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First Big Meet Experience

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  • First Big Meet Experience

    I thought I would give a write up about the UPA Power Weekend held in Dubuque, IA.

    Prior Meet Experience: 2011 South Dakota State USAPL Meet back in March: Went 529, 374, 639 at 220 raw.

    In August, I started getting help from Shawn Frankl since he is now bodybuilding (won his class and second in the overall last week at the Rocky Mountain). He trains is Sioux City now and doesn't go down to big iron gym in Omaha which is great for me.

    I have never been to a big meet with high quality lifters like this so I was excited to see some big lifts. On Friday at noon, I headed out with Shawn and Jim Grandick for the 5 hour drive. We got there that night and weighed in. Shawn didn't want me to cut since this really was just a practice meet for me to see where my meet numbers were. I plan on doing a USAPL meet in the spring to qualify for raw nationals in August. I weighed in at 229 (I actually benefited from not cutting to the 220s when all is said and done).

    First off, I can't say enough about the big iron guys. Incredibly nice and helpful. Going out to eat with them and hearing all the Rick stories was a blast. They even gave me a "convict orange" big iron shirt to wear with them. This also was Justin Graalfs first meet back in 5 years.

    The meet: There was 3 flights of about 20 lifters. I was in the middle of the second flight usually.

    Squat: the lift I stress about the most
    Shawn called all my numbers. He wanted to open very light since this is my first "big" meet with a stage to lift on and I have never used a monolift (I still walked out the squats). Warmups felt pretty good. I have been battling some left him pain but I am used to it by now. Since I am training for USAPL, I was not using wraps despite them being "raw" in the UPA. My last warmup was 455, which honestly was pretty slow and crappy. I opened with 500 and smoked it. No problems. Second attempt was 550, and although not perfectly clean it was never in doubt. Shawn put me down for a 584 3rd which would tie my gym PR of a brutal 585. 3 Whites all the way and much cleaner than my gym 585. Very satisfied with the squat overall.

    Bench: my suckiest lift
    Once again, opening light with 352 and it was a breeze. I was feeling really good with bench today and was hoping to break the 400 lb mark. Sadly, today was not the day. My second attempt with 385 got 2 reds for my butt coming off the bench. I lifted it pretty easily too and I didn't even notice my butt came off. Very disappointed here as I had to retry 385 for my third. This time I drove my knees out hard the whole way through the bench, my butt didn't move, and I got 3 whites cleanly.

    Deadlift: my fav
    It was a pretty long meet. I wasn't deadlifting til around 5-6pm. I had undereaten the whole day due to nerves, and had exhausted my body's ability to respond to caffeine. I kept getting kind of light headed after lifting during warmups and just did not get in the "zone" like I usually can when training them fresh. I opened at 622. 3 Whites. Not a perfect rep, but good enough to get the opener. I was a little more forward on my toes than I would like and wasted too much energy with my hands on the bar. Second attempt was 650. My gym PR was 660 so I felt confident that I should get it. 3 whites again and my technique was better. My 3rd attempt was 672 and I was finally able to get into that "zone" of the perfect blend of anger and focus. This baby was a GRINDER. It felt like it took forever to get that last 4 inches. 2 whites and 1 red. Apparently, one judge thought I was hitching but I thought it was perfect

    Overall: ended with 584, 385, 672 (all approximates as Shawn just told me what he was calling). This is about 100lbs up from my last meet. I know I left a good 20lbs out there on bench. Otherwise, I was pretty happy. I really want to get that 6,4,7 in the near future. I ended up winning the 242 raw open division. The stupid strong Lillebridge brothers were at 275 and 220 so I actually would have gotten second in the 220s

    Justin Graalfs won best equipped lifter which was great to see for his comeback meet. He smoked 1050 on his third in the squat, missed around 620 on his opener on bench but got it on the second, and missed 804 on his second deadlift attempt but got it on the third. Awesome stuff to watch.

    I think the UPA will post vids of all the lifts in a month or so and I bump this thread when they come up. I never really take vids so I am kinda nervous to see if I do anything dumb up there...
    "Being tired isn't the same as being rich, but most times it's close enough" Chuck Palahnuik

    "The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least"

  • #2
    Awesome job man, I'm sure it was a blast hanging out with those guys. My first big meet was nationals where I got to see some truly big lifters. Glad you had a great time and those are very good numbers
    For Training Inquiries go see the HNIC [email protected] anything else is uncivilized


    • #3
      Excellent lifting man, great work on the PR's. You were in outstanding company. It has been great to see Justin make a strong comeback after such a long time off
      "You need never feel broken again"


      • #4
        You are insanely strong and really humble. Good combination.


        • #5
          Thanks guys. I had a lot of fun. And you are right Greystreet, all the big iron guys were great. Listening to Jim and Shawn talk about all their experiences with Rick for the 5 hour drive up and back was definitely one of the highlights for me.
          "Being tired isn't the same as being rich, but most times it's close enough" Chuck Palahnuik

          "The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least"


          • #6
            I am sure that was a blast man. He is greatly missed

            Here is a great Rick story from 2008 APF Seniors.

            We showed up a day early and went over to check the gym out. Rick and Mike were loading the moving truck with the equipment for the meet. Monolifts, platforms, etc. Most of their guys were lifting so we instantly began helping them load the truck. I think their squat platform weighs a million pounds but anyway Shannon Hartnett was also there helping us and she says 'Rick, JR(my training partner) has to lift tomorrow, should he be helping?" JR glares at Shannon like "be quiet" hahaha and Rick goes off "you dont think people work the day before a meet, I don't give a shit when he is lifting"

            It was pretty classic but the topper for me was later that night we get back to the hotel and Rick was having dinner with Shannon and Becca. We already ate but sat down to BS with everyone. Becca was running thru the Big Iron lifters to get their openers. Rick, while eating a cheeseburger rattled off about 20 lifters openers without skipping a beat. It was an amazing scene.
            "You need never feel broken again"


            • #7
              solid raw meet. congrats
              site owner of


              • #8
                I'm so glad you did this at 242's...phew

                In all seriousness, FANTASTIC JOB MAN


                • #9
                  Awesome job....glad you hit some big numbers AND had a great time, best of luck in you quest to hit those #'s!!
                  '17 USAPL Chicago Raw
                  17 AAU Super Total
                  '16-AAU Hi
                  '15-USPA Metro
                  '15-USPA State
                  '15-AAU HI
                  '14-AAU HI
                  '14-USPA Metro
                  '14-WABDL Sonny's
                  '14-USPA State
                  '14-HI Strongman
                  '13-WABDL Sonny's
                  '13-USPA State
                  '13-AAU HI
                  '11-USPA Metro
                  '10-NPC Stingrey
                  '09-NPC Islands
                  '09-NPC Stingrey
                  '09-ABA Islands
                  '02-ABA Islands
                  '02-ABA IronWorks
                  '01-NPC Paradise Cup
                  '01-ABA Olympia
                  '01-ABA Islands
                  '00-NPC Nat.Tri-State
                  '00-INBF Musclefest
                  '98-NGA Ill
                  '98-INBF Ohio


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the support guys.

                    All the vids are finally up of the meet so if you want to see my lifts here is the site:

                    I am in the second flight for all vids (Abe Weins). Here are the times of my lifts:



                    "Being tired isn't the same as being rich, but most times it's close enough" Chuck Palahnuik

                    "The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least"


                    • #11
                      Congrats on your showing! Nice numbers!