I competed in the 2014 100% Raw! Federation’s American Challenge on June 8th in Tucson, Arizona this past Sunday. Due to a few personal issues that prevented me from arriving the day before, I opted to simply to a push/pull meet (bench and deadlift only) since I was up at 5:30am and had to drive two-and-a-half hours to the venue that same morning.

 

 

I’ve got a few videos to share below, but my results were as follows:

 

Breaking Muscle Shop

Bench Press

  • Opened with 235
  • Second attempt 253
  • Last attempt: 260

 

Deadlift:

  • Opened with 403
  • Second attempt: 507
  • Passed on third attempt

 

Here’s my third bench attempt of 260:

 

 

Here’s my opening pull of 403:

 

 

And just for comparison’s sake, here’s a 405 pull I did in late March - watch how much slower this was!

 

 

And finally, my 507 pull. This video ends before I locked out, sorry for that:

 

 

That pull was a seven-pound meet personal record, and I was very pleased with it. I actually took an educated gamble going straight from 403 to 507, but historically, I’ve made my best pulls that way, and I really didn’t want anything less than 507 anyway, so I just decided to go straight to it. Glad I did.

 

The Dive Bomb Approach

This will be a brief entry, but one question I get asked a lot pertains to my setup in the pull. I do use what might be termed a “dive bomb” approach. Now, although I wouldn’t necessarily teach this method to anyone, it works for me, and I’m tickled to say that it also works for one of the world’s top pullers, Benedikt Magnusson. Watch this 1,015 pull of his for comparison:

 

 

Now, the downside of dive-bombing is that due to the speed involved, you risk the chance of grabbing the bar unevenly and/or initiating the pull while the bar is too far from your shins.

 

The upside, however, is that (at least for some of us), this rapid approach seems to maximize the stretch-shortening cycle, creating greater strength-generation potential. In fact, if I tried to spend any amount of time in the crouch, it would just sap my strength to a huge degree.

 

So that’s the story on my setup. Again, I wouldn’t necessarily teach this, and I’m not even quite sure how I ended up doing it, but it’s always worth continuously experimenting with your technique.

 

What's Next?

Looking forward, I’ve got my eye on the AAU Powerlifting World Championships in Las Vegas in October. I’ve never competed for the AAU but everyone tells me that they run fun meets, so I’m looking forward to it. My goal for this meet is to finally hit a 1,200 total at 198lb, and that would break down into roughly a 401 squat, a 275 bench press, and a 525 pull.

 

Finally, I’m planning to use Matt Kroc’s seventeen-week pulling cycle for this meet. I’ll share details on that next week, but for now, keep training hard, and as always, please post your questions and comments below!

 

A big believer in practicing what he preaches, Charles Staley trains and competes just like his clients. Every Friday you can read what Charles has done this week in his workout sessions.

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