t make any sense. We discussed this back and forth with the expeditor, judge and Angelo, and decided that I was up, but the bar was still loaded to 635. They finally changed it, but my head wasn’t on straight after all of the confusion. I broke the 625 off the ground but couldn’t complete it. I ended up totaling 1930, 75 pounds over my all-time highest and 95 pounds over the next closest total ever. I thought I had totaled 13x bodyweight, but since I weighed in at 148.6, I didn’t quite make it. My total was good for second place behind Shawn Frankl and Sergei Naleykin - the same result as the last Pro-Am.

I have to admit the most positive moment of the weekend for me was when Westside's Jeff "Gritter" Adams approached me between my second and third deadlift attempts. He said that he'd been competing since 1979 and had seen a lot of impressive lifters, but that I was one of the most impressive he had ever seen. It gave me chills and meant a lot to me.

Jo Jordan had a phenomenal day for his first pro meet. Jo competed at 242 where he went 970-650-705 for 2325 and 4 friggin’ PR’s! He finished right in the middle of the pack by formula. Not bad for his first big meet!

Some of the other highlights of the meet were Vlad Alhazov squatting a legitimate 1250 (he was denied what I thought was a legitimate 1200 a couple years ago at the Arnold), big Donnie Thompson totaling a huge 2850, Shawn Frankl benching 800, Sergei squatting 990 at 198, and so much more. It was an honor to compete alongside these lifters along with the rest of the EFS crew.

Right now, I’m ready for a break before getting geared up for the next Pro-Am in August.

Brian’s squat cycle for this meet:


I started this training routine eight weeks out, counting down to the meet:

Week 8: Full squats, briefs only, 72.5 and 75% for triples

Week 7: Straps down, high box, 80 and 82.5% for triples

Week 6: Straps down, parallel box, 77.5 and 80% for triples

Week 5: Full gear, full squats, 82.5 and 85% for doubles

Week 4: Full gear, high box, 87.5 and 90% for doubles

Week 3: Full gear, 1st attempt, 95%

Week 2: Full gear, 2nd attempt, 100%

Week 1: Deload, full squats w/briefs only, 77.5% and 80% for doubles

Week 0: Meet