Written by: Kevin Cann
This past weekend was the first USAPL Northeast Regionals that we attended as Precision Powerlifting Systems. Crazy to think that it has only been 7 months since we changed training facilities and have been our own entity. Feels like it has been much longer than that.
With that said, this past weekend we had 6 lifters compete and they all did very well. Danielle Garcia, Kelly Gamache, Ryan Valentine, Maytal Oskar, Laurie Labassiere, and new member Mike Damico, who did his own programming leading up to this, but we took care of him on meet day.
Things did not start so well for Danielle Garcia. She drove up on Friday, and around 1:30pm, I received a phone call from her telling me she had forgotten all of her stuff to lift. The good news is she had baby powder and chicken.
Luckily for her, Tom saved the day. He got her all of her stuff before warmups and she was able to use Laurie’s stuff for equipment check and rack heights. I was a little worried about her at this point because this is very unlike Danielle. I wasn’t really sure where her head was at.
Danielle also had a pretty rough test a few weeks before. The stars were aligning for a tough day on the platform. She had competed at the end of April. She had a very good meet on this day, but we dropped all of her 3rdattempts and her butt came up on the bench twice. The goal coming into this competition was to hit all of the previously planned 3rdattempts from that meet.
The 3rdattempts at the previous meet were dropped because her second attempts looked more difficult than normal. This was not the case on Saturday. Danielle went 8/9 (lost balance on second deadlift, but weight was easy, so we went up) hitting a 275lb squat, 155lb bench press, and a 331lb deadlift at 132lbs bodyweight.
This was a 22lb total PR and good enough for 2ndplace out of 12 lifters in the 63kg class. Even though Danielle did not have her best test before this she had her best meet. We are looking to improve our performances on the platform. Danielle’s gym lifts did not get much better by absolute numbers, but the improvements were there to hit bigger weights in all of the lifts. She could have hit a bigger deadlift, but we put weight on the bar to lock up second place. A 10kg total PR in less than 4 months is great. She had much stricter judges this time around as well.
Kelly was competing at her second meet ever. She did her first meet the beginning of April. Kelly started lifting with me less than a year ago. When she started she struggled to keep balance on the squat. We put her in a position to be more stable and to gain confidence.
In doing so, Kelly was walking the line of depth. I knew she could get away with it at a local meet, but in the long run this wouldn’t work. She went 3/3 on squats in April but getting 1 red light every time for depth. There was also more horizontal movement in the squat than I would like.
We tore down her squat after this. We turned her toes out, practiced staying upright, and squatting deeper. She missed 80% in training, there was yelling, and tears, but through it all lots of hard work.
Kelly hit a 2.5kg PR on squats on the platform while receiving all white lights (one judge was a very strict IPF level judge too) and maintaining an up and down bar path. This is a much larger PR than 2.5kg.
Kelly ended the day going 7/9. She missed her bench opener because she didn’t listen to the head judge’s commands and the 3rddeadlift was just too heavy. However, her back did not round under the heavy weight of deadlifts and this is a great improvement as well. She hit PRs on every lift with some room for more.
Ryan had competed in June and this meet was a very fast turnaround from then. He is also competing at Nationals. I wanted to gain some momentum heading into Nationals but didn’t want him to strain too hard on the platform.
Ryan went 8/9 with a huge 17.5kg total PR from June. This was with a conservative 3rdsquat and a very conservative 3rddeadlift. Ryan competed much better this time around as well. Attacked the weights with confidence and seemed far less nervous. Competing is a skill and improvements here are huge.
Maytal began working with me after her first meet on April 8th. She was strong but needed a lot of work with her lifts. Maytal hit a 363lb squat (60lb PR), 210lb bench press (23lb PR), and a 352lb deadlift (21lb PR) for an added 104lbs to her total since April. Maytal finished 3rdin a very tough 84kg class. With enough discipline and hard work Maytal can be extremely competitive in this sport over time.
Laurie was competing in her first ever USAPL meet and for the first time in 3 years. She took a very long break from powerlifting and came back to the sport in January. She has been juggling an advancing career and grad school with training.
Many lifters in this sport are younger. They may work full time, and this is not taking away from their hard work. However, when you move up the professional ladder responsibilities and work stress increase. Throw grad school on top of that and training becomes much more difficult.
Dealing with this adversity and excelling in all of those areas is true strength. I get to coach many lifters like this and it is an honor to coach strong people. Your total is not necessarily your measurement of strength. There are quite a few elite lifters that are weak people.
Laurie hit some all-time PRs and competed extremely well. Her platform had 2 IPF level judges that were very strict. She went 8/9, missing her bench opener because she couldn’t hear the commands with all of the sound. I chose to repeat the weight because it was her first meet in so long, but it was very easy. She hit a 281lb squat, 154lb bench press that looked like an opener, and a 314lb deadlift.
I do not count numbers obtained in other federations because the judging is more relaxed and the equipment aids in the lifter’s total. With that said these were all lifetime PRs.
Lastly, new addition Mike Damico competed. He did his own programming leading into this meet and did very well. Went 9/9 hitting a 496lb squat, 286lb bench press, and 628lb deadlift in the 83kg class. Mike is very strong, his technique is solid, and he works hard. That is a recipe for success. I am looking forward to working with you Mike.
Next up for PPS is Raw Nationals. 9 of us will be making the journey across the country to lift with the best in the world.