Military Nationals were hosted by Willie Mastin at Brooks-City Base in San Antonio, TX on Saturday, March 19th. The meet was run pretty well; everything was efficient and there weren’t significant time delays. 40 lifters were broken down in three flights. The first flight started at 9:15 AM and the last deadlift hit the floor in the third flight around 4:00 PM. As you can see, this medium sized meet still took all day. Last year’s Texas State meet used two competition platforms to accommodate over 100 lifters. USAPL is often criticized online for issues with the implementation of the rules, but there were no problems and only one mis-load on the bar (for an opening bench). The warm-up facilities were above average and weren’t too crowded during the competition (which can get irritating at a bigger meet). In fact, all of us who didn’t compete trained in the facility the day before; the only complain would be the stop sign plates that seem to be prevalent at most military bases.
70’s Big had two lifters competing: Mike and my girlfriend. Together they went 17 of 19 and had four PR’s. Both lifters didn’t have optimal training leading into the event. Mike recently cut weight for a PT test (that didn’t stop him from gaining almost thirty pounds to compete in the 275 class) and my lady had various speed bumps including a week long illness that made her a bit nervous for her first meet. She squatted 160 lbs. on her third attempt (to match the most she’s done in the last six months) and then deadlifted 237 lbs. on her third attempt for a twelve pound PR. Her 490 pound total was shy of the desired 500, but the first meet is about hitting solid lifts, gaining experience, and having a great time.
Mike had his attempts mentally planned pretty well; I only had to modify them slightly in our discussions leading into this week. His previous meet PR on squat was 529. We opened at a routine 513, hit a 534 PR on the second attempt, and then moved to 551 for a successful third attempt. That’s a 10kg jump from the opener to the second, and then a 7.5kg jump to the third attempt; the jumps weren’t crazy, and the third attempt jump was a smaller increment. Mike came out with a 22 pound (or 10kg) PR on squat.
The bench press is Mike’s goat. He has long gorilla arms and, according to Brent, isn’t on enough d-bol (for the record, all of us, including Mike aren’t using drugs — I say this because Mike got drug tested and Brent’s new favorite trolling method is to talk about steroids). Mike’s goal was to finally bench over 300 in competition, and we made good on a 303 lift on the second attempt. Mike was wanting to hit 314 for the third attempt, so I gave it to him. I would have preferred to only make a small jump to 308, but I don’t coach him in training so it’s a little more difficult to gauge how hard a lift is. He barely missed the 314 when the bar drifted towards his face a little. Upon video review, I’d like to see Mike improve his set-up, specifically the upper back musculature. We’ll also address some swollertrophy concerns.
Mike is a pretty good deadlifter; it’s his favorite exercise. He has done well improving his starting position. Mike has long femurs and a short back, so his set-up can get goofy. We took his last warm-up on the platform at 513. 560 was a no-big-deal second attempt; it was an intermediary jump to prep for the 600 third attempt. 272.5 kg is 600.759 pounds, and that’s what Mike wanted to pull; he merely wanted to get 600. Last year at Texas State, I gave Mike a heavier third attempt squat than what we had talked about. He hit it for a good lift, and then when I told him that it was heavier than he thought, he gorilla mauled me in excitement. At military nationals, I took a knee in front of the score table debating whether I should give him the 272.5kg or bump it to a nice, clean looking 275kg (606.2 lbs.). I had confidence that Mike could pull 600, and I thought he would be elated to hear that he pulled more than we talked about. However, if Mike were to miss that third attempt, it would make or break his meet.
I stared at the kilo conversion chart debating for a while. Ah, fuck it, it’s only five pounds. I gave him the 275kg. I was feeling reckless…or as reckless as you can feel by adding five pounds on the bar.
I figured that if he couldn’t pull 606, then he wasn’t gonna pull 600. However, if he missed that lift, he still would have been pissed with me. Mike summoned the demons — Brent’s video commentary says, “As you can see he’s a fucking serial killer,” — and cranked the bar off the floor. He usually has good speed off the floor, but because of his weird body (long femurs, short torso), the lockout is usually a grind. Well, this 606 pull was never in doubt. Mike finished his pull, was issued the down command by the head judge, and then calmly looked to his right and said, “70’s Big,” before carefully placing bar back on the platform. White lights.
Mike PR’d in all three lifts and increased his total from 635kg (1400 pounds) to 662.5kg (1460 pounds) since last year’s Raw Nationals. However, his defining moment was when he was awarded his first place medal while carrying around his own bottled urine for his drug test; Mike held vials of piss in his hairy hands for at least 20 minutes.
You’ll notice in the video that Brent has some good commentary during Mike’s squats. You’ll also notice that he isn’t commentating during the deadlift. It’s because he left during the bench pressing to take a fucking nap in his car without telling anyone. Yes, the Shrug Thug apparently wasn’t impressed by the prospect of Mike deadlifting and slept through this crucial part of the meet. His traps must have consumed too many calories. Irre-fucking-gardless of Brent’s narcolepsy, I had a great weekend with him, Chris, Alex, and Mike. A 70’s Big hangout is always a telling event.
If you’d like to share your meet experience, whether it’s your first or you’re a veteran, then shoot me a concise recap with a video or pictures.