Meet Report – 780@132 – July 2013

July 1st, 2013 by Laura

5 Pound Weight Cut From Hell

Had my meet today but I have to first post about the harrowing weight cutting experience I had yesterday. This is embarrassing because some women lose 10+ pounds… And I went through all if this to lose just 5. For whatever reason, it just wasn’t happening on this day.

My weight to start was around 137. In my first weight cut test, I had cut from 140 no problem.

Did the water load and that had me at 134.5. I went back and forth between treadmill and sweltering attic in the garbage bags and sweats for hours, losing like .1 every 20 minutes. Finally, at 5:30 I’m still .5lbs over, I’m drained to the point I can’t even speak. I was so close to quitting, was on autopilot, just forcing myself through it again and again, seemed like it would never happen, then finally made weight at 132.2 ( I think 132.3 is the cutoff) at 6:30PM (weigh ins were till 7:30).

I drove like grandma on the way there so I’m sure its my own damn fault that I got rear ended! I call my husband and you’d think he’d be like ‘wtf did you do to the car’ but his only inquisition is ‘omg are you going to make weigh in??’ lol. I got there late but they were there thank goodness.

Luckily, it was a female doing the weigh in. I weighed in in shorts/t-shirt at 134. I knew stripping down wasn’t going to give me 2 pounds, did anyway, and 133.4. I wanted to cry. The girl there was so nice, she’s like ‘did you bring your running shoes?’. I did, I always do, but I was so out of it I grabbed my matflexes! Awesome arch support (not). I didn’t think I had an ounce of fight left in me. I wanted to badly to tell her I couldn’t do it, there was nothing left. But I laced up, threw on a hoodie, and hit the road with a heavy heart, I didn’t think it was going to happen.

I am not conditioned for any sort of running, but I ran as best I could for 20 minutes, I was so dead my hands were banging into my feet, starving, wanted to drink the puddles. I was sure it wasn’t enough, but I dragged myself back in, stripped down, stepped on the scale and made it at 132 on the dot.

Now it is like 8:30PM, I down pedialyte and start popping sushi in the car. The first bite I take, my throat and roof of my mouth instantly swell up and I can’t swallow. Allergic reaction?! This happens with kiwi, not sure why it is happening now. I can’t swallow, but no asphyxiation (so far) so we’re good. Well, not good, but alive.

By the time I got home, I could not stomach any food. Husband was trying to force feed me sweet potatoes but I literally couldn’t eat it, just chewing the food, not swallowing and trying not to barf. He was pouring gatorade in me like rocky, and my calves started cramping like labor pains, then my shins. My foot couldn’t get out of this mangled position, and stomach was cramping so I couldn’t stand up straight. He alternated ice and heat on my shins and tried rotating my ankles for me, every muscle was now seizing up. Then I got really nauseuos and barfed up all the liquid I just worked so hard to put down.

At night, I had to get up to pee every few minutes, and when I did, everything felt VERY heavy, and out of touch. I was slamming into walls and stomping though I didn’t mean to. At this point, I was thinking of withdrawing from the meet.

In the early morning, I drank another gallon, forced down a small meal, foam rolled (cramps were gone but VERY stiff, and I had shinsplints) and took some empty bar/ broomstick squats – which was a very good idea. My beginning squats were so horrid, I don’t think I would have been able to work through that there.

Meet Report – APA

1st attempt: 225
Felt very light, as did all of the warm-ups. I have a bad habit of getting nervous and rushing my setup, and as part of that, losing all lat tightness. Squat goal for this meet was to learn how to channel the nerves into lat tightness, and it went great

2nd attempt: 245
also felt like nothing. I wrapped my own knees for the meet and it was a good move, it helped with some of the nervous (potentially spastic) energy.

3rd attempt: 260 (20lb Meet PR)
My technique was way off, I kind of rushed it and over-corrected my usual failure point by pushing backward more than I needed to, but it went up ok.
This matched my gym best. After the night I had, I wasn’t into going for a PR-PR.

Due to a truncated training cycle, i thought my bench was going to be in worse shape than it actually was.

Opener: 150
Smooth sailing

2nd Attempt: 155
Super Easy

3rd Attempt: 160 MISS
I don’t know what the heck got into me. It was going up just fine, not hard at all, but in the top 2/3, I decided to shoot the bar way over my stomach. It would have been fine and was going up so easy, I don’t know why I did that. Still ok with it though because I know 160+ would be fine had I not been stuck on stupid

Opener: 335
A bit of cns shock as always. No matter what my opener is, it always looks and feels terrible.

2nd attempt: 365 (5lb meet PR)
I was a little nervous because I look forward to the whippy bar at meets, and from what I understood, this was just a regular bar. Still went up though.

3rd attempt: 375 (miss)
By this point, I was DONE. I could feel it. I’ve been fiddlef*king around on my squat for so long, I’ve never had to account for actually being tired from it. Between that and the previous 365 pull, and the food/hydration issues, there was just nothing left to give. I did zero mental prep. Walked over to the bar thinking ‘what in the flipping hell am I doing back here again?’ It barely left the floor.

Total: 780@132. I am actually the most proud of this total than any of my other meets. Not because the total is higher, but because between weigh-ins, the horrible night before, and how I felt meet day, there were so many times I just wanted to quit. And if I actually wasn’t able to make weight and had to compete in the 148’s, it still would have been an elite total for the 148’s. Considering that my first meet, almost 2 years ago, I totaled 555 @ 148, that’s progress. That is a 225lb gain so far, at a lighter bodyweight.

A friend had posted this earlier in the week and it was just the thing to get through the water cut:

Bench Chest Sticking Point

June 1st, 2013 by Laura

I hate this sticking point. Assuming that the weight wasn’t just too heavy and I got stapled, this one means that I basically forgot how to bench. Not as quick a fix as other sticking points but every time I have to refresh with this, it gets easier.

Triple-Paused Bench Press
This type of paused bench was a misinterpretation of something that I read but it works out really well for me. It was a lucky miss.

  • Bring the bar down, pausing 1-2 inches off the chest on the eccentric. Think of bringing chest to the bar instead of the other way around.
  • Pause for a moment, then bring chest up to touch the bar for the second pause.
  • Begin the ascent, pausing again 1″ off the chest on the concentric.
  • **Be precise, deliberate and sharp with the movement. The tendency as you fatigue is to get sloppy and make the pauses higher off the chest.

    The pattern from this bleeds into a normally paused rep as extra tensing where I would normally loosen up.

    I find that a little bit of overload work or heavy (over-max) partials can be confidence-boosting, but it makes no sense that I spend too much time locking that out when nowhere near that amount of weight is coming off my chest. I do best when I keep the exposure to that low and hit something overload-y maybe once every 7-10 days, just touching on it before or after my normal benches. If my overloaded benches are just swimming along and my bench is going nowhere, I’ll drop overload stuff further (or altogether). Paper Towel Roll Press is my favorite overload-y movement. I press to a roll of paper towels secured to my chest with a band. I like it because it sinks in a bit and is less cumbersome to work with on my own than boards. I’ll alternate between a skinny dollar store roll and Bounty (for when I want to go heavier).

    Use nothing that gradually lightens tension at chest
    I need to stay away from reverse bands/ lightened work/ slingshot, etc. These tools have yet to do anything for me other than train me to expect the weight to get progressively lighter as it nears the bottom. That bleeds into my regular bench as relaxing near the chest and a loose, lazy start to the ascent- the exact thing I am trying to avoid. A hard stop (like the paper towel roll press) does not seem to do this as long as it is used sparingly.

    Annihilate Lats
    Heavy rows, volume rows, pull ups, inverted rows… Annihilate lats. Do something every day.

    Wake the Lats Before Benching
    Bring awareness to the region in the back that lights up as you twist the bar. Some favorite moves:

  • Hold plate to chest and contract against it
  • Straight arm pulldown
  • Row to chest with iso hold
  • Pull-up hold
  • Band pull-apart hold
  • Relate
    Relate lat work and any bench-related work to the bench. Similar time under tension, brief pause/ iso-hold at the base of the movement, feel the bench in that movement

    Grease the Groove
    Grab a broomstick whenever the urge strikes and hold it out, try to turn palms facing while holding and squeezing it. Contract lats and bring the bar to sternum. Pick a deliberate point to touch down to and push chest toward it, esp in the last inch. Contract everything isometrically and feel how tight that position is. The more I put myself through the movement, the more efficiently the bench muscles fire.

    Bench with Bands Across Wrists
    Teaches and enforces a stable base.
    Things I Tried and Didn’t Like:

    Negative Bench- horrible
    Lowering the weight with no intention of bringing it back up might possibly be the worst thing I tried for this. My hope was that it would teach me to control the eccentric but it encouraged relaxing at the bottom of the lift.

    Dead Bench
    I abandoned the cycle because I didn’t feel I was getting much out of it other than sore shoulders. My main problem in the bench was that I was panicking and losing tension at the bottom. This variation is probably good for strength out of the bottom, but it doesn’t address maintaining tension throughout the lift and not panicking at the reversal. So I abandoned this to make room for something else. If I do ever try dead benches again, I want to do the off chains instead of the safeties. I had a lot of trouble setting up under them and irking my (normally healthy) shoulders regularly.

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    Meet Report – 720@132 – March 2013

    March 1st, 2013 by Laura

    I did the SPF meet 1 week prior to this and it all seemed a good idea at the time, but I will not be doing 2 meets in a row again. Weight was 131.2.

    I woke up on one of those days where if it were a training day, I would have skipped it and said ‘gee, I could use a week or two of rest’. I was tired, very docile, in a fog, painfully knotted up trap, etc. Additionally, felt hungry but every food I looked at was making me nauseous. And, the thought of a loaded barbell made me cringe.

    Last week’s goal was an elite total which I hit with 750. This week’s goal was to take some chances, so I knew that I stood a pretty good chance of walking away with a much smaller total today. The only lift that I did NOT want to miss was a 360 dead (which I missed last RPS meet).

    Opener: 210
    My core was asleep. It went up, but I realized that in taking a week off, I totally forgot how to squat. I really should have done some training this week, I am not at a level where I can take a week of squat/ bench and expect to deliver on meet day

    2nd attempt: 240 bad
    Big risk, never made a jump that big. I had a feeling it wouldn’t go, I felt so docile. Got pinned just like the good old days lol. mildly upset but too tired to pull it together and do anything about it. I also decided that right then would be a great time to try just using the monolift as is instead of walking it out (bad idea!!)

    3rd attempt: 240 bad
    why bother, lol. same deal as previous.

    Opener: 140

    2nd attempt: 150
    I felt the magical spirit of Smolov leave me around Thursday. Did not have much hope beyond this. Also, wanted to sleep on the bench.

    3rd:160 Bad
    There was my big risk, I didn’t even grip the bar right, brought it down to the chest and there it lay. Gym PR is 158 so you’d think 160 would go SOMEPLACE, but not on this day.

    Prior to deadlift, I ran around outside in the cold, went to my car and snapped an elastic on my arm till the blood came to the surface, smacked myself in the face a dozen or so times, went to the bathroom and put cold water down the back of my neck, desperate to wake the heck up.

    A friend gave me Jacked 3d and 10 minutes later felt some life.

    Opener: 325

    2nd: 345

    3rd: 360!
    Was SO nervous for that 360 – that was really the main thing I wanted out of the day.

    The deadlift made up for the rest of the day, vid below

    I’m embarrassed even posting the full meet, but here in case anyone likes to watch disaster:

    All in all 210 squat, 150 bench, 360 deadlift, 720 total. I think I did a great job of peaking for last weekend’s meet and I was physically and mentally shot today.

    But in retrospect, I actually feel pretty good because I still totaled RPS Pro. And this was a total sh*t show of a lifting day so if I can get a pro total under those circumstances, I kind of feel validated that I actually deserve to be in that division now. So now I have to compete in Pro for any further RPS meets so I’d better do something with that squat if I don’t want to look like a total idiot haha.

    Meet Report – 750@132 – 1st Elite Total

    March 1st, 2013 by Laura

    Proudly hit my first elite total today (750 at 132). 9 for 9, got all my lifts.

    Opener: 210

    I did a horrendous job warming up and being cognizant of time. They had a rack and a monolift for people to warm up on, but the monolift was really busy. The other rack had a handful of crossfitters using it (SPF has a crossfit division). I had warmed up to just 65 and they said that 5 minutes was left! So I moved to the crossfitters rack (I walk it out anyway) but they had the rack height set up seriously at eye-level. I don’t know how they were doing it, most of them were my height or shorter.

    I didn’t want to be a pain in the butt and make them change everything so I tried to work with it, but really it was that working out, I had to unrack on my tippie toes. Finally it looked like they were done, one of them helped me adjust the height, and I quickly rapid fired 155, 175 and 205 and immediately ran because I was on deck! I didn’t get a chance to wrap or anything, I was hyperventilating, my ‘squat’ looked like crap (good morning) but some how still went up.

    2nd attempt: 225 fine.

    3rd: 240
    My friend let me borrow his strangulators and my other friend wrapped me. My own wraps and wrap job are toilet paper by comparison. Definitely was not a max, so I will go higher at the other meet next week.

    3 months ago my squat was a hit or miss 185. I put 55lbs on my squat (maybe more!) in 3 months, so was pretty happy.

    Opener: 140
    Had to make numerous adjustments to the bench. In order to reach the bar, my head had to be COMPLETELY off the bench. I did not want a lift off, because I don’t use one at home and sometimes have issues fully activating my lats if I don’t unrack it myself. I had them lower the bar height but it didn’t help. But since I could not reach the bar (???), I had to have a handoff. It went up, but uncomfortable. Luckily, the guy who went after me was also unable to reach the bar as well and they swapped the bench out.

    2nd attempt: 150 (1st take miss for tech issue, 2nd take fine)
    So tech glitch #2 (there must be some aura about me that causes these things haha) This time, as I started my leg drive on my bench, the earth shook and caused me to throw the weight forward a bit, felt like I was on a boat or something, and missed. Turns out, the bench was not balanced and the whole bench shifted a couple of inches and caused me to sway. They put a pad under the crooked footing and 2nd take was fine.

    3rd: 155
    Was not a PR, I didn’t go for one because a new issue popped up on bench for me when I get near my max, where I overload my delts to come off the chest. Didn’t want to risk damaging my shoulder for next week by wrestling the weight like that. I will work on that this week, hopefully can fix before next meet. Went up but not at all proud of technique. 5lb Meet PR anyway.

    Opener: 325

    2nd attempt: 345
    also ok

    3rd: 355
    2lb PR BUT at 10lbs lighter in bodyweight

    So the result
    240 Squat, 155 Bench, 355 Deadlift, 750 total @ 132

    Speed Deadlift Notes

    January 29th, 2013 by Laura

    These are my notes on speed deadlift stuff that has worked well for me.


  • A single every 30 seconds. With lighter weight, sometimes just a 10-15 second rest is fine. When working at a higher percentage, wait 45 seconds to 1 minute between pulls.
  • Always step away from the bar and approach like each pull as a single.
  • Percentages, Sets & Reps

  • 50-75% range is optimal. I have gone up over that and it’s been fine. The important thing to me is that the weight moves quickly and I can do the lift perfectly.
  • Cycles begin with 12-15 singles and taper off to 5-8 singles.
  • Weight increase can be 5-10% per session.
  • Mindset

  • Every lift is a max. The worst thing is to expect light weight and treat it as such.
  • This is my final meet attempt, the only lift that matters
  • Technique
    Speed pulls have been great for instilling technique upgrades. when I’m looking to make a change, set up a little a slower than normal. Go through the same list of cues for each pull to an even count. (Ex: 1. Big breath, 2. Set grip, etc.). Go through the count faster each time until it starts to becomes speedy, smooth and automatic.

    Use straight weight, singles across. Go light (50-65%) but add in a moderate rep or two before or after each session as a checkpoint. Some things can sneak by with light weight that won’t hold up under heavies.

    If my tech is less than 80% of where I want it to be or something just isn’t sinking in, I forget about trying to bring in speed and just go back to cueing to a smooth count until I’m ready. It is frustrating to have your head swimming with (potentially forgotten) cues. Speed comes with confidence and confidence comes from being sure of what you are doing.

    I like that bands teach to accelerate and highlight if you don’t. My natural approach is to rip the floor and then kind of rest a bit as it clears the knee quickly. My timing through the hips could be a little delayed. Then I’ll slow it to a grind from there even when the weight isn’t heavy enough to warrant being that slow. With bands, if I am off at the top, they will pull me down from the front before I lock out, highlighting the horrible position I’ve put myself in. I’ve been removing band tension (if using) and use straight weight getting closer to the meet.

    I have done almost all of my speed cycles on a 3″ deficit. I love the power and confidence I get off the ground and walking up to the bar on meet day feeling like it is already halfway up. I stay open to the idea that I might need to make some tech adjustments in the final weeks incase anything odd creeped in from the deficit, but it has been more than fine so far.

    On meet week, if I have spent my entire cycle on the deficit, I move to the floor. No specified % in mind. The idea is just to feel the pull from the floor iron out any kinks that might have crept in on the deficit (there usually aren’t any) and get in the mood for a big pull. This might not be enough time on the floor for some; for me it works.

    If I feel that I need to take a dozen or so shots at it, I can but I try to do the minimum I can get away with. Last time, I did one pull with 135. It felt like it was an inch long and I instantly felt a rush of excitement about the meet. So I cut it there and was very excited knowing I was going to have a great pull later that week (and I did). On this day, my body doesn’t even care that less than 1/3 of my max is on the bar, it just knows that they weight flew, it was perfect, and at that point, confidence takes me farther than anything on meet day.

    I’ve run speed pull cycles alongside demanding squat programs leading to a meet. It sharpens my deadlift technique without cutting into recovery, and I end up feeling energetic and excited at the meet. During off-seasons, I don’t find as much use for speed and rely on other work to get stronger.

    They also helped my deadlift stay on track during a year that I was recovering from surgery and not able to pull heavy very often.

    When trying to re-wire a pattern or improve tech, I think it is helpful to take a max or near-max pull for diagnostics, and even open up to the possibility of a fail (an honorable fail, not a sit-on-the-floor soul crusher) prior to starting the speed cycle. After analyzing what went wrong, the needed changes can be easily spotted, addressed and instilled with the speed work.

    Deadlift Cues

    January 2nd, 2013 by Laura

    These are the cues I use to pull. Luckily, this lift never takes a vacation on me, but I like to keep some notes just incase I do need to refer to them at some point.

    1. Crushed Can
      Take the slack out of myself before grabbing the barbell by pushing all joints down into each other. Bend knees a bit, it should feel like I just shrank a couple of inches and puts me closer to the bar. Contract everything hard lats, triceps, core, glutes, hams. Get all weight in heels and drive them through the ground. Raise toes if needed to help dig heels in deeper.
    2. Align and Visualize
      Look at the bar and line up in the position I would be in when locked out. Make sure hand positioning is correct. Keep condensing everything down by tensing. Go through a strong and speedy lift one time in my head and feel the lockout.
    3. Stake in the ground
      Drive down on heels and move as little as possible to get to the bar. Grab the barbell and remove slack, and barbell doesn’t move, I dig myself in under it and closer to it. Alternate cues for this are:
      – Heels To China (Dan John)
      – Unearthing Trees (pulling out trees by the root)
      – Teeter-totter / See-saw
    4. Tilt
      I am willing my hips closer to the bar throughout the lift. But on passing the knee, I’ve had to train myself to tilt harder and quicker than I naturally feel the need to. More on Pelvic Tilt
      Alternate: Stand up straight.
    5. By the time I am ready to take a max, I shouldn’t even have to think (or overthink) about anything; all the speed training seems to take care of that. I dive bomb and it looks like I just swoop in and grab the bar, but in my head I already grabbed it, before I grab it. Start with legs a bit bent and contract everything in them. Try to push myself into the ground like a spring to come up, and take the slack out of myself before I even touch the bar. Look at the bar and set my grip in my head, and drive heels into the ground as much as possible before gripping the bar.

      Before the pull, take the slack out of the bar. It happens very quickly, but the movement is strong and efficient. Kind of like hammering a stake into the ground. You take that first whack to get the thing centered and stuck in there, then start hammering in deeper.


    Meet Report – Push/ Pull – December 2012

    December 1st, 2012 by Laura

    Weighed in at 141.

    Opener: 130
    2nd attempt: 135
    3rd attempt: 140 MISS
    I knew it was bad the second I unracked. Had bar too far out in front on the descent, went waaay slow as I neared the chest, resisting the weight and using up all my energy by the time I was at the bottom of the lift.

    Ended up with 15 pounds under my own bench record.

    Plan was to open a little lighter than usual and try to limit my lifts in the upper range to avoid exhaustion.

    Opener: 320

    2nd attempt: 340 – NOT COUNTED – misload! I grabbed the bar and one side was coming up ok, the other, was not, bar was TOTALLY crooked. My trap was straining, I guess it looked pretty awful to because one girl there was massaging my trap for me after like ‘omg are you alright? that looked rough!’ I locked out the side I could but the other side didn’t make it and I dropped the bar. I felt like crap for not only failing the lift, but letting the bar drop like that.

    Thought I had grabbed the bar crooked or something, went back over to see if I could still put in for 350 next, but they realized that the weight was misloaded. So they would allow me to retake it whenever i felt ready.

    Appreciated that, but there went my plan of limiting my lifts on the upper end!

    2nd attempt retake: 340 – smooth as silk

    At this point I figure I’ve given all I had. Downed pretty much a jar of peanut butter and then:

    3rd attempt: 353

    Shaky, but it went up!!! Was SO excited!!

    So ended up with:
    Push Pull Total: 488
    Best Overall Lifter – Female. I even got cash, yo!!

    Feeling pretty happy to close out the year with that dead

    Meet Report – Push/ Pull – October 2012

    October 1st, 2012 by Laura

    My 3rd RPS meet, 4th meet overall. I weighed in at 142 or 143, can’t remember

    Opener: 130 – easy, 3 whites

    2nd attempt: 140
    small glitch, I hit the rack when unracking (geez thought I only did this crap at home) and lost my shoulder set up. Still felt easy (8lb meet PR). 3 whites.

    3rd attempt: 150 an 18 pound meet PR
    3 whites. Tied their record

    In the vid it looks like my butt was off the bench from that angle but it wasn’t. I have a very ample backside so there was still plenty on the bench haha. I felt 100% better benching at this meet than I have in the past. I was wanting more at the end of this and feel poised for some good benching in the future.

    Opener: 325
    3 whites but Utter crap! I felt shaky, shaking to the point I thought they would think I was hitching, got lightheaded in the middle of the lift, and felt weak. Was really questioning my next move of 345. Honestly thought I had no shot. I also shot my hips up as my upper half just wasn’t moving with the weight.

    2nd attempt: 345, A 4 lb meet PR
    3 whites
    Oddly, felt WAY easier than 325.

    3rd attempt: 360 (fail) – An infuriating miss at the end!
    Normally, if a deadlift gets off the ground at all for me, it is going up. This one came up allll the way to what I thought was my STRONG point – shooting the hips through, but when I got there I just had nothing left to give. I have NEVER been stuck at lockout before.

    I guess it is time for me to come out of my comfort zone on this lift because I am MAD at this 360 now!

    All in all, a great meet. But I have a serious bone to pick with 360 for next time.

    Push/Pull Total : 495

    Meet Report – Push/ Pull – July 2012

    July 1st, 2012 by Laura

    Powerlifting Meet Report/ Vids – 341 lb deadlift PR

    I was desperate to hit a PR AT a meet, which I have never done. And I wanted to take risks instead of playing it safe. So that was the goal this meet.


    Opener: 125 was ok. just ok.

    2nd attempt” I *think* was 132. I was nervous and could not figure out the kilo conversion chart at the time. need to calm the heck down haha.. Felt pretty spastic, was warned about getting too excited and jumping before the commands. 3 whites though.

    3rd attempt: 141 pounds. Miss. My setup not great, I totally relaxed at the bottom so it might as well have been a pin press – bar didn’t go anywhere.

    141 would have been a PR, so no risk taking or PR in bench today.


    Opener: 300 – Good.

    2nd attempt: 325 good lift. I got my first PR! Here’s how that went:

    3rd attempt: 341 A friend insisted on 340 next and I thought he was nuts. But , I already got 325 so I beat last meet’s total and got more than what I had set out for. So what’s the difference if I try 330 or 340. It’s going up or its not… When I requested 341 I felt like I was going to puke (and it was 341 because I am awesome at figuring out kilos haha). But… here’s how it went

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