-[[[–Powerlifting–]]]- Leinster Open Meet Report – Day 1

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God… where to start?

It’s Wednesday, and the dust has just settled on a weekend of powerlifting. 1 year ago, we entered our first competition, and last weekend – Team RevFit Powerlifting had it’s largest ever contingent at a comp (18 lifters).

Some won classes, most didn’t.

All hit PRs, some bigger than others.

For some it was their first competition, all got cheered on regardless.

Many thought they weren’t strong enough, all found out they were.

Over the weekend, approximately 100 lifters, taking 1,000 competition attempts clanged and banged on barbells to win competitions, beat their friends, beat themselves, and have some fun.

This is the  story of 18.

THE BIGGEST CROWD AT AN IRISH POWERLIFTING COMP EVER?

The Leinster Open ran over Saturday and Sunday, in two locations. The first, Saturday, was in the national show centre in Dublin as part of The Celtic Cup CrossFit competition. After walking into an empty show hall, Myself, Jay, Dav, Nicola and a few others spent most of Friday morning and afternoon transforming it into a competition venue.

The before and after of Friday’s set up at The National Show Centre

Hauling weights, racks, platforms, chairs and fences around for 5 hours on a Friday than ideal prep to compete on Saturday, but sacrifices have to be made and many hands lighten the load. As a result, I took a later on start on Saturday so I could sleep in and relax.

THE LIFTING – SATURDAY AM

Last week we did an “openers day” in RevFit where everyone worked up to their opening lifts of the day using competition commands. Based off that we created a series of planned attempts for a good day, and a bad day. Armed with that, Eoin was up at the craic of dawn to perform coaching duties on Saturday for Rachel and Ciara.

Fail to prepare – prepare to fail. Everyone walked in with a game plan.

Coaching in a powerlifting competition is relatively simple but incredibly stressful. You load the bar in the warm up room for the lifter, make sure they’re doing everything right, and try to stop them going off script once the confidence starts to kick in. See, as much as “wanting” a lift is great, there’s only every going to be so much you can take off the platform based on your training. We always give our lifters a game plan coming into competition for exactly that reason.

Thankfully, Rachel and Ciara both follow the plan and hit some great numbers.

Rachel, also a member of the Trinity Barbell Club, finished up with a 60kg squat, 30kg bench and 85kg deadlift in her first comp as a 63kg junior.

Before the comp, Ciara had set “perfect day” numbers of 80 / 47.5 / 90 (when you see numbers written like that in this post, it’s always in order of squat / bench / deadlift). We always use targets like that because it lets us build towards during the 3 attempts, by the way.

That moment before you squat a 10kg PR

Anyway… she nailed her 80kg squat, came up a bit short on a 45kg bench, but then magic happened – she joined the 100kg deadlift club. Eoin took her completely off script because she was having such a good day and she went 80, then 90, then 100 and killed them all. Honestly, I think she probably had more in the tank than 100kg.

Here’s a video of it:

THE LIFTING – SATURDAY PM

One of the newest things in the IrishPF is the introduction of split weigh ins. It used to be the case that EVERYONE weighed in the morning of the comp, even if lifting in the afternoon. Last year, we introduced split weigh ins – so if lifting in the afternoon, you don’t weigh in until 12pm

It. Is. Amazing.

We live about 5 minutes from the show centre. The weigh in was 12-130pm. I didn’t leave my gaff until about 1230pm and still weighed in with time to spare. Heaven.

The afternoon session saw a rake load of us lift across the two flights – Amy, Sharon, Karl, Adam, Luke and Myself. As a result, I didn’t really get to watch any of the lifting as I was too focused on my own job.

(that’s me apologising if I get anything wrong, or don’t say enough about you now…)

ANYWAY.

HERE COME THE GIRLS

It’s probably fair to say that all week Amy’s been quite nervous about the comp. I dunno if it was the idea of wearing a singlet, lifting in front of a big crowd, or failing to nail the pre-squat hair flick. Regardless, she got up there and nailed all of her lifts going 8 for 9.

I couldn’t get a video of the pro-level hair flick in the squat (which was already a 10kg lifetime PR and probably a 30-40kg competition standard PR in the last year or so) so her final deadlift will have to do…


She missed her “perfect day” 45kg bench on her second attempt, and somehow managed to come out and save it on her 3rd attempt. Still no idea how. But delighted she did. She came up a little bit short of her 130kg deadlift goal, but considering she’s not even that long in the 100kg club, I think we can count a 125kg deadlift after a long day of lifting as a significant win 🙂

Sharon, our next lifter was our first of 2 class winners for the day (and also a qualifer for the national powerlifting championships in July). She’s part of our 615am morning crew and consistently shows up and works her ass off.

Don’t crush chalk, crush PRs #FACT

Last time out, back in October, she had a bit of a ‘mare with her squats missing her first two attempts on depth before nailing it on the third. The opener that day, 110kg, was her opener again at this comp and she absolutely INSULTED the weight on her opener. The goal had been a 120kg squat, so Eoin and Eric pushed her on to that for her second, and then made an excellent call of 125kg for her third, which she also nailed.

She even managed to pull off a > bodyweight competition bench with 72.5kg before finishing the day out with a 170kg deadlift. I didn’t get to see her 175 attempt, but I know the strength is 100% there for it, and more, even if the confidence isn’t yet.



With the ladies finished, it was now on to the guys.

IT’S GUY TIME TO SHINE

I won’t talk too much about my day, since I did a separate blog post on it which you can read here: http://revolutionfitness.ie/irishpf-leinster-open-2017-day-went/

I want to keep this all about Karl, Adam and Luke.

Karl’s been with us almost a year at this stage and forms one half of the inseparable couple (his …partner… Mark, lifted on Sunday – more on that in PART 2). He’s got the shape and size of a man that should be able to move a lot of weight, but it’s only in the last 6 months or so that that has actually started to happen.

It was only last week that he was showing me some 150kg deadlifts from 3 years ago, and let’s just say the weren’t pretty, nor was he making progress training on his own.

ANYWAY… coming into the comp he pulled a 5kg PR for his opening deadlift (180kg) so we knew things were on. He also desperately wanted a 100kg bench, and 200kg deadlift. So that’s what we went after.

I’m a huge fan of total building in competition, trying to get all 9 attempts successfully. Anyone who does that tends to total higher than if they didn’t. Karl had other ideas, he jumped from a comfy 140 squat to a risky 150 (instead of the planned 145) and unfortunately missed it. No big deal, he’ll probably be using it as a second attempt next comp.

The 100kg bench was a dead cert, I was 100% confident he’d get that. He proved me right. He finished out the day pulling 5kg less than Eoin on 200kg, but it’s cool cos Eoin had a belt.

(don’t worry – that’s not meant to make sense)

Adam joined us a few months ago having spent WAY too long in a commercial gym. Just like the sole of my shoe is a breathing ground for bacteria, commercial gyms are the breathing grounds of bad habit, and while he has a lot of raw strength and potential, we had to spend the majority of the training cycle breaking him back down.

Simple things like ensuring squats were consistently to depth, benches get paused and deadlifts don’t get hitched. Not a big deal if you’re lifting in the gym, but competition demands higher standards. I’m glad he’s got to see them in action now because I know it’ll keep him grounded in the run up to the next comp.

It’s funny how frustrating it can be watching someone lift- he CRUSHED a 107.5kg bench with plenty of room in the tank, but because he still ain’t used to rules like how the bar most keep moving up and cannot move back down, he didn’t get it. Similar story on the 210kg deadlift. And a 160kg squat which I believe he racked too quickly.

Essentially, he lifted 160/107.5/210 but only got credit for 150/102.5/200, which sucks, but sets some good targets for next time (170-180 squat, 110+ bench, 220 deadlift)

Last but not least, we’d Coach Luke in one of the best battles of the day.

Myself, Luke, Karl and Sharon after a successful day of lifting

Myself, Luke and Eoin have spent almost every training day together in the run up to this comp so I knew they were both on for something big. I think how big Luke went surprised both of us.

He went in looking for a 600kg total and knew 220/140/240 would get him there. Based off that he went hunting for a big PR on his squats and attempted 220 on his third off a 210 second. It was always gonna be a big ask based off how the weights were moving on the day, but he gave it a good rumble and on reflection it moved pretty well but the right leg wanted it more than the left, and it just wasn’t there on the day.

After a strong bench opener at 125 (which I think is an old comp PR) he jumped straight to 135 and then 140, getting both of them for a GIGANTIC PR (amazing what hundreds of bench reps each week does eh?)

Coming into the deadlifts, he was about 27.5kg behind third place which meant he needed to pull a BIG PR and hope the other guy missed some of his. As luck had it, the other lifter missed his second and third attempts at 225kg, which meant that with smart attempt selection, Luke was on for a hail mary third DL to place.

We left his third attempt in at 245 or whatever it was until we knew the other guy had missed his, then we went amended the attempt to 247.5kg for third (bit of gamesmanship there- we didn’t want him thinking Luke had his eye on 3rd until there was nothing he could do about it).

There were two possible outcomes – pull 247.5kg and place 3rd on bodyweight, or miss it and come 4th. The former happened and all I can say is hooray for attempt selection, and I told you smart selections get placings.

It was a brilliant day and I’m super proud of the team of lifters, coaches and supporters that were there on the day. The roles were reversed on Sunday when Eoin would be lifting, and we’d be coaching.

More on that in Part 2.

If you want to find out more about how to join our powerlifting team, jump over here, check out this form here: https://revolutionfitnessireland.wufoo.com/forms/k1agzo4h0t49dda/

We’re training for our next competition in May right now and would love to have you on board.

James Hanley

Strength Coach. Performance Specialist. Dog Lover. Powerlifter. And the guy behind the scenes in RevFit that keeps the plates spinning.