Night of the Living Dead Recap

Night of the Living Dead, Lifters Without Borders, and My First 600+ Pull
by: Stephen Winburn (blog)

This Saturday I had the honor of not only meeting some of the best lifters in the World, but also competing against them. Many of the lifters would have remained unknown to me were it not for the vision of Alex Campbell and the affronts of a group of people who pulled the Night of the Living Dead from the clutches of the USAPL, though I call it home. The opening of these doors brought a group with greater depth than could have been hoped for from a single federation to lift against one another and forged friendships and camaraderie where monolifts, the number of plys a man, or woman, wears, and whether or not he, or she, is subject to OMTs.

From across the country, and indeed across the seas, lifters descended upon Elizabethton, TN to bend over, grab a piece of steel laden with steel discs, and pick it up all to the applause of hundreds of fans in an unlit high school gym with smoke effects and deafening music. We call it the dead lift, a lift forgotten in the era of lifting equipment. From the smallest, Haydin Spradlin at only 62 pounds and still bearing the load of childhood, to the largest, Andy Bolton weighing a staggering 335 pounds. There were many with world titles and world records to their credit across the diaspora of federations powerlifting now has the sadness of trying to piece together. Great lifts were made and great lifts were missed, but everyone brought only their best and received the cheers of a frenzied crowd as they strode to the stage and faced the PRs of yesterday and the aspirations of the day of competition.

For the women first place was taken by Natalie Freed with a pull of 352.7 pounds at a mere 119 pounds of body weight and second place went to Rhonda Clark who pulled 440.9 pounds missing her third attempt at 463. The men saw the much-anticipated battle of Mr. Andy Bolton and Mr Tom Eiseman. This year Andy Bolton took the win with a Schwartz score of 214.9 via a third attempt pull of 964.5 pounds, wearing a singlet, a belt, and enough chalk to coat a smaller mans body. Mr. Eiseman made a second pull of 755.1, giving him a Schwartz score of 213.38, missing a third attempt at 771.6 pounds, which would have given him the win with a Schwartz score of 218.05, had Mr. Bolton not pulled at least 979.05 pounds.

The other twenty-one competitors did not fail to impress either, and I am humbly including myself in the same group. The complete list of the results, in pounds, is given after the video of my meet and pictures of the competitors, their families,, friends, and some of the people who made this all run smoothly.

For my part I had the pleasure of pulling my first 600+ pull with 606. Although I was unhappy with my training for the last few weeks to a month, and there was a twinge on my last warm-up in my low back, I conquered the challenge that I had set for myself on the platform and look forward to something even greater next year. I would like to thank all the lifters, Alex Campbell, the fans cheering, and the Elizabethton high school powerlifting club for making it such a great experience. I would also like to thank the woman who not only carried my son while I was off chasing dragons, but carried him in her womb until the moment Elijah came into my life. You are my world and without you I have no purpose.

11 thoughts on “Night of the Living Dead Recap

  1. Justin

    I have been following the program you posted a few weeks ago. I have a question about weight increases and such. The squatting is 2x a week. When I squat heavy (relatively speaking of course) on Mondays, by the time Thursday rolls around, i should be adding 5lbs to Mondays weight? Will there ever be a deload week?

    Also, I seem to develop some time of ache in my bicep area. It throbs when I do strict over head pressing. I had to cut the training short last night because i couldnt press the weight i needed to. I dont want to aggravate whatever it may be. Any thoughts or ideas what it is?

    If you’re a novice then the 5 pound increase every squat workout is doable. If it is getting difficult, then we/you will have to change something.

    My first assumption is that the ache in your biceps is due to a funky squat grip. What say you?


  2. Thanks Justin for the response.

    The weights are seemingly getting more difficult. Do you have a program for the next level or phase of this progression? I was looking at the SS Advanced. Not sure if thats the proper way to go.

    The bicep ache only happens when i go overhead. My squat grip is neutral. Typical high-bar grip. It doesnt ache when I squat.

    The grip, wrists, or angle of elbows (from the front or oblique) might be goofy in your press. What say you?

    And your program selection (or creation) should be dependent on your goals.


  3. I say you might be correct. I will have to double check form next time I go in.

    I want to get stronger in the main lifts, as well as the clean and possibly the snatch if there is room for it. Im doing little to no conditioning at the moment following your advice of keeping it on the lesser side.

  4. I was interested on what Andy Bolton was like, so I asked Steve in an e-mail. He had this to say:

    I spoke with Bolton when he held my son for a picture, had all the lifters I could do so, and before we started warming up on the snippets about his training in Flex (I think), as well as introducing myself and after the meet at dinner. He was cordial and encouraging. When he held my son for the picture he immediately lightened up and told me about his three month old daughter. With regards to lifting I asked him about the article, which said he only pulled around 60% for maximum speed once he was two months out, or so. I also asked if he followed the same protocol for squat and bench and he said no, he felt like you needed to feel the weight on your back for squatting. Strangely, before his warm-ups I loaned him my icee-hot, for his knees, although I only carried it on a whim to the competition, since I don’t use it. Finally, at dinner I asked for his autograph for Brooks COnway, but only had the recent issue of Powerlifting USA with Jason Coker on it which had the green cover. We joked about it and colored out Coker’s face and I told him he should just right next to Coker that Coker pulled less than him.

    Met Eiseman initially in the hotel lobby, where I learned his Charlotte flight was cancelled and he drove all night thorugh the mountains, where he got lost, and had only just arrived around 8 AM on the contest morning. When I formally introduced myself to him I jokingly told him I needed him to adjust my back, as he is a chiropractor. He offered, without a wince, to do so if there had been time, so he was extremely pleasant. Eiseman also held my son, Elijah, for a picture. During warm-ups I learned that at the end of each pull, I think, he says “now that’s a deadlift!” He also took the time to tell me my last pull was nice (paraphrasing), and congrats on the PR on facebook the following Monday.

    I’ve never met Steve, but this seemed like a cool experience for him. AC and Steve have competed against each other, and AC has told me more than once that Steve is a real nice guy. Thanks for the submission, Steve.

  5. Awesome blog post. I like how he pointed out it was not sanctioned.

    I’ve had a similarly positive experience at Raw Unity Championships ‘RUM’ last year, it was great to compete with some very strong people of all different federations. Anyone in Tampa this January should check it out.

  6. Since we are on the subject of deadlifting I have question about programming in some rack pulls to help push through some sticking points…

    With my current schedule I am DL on Thursdays following a ramping 5×5, and then my heavy day is Saturday with PC, Squat, Bench. Would it make more sense to add the rack pulls on saturday so that i have the 2 days to recover or should I do them after the DL on Thursday?

    E-mailed you.


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