It's not a fluke...

In the last blog post I talked about going six for six with major PRs at a local meet. It's not the first time that I hit a big PR total: in May 2008 I made an 8kg PR snatch en route to a 10kg PR total (the meet before was already a major PR). I was then unable to match that snatch or that total until the following year. I think it's fair to say that I wasn't really a "257kg lifter" back then, even though I did it once.

Now, two weeks after my perfect 282kg meet, I competed in the Arnold Championships again. Six for six, 280kg total. Two meets with 280kg or more in a row. No matter that I was cut all the way down to 77kg, and no matter that it was on a national stage. No matter that I had food poisoning for two days and couldn't sleep up until the day before the meet. We even held back on the last lifts when we could have gone for PRs. A fluke?? I think this time I really am as good a lifter as the meet numbers suggest.

This means quite a lot in terms of my development. There are now only about five or so other active 77kg lifters in the U.S. that can reasonably do 280kg or more. Unless they all show up, chances are that I will come away with medals from every major national meet I compete in - even with the gold and silver medalists competing from last year's American Open I still took third place at the Arnold. I am very much within striking distance of 290kg even without improvement, and I still have the entire year to train. It looks like I may have a legitimate chance at qualifying for international competition by early next year. All I need to do is train!

On a separate note, I'd like to go into the details of the meet and why it seems I did so much better than last year. For sure I am a stronger and more consistent lifter, but I also addressed all of the major issues that made the 2009 Arnold so disappointing for me. The meet was still a big hurry-up-and-wait situation because so many athletes in the session had similar starting totals. That means that only a few people need to change their weights and all of the sudden it's your lift, yet if a couple people miss then you may have to wait several more minutes. Last year I got really tired because I did so many warmups in the back, especially because I had lots of time between attempts. This year we organized the warmups so that I only did six sets instead of nine during the snatch (40/65/85/100/110/115), and I waited less time between warmups so I didn't have to start as early. I have trained waiting longer between lifts as well, so when I had to wait for eight or more people to go between attempts I only had to do a single warmup, and not necessarily with heavy weight. The meet was consequently less stressful and I didn't have to do twice as much work to stay warm.

The other major issue that I fixed was the weight cutting. I didn't even give it credit last year. I still cut nine or ten pounds in the prior two weeks, but this time I controlled my electrolytes aggressively throughout the final hours while sweating off weight. As a result my snatch technique was consistent and no dizziness on my cleans! I even focused better on the platform, with only a couple really important things to think about.

The result of all this is that I pulled ahead of much of my old competition. Trique Meininger, who beat me at the American Open by 1kg, had the next highest total in my class at 263kg. Oleg Danilov, who would have taken my bronze at Nationals if he hadn't bombed his jerks, totaled only 268kg at 81kg bodyweight and looked happy to be able to do it. Others I aspired to match aren't even on my radar anymore. Leo is already dreaming even bigger numbers (and so am I), so now it's time to get to it!

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