Training Vlog: Weeks 2-4

This training vlog features the completion of my pivot cycle, weeks 2-4 focusing on high bar and box squats, feet up and close-grip bench, and sumo deadlifts.

The Good:

  • Maxed my close grip bench at 170. My current competition style bench max is 185.
  • Added 35 lbs. to my sumo max.
  • Made progress on high bar and box squats

The Bad: 

  • Hips are still rising early on my squats. I need to be more patient and let my chest lead
  • Missed one rep on close grip bench, and failed two singles on Sumo

The Ugly: 

  • Sumo pulls are still not technically where I’d like them to be. I have the strength, but struggle with setting up properly every time
  • I still need to improve my lats, glutes, and hamstrings.

Training Vlog: Week 1, Lat Attack

This is Week 1 of my Training Vlogs: This week I had a lot that went well in my training, and a lot of weaknesses that I need to look at if I want to get better. This was my sort of pivot week after peaking, and I wanted to take a little bit of a deload – doing a  lot of Tier II work (variations of competition lifts) as well as to keep the volume higher, and keep my Rate of Perceived Exertion at or below an 8.

Things That Went Well: My mentality is really strong going into this week. Keeping this training vlog in mind while performing all my lifts makes me want to keep everything tight, even if it means I have to sacrifice some weight on the bar.

What To Work On: Lat tightness was not very impressive on my deadlifts, as always, Sumo being my non-competition deadlift variation is a struggle. I want to improve that lift this cycle. I also want to make sure that I’m keeping a neutral back positioning on all of my squat variations.

TN State Chair Election Voting

USA Powerlifting is hosting the election for State Chair Jan 23-26, and I wanted to let everyone know that I have put my name of the ballot, and I would appreciate your vote.


Any lifters registered for USA Powerlifting in the State of Tennessee who have had an active membership that was renewed for 2018 before Jan 22, 2018.

CLICK HERE to vote. You will need your USAPL Membership ID to vote.

Between Jan 23 – Jan 26. Voting closes at 9:00 PM on the 26th.


I am a USAPL Certified Referee and Coach as well as an active lifter who has lifted at Raw Nationals as well as local and pro meets. I am a Meet Director, and strive to put on high-quality meets in Tennessee. I spend time each week hosting meetups in Nashville, and want to convey my interest in growing the community of drug free lifters in the State of TN if I’m elected your chair.

High-quality meets aren’t nearly as accessible as they should be, and I want to change that as your chair. Helping more lifters to be certified as judges, empower more individuals to get the tools they need to host meets, and to finally host a website and social media presence for our state and to host public State Records are the most important items that I would focus on immediately upon becoming your chair.


Food For Thought: Training Hard and Staying Healthy With Jeremy Hartman

I wanted to post a link to the RTS Podcast with my Coach Jeremy Hartman – In this podcast, Jeremy and Mike talk about their training methodologies – both differences, and similarities.

I want to note something I’ve noticed in my own training with coach Jeremy Hartman – The emphasis on competition lift variations, especially in the off-season. You’ll notice in my lifting, that I’m constantly running mini cycles with changing grip on bench, high bar and low bar, and stance on squat, and running both sumo and conventional deadlift stances.

Head on over to the RTS Podcast with Mike Tuchscherer and Jeremy Hartman to learn more about his point of view and how he manages to keep his lifters staying both healthy and strong





Meet Report: 5 Bar Showdown – Atlanta, GA 7/8 – 7/9 201

I competed in the 5 Bar Showdown, a Pro USAPL Meet this past weekend and wanted to share my full meet report.

For a summary of my thoughts on the event, training leading up to the meet, and post-meet feels keep reading.

5 Bar Event Thoughts: 

This was such a cool meet. Josh Rohr always puts on a show. My favorite part of the entire weekend was the livestream featuring all platforms for the whole weekend. It gave lifters who aren’t necessarily ready for the National/World platform an opportunity to be treated like an elite lifter. The announcers at the meet and the commentators for the live feed did an excellent job. Anyone that’s ever done a meet put on by Josh probably feels the same way. He does some next level stuff…  This meet was both USAPL and USAW sanctioned. I obviously only did the powerlifting portion, although there were options and awards for both USAPL, USAW, and Combined Superman/Superwoman scores.

I ended up going 8/9 at the meet with a total of 385 / 848.78# with a wilks of 355ish. Not sure.. I’ll have to double-check once the results are posted.

Weight Class/Diet: 

I competed at the 84KG (-184#) class weighing in at 172#/ 78KG. I’ve been cutting from my highest weight of 205# last December, and have lost a considerable amount of (absolute) strength over the last year and a half, although my Wilks has been fairly consistent – hovering between 352-360.

Four weeks prior to the meet I decided not to try and cut 8 lbs. to get to the 72KG class so I was happy to put on a few lbs. and train in a caloric excess for the last few weeks. It was awesome.

Pre-Meet Training:

I’m working with a coach, Jeremy Hartman out of Indianapolis, IN.  We’ve been working since November after USAPL Raw Nationals to build strength during the cut with a heavy emphasis on non-competition lifts, rest, and recovery rather than squatting myself into the ground every workout.  I’ve been training 4 days a week and incorporating restorative Yoga into my routine for active rest days. I haven’t done a meet since Raw Nationals last October. This meet was long overdue.

My program has been linear, focusing on competition variations (Feet up on bench, wide grip, close grip, high bar, sumo stance dl etc) Normally I hit openers a week out and rest from there, however, this cycle was a little different. I hit a lot of my 2nd attempts a week and a half out instead of openers. It gave me a lot of confidence going into this meet after not having competed since October and considering the strength loss with the lower body weight.

Day Before/ Day Of The Meet: 

They day before the meet I volunteered a little bit. As a meet director, friend of team Rohr, and USAPL Ref I spent some time doing gear check, managing platforms, and filled in on announcing when volunteers ran low. I left the meet at about 2PM to go back to our hotel and binge watch Hulu for the rest of the night so I could get some rest off my feet.

As a lifter with a great deal of platform experience, I’ve gotten a little rusty and was a little bit of a mess the day of the meet. Didn’t get rack heights or gear check taken care of the night before, so I made sure to get there early on the day of the meet to have plenty of time to get my thoughts together before weigh ins.

I did a small water cut from 178# to 172# – I put on a little too much weight (8 lbs. overshooting my 4 lb goal – heh – after I decided not to cut). I was shooting for 175 but let myself get a little bit too dry the night before.


My goals were to meet or beat my total from Raw Nats, which I came close to. Didn’t beat overall lbs, but I did beat my wilks by just a little bit.

SQUAT: I was too nervous. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t get in control of my feels until halfway through bench.

  1.  140KG / 308# – Opened low and went full potato. I’m a hot mess.
  2. Gave myself the option to take 147.5(325#) or 150(330#) for the 2nd attempt. Took the lower one. This was a bit of a grind.
  3. Gave myself three options: 150, 152.5, 155 lbs. I took the lowest after the grind on the 2nd attempt and wished I put another 2.5 KG on even though it was a little sloppy.

BENCH: Finally feeling a little more confident. Don’t want to wuss out after squat. Felt like my coach wasn’t as confident in my bench as I am, but for fear of being proven wrong, I stuck with the attempts I was given.

  1. 67.5KG/ 148# – This was too easy. I feel like a total tool.
  2. 72.5/ 159# – This should have been my opener. Oh well, at least it looks good
  3. 77.5/ 170# – I wish I put another 2.5-5 KG’s on this attempt. I’ll smoke it next time.

DEADLIFT: After leaving weight on the platform all day, at this point I’m determined not to wuss out. I’m taking all the weight I left earlier. (I now regret these feelings)

  1. 145KG/ 319# – This was solid. Good opener
  2. 155/ 341# – Shook a little bit at the top, but I felt like this was a good 2nd attempt
  3. 162.5/ 358# – I should have cut this by 2.5 KG. Didn’t take enough time to pack my lats and the bar came out too far in front of me. I also maybe almost passed out. Ugh.


Final Thoughts:

This was a really fun weekend – I was looking forward to hanging out with all my friends just as much as I was looking forward to assessing my progress from the past few months. In addition, I got to spend a lot of time with World Champion Alicia Webb. We have a similar circle, but I haven’t gotten to spend as much 1:1 time with her as I would have liked. I learned a lot about her calm demeanor, and would encourage everyone to try and find a meet where they’re the little fish in the big pond. There’s so much you can learn just from watching other lifters with more experience. She beat me by nearly 100 wilks points. Overall it was a great weekend. I’m a little disappointed by my attempt selection, but overall happy with the way it went.

I’m so hungry for nationals. Ready to get at it once these DOMS go away.


USAPL Meet Commands


One of my clients is having her first USAPL meet in a few weeks, so I wanted to put some content out aimed at getting first-time competitive lifters comfortable with competition calls.

Take a look at the video and outline below to learn how to get all the white lights in your next meet!


Squat Commands

Start Command: You will receive the “Start” command when you walk the bar out and your knees are locked.

Rack Command: You will receive the “Rack” command when you complete the lift and your knees are locked out before the spotters help you put the bar back into the rack.

Reasons for red lights or no-lift: 

  • Moving your feet after the “Start” command and before the “Rack” command
  • Not going below depth – Crease of hip must be below the top of the knee
  • Double-bouncing or double-effort – The lift must be one continuous movement
  • Missing the commands – Do not start the descent until you receive the “Squat” command. Likewise, do not rack the bar before you receive the “Rack” command
  • Dumping the bar: If you feel like you can’t stand up with the bar, the spotters will assist you. Never dump the bar off your back. That is a huge safety risk and could result in you being removed from competition.


Bench Commands: 

Start Command: You will receive the “Start” command when the bar is un-racked and you are holding the bar with elbows locked out.

Press Command: When the bar is fully lowered to the chest and is paused motionless you will receive the “Press” command

Rack Command: When the lift is completed and the arms are fully locked out, you will receive the “Rack” command

Reasons for red lights or no-lift: 

  • Not listening to commands – Starting the lift before the “Start” command or racking the weight before the “Rack” command, or missing the “Press” command, or pressing too early
  • Feet do not remain flat on the floor for the entirety of the lift, or head or rear do not remain on bench.
  • Double-movement: If the whole of the bar dips and is not one continuous movement. Please note that there can be an “uneven” lockout where one arm locks out before the other, however, the entire bar may not move downward after the press.

Deadlift Commands

Bar Is Loaded: The head judge will announce “Bar Is Loaded” when it is time for you to step onto the platform

Down: When the lift is completed, you will receive a “Down” command when you complete the lift

Reasons for red lights or no-lift: 

  • “Soft” lockout – Sholders not fully erect at the completion of the pull
  • Ramping: Using your quads to support the weight during your pull
  • Hitching: Double-movement caused by re-bending the knees
  • Dropping the bar – Don’t drop the bar. Make sure your hands remain on the bar until it is motionless on the ground and control the bar as you bring it to the floor.
  • Missing commands: Lowering the bar before the “Down” command

How To Set Up An Arched Bench

There was a lot of chatter on Instagram today after I put up a video of my bench setup for one of my clients. I was going to post a video and send directly to her, but a lot of the questions that were asked warranted a public Blog/Video.

I do want to note that an arched benchpress is legal, not unhealthy, and a good option for my level of flexibility, limb lengths, and strengths and weaknesses. The ability to arch depends most on hip flexibility rather than just back-bending onto the bench.  Watch the video, give it a try, and let me know your thoughts!

If you want to learn how to arch your bench, check out my video here: 

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