Following on from last post, I weighed in at 83.6kg the night before I was due to travel down to Aldershot but I had been water loading so was confident I’d make weight in the morning. Skipped breakfast, loaded the car with food & drink ready to rehydrate and refuel then hit the road nice and early. It’s a long old drive from Pembrokeshire and weigh-in was 10am-11:30am and I wanted to get in as early as possible so I could eat up!
Typically, my car radiator blew on the way .. perfect .. limped the last 30 miles using all the water I had in the car and heaters on full blast to cool engine, but still ended up missing the morning weigh-in by 10 minutes! Just what I needed. Used the scales they had there to see where I was and was looking at around 82.3. Couldn’t take the risk of having even a quick dioralyte as they weren’t the official scales and I may have gone over. Gutted … Had to wait till the 3pm weigh-in instead, feeling totally dried out and knackered from the hot drive down in the sun and watching the rest of the team fuel up around me. That’ll test your resolve when you are starving and thirsty as hell and having to watch your mates drinking plenty and stuffing burgers etc down their face 😔
Weighed in at 81.2kg by 3pm and spent the rest of the day eating and drinking and trying to regain as much lost water as I could knowing that my performance in the morning was dependent on it. Got a reasonably decent night sleep as was staying with family and was back ready in the morning. Didn’t feel too bad at the time, but warm-ups were feeling heavy and I knew I would have to really push myself to hit my targets.
Squatting opened well for me, hit a comfortable 190kg followed with a 210kg which went up easy so then went for a comp PB of 227.5kg (500lbs) – Didn’t go so well, knee gave way a little at the bottom so the spotters had to step in. That failed lift left me with just a 210kg squat. The judging was quite harsh and several lifters bombed out on depth so by the time bench came around, I dropped my opener down to 140kg. I’m confident I can hit that on a bad day and got that on the board happily. 150kg didn’t want to go up on my 2nd lift and on third lift my shoulder gave way on one side and the bar hit the spotters hand so I was red lighted even though I managed to lock it out (looking back at the video I can see why as not only was the bar travelling unevenly, he looked like he helped me, but when I was on the bench I didn’t feel like it!). My bench is always the first to get hit when I drop weight, especially with limited time to rehydrate again so I knew it was going to be a struggle. Ah well, on to deadlifts, dropped my opener to 180kg as again, I’m confident with that weight, easy lift on 2nd with a 190kg but centre ref had a quick word about bar ‘dropping too quickly’ and then a reasonably easy 200kg at third attempt as by that time it was all I needed to win my category and no point in shooting for a crazy PR.
So, not an amazing total by far, but it was enough on the day to take a European title and after the day I’d had beforehand, I was over the moon to have made it through and not been ‘bombed out’ of the competition at the squats – Plus the trophies were awesome 😉
Following that, I took a little time off and just enjoyed being ‘off-season’ as it seems like it’s been a long time and I’ve been nursing a few injuries for too long. Typically over the next few months I came down with a few illnesses and worst still, my knee gave way on the stairs as I’ve been suffering with patellar tendonitis for a while and sprained the inflamed tendon – yowch! Couldn’t walk for almost 3 days and training was out of the question for a while. My shoulder has also played up ever since, I think I’m getting too old for this lark! Ha ha
Now the last two months I’ve been rebuilding lost strength and trying to rehab my injuries. I have got back to all previous lifts equipped now, but my raw game has taken a big hit not only from the injuries, but the fact I’ve been focusing all my training on equipped lifting and feel my technique has come apart a little when unequipped as it’s a completely different way of lifting.
So now we’re into December and for now I’m really pushing to get my raw lifts back to where I was before I started competing. I’ll try and get some equipped lifting in once a month with the Pembs Powerlifters as I still plan on competing equipped but otherwise all training will be raw.
Life back on track, knee/shoulder calming right down with the focus on rehab and raw lifting and I’ll be posting up on here regularly again – Also, good news, I’ve met a graphic designer who will be looking at my book ‘Hench – A Straightforward Guide to Size and Strength’ as it’s still in Microsoft Word format and then will get it published and hopefully will finally get it out there! For now, back to the Christmas shopping, the joys of parenthood and work, work, work 😉
Where to start? Well, not long after last post I contracted a kidney stone & infection, needless to say, very painful and it knocked my training for 6. I pretty much couldn’t do anything for a month and had to pull out of the BPO British Championships in April as I wouldn’t be ready in time. These were qualifiers for the upcoming Europeans so needless to say I was a little gutted!
Thankfully, the president of the BPO has invited me to the Euro’s anyway as I have a ‘justifiable reason’ for not competing at the British, so wasn’t disappointed for too long J
Since then it has been a bit of a slog trying to get back up to previous strength levels. I’ve deliberately gained a little weight alongside training to help my lifts but unfortunately this mean I’m closer to 90kg than the 82.5kg I need to be at the meet and needing to cut 7+kg over the next 5 weeks.
Not an impossible task, but I will need to tighten up my diet and possibly water load again despite being advised against it by my GP. I know the risks and will put more into making sure I’m fully rehydrated for the comp – after this meet I won’t be competing till next year so will spend the rest of the year focusing on health and joint rehab/mobilisation, and possibly even move up a weight class next year to stop having to cut weight each time.
Training through April was just trying to get back to weights I’ve lifted this year and happily I’ve managed to do so, Deadlift back up to 190kg x3, Bench 150kg x2 and Squat 210kg x2. Equipment is a little tighter due to weight gain so pretty sure that’s helping, but still happy to hit my old numbers 😉
May has gone well, I’ve hit 160kg on Bench, 205kg Deadlift and 227.5kg for squat on max week. My goal is still to hit a 250kg Squat, double bodyweight Bench 165kg and another 5-10kg on Deadlift to take me up to my failed attempt at the worlds last year of 215kg. Got to have goals right?
So now it’s June, 1 week to go to the Euro’s, weighed in over the weekend at 87.6kg so I need to drop 5 kg, I’m eating as clean as possible and have easily dropped 3-4 kilos previously by water loading so feeling confident I’ll make weight … Watch this space J
Took a week off after the Welsh Championships and now started the next 8 weeks training leading to the BPO British. Still trying to train with The Pembrokeshire Powerlifters where I can as I get more from the sessions than when I’m on my own, but training almost always has to fit around my work & family commitments. For the next 8 weeks at least I’m loosely following Wendlers 5/3/1 for Powerlifting, with the last deload week leading to the British.
Got in a couple of sessions before starting the 8 week plan, Deadlifts with the Pembs boys with Chiropractors Nightmares, Bench session up to 120kg x5 and 140kg x4 (equipped) and Squats up to 200kg x3 (equipped), then backed off to 180 x6 (equipped, straps down). Then began with 3’s week + equipped singles.
Deadlift up to 170kg x3, then a single at 182.5kg – Was supposed to pull 197.5kg as well, but just wasn’t up to it and form was breaking down so left it and chased up with Good Mornings, Bent Over Rows and some abs
Bench up to 125kg x4 (raw), then equipped 140kg x4, and 152.5kg x3 (Was only supposed to be a single but was feeling strong so went for it!) – followed up with DB Bench, Press-ups, Chest Supported Rows and Rear Raises
Squats up to 170kg x3, then equipped 195kg and 215kg – Then Leg Press, Glute/Ham Raises and Captains Chair Knee Raises
So, water loading worked well again but was much tougher this time as I’ve gained a little weight since the UK’s. Got down to 85kg by the weekend before so then started loading with 2 gallons a day for 4 days, then 1 gallon on Thursday and none at all Friday – I was a little worried Friday as still weighing over 84kg so fasted as well to make sure I wasn’t over!
Woke up starving on Saturday and felt like crap as hadn’t slept well (too damn hungry), but I knew once I’d weighed in I could smash the food down 😉 Drove over to Swansea and weighed in at a comfortable 81.3kg (could’ve had breakfast!) and then started eating!! Spent the day hydrating and eating and resting up ready for the meet.
Got there Sunday and felt good, I think I’d done a better job rehydrating than last time and was ready to lift. I was in the second flight this time so had plenty of time to warm-up and mobilise and opened easily with 180kg, followed up with 200kg, and then went for 215kg for third attempt. I got a red light for depth on the final attempt from one of the judges, but the other two were white so got the lift 2-1. Happy with squats as only 10kg off the World’s with a walkout and a competition PB.
Bench went just as well, no problems with my shoulder and feeling strong so opened with any easy 140kg, then a 150kg, but just couldn’t lock out 160kg. Not too disappointed, I’ve hit it in the gym, but that’s without having done 3 big squats first! Still hoping to hit double bodyweight (165kg) at The British Championship in 9 weeks and maybe more at the Europeans.
Started warming up for deadlifts and despite struggling in training recently with Deadlifts I was feeling good, took a tally of my lifts and noticed I was at the same as I had been at the Worlds so I was going to have to hope to pull more than my current PB of 200kg in order to improve overall. Opened with 180kg, nice clean lift and then followed with 195kg. Decided to go for glory and attempt 205kg. Just about locked it out to get a PR, win my category and get a new competition best total of 570kg. Can’t really complain! Still aiming high and will be pushing hard to get my total into the 600’s for the Europeans 🙂
Been a while! Training going well again, no new injuries and my shoulder seems to be pretty much healed now so started getting my Bench back to previous levels.
I spent December practicing wider squats and sumo deadlifts, but to no avail as yet, wide squats are giving me pain in the hips so gone back to orthodox for now. Still practicing the Sumo Deadlifts to warm-up, and then again back to conventional for my maxes and at comps. I’m not confident enough yet to compete in Sumo style (that and the fact I can only pull about 90% of what I can with conventional pulls). I also tried out a new Bench Shirt as Coach doesn’t think I’m getting much out of the old one – I can’t get it on on my own so have only been able to use it a couple of times and couldn’t even touch my chest with 175kg on the bar! A bit more use and breaking in and I should get 180kg out of it 🙂
January has been a great month training-wise, although a bit of weight gain over christmas! Starting to get more from the equipment (suit & shirt) as I get used to it. My Bench is now back where it was pre-shoulder issues and I have pressed a 145kg RAW and 160kg in the old shirt so feeling confident for the upcoming Welsh Open Championships in February. Squat has held, worked up to a solid 200kg x3 and tried for the 500lb club (227.5kg) just after but I feel I was about a half inch high so will have to go for it again soon – I hit 230kg in January so confident I should hit it in comp after decent rest!. Deadlift remaining stagnant (as always!) and I will be happy to just pull my PR of 200kg at the upcoming meet.
February – Current weight 85kg so a little over at the moment, I’m water loading again as I did for the UK’s to make weight. Worked out my openers last week and aiming to try and total more than I did at the world’s last year (565kg). I’m opening at 185/140/185 and going from there, hopefully around 220/160/195 or more which would make 575kg total. I’m hoping to hit the 600’s by the end of the year and plan to squat a quarter tonne in the Europeans in July. Well, that’s the goal anyway 😉 Hit an easy 150kg Bench for 2 reps and 140kg for 4 last week, Squats up to 210kg comfortably and Deadlifts up to 150kg for speed work.
Sorry, it’s been a crazy couple of months so I haven’t been posting recently. It will be back to usual again now with a weekly training log and some new articles on their way.
Took a week off after the World’s and have been easing back in since. I’m going to change from conventional squats and deadlifts to wide stance/sumo as recommended by my coach in order to increase weight lifted, which means dropping the weight down and practicing over and over!! I’m also throwing in a back workout every other session and reducing Bench sessions as it helps my shoulder and you can’t go wrong by increasing back size/strength!
17th Nov – 22nd Nov
Back session – DB Pullovers, Pulldowns (V Grip and wide), T Bar Rows, Straight Arm Pulldowns, Single Arm Lever Rows and Rack Pulls up to 140kg x10
Squats – Wide practice with Pembrokeshire Powerlifters up to 140kg for 5 sets of 3 – Gorila chins and Captains Chair knee Raises
Back session – As above, Rack Pulls 160kg for 3 sets of 8
Deadlifts – Sumo practice up to 140kg for 3 sets of 5, biceps (DeFrancos 3-6-12 routine) & ab slings
23rd Nov – 29th Nov
Back session – As above, Rack Pulls up to 180kg for 3 sets of 3, biceps (3-6-12)
Squats – Wide practice up to 140kg x8 with loose wraps, Leg Press & Ab Wheel
Back session – As above with Rack Pulls up to 180kg for 3 sets of 5, biceps (3-6-12)
Bench/Deadlifts with Pembs Powerlifters – Bench up to 150kg, Sumo Deadlifts up to 180kg, Ab work
World Powerlifting Federation – World Championships 7th, 8th and 9th November 2014
Entrant: Steve Arnold in the Open 82.5kg Category for Team GB
We travelled down to Gatwick overnight Tuesday and flew out Wednesday. Got there in the early afternoon so went for a wander around the local town Voiron and just rested up ready for weigh-in in the morning. Wasn’t sure about weight so kept food to a minimum and drank very little to dehydrate slightly as I would have 24 hours to re-hydrate again anyway. Thurs morning picked up my GB T-Shirt and headed up to the venue and weighed in at 80.3kg 🙂 Great for my Wilks points!
A little more grand than last time! Had a quick nosy around and then as last meet, spent the rest of the day eating, drinking and generally re-hydrating and refueling for a long day. I knew it would take longer than the UK’s as there were 137 lifters entered and 3 flights on the first day (mine of course would be flight 3, but we went up first thing as one of the Pembrokeshire Powerlifters (Jacqueline) would be first flight and we go as a team from opening ceremony/warm-up to closing ceremony.
Got up Friday and had as much breakfast as possible and plenty to drink and headed off to the meet.
Arrived at the venue and headed to the platform to sort rack heights etc and then on to the warm-up room which was a little walk away to help the first flight before I started getting ready myself.
Warmed up with my squats up to a couple of singles at 160kg which was feeling easy, put on my squat suit and did an easy 180kg with loose knee wraps and opened with 190kg which felt easy! Jumped up to 210kg and again, went up a charm so coach put me down for a PB attempt at 225kg. Must be something in the water, happy with a PB on my squat and my closest rival only hit a questionable 210kg so I went 15kg into the lead.
On to Ze Bench Press… Started warming up and my shoulder was twinging a little so slapped some more ibuprofen gel (got through a lot over the weekend!), followed by Deep Heat and it felt a bit better as I did some mobility. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix-up somewhere and we were told that there would only be two flights for the Bench so we needed to get moving and warm-up. Rushed my warm-up and failed a 140kg which smashed my confidence as I’ve hit 160kg on my own without a handout, but one of the lads came over and gave me some encouraging words and after a few minutes I pressed 140kg and decided to drop my opener from 150kg to 140kg just to be sure I didn’t bomb out! As we headed down to the platform I noticed my French
rival (the 210kg squatter) hadn’t started his warm-up and due to the fact he didn’t understand English, (or knew something I didn’t) wasn’t interested in coming down to the platform with the rest of us.
Should have followed him! After sitting in my shirt for 30 mins and going cold, we found out it was 3 flights (Of course, why the hell wouldn’t it be?) I went back and did another couple of warm-up sets up to 130kg and felt shoulder twinging again, but by now it was way too late. Thankfully hit my opener of 140kg, but failed to hit 150kg on my next two attempts. See the vid on my last attempt, I think the centre ref had fallen asleep, I didn’t hear a press command for what felt like forever, until my coach started yelling but I just couldn’t get it – You can see Paul (Coach), look at him as if to say WTF? Typically Frenchy had a massive Bench, virtually no pause and hit a 180kg which put him ahead by a clear 25kg! – Had I got my gym PR he still would be ahead, but by only 5kg, but hey, it’s what you hit on the platform that counts
Vids: Bench 150kg (fail)
We had now been at the venue for over 6 hours and I was absolutely starving! Smashed a pre-workout and some sugary sweets and warmed up for my deads. Not sure if it was in my head, but bar was feeling really heavy and I was going to drop my opener to 180kg, but coach thankfully was there and he just said – ‘what’s on that bar?’ pointing at one on the floor and I said ‘180kg’, ‘pick it up then’ he said and I did! So then we headed down and I pulled an easy 190kg, then a 200kg equaling my best at the UK’s. I then looked over at Paul & Az and they were already filling in my 3rd attempt so I knew to trust them and just got ready to lift. ‘Bar is loaded for Steven Arnold at 215kg’. I thought, F%@k this, I’m having this and went for a 15kg PR. Just couldn’t lock it out, so finished with a 565kg total which is 45kg up from my UK result – PR on my Squat, Competition PB on my Bench and equal PR on my Deadlift. Can’t really argue with that!
Deadlift Pics: Vids: Deadlift 215kg (fail)
Julien pulled a huge 235kg deadlift and took the gold with a 625kg total so even if I’d hit very lift I would have still come second with a 600kg total. Still, silver isn’t bad for a first World competition, especially competing naturally in an untested federation so I’m happy with the overall result. Now my goal is to get to a 650kg or higher total in time for next year and bring the gold home for GB!
Huge thanks to my Sponsors Chilton Motors, Pembroke Thanks again guys, you were a great help
2 Weeks to the World’s
Week 7 – Just working on technique and some 60-70% sets. Shoulder playing up again, but not enough time to rehab, just going to have to get through it, doing some light mobility work and plenty of anti-inflammatories before training! I’ll dedicate some time to physio once the World’s are over. Weight still holding at 83kg so confident I’ll make weight.
Bench/Deadlift – 5×5 sets with the Pembrokeshire Powerlifters working on speed
Squat/Bench/Deadlift (Full Powerlifting session) – worked up to an equipped 180kg Squat (still getting used to the suit so more practice is better!), an equipped 140kg Bench (went up easy) and a nice quick 160kg Deadlift
Full Powerlifting – 3 sets of 3 on each at 60%
Ready for the World’s now, can’t wait!
3 Weeks to the World’s
Week 6 – Back to normal now and looking to get as much quality workouts in this week as I can, they will be my last heavy sessions before the meet. Weight is holding nicely at around 83kg so I will not need to cut this time which should hopefully translate to some better numbers on the platform. Just finalising all the details this week and looking forward to getting out there 🙂
Deadlift – Did some speed work with sets of 2 @ 157.5kg and minimal rest, assistance was some Defecit Deadlifts, Rack Pulls, Pulldowns, Barbell Shrugs, Farmers Walks and Chin-ups
Bench – Up to 125kg x2, then singles at 130kg and 135kg. Put on bench shirt and hit 150kg, 160kg and 165kg (?) chased it up with Pulldowns, DB Rear Raises & Chin-ups
Back/Shoulder Session – Pullovers, Viking Press, Chest Supported Plate Lever Rows, Wide Grip Pulldowns and Cable Reverse Flyes
Squat – Working out our openers and attempts. I worked up to 220kg again, much more comfortable in my suit now. I’ll be opening at 195kg, then 215kg, then 220kg+ depending how the last 2 felt!
Bench I’ll open at 155kg, then 160kg, then 165kg+ and Deadlift 190kg, 202.5kg and then 210kg+ – It’s only really my openers that will remain constant. The succeeding lifts will depend on how I’m feeling on the day but I’m hoping to get 9/9 lifts this time 😉
4 Weeks to the World’s
Week 5 – So, rough as dog Sun/Mon/Tues this week, nothing like a bit of D&V 😉 Felt low all week, and when I met up with the guys Saturday for squats I didn’t do too bad, but still wasn’t fully recovered and couldn’t push myself as hard as I would have liked.
Deadlift – worked up to 190kg x2, then singles at 195kg and 200kg – tried lifting in my squat suit as some people find it helps, but couldn’t get in the right position to pull, still managed to get 220kg over my knees but couldn’t lock out. Followed up with Pulldowns, Shrugs, Farmers Walks and Chin-ups
Bench – Up to 120kg x5, then Close-Grip Bench, Pause Bench, Pulldowns, Lat Raises & Chin-ups
Squat – Did some reverse band squats in the monolift with the Pembrokeshire Powerlifters, got up to 240kg, attempted 260kg but just didn’t have it in me and re-racked after a little half squat. Also being a bit of a minge with knee wraps pinching so going to have to ‘man up’ for the world’s!