Recap — AC in the 100’s

After Brent lifted, we went to eat and then perused the biggest Bass Pro Shop this/that side of the Mississippi. Our group was split up and lost on several occasions, so AC and I stopped to take a nap.

Once we found everyone and headed to the parking lot, Mike really wanted to show AC a particular joke that I started the day before when AC wasn’t with us. It starts with me in the rig (old person boat-car) and radioing the team (everyone but me) that their evac is on the way to the LZ. It goes something like this:

Overlord (me): Hunter-two-one, this is Overlord, come in, over.
Hunter-two-one (Mike/Brent/AC): Overlord, this is Hunter-two-one, we’re taking heavy fire, over.
Overlord: Roger that, we are two clicks north of your position, prepare for pick up. Let’s get a move on because that LZ is HOT! Over.

It proceeds with my yelling into the phone how hot the LZ is and how the team needs to hurry up. I like the joke because it is literally hot outside since Denver is over a mile high, thus the sun is more intense, and the LZ is hot because it’s taking heavy fire. That and because I’m screaming at the top of my lungs while driving towards my friends causing a scene.

Well, on this occasion, I wanted the team to feel like they were actually stranded. I drove around with Chris in the rig for about ten minutes to make sure they were good and hot, and then gave them a call. Let me tell you, AC was not amused by any of this. He said something to the effect of, “Where the fuck are you? It’s hot out here and I have to lift tomorrow.” I understood, so I reported back with, “I KNOW Hunter-two-one, that LZ is HOT. What is your current location? Over.” And then he hung up on me.

I found them as they were about to walk into a movie theater a few clicks east of the original LZ, and I was screaming hysterically for them to have a rapid evac because that “LZ is smokin’ hot”. AC was only mildly amused. Luckily his four minute walk in the sun didn’t create too much of a disturbance in his diaper or with his pacifier, because he was prepped and ready to rock the next morning when his session started at 9:00 AM.

This was the first time that I coached AC in a meet, and it was a lot of fun. He trains his ass off, is a genetic freak, and lifts with maximal intensity. Our goal for a few months was to squat 550 at this meet, and he was looking good in warm-ups. We opened with 232.5 (513lbs), and Ace McGonague rocked the FUCK out of it. Watch the video below – you’ll see the bar flap UP when he completes the squat.

AC barks at his opener

I decided that going to 242.5 (534lbs) was a good second attempt. It was an increase of 10kg after he wrecked 232.5. Ace knew he had this one, and had a solid lift for a 2.5kg PR. Now it was time to go to work, because we both knew he could get 550, but it would be a bitch of a squat.

AC’s adrenaline was pouring out of him – his eyes were welled with tears as I talked him up. There’s nothing he wanted more than to have five and half hundred pounds on his back. He un-racked 250kg (551lbs), looked at the judge, and was finally released to attack his last squat. He hit it rock bottom and bounced it out of the hole. The bounce was fast, even on this last attempt, and he made it a third out of the bottom before the straining started. He knew it was going to be a battle, and he let out a battle cry to help himself. The vein in his neck was bulging and he shut his eyes because of the exertion. This would ultimately be his downfall, because he lost his reference point and dipped forward slightly. Once you let a quarter of a ton drift forward an inch or more, it isn’t coming back. He barely missed that squat, and I think he could have finished it if the bar stayed in the groove over the middle of his foot. God damn, he went out fighting though.

If you go back and watch the first squat attempt, the judge tells AC that he has to wrap his thumbs around the bar (AC had them on top like we teach so that the wrists aren’t bent). There is no such rule in the rule book related to what the thumbs should be doing, and in the three different meets AC has been in he has been told three different things. I’ve heard people gripe online about USAPL seemingly “creating rules out of thin air” and this was disappointing to deal with. Not only was Brent allowed to squat with his thumbs on top of the bar the day before, but there were at least two other lifters in AC’s session that also had their thumbs on top of the bar, yet weren’t told to do anything differently. Inconsistency in the implementation of rules is bullshit.

Anyway, we opened with an easy 160kg (350lbs) on the bench press. How awesome is it that 350lbs is not big deal to a guy weighing 213? Apparently too awesome because AC fucked it up by not waiting for the down command. He bent his elbows, straightened them again, and then received the command. The lift was red lighted as it should have been – if you listen in the video, I literally fucking say, “Wait for the commands” two seconds before he does it. Whatever. It was easy, and we went ahead with the scheduled 167.5kg (369lbs) for a 7.5kg jump. This time AC obeyed orders for a solid lift to match a PR. Our goal for a few months had been 380lbs, and 380 is what Ace McGonague got. A solid 172.5kg was lowered to his chest, he was given permission to press it, and he added one of his trademarked battle cries to force the weight up. Go watch the video – this lift is sick.

Opening deadlift at 546lbs

AC rode his high into the warm-up room and was feeling good. In retrospect I think we took one too many warm-ups, but he opened with a pretty standard 247.5kg (546lbs). I wanted to lower the opener so it wouldn’t be so stressful, and the ruling says you’re allowed to if it’s at least five minutes or five attempts out. Well, I was seven or eight attempts out and I was denied permission to lower the attempt (I’ll have to check the rule book on this one). Ace hit his opener a little slower than I would have liked, and I brought down the next attempt a little. It turns out I didn’t bring it down enough, and the combination of the extra warm-up, the slightly high opener, and the jump to 262.5kg (578lbs) was a bit much. His previous max was 567, so we were wanting the ten pound PR. It proved to be too much for AC because he let the bar drift forward about two inches. Nobody is going to be hitting any PR’s with the bar out in front of the middle of their foot. As he approached the bar, I told him “mid-foot”, and I debated cuing him to keep the bar back. I should have told him to pull it back off the floor and I believe that he would have had a shot had I done so. I take the blame for this miss because of the warm-ups, the opener, the jump, and then the lack of a timely cue that I think would have gotten him the lift.

At the end of the day, AC went 5 for 8 with lifts of 242.5/172.5/247.5, a total of 662.5kg/1458lbs total, and 2nd overall in the 100kg/220lbs Open category. In his last two meets he hasn’t lifted to his potential, but it was good enough to win first place in a big meet and second place at nationals. We’ll learn from this and continue improving. Nice job, best friend.

44 thoughts on “Recap — AC in the 100’s

  1. I’m glad we can agree AC is a genetic freak. But, genes mean nothing if you don’t express them, to congrats to AC for training hard and getting the results.

    I’ve noticed both AC and Brent have deadlifts close to their squats. Mine is much higher even though I don’t deadlift that often. I’m curious if this is the result of training emphasising the squat, fatigue at the meet, odd geometry on my part, or something else. Any thoughts?

    No, I fucked up in different ways on choosing attempts for Brent, AC, and Chris. Their actual deadlift max is higher than what they have done in a meet, but I’ve done a poor job of expressing that in a long meet situation. I knew AC and Chris were only good for two attempts, but there were two different situations that prevented them from hitting their second attempt. Mike and I got it right for him, and I stand by the strategy to achieve it (although in the future he’ll probably like his opener on the comp deadlift bar for reasons NolanPower and I talked about yesterday).

    But, assuming the attempts situation is handled properly, a deadlift will usually be higher than the squat. How much depends on the individual. All of us deadlift with a conventional style. Brent has historically deadlifted around what he’s squatted, AC has a strong deadlift (meet PR of 568) and I have a good grasp of how to coach him in the future, Chris’ deadlift is significantly higher than his squat, but we haven’t hit it in a meet yet, and Mike’s deadlift is about 50 pounds heavier than his squat. Chris has favorable anthropometry for a conventional deadlift (long torso), AC is pretty average and favorable for his height, Brent may have a bit of a shorter torso which hurts him, and Mike has long femurs and a short torso which usually don’t help with conventional, but he’s doing pretty well with it. Mechanics-wise you’d like to have a longer torso unless you’re doing sumo, but having long arms trumps anything else. My arms are very short, and I am a very weak deadlifter and feel like a fag because of it.



  2. Justin,
    The guys need to lower there openers. They are wasting energy on the first lift which is really just to get in the meet. Lifters burn too much energy opening to heavy and having small jumps between lifts. If I want 600 then I will open with 525 which gets me in the meet, jump to 575 then 600. Just a thought.

    Your second and third attempts are the same relatively speaking to AC/Brent/Mike/Chris first two attempts. We’ve already talked about this on the site, and I already said that they like taking their last warm-up in the warm-up room. I also said that I wanted to lower AC’s opener but couldn’t. The only thing you’re doing differently is taking your last warm-up on the platform, and I left that up to them this past weekend. In the future I’ll have them take it on the platform because NolanPower made a good point about getting used to whatever bar is being used on the comp platform for deadlifts.


  3. @JezebelJones

    Hey, the name of the original track is “Bulletproof” by La Roux – they’re from the UK – but I’m not sure who is on the remix, sorry. If you’re interested, their album (I think it’s self-titled) is worth a listen. Hope that helps!

    @A.C. & Brent

    well done guys, you both officially qualify as strong motherfuckers. Nice lifting all round.
    That being said, however, I do have a couple of points I think you could both improve on:

    Brent – you need some serious yakuza ink to adorn those majestic traps, dude. Next time you take your shirt off at a meet, I want your ink to be so badass the judge will be too worried that your Triad henchmen are gonna take his thumbs if he even thinks about red lighting you.

    A.C. – start following Brent “shrugalicious” Starr’s program for strong traps. It’s trap-tastic! That is all.

    Look up a bit in the comments. AC linked the remix of Bulletproof.


  4. Noel – Generally squat:deadlift discrepency comes down to Height vs Wingspan, somebody with long arms and legs is going to deadlift much better than a person of normal proportions. AC and Brent do not have long arms/legs for their height and this causes more of a balance between their squats and deadlifts.

    AC: You plan on lifting at the Arnold, this total gave you the 400 Wilks you need to qualify.

    Also to Justin or AC: What was Dan Green thinking?

    If I got to meet Arnold I would go. And who the hell is Dan Green?


    Nolan, we didn’t do a whole lot of watching at the meet. But, Ace, I think Dan is the dude that opened with 700 pounds to PR, but missed it on all three attempts. He didn’t total.

    You could probably meet Arnold, and it’s usually an honor to be invited to go (you have to qualify with the aforementioned Wilks).


  5. Hey Justin, just wondering what the reason for the move to PC was? Work, study, family, chasing a girl…chasing a guy? (come on, we’ve all seen the speedo post…)

    As much as you all would like for me to chase dudes, I had to see about a girl. That and AC and I have better telepathy when we’re within six hours of each other.


  6. Did anyone else notice the guy running the computer during the bench press has a barbell tattooed on the back of his head?

    He was actually just sitting in front of the screen. It was just a monitor to show the audience what is going on.


    Good job. Great job, even. You are my idol, and I hope you stay in the 220’s for next year’s nats so we can duke it out. Man on man. Wait, what?

    I plan on staying in this weight class, but who knows what the future will unfold (Judgment Day, Rise of the Machines). Until that day we can duke it out for the gold.


    Week long binge, Jacob?


  8. Also, in regards to the thumb issue, which is highly annoying and stupid – the rules are interpreted to mean that the thumb must be in SOLID contact with the bar at all times during the lift. I had a good discussion about this with a nationals USAPL judge, who at first tried to make me wrap my thumbs around the bar, which I simply couldn’t do. He clarified, finally, that as long as the thumb is on or run along side the bar, and in contact with it, it’s legal. You can see that Brent does this, but AC grips it almost exactly like me, with thumbs flying high and loose, which is going to grab every judge’s attention.

    I thought I grabbed the judges attention because I was so strikingly handsome.


  9. You keep distracting them with your rugged manliness, and I’ll try and continue to get away with my squats that are at least 2″ higher than yours and Brent’s.

  10. AC –

    Awesome job. I never would never have imagined my hero would be younger than me. BUT — you would have probably gone 9/9 if you hadn’t cut your hair. Learn from Samson!!

    I am now going to yell “AC” instead of “Doug Young” to fire up for my heavier sets.

  11. Dan Green was the guy who lifted in your flight who missed the 320 deadlift on all of his attempts. I’d like to know what was going through his mind to open at that.

    Yeah I don’t really know what’s going on outside of my lifts when I compete. I couldn’t tell you anyone’s names. I’m literally lost in my attempts at a meet.


  12. Nolan – Saw that, too. I don’t think he ever got 320 over an inch off the ground. I believe he holds the national record at 310. I haven’t look up his BS/BP results, but I assume if he had totaled he would have been first or second, eh? Doh.

  13. Dude you were so close on that squat. You were out of the hole and entering the 3/4 mark.

    Yes, he closed his eyes and drifted forward. I forgot to say that he’s never done that before.


  14. “It is a matter of size. Evolution. Isn’t it, gentlemen? A.C. is the most perfectly trained athlete ever. No one can match his strength, his endurance or his aggressiveness. These other men have not the size, the strength, the *genetics* to win. It is physically impossible for these little men to win. A.C. is a look at the future!” – Modified quote from Rocky IV

  15. Unreal lifts.

    Great work AC!!

    Out of curiosity, is 70’s big a registered team with USAPL? We have a lifting club on campus that we’ve registered with the Canadian-arm of IPF.

    To my knowledge USAPL doesn’t register teams the same way that USAW registers clubs. We could have signed up for a team at this particular meet, but we wouldn’t have won because Albany Strength brought 78 people (I think). They are good dudes. We took some pictures with them.


  16. Great lifts man, congrats. That is some sick depth on the squats, considering that it’s a meet.

    And the La Roux remix is indeed way better than the original, much more amenable to 70s Big lifting.

  17. @Justin, you made a comment about Brent’s short torso but forgot to make fun of his small hands yet again? Don’t tell me you’re slipping.

    Sometimes I forgot how small his hands are and how dainty his wrists and ankles are because of his overpowering traps.


    aaaaand Eric is now added to the list of people i’m going to have to kill ………..

    – brent

  18. Justin, i’m on day 11 without a drink, which is a huge pr! I just like typing your friends’ names with lots of extra letters.

    I like your style.


  19. Just got back from being in Denver yesterday. The wifey and I decided to make it a nice vacation. I didn’t see you guys there because she lifted on the first day (Friday) with the other lighter weight women. I wanted to lift but didn’t because of nagging injury. I would have been lifting against AC, which would have been interesting (he would have killed me, though).

    My wife, Lynn, won the 148 women’s class (weighing in at 139) with a 727 AR (American Record)raw total as well as an AR deadlift of 358. I think she had the 3rd best total and Wilks of all the women there. She did me proud.

    Anyway, great work by all you guys and maybe I’ll catch ya at a future meet.

  20. I want to just chime in about the DL limb length thing. I think NolanPower has pulled over 700 so ill be inclined to agree with him, and fully agree about long arms are HUGE in the DL, but i was under the impression a short torso was also advantageous… (Nolan did you mention this?) the reason being the shorter moment arm from the hips…but that could be traded off with the starting angle of the torso being closer to horizontal…

    anyway do long arms hurt folks during the olympic lifts? i would tend to think it would be the case b.c of the decreased distance for the lifter to ‘jump’ on the 2nd pull

    Longer arms are an obvious deadlifting advantage. There was a guy in Brent’s weight class with very long arms and was real damn strong, and he pulled around 650.

    Mechanically speaking, a longer back is advantageous (assuming the right leg proportions) because of the more vertical angle. The moment arm isn’t measured along the back, it’s measured as a horizontal distance between the hips and the scapulae (where the arms hang off of) — this is 90 degrees to the resistance. Having a shorter torso would mean you’d likely to be more leaned over and horizontal which increases that moment arm, thus decreasing the mechanical advantage.


  21. It seems there is a lot of comments on biomechanics and lifting efficiency. I don’t know too much about it. Can we get a post about body types/limb lengths and the different power lifts?

    I suppose. Dr. Kilgore will have an anatomy book out soon that talks about this and Rip has been talking about it for a few years.


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