Last week’s posts were dominated by our experience from Raw Nationals. A lot of you have written in saying how much 70’s Big has inspired you to compete, and I enjoy every one of those e-mails. 70’s Big is an attitude, and part of that attitude is putting yourself to the test and risking failure along the way.
I’m going to periodically share some stories from people who have written to me about their competitions. Today I want to highlight Antoinette’s journey into her first powerlifting meet earlier this month. You may remember her from this post when she deadlifted 250lbs. Antoinette is coached by her boyfriend Eric, and he did a solid job on teaching her the barbell lifts and helping her develop a great strength base. On a side note, Antoinette told me that when she got into lifting, she dropped bodyfat and even though she was eating a lot more. I’ll let her comment on that, but typically when girls start getting stronger they have an improvement in body composition.
The first time Antoinette e-mailed me, she was asking about the best way to taper her “Texas Method” program into the meet. TM programming works really well with people shifting from novice programming to intermediate, and once the lifter has been on it for a few months, it can be transitioned pretty well into a short taper for a meet. I recommended she start doing 3 rep maxes (3RM) so it would paint a more accurate picture of what she could open with.
Antoinette kept in touch with me as she got ready for the meet, and unfortunately she was hit with various types of the black plague for the three weeks leading into the meet. In any case, she didn’t let it deter her from having a solid day. Eric wrote me a recap, and I’ll give it to you from the horse’s mouth:
So our plan was to open conservatively and make reasonable jumps for the second attempts on each lift so, worst case, she could go 6/9 and put up lifts in the neighborhood of her training PRs. Seeing how she was coming off being sick for most of the three weeks prior to the meet, and the fact that her Tuesday recovery day hadn’t gone very well, we definitely wanted to keep things on the low side. Add in the fact that she was on the verge of having an anxiety attack prior to her first lift (she can tell you more about that) and I was still a little worried going into the squats.
We decided to open at 105kg on squats, which was a weight she had tripled without too much struggle two weeks ago. You can see that it looked a little more difficult than it should have, which was mainly due to her nervousness preventing her from getting a good deep breath before starting the lift. So we only went with a 2.5kg jump for her second attempt, which put her about 9lbs short of her gym PR of 245lbs. 107.5kg went up without too much problem since she had calmed down a lot once she got the first lift out of the way. She had a slight knee turn-in and loss of back angle, so we knew she could handle quite a bit more weight if she fixed that. For her third attempt we jumped to 112.5kg, and even with a slight knee turn-in (looks like it was due to toes not being angled out enough in the stance) it went up without any problem.
Bench was definitely her weakest event–on her last intensity day she had put up 125lbs (which was a PR for her) but it didn’t go easy. We opened at 52.5kg which went up easy enough, but I was still hesitant about making a big jump on bench so we only went to 55kg for attempt #2. That went up easy enough that I felt comfortable calling for 60kg on the third attempt. By this time she had gotten over the nervousness and was able to channel the pressure in a productive way and get amped up for each lift. 60kg went up far easier than I had expected, giving her a 7lb PR on bench.
With deadlift we wanted to use the first attempt essentially as a final warmup lift so she would have something left for her second and third attempts. So we opened at 102.5kg, which she has done for a set of 5 before. That went up easy enough for us to feel comfortable jumping to 110kg on her second attempt…again short of her gym 1RM but something that would let her get a solid number on the board without too much trouble. After hitting that attempt easily we jumped to 115kg, 3lbs over her gym PR. She pulled 115kg like it was a warmup lift, and it looked far stronger than when she set her previous deadlift PR a few weeks ago.
So in the end, she went 9/9 and totaled 287.5kg, good for 2nd place in her weight class in the raw open. Tracee Patterson, the winner in her weight class, hold several national records in that class, so it was no shame to take second place to her. All three lifts were PRs and it looked like she could have handled about 5kg more on the bench and 7.5-10kg more on the squat and deadlift, but being her first meet we thought it was a better idea to leave something on the table rather than taking a chance bombing out or getting hurt.
That, my friends, is how you handle someone at their first meet. Antoinette had e-mailed me, and we went back and forth with strategy. I mentioned that they could take the last warm-up for deadlift on the platform, and that’s what they decided to do in order to help her go 9/9 in the meet. And really, PR’s on all the lifts and going 9/9? I can’t think of a better way to motivate anybody, especially a girl in her first competition. Nice job Antoinette, and nice job Eric.
Here is Antoinette’s last deadlift (you can see her other lifts here):