Jan 27, 2013

This past Saturday I attended my first powerlifting meet at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Newark, NJ. I did not compete but I got a chance to watch my friend and fellow iron addict, Bryan Tompkins, pull 3 times his bodyweight in his first meet ever. Needless to say, I spent the better part of the day in a conference room with a bunch of super strong dudes lifting heavy weight. It was so intense I wanted to either lift something heavy myself or punch some one in the face. I couldn't decide.

Anyway, after filming a few mind-blowing lifts I interviewed Bryan and here is the interview and the highlights:

Franco: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your training philosophy, and where you train.

BT: I just want to start off by thanking you for coming out and supporting me during my first meet. My name is Bryan Tompkins, from East Orange NJ, and I'm a Strength Coach/Kettlebell Coach. I'm am also the co-owner of Full Metal Athletics.

I started training when I was a sophomore in high school with some of my friends and like a lot of people, had no real clue what I was doing. I thought squatting would stunt my growth and had no idea what a deadlift was.

Right now now my training philosophy is pretty simple; to be as strong and mobile as possible. I lift heavy and do a crap load of mobility and foam rolling. I also love using kettlebells and bodyweight movements.

I train a few times per week at Plaza Fitness in Bloomfield - love that place. I also train at the Underground Strength Gym in Edison on Saturdays - another excellent training facility.

Franco: How did you prepare for this meet, was it nerve racking being it was your first one, and why did you choose to only perform the deadlift?

BT: My prep was mostly submax work. I deadlifted with my coach, Riz, on Saturdays, and I followed Joe Meglio's deadlift program 2 days per week. Last time I actually maxed out was in September at a friend's 1 rep max day. I pulled 520 and it was ugly. I couldn't even watch the video.

My nerves were not that bad, it was the deload week that really sucked. I thought I was getting weaker. I wasn't nervous until right before the deadlifts started, but once I started warming up I was good. I knew I was ready.

I only deadlifted because I never bench and I couldn't train my squat because I had sprained my knee. Squatting is probably my second favorite lift. I rarely bench.

Franco: How did you decide on the weight for your opening lift?

BT: The decision for the weight was made by my coach, Riz. It was a weight I pulled before and it would be easy enough to build my confidence. I didn't know how everything worked at a meet and even though he was competing himself, he still was able to help me out. I appreciated that.

Franco: How did it feel knowing you were about to deadlift 3x your bodyweight and how did it feel afterwards?

BT: It felt like all my work and time was about to pay off. It was a dream, a surreal moment. I was confident that I was going to lift it. I had no choice but to lift it. There was no way I wasn't going to lock it out. Watching the video afterwards, it seemed like it wasn't me.

Franco: After attending your first meet will there be more meets in the future, maybe squat and bench?

BT: Yeah I loved competing. I'll see about doing one or two more meets that are deadlift only this year. I have full ROM in my squats, pain free, so I'll slowly get back into that. I'll also start imrpoving my bench press. Hopefully some time next year I'll do a full meet.

Franco: Is there a new PR goal you have in mind?

BT: I'd say the next time I max out I want to pull at least 600. I have an ongoing competition with my training partner, Stevie, in Washington state. We send videos of our training back and forth and it helps keep us motivated. He can't pull as much as I can now, and if I want to keep it that way I'll have to keep getting stronger. I want to pull 650 and 700 at my current weight [191]. I'd also like a 400 squat. I was pretty close to that before I hurt my knee.

Franco: Any final thoughts or words of wisdom for the iron junkies out there?

BT: I'd say if you are on the fence about doing a powerlifting meet or anything else worthwhile, don't second guess it. My first meet was an excellent experience. All of the other lifters were supportive. It was a crazy adrenaline rush too. Also never doubt yourself, because when you doubt it'll lead to failure. If you want something you have to work for it. No excuses. I would also like to thank RPS for putting on an amazing meet, and thank everybody who has supported me and kept me motivated. Especially my girl Jessica who never doubts me, coach Riz for training me every Saturday, coach Megz for putting out a great deadlift program, and all my training partners too. I'd like to thank you and Javon for coming out to the meet and supporting me too.

Well, there you have it. Strong words from a strong man. I want to personally thank Bryan for allowing me the pleasure of watching him compete and for being kind enough to do an interview with me after. Remember people, make yourself a plan and follow through. Embrace the blood, sweat, and tears and relish the rewards. It helps to have a strong support system as well. Keep smashing PR's.

In Strength,
Franco Crincoli


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Franco Crincoli
I am a personal trainer, strength coach, and all around iron addict, with a philosophy deeply rooted in old school methods. My training has been influenced by strongmen, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, gymnasts, and the Golden Era bodybuilders. I believe in reaping the greatest rewards the simplest (not easiest) way possible and having fun doing it.
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