After a season of focusing predominantly on strongman competitions, I decided to switch gears and resume training more in a powerlifting fashion. Training for the 2 sports can be done, but I have found getting stronger and technically efficient concurrently is not an easy task. Hence, the decision to focus more on building strength up in the squat, bench press and deadlift. I’m not one for training aimlessly either, though, so I picked a powerlifting competition that would allow me at least a couple months of training under my belt – GPC Vic States fit the bill.
I approached PTC South Melbourne for coaching help, having witnessed the great lifting progress some of their lifters had experienced under the watchful eyes of the coaches Andrew MacGregor and Alex Deken. I am also a great believer that where possible, training in a supportive group environment can do wonders for one’s lifting.
The initial couple weeks of my meet preparation were tricky to say the least, having come off a nasty infection and having to regain some lost (muscle) mass in haste. It was hard to feel motivated when it felt like I had started my training prep on the wrong foot. The crew were tremendously supportive reassuring me my strength had not altogether disappeared, and Alex assessed my circumstances as we went, altering and adapting my training as he saw fit.
I picked up where I left off, only to be knocked down again with a minor surgery weeks later. I must have sulked every other day during this period. I wanted to carry out my training exactly as programmed but instead my patience was being tested. Alex and Andrew being the technical biomechanics gurus they are, got me to instead focus on fixing up my technique. I had to let go of my bruised ego and trust in their coaching expertise. And it worked. Early in my meet prep, I received an invitation to compete in the deadlift only division of Proraw 8 at the Arnold Classic (Australia). I was a bit nervous in training towards 2 competitions so closely positioned to each other, but Alex laid out my programming to allow me to be in peak condition for the 2 competitions.
The technique work paid off and once my health was back on track, the body became better at hitting the heavy weights. Hitting weights close to my 1RM is always a daunting task though, so having a regular crew to train with and share these ups and downs was comforting. Wrapped squats at 9.30pm? The regulars were more than happy to hang back and help. Forgotten wrist wraps/ knee wraps/ heat ailing ointment/ intra-workout carbs? Someone at they gym would pass me some without hesitation. Training for heavy weights for 10-12 weeks can get really draining too, so being able to just talk smack with the crazy cats of PTC South Melbourne (and enjoy drinking my slurpees without judgement) really made training enjoyable. Sure, we take our training seriously, but if you can’t have fun along the way, well then why bother? Proraw 8 turned out to be a good day for me – I hit a competition PB of 170kg at 55kg bodyweight, narrowly missing out on 1st place by Glossbrenner of 0.125.
2 weeks later, I was back on the platform and I could not have asked for a better day. After competing in several (good and bad) powerlifting meets, I asked for the support of the crew and they responded above and beyond. Coaching and handling me on the day, keeping my nerves at bay – I won my weight class women’s U56 with a 127.5kg squat, 57.5kg bench and 175kg deadlift, the latter eventually acquiring me the Open U56 women’s deadlift national record.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – THANK YOU SO MUCH you guys! From putting up with my shitty sulky periods, to being ever-so-patient with the ups and downs of my meet prep, I truly appreciate the coaching and the supportive environment you guys have built at PTC South Melbourne <3 Miss your faces here at (not-so-sunny) Qld!