Saturday I competed at the RPS Lexen Spring Fling meet in Columbus, Ohio. My previous competition was WPC Worlds last November, and my goal for this meet was to get a qualifying total for the 2016 XPC Finals at the Arnold Classic. Along with WPC Worlds, the XPC Finals is one of the highest levels of competition in multi-ply powerlifting. My best total to this point was 1878 in the 220 class, and I would need a 1925 to qualify for the XPC Finals.

This training cycle went well overall, and you can read about the good and bad in this training log post I wrote a few days before the meet. I weighed 212 pounds during the majority of my training cycle, and debated cutting to 198s, but decided to stick with 220s for this meet. I may cut to 198s later in the year, but I’ve taken the approach of only cutting if it’s going to be for a big meet or a bigger specific goal. Since I didn’t need to make weight I just ate up the week going into the meet and weighed in the morning of competition.

Joe_Deadlift_Lexen Meet

My openers were 690 on squat, 505 on bench, and 600 on deadlift. I set easy openers, and then my goal was to take small PRs on my second attempts. Depending on how seconds went, I would then strategize my third attempts on getting the qualifying total for the XPC Finals. There were under 50 lifters at this competition, and it moved extremely quickly. We started at around 9:30 a.m. and were done with awards by 2 p.m. I like when a meet moves quickly as opposed to being a 14-hour ordeal, but when a meet is moving that fast it presents a challenge with the quick pace. It takes strategy for warmups and attempt choices in order to keep from getting burnt out with the quick pace. I kept all my warmups short and got my gear on as quickly as possible. My good friend Bruce Mason and elitefts teammate Ted Toalston were handling me (as well as some other lifters) and they were extremely helpful the whole day.

My opening squat of 690 flew up out of the hole, but I got a little off-balance at the top and came forward on my toes. I still got the lift, but I knew I would have to tighten things up if I wanted to hit a PR. I took 725 for a 9-pound PR on my second attempt and kept a lot tighter. It flew up fast and I knew I would be able to take a big jump on my third. 725 was so fast I debated jumping to 775 or 800, but decided to go with 750 since it would put me on pace for my goal total. 750 was a 35-pound squat PR and just as fast as the 725, leaving me 3/3 on squats (a lift I’ve been struggling with since getting into gear).


On bench they set the uprights too high and I got loose on the unrack, getting one side of the bar stuck during the handoff. I was able to get re-balanced and finish the lift but it was a lot harder than it should’ve been. I adjusted the uprights on my second attempt and went for a 7-pound PR of 525. It flew off my chest and slowed down a little bit at lockout, but I flared my elbows and was still able to lock it out fine. I jumped to 540 on my third, and came about as close as I’ve ever been to locking out a bench. I was grinding through it but got a little uneven at the top, missing after my left side stopped moving.

My opening deadlift of 600 was easy, and I would need a 5-pound PR of 650 to get my goal total of 1925. With how fast the meet was going we were all getting pretty exhausted, so after talking to Ted I took a big jump to 650 on my second and got it smoothly. I went up to 665 on my third and got it to right below my knees, but was out of gas and couldn’t finish the lift.

I finished with a 35-pound squat PR, 7-pound bench PR, 5-pound deadlift PR, and a 47-pound total PR. The 1925 total qualified me for the 2016 Arnold Classic at the XPC Finals, and won me first place in the Open 220 class. My final numbers were a 750-pound squat, 540-pound bench, 650-pound deadlift, and 1925-pound total.

Especially considering some of the struggles I had during this training cycle, I was extremely happy with how things went. Even more encouraging is that I increased my total and still have so many things that I know I can improve. I plan on doing another meet in the fall, and then competing at the Arnold in the spring. Along with my own meet, I was incredibly proud of my elitefts teammate Brandon Smitley, good friend Mario D’Amico, and Renea Andrzejewski from Purdue Barbell. Brandon did great in his first multi-ply bench only meet, Mario qualified for the XPC Finals as well, and Renea hit some huge PRs. We had great support there from elitefts, Akron Barbell, and Purdue Barbell. It was a great time with all our friends and fellow lifters.

Thanks to Todd Brock for all his help this training cycle, and as always to Dave Tate and elitefts for giving me the opportunity to represent them and be a part of this incredible team. Now it’s back to work.