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Deff Vs. Weights

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Raleigh Ruckus USPA Powerlifting Meet - 1/7/2017 I competed in my 2nd sanctioned powerlifting meet. Prep was pretty terrible. Had some major personal stuff that left me hopping hotels and AirBNBs

1/28 Intense Strongman West Virginia USS Competition Deadlift Medley 450 Axle, 475 Stiff Bar, 500 Deadlift Bar for reps Got 12 reps at 500.  Log Clean Once and Press Away 245x10 Yo

11/14/2016 Sumo Deadlift w/ Hook Grip 595x1 with hold and slow negative Hook Grip PR. I'm pretty sure I can handle anything with hook grip now. Surprised it came along this fast. The key for

Raleigh Ruckus USPA Powerlifting Meet - 1/7/2017

I competed in my 2nd sanctioned powerlifting meet. Prep was pretty terrible. Had some major personal stuff that left me hopping hotels and AirBNBs for a few weeks, my diet was terrible, training was often unenthusiastic, didn't sleep enough, even drank a bit. You know, all the stuff that hinders performance. I had a back thing towards the start of my training put me back a few weeks, then a minor pec pop put me back on the bench, and finally my back got a little bit hurt from log pressing on Monday. Lots of minor adversity. But I was pretty ok with it all - I committed to myself to not take it too seriously and drive myself into the ground with pressure like I do preparing for important strongman shows.  I was doing this to have a fun meet with a bunch of the guys from the gym, and still set some PRs in the process.

Event 1: Squat
I had been missing depth in training. Like, a lot. And, they were getting harder and harder. I struggled with my opener a week prior at 545, where my old max was 600. I realized I needed to just be more confident and drop fast and come up fast. I'm generally a pretty explosive lifter, and slow negatives just don't work for me. I opened conservatively at 540, and it went up easy. Went up to 570, and again it was fast and easy. Finally, went up to 606 to try to hit a PR. I had it in my head to just be confident, drop fast and pop up. But, I dropped too fast and got buried. 

Attempt 1: 540
Attempt 2: 570
Attempt 3: 606 (miss)

Event 2: Bench
Bench has been going well for the last few weeks, but I never went past 345 in training just because of limited time after my pec thing. Opened conservatively at 331, and got it easy. Then went up to 370 for my 2nd attempt. My old bench PR was from 2014 with a big bounce off my chest. My pause bench PR would be 345 recently in training. 370 was easy for a 25lb PR. I took a smaller jump for my final attempt at 385. It was close - just was a little out of control and got stuck a lot higher than I've gotten stuck before. I probably should have ground it out. I thought I already would have got called for letting it drift down. But that might have been in my head, I didn't see it in the video. 

Attempt 1: 331
Attempt 2: 370
Attempt 3: 385 (miss)

Event 3: Deadlift
My deadlift training has been really hit or miss. I originally wanted at least 735 - but at the meet got closer I tempered my expectations greatly. The heaviest I went in training was 685, and missed 705. I was really happy that hook grip came around easy at least. My hip was pretty sore from the squat miss, but it felt better by the end of warmups. I opened with a conservative 639, got it quick, went up to 672 for another easy lift. Last attempt I had to decide between 705 for a low risk PR, 728 for a 3x bodyweight deadlift, or 735 to tie Greg's PR. I had the 2nd highest deadlift of the day on my 2nd attempt, and the top deadlift was 745, a bit out of reach. I picked 711 since 705 sounded too light, and it was the last lift of the day and I didn't want to risk ending it on a miss. Greg suggested I go up to 716 to beat his total for the day (he's hurt), but I decided to stick with the 711 to get a tie and lose on BW (he weighed in .5kg less than me). I figured "I tied Greg Nuckols in a powerlifting meet" sounded more believable than "I beat Greg Nuckols in a powerlifting meet". 711 went up super fast. Almost hyperextended a bit due to the speed. Glad to set a deadlift PR. First standard height deadlift PR in 5 years.

Attempt 1: 639
Attempt 2: 672
Attempt 3: 711

Ended up with a 750kg/1653lb total raw with wraps at 110kg/242lbs. Ended up with bench, deadlift, and total PRs, and sanctioned meet squat PR. Also got a USPA state record on deadlift, International Elite deadlift, and 80lbs away from an Elite total. And I qualified for IPL World's. 

Next time I do a powerlifting competition (probably not for awhile), I really want to get it together better and see what I can really do. This was a great experience though.

Now to a local strongman show on Jan 27 to qualify for US Strongman Nationals, but mostly start training for the pro show at the Charlotte Europa. Back at it.

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Keg Cleans


Log Strict Press
205x5, 4 - stopped because it was bothering my shoulder too much.

Circus DB
135x3,4,6 - left only. Holds at the end.
Mobility is greatly improved. 

Circus DB quarter squats in clean position

Front and Side Raises

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I went to the gym and did nothing of value on 1/12 and 1/14. 
On January 15th there was a party at the gym, and we did a casual one-handed deadlift competition. I did 495x1 (R) and 495x3 (L). I had to win by at least two reps.

My 3 reps on left aren't shown.


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Worked up to 895x40'. Need to be quick-ish with 1000lbs x 25' by April.


Did some Single Leg Deadlift, just up to 225x5 each side. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bartos DB
135x6,7 (L)
155x2 (L) with long holds
A tiny bit of work at 100 with a different DB on the right.

Power Stairs
375x3, 3

Dis gonna be hard. Handles are 19" and steps are 18". Bigg Dogg handle is 16" and ASM steps were 12". This is what it looks like when I deadlift it:

Bartos DB
135x7 (L)
135x9 (L)
135x1 (R) with hold.

Bartos DB OH quarter squat

Bartos DB Clean position quarter squat

Some bamboo bar bench.

Edited by jwdeff
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  • 3 weeks later...

Intense Strongman West Virginia USS Competition
Deadlift Medley
450 Axle, 475 Stiff Bar, 500 Deadlift Bar for reps
Got 12 reps at 500. 

Log Clean Once and Press Away

Yoke/Farmer's Medley
650 yoke, 275 Farmer's, 40' each
16.47 seconds

Sandbag Carry
260 for 120' with 2 turns
20.59 seconds

Stone Over Bar
315 Stone
9 reps

First place. Had fun.

Training wasn't noteworthy for the next week or so.



Bartos DB
Up to 175 I think
Some holds both locked out and on the shoulder

Axle Deadlift at 18"
DIdn't hit the numbers I wanted. I think I stopped around 600.

Power Stairs

Incline Log Press
265x10 x3

Wide grip pulldowns

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/15/2017 at 8:55 AM, MattM said:

Congrats on the win James!  Training is looking very focused on your comp, you got this!

Thanks Matt!

It's starting to come together. Should be a good one!

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Keg Over Bar
Up to 330x7 , or until I broke the Power Keg.

Circus DB
I think I did a double at 175 on left.

Squat Bar 17" Deadlift - no axle available so I went a little lower pick than usual.
655x2 (I think)

Axle Press
Mostly just did mobility to get my jerk back. Then did lots of light strict presses.

Power Stairs

Shrugs, strict
455x10 x3

Circus DB
175x1 (L & R)
195x1 (L) with short hold
Big PR with this dumbbell, and big training PR on any dumbbell.

Circus DB Shoulder Hold
195x30s L, 15s R

Circus DB OH Hold
135x40s each side


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155 x3 x8 total attempts. I made maybe 5 of the sets.
Primarily working on jerk options.

Lateral raises
Tricep Pushdowns
up to 140x8

Edited by jwdeff
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  • 2 months later...

Uh, I might have missed a training session or two. 

I hurt something in my butt a little more than a week before the Europa. Ended up spending more time and energy running the show than competing in it. Ended up with a 180 DB (missed 200), slow time on the 1000lb yoke, 750 15" axle dl (missed the next jump when I felt it in my weird butt injury), 3rd in power stairs (first of everyone shorter than 6'5"), and got a 420lb keg over 56" bar (might have been glute, might just be weak).

The next day Laura and I won the team competition against some really good teams. She carried the team. I did hit a 695 deadlift which is good for not training it and competing the day before, but way behind the other two pro 105kgs in the competition. Laura hit a 445lb deadlift at 140lbs. Greatest lift of the day.

Since then I have a new thing wrong with my elbow (different from my golfers elbow and tennis elbow I've had before) and my glute thing hasn't healed, but it mostly just bugs me when I sit for too long.

Anyway, today they announced ASM events. So I'm going to skip USS Nationals and just do the big show.


Log Clean and Press for reps - 60 secs - WT 340

Fatback Farmers - 60 sec., Athlete will carry farmers walk implements 30 feet perform and 4 Deadlift reps with the farmers implements, then carry 30 more feet to finish line and perform 4 more Deadlift reps for time. Athlete will be given a down call on deadlift. WT 340

Keg Over Bar 60 secs - WT 320

Arm over Arm Pull TBDA

Axle Deadlift for reps - WT 675


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The log is heavy, more than 2/3 of pros got at ASM the year before last in the max log event.

And it's going to be a Bartos log, so might be weird in some way.

Log Press (clean once)





300x2 (push press and push press that was supposed to be a jerk)

225x10 (6 jerks, 3 strict Press, and a push press)

All the triples were a push press followed by two jerks, mostly because I was failing to jerk on the first rep each time.

Wide grip pulldowns - a few at 90 to check elbow pain.

ITYs at 10lbs (got super weak at these due to neglect)

Edited by jwdeff
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Good to see your log James!  Do you think you may have had some kind of injury to the psoas muscle?  It's a very very weird sensation and started acting up on me after training elevated pulls for a longer period of time.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Whatever glute thing I had, it's not affecting lifting at all anymore. Still affects sitting, but I'm not competing in any sitting contests any time soon.

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Editing as I remember stuff. 


Log press



Farmer's to deadlift training

Up to 290 for the full series but at 40'

Slick handle farmers hold

290 for a few seconds x2

250 for 15? Seconds



Coan Phillipi week 1 with axle and desire max set at 710. Pretty conservative but axle is hard.

Accessory weights were 275, 225, 180, and 195?




Keg carry 25' and load to comp height (52"?)

Lots of singles at 280

Arm over arm prowler pull






Log press (clean once)



255x1 x10 emom

All jerks.

Log strict Press

135 (or 185?) With orange bands x6 x3





Coan Phillipi week 2 with axle and desire max set at 710.

Accessory weights were 295, 245, 200, and 285 (235 first set). Back is wrecked but I made it through a tough 3 days of training. Now 3 days off due to a Dallas trip.

Edited by jwdeff
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6/16 - 6/18 - walked about 7 miles a day in Dallas.


Keg Carry and Load
280 for a couple, 305 for one.

Farmer's Carry and Deadlift
290 - 30' carry followed by two deadlifts
310 - 30' carry followed by one deadlift - hands stung and back was fried, so I stopped

Honestly, today went pretty well considering all the walking and travel. 

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Coan Phillipi week 3 with axle and desire max set at 710.

Accessory weights were 295, 245, 230 (first one was 200), and 235. Apparently in the first two weeks with SLDLs and rows, since I was using the axle, I did the math wrong and it was actually 10 lbs less than posted. So this time it's accurate, 10lbs heavier than last week. 

Back is even wreckeder after doing this just two days after my keg/farmer's day. This is part of transitioning my deadlift day to Tuesdays, which I plan to keep until ASM. I've been deadlifting every 6 days instead of every 7 which combined with my other work is really beating me up - I'm really close to where I would hurt myself now. I have log press tomorrow (from rack), then off to Detroit to hang out at USS Nationals. Then next week I'll finally into my normal training plan for ASM, which I should be able to handle much better.

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Log Press (Clean once)



Video here

I think this might have technically been the first time I've gone over 300 in training. I've done over 300 in competition a couple times and I've done 300 in training, but first time over it.

Had to make it a quick session to get to USS Nationals.

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Coan Phillipi week 4 with axle and desire max set at 710.
640x2 top set



Log Push Press
285x1 x10 EMOM

Log Strict Press
175x10, 13

Front and Lateral Raises

Had zero explosiveness and jerk in me. I don't know if my core is dead from deadlifting Tuesday or something else is off. I was fortunate that my lockout strength was still good, so I went with it and just push pressed a bunch.

Edited by jwdeff
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Fatback Farmers - shortened to 15'-20' runs (no turn)

Farmer's Hold

Keg Carry and Load
315 for 2 or 3 runs (probably 2)
Some lighter picks.

Arm-over-arm prowler pull

One-arm thick rope cable rows


Close grip bench
225x10 x2


Lateral Raises

Coan Phillipi week 5
Accessory weights were 335, 295, 270, and 235 (I think, didn't write it down).

Log Press
315x2 (missed first rep, last two were accidentally push presses)
315x1 (actually a jerk)
295x1 x10 w/ 60 second breaks. Slow negative on the last one.

Tricep Pushdowns
90x10 x2
110x10 x2

Ab Wheel
BWx14, 20

Edited by jwdeff
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  • 2 weeks later...

I got way behind again. Don't have most of my accessories so just listing my main events.

Went down to Wilmington to train on a Beastmetals Farmer's. My goal was to see what I needed to work on for the fatback farmer's event - grip, conditioning, deadlift, etc. Did near competition weight without much difficulty, including a hold at the end. I think the Beastmetal implement there has a thinner handle than the one SC uses, it was way too easy.

Fatback Farmer's, competition setup.

330 x quickish.

Tore a callous so called it.

Arm-over-arm with taped up hand. Switched to manilla rope, was using nylon rope before (nylon is much harder to grip).
770 x 30'

DB Bench

Coan Phillipi Week 6
Don't recall accessory weights, maybe the same (335, 295, 270 (290 last two sets), and 235)

Log Press

325x2 (weight PR)
Tried 295x1x10 emom (so shorter breaks than last time). Started missing reps from the start, switched to brute force push pressing rather than jerks and managed to get 10 reps total, at least the last 5 or 6 were emom.

Farmer's - 50' down, turn, 50' back.
Had my hand taped from tearing off a callous last week. Tried 338 and dropped it half way on the taped side. Took off most of the tape, tried 318, and dropped it 20' short. Took off the rest of the tape and got it easy with a hold at the end.

Front Squat - triples up to 415

Keg Carry and load
305x1 quick

Keg pick
305x7 quick

Keg Hold


Wide grip pulldowns

Edited by jwdeff
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