So, I Finally Returned To Powerlifting…It Went Well

I have not done a competitive powerlift competition since the summer of 2016. In between then and now, I got in the worst shape of my life. So, I went into 2020 with the intention of getting back into lifting heavy, while also taking some weight off. It is hard to serve those two masters at the same time, unless you were as detrained as I was.

13 months ago, I tested my maxes. While weighing 267 pounds, I squatted 320, benched 215 and deadlifted 320 pounds. So, a total of 855. I’ve had meets in the past where that would be my total after just the squat and bench.

I set some goals for the year. I wanted to get back to 500 pound squats and deadlifts, and I wanted to total 1,300 in a meet again.

The pandemic meant I was working from home more this year, which proved to be a good thing in this chase. I have the home gym 20 steps away from my work desk most days. I added some equipment, but the key was mostly consistency. I even rejoined Main Street Gym to be around some lifters again on occasion. I grinded away with some simple progressions.

Well, the meet I had my eye on was this last Saturday, at my hometown gym. I dropped from my peak of 280 pounds last year to under 240 pounds this year. It was just a matter of testing the strength gains.

Change Of Plans

Only, remember that pandemic I mentioned? I decided the week before the meet that with cases spiking in the area, no mask mandates at the meet and a good size crowd expected to be there, I wasn’t comfortable competing at the meet, especially a week before Christmas. It was a tough call after I put in all that work. I told my mentor and the guy putting on the meet my decision. Again, not easy, but he understood.

Then, he called back a day later. He had an idea. Another kid had trained all year to do his first competition but a new job meant he had to back out as well. He had Thursday off. I was in Flora Thursday. So…we brought in some judges and spotters and the two of us did a mini meet Thursday without the crowd.

It had an old school feel for me. The judges were three people I grew up idolizing. They tried to give me crap about lifting in the Masters division. I reminded them they were Masters when I started competing back in 1993-94, so…

With two lifters, we spotted and loaded for each other. With no crowd, we ran our own video cameras before stepping on the platform. Judges pulled double duty loading and wrapping and so on. We moved quickly without a flight of lifters to wade through. We let the spotters go after we got through squats and it was just the five of us.

It was also full circle for me. I was there with three people who have guided me on this journey for two-plus decades. And I was also glad I got to be that guy for a young guy fresh on this journey. I hope he enjoyed it enough to want to continue in this sport.

As for how my day went? Well, I weighed in at 239 pounds. One goal completed right off the bat.


Like I said above, I wanted to squat 500 pounds. I opened with 475 pounds. It went easy. I had hit in training, so that was expected. I jumped to 500 on my second attempt. My plan was to hit it and then look at 525. Well, I smoked 500 as well, so I jumped up to 540 for my third attempt. It was work, but I got it as well. Good start.


On to bench, or as we usually call it, the rest period between squat and deadlift. I hit 285 in training over the summer, but have since managed to mangle my rear delt and develop some tendinitis in the right elbow. So, my bench has stalled out. I opened up at 265 and then moved on to hit 275 on my second attempt. I went into my third attempt with zero confidence, and it showed as 285 stalled halfway up. Still, I was at 825 pounds through two lifts, just 30 pounds off where my three-lift total was 13 months ago.


We finished up the night with deadlifts. I once again opened with 475 pounds, which gave me my total goal of 1,300. Then it was go-for-broke time. I pulled 505 on my second attempt and then 540 on my third for a total of 1,365. After Saturday’s competition concluded, that wound up being the highest total on the board.

A Year Of Gains, and Loss

So, in 13 months, I was able to go from an 855 total at 267 to 1,365 at 239. I’m working on my 2021 goals still, but I know 1,400 is one of them. It feels good to be back lifting and moving regularly again.

Here is the video of my meet:

If You Are Going To Nerd, Nerd Hard

I plan on sharing this post in the Nerdfitness group, so this paragraph is for those people. Yes, that is a Captain America wrestling singlet. Yes, those are the Marvel Vans shoes. Yes, those are Captain America socks. Yes, those masks are Captain/Iron Civil War, Superman and Hulk. Yes, I’m proud of all of this.


Squat–550 pounds
Bench-275 pounds
Deadlift-540 pounds
Total-1,365 pounds


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