On the 29/01/2022 it was time to drive up to Newcastle for another regional meet. This time we had me, The Heavy Metal Strength Coach himself lifting in the 66kg class, Amy Leiper lifting in the 76kg class, and I looked after/handled former client Ruth Grigg in the 57kg class.
This one was fairly explosive so stay tuned.
Age Category: Senior
My first 3 lifts in this weight category went well with nothing further to report other than I lost some tension at the bottom of the squat and made my first ever triple bodyweight squat in Leeds potentially much harder than it needed to be, which may have had ramifications later in the competition.
All white lights. With my plan, this gave me 15kg to play with in order to achieve a qualifying total.
On to bench where the fun begins. Strap yourselves in. We are in for a bumpy ride.
This isn't an error. I did end up doing 4 bench attempts and failed 3 of them.
I opened on what is usually a comfortable 132.5kg it moved well but didn't feel amazing due to the bench engine slippy as fuck. Never mind. I've used this bench at a few competitions so I should be used to it by now.
We loaded 138kg for my second and it would of been a YNE divisional record. Here's where the fun began. As I was about to take my attempt, they didn't have the fractional plates to make 138kg!
So with everyone quietly watching, I waited for 10 minutes while they went to find the weights.
They found them. I got in the zone. Then missed the lift. At this point, the scoring table realised it was a miss-load. It was a mighty 138.5kg!!!
In my mind I still should of easily made this life but it was still 500g over what I've done in training so I you to take the attempt again at the end of the 3rd flight, then I would be allowed a 3 minute rest before being allowed to take a 4th bench.
They didn't have the correct weight plates in the building!
A referee had to drive home, yes, drive home to get them, so we had another 10-15 minutes of me standing around in front of everyone.
The plates arrived. I confidentially missed 138kg just off the chest.
Another 3 minutes go by. I have one final blast at 138kg and this time the bar reaches the top of the rep! Unfortunately my butt came off the bench by about 9ft which is against the rules.
By this point I was just happy to complete a rep!
So after all that, I finished with a 132.5kg bench.
My 15kg to play with was now halved to 7.5kg going into deadlifts meaning I only needed 172.5kg to make it to the British.
A sensible man would of dropped the opener to 172.5 to clinch the qualifying total, but not me, I stuck to my plan of opening with 180kg because it has been flying in training.
So I go to my first deadlift attempt and a big red sticker is where I usually hook grip the bar, and stickers aren't going to make a difference right?
I've never been more wrong. The bar tumbled from my hand!!!!!
A rookie mistake I shouldn't ever have made. But I'm human and we all make them.
Waiting for my next attempt was torture.
This is an easy weight for me and my afternoon athlete had just arrived. I couldn't let her see her coach bomb out within 10 minutes of her arrival!
I felt as if I'd ruined the plan.
My bar was loaded, and I composed myself. I widened my grip off the sticker and...
Made the lift easily.
We loaded 190 for the last deadlift and that went up without any problems w.hatsoever.
Finishing total: 517.5kg
I got my qualifying total on a average day at the competition office, which made me a happy boy.
Weight Class: 76kg
Age Category: Senior
Qualifying total to achieve: 372.5kg
This was Amy's first official competition. My aim was to give her a crack at a divisional record and qualify for the British. If you read my story above, you'll know a few things can derail said plans.
She would need to squat 163kg to break the current record, held by Rachel Bradish, who I know well and have handled 2-3 times. She's an awesome lifter, with a huge total, so to get near her is a real achievement. To take her record at her first regional meet would be incredible.
We began proceedings with a 147.5kg squat which was deep, fast and assured. The 155kg 2nd wasn't quite as assured due to the rack height being ever so slightly too high. Sometimes this happens, so I let the table know, and put in 163kg for our third attempt.
Which she nailed, getting 3 white lights and a perfect start to her competition.
For whatever reason, the bench the YNEPF seem to use is the slippiest bench in the history of benches, making it less than ideal for good benching numbers (as I proved earlier.)
With that being said, Amy nailed her first 2 benches without any problems whatsoever and hit a competition PB. I chose 85kg to go for next and it was just a little bit too much under the circumstances and was missed just off the chest. 82.5kg would of probably gone without issue, but the way 80kg moved means I have no regrets. It was the right call.
Right call or not, she finished with a very respectable 80kg bench press.
By the time deadlifts came around Amy was still looking fresh as a daisy. 135 and 145 both flew so I decided to go for the bare minimum that would allow Amy to finish with a lifetime PB. 152.5kg was loaded up and it flew.
Amy finished with a total of 395.5kg giving her a British qualifying total, an All-England qualifying total, a squat record and a lifetime PB on deadlifts.
Usually, after a competition, we come away with lessons, weaknesses to develop and issues to solve. Amy showed no weaknesses, held it together like a champion and delivered under immense pressure.
Well done Amy!
I have to mention the performance of former client Ruth Grigg who I looked after on the day.
She obliterated the competition, broke 8 records and made me a better handler. Ruth is a very different athlete to most and I truly think I nailed my approach to handling her.
What was my approach? To dance and sing and wave about like she does and to encourage her to do the same. She seemed to thrive under these conditions and came away feeling like she belonged. I was very proud to be a part of her journey.