I had one of the roughest meets of my career last weekend. I competed at the XPC Finals in Columbus, Ohio alongside several of my elitefts™ teammates. I didn’t finish the meet. My only passed squat was my opener of 860 pounds on a retake. I pressed my opening bench of 765 pounds, but was redlighted for uneven extension. It was a good call, but unfortunately I was unable to press either of my two remaining attempts at 800, and bombed out.


I came into the meet healthy and feeling strong on all my lifts. Sometimes, it just doesn’t come together on the platform. My warm-ups felt good, but when I made it to the platform I didn’t have enough speed out of the hole on any of my attempts. After I successfully completed the 860-pound retake, I decided to jump to 940. I knew I would need a mid 900-pound squat to stay competitive if the other lifters had good days. Additionally, 940 pounds is less than I have done in training.

It turned out that just 900 would have been a good enough number to keep me in the thick of things at the end of the day. To put it another way, I didn’t lift within myself on meet day because of what I thought the competition would do — before they actually did it. Due to my benching, it didn’t end up costing me. I’d like to say that it is a lesson learned, but I don’t know that I wouldn’t make the same decision again.


I had a very hard time touching my chest on all three attempts. After I pressed the opener, we decided to go to 800 pounds in hopes that it would touch more easily. The 800 felt solid in my hands, but it didn’t seem any easier to touch. Once I did touch on my last two attempts, I wasn’t in a good position to press. The meet was over for me.

My Thoughts

It has taken me a while to sort out my thoughts and I’m still not completely done. Here are some things that have been bouncing around in my head:

Just One of those Days

I realized that this is the first time I’ve bombed out of a meet since February 2011. Failure happens to everyone. Try to learn from it, but don’t kill yourself trying to “figure it out.” It’s part of competition and, more generally, part of achieving success.


I can’t help but be frustrated with my results after the months of preparation and financial commitment that this meet takes. It’s just something that I have to endure and experience. It has been about a week since the meet, and the frustration has subsided a good bit. The great thing about this situation is that afterward, I still have the drive to succeed, improve my lifting, and do it all over again.

When is the End?

As you may know, my training partner Adam Driggers made the decision that the 2014 XPC Finals would be his final meet. Because of this, the question “when is the end?” was on my mind all weekend. I asked myself that question, and what I realized is that the bad meet experience motivated me not to quit. I believe I have more left to accomplish. My body still feels good and my best lifting is yet to come.

The thought of regret motivates me. I don’t want to retire early and end up asking myself if I might have had a couple good meets left. From this point in my career, if I end up tanking or getting injured and never getting back to 2500, at least I’ll know that I did my best and saw my potential.

Try Something Different?

After my problem in the hole and touching my chest, I was also pretty frustrated with multi-ply equipment. It got me wondering if training for a single-ply or raw competition would be a good idea. It seems like it would be a lot of fun. I hope to give one of these other styles a try, but I have no specific meets in mind at this point.

As always, thanks to Team Samson and elitefts™ for their support. I couldn’t ask for a better support group. Even though I blew it at the XPCs, I had a fun weekend and am glad I got to see everyone.