The Arnold Sports Festival has annually been one of my favorite events to attend. For the last seven years I have looked to this event with great anticipation, and this year was no different. There are, of course, many reasons I look forward to this event. The first is the IPF Pro Deadlift competition. I have had the great privilege of competing in this event eight times. This competition is unique in that it is held in front of a huge crowd on the main expo stage of the festival. This, along with the great competition from all around the world, and the cash prizes for the contest makes for a very intense and energy filled atmosphere.
I also look forward to walking around the expo each year to look at all the products from the strength industries that are on display and to meet new people. Then there are the actual competitions that are going on throughout the weekend. The ones that I enjoy the most are the Pro Strongman and USAPL powerlifting competitions. Fortunately, I had plenty of time to get off of my feet, take a seat and enjoy these competitions. There were many great performances by many great athletes all across the weekend. Finally, there’s the friends that I usually only see once per year, and this one time is in Columbus at the Arnold Sports Festival. I always say that it’s the relationships that make powerlifting as fun as it is.
In spite of how fun all of this was, I was in Columbus for one reason, and that was to perform at my absolute best in the IPF Pro Deadlift competition. Mark Bell’s SlingShot sponsored this event for the second year in a row. As usual this competition brought to Columbus some of the best deadlifters in the world. For the last several years I have been battling some injuries and have not been able to post any really respectable deadlifts. As a result, my goal for this competition was to break out of this funk and pull 788 pounds.
My training leading up to this competition had been spot on. I stayed healthy and deadlifted heavy less frequently than I ever have in my life in a given training phase up to this point. My last heavy deadlift session finished up with a suited deadlift of 745x2. This told me that I certainly had the strength to pull 788 pounds in competition. My plan was to open with 716 pounds in the competition and then jump to 760 pounds. After this I would evaluate the standings of the competition and also how my body felt and then determine my last attempt.
Everything went according to plan. My 760-pound second attempt felt good, but I thought it lacked the speed it needed to jump all the way to 800 pounds for my final attempt. Upon watching the video of the 760 after the competition, this attempt actually looked very good and I probably could have jumped to 800 for my third attempt. (Lesson learned: I need to have someone video my lifts in competition and look at them right away). At this point, however, I also took a hard look at the standings for the competition. I knew that if I missed my third attempt, I would likely drop about 8 spots in the placing’s. I opted for 788 on the my third attempt, got it, and walk away from the 2017 Slingshot Pro Deadlift with a 4th place finish and absolutely no regrets.
This result gives me momentum moving forward in competition this year. I am more confident than ever than I can deadlift 365kg (804 lbs.) and I plan to do this at USAPL Deadlift National Championships in September. However, my next competition will be USAPL Iowa State Powerlifting Championships on July 8th in Des Moines, IA. This will be a full, raw meet. My goals for this will be a 272.5kg (600-lb.) squat, 165kg (363-lb.) bench press and 337.5kg (744-lb.) deadlift. Training has been going well for this meet. Check out my training for this meet, as well the videos from the Arnold on my Instagram. In the mean time, train hard and use the most innovative, effective, and researched-backed supplements in the business: HMB, BetaTOR, and PEAK ATP!