Back in December, I was bored with my workouts. That’s when the guys at work approached me about competing in a power lifting meet. I agreed and thought it would be an experience to train for! Something I have never done before 🙂

So my quest for the powerlifting meet started. I promised myself two things:                     1. Train smart.                                                                                                                                   2. Don’t try to chase numbers.                                                                                                       Well I didn’t follow either one. I did however learn about overtraining and unrealistic goal setting.


Bench= Starting number: 90 lbs x 1                            Goal: 135 lbs (body weight)     Deadlift: Starting number: 225 lbs x 1                        Goal:  275 lbs (PR was 225 x 1)       Back Squat: Starting number: 135 lbs x 1 (BW)         Goal: 135+


I followed Jim Wendler’s 5 3 1 Program.

Here is how you determine your numbers:

Max Weight: weight                                                   Working Max: ( weight x .90) =  wmax**

** Your lifts are based off of your working max numbers

Week 1: 65% x %, 75% x 5, 85% x 5+                         Week 2: 70% x 3, 80% x3, 90% x 3+                      Week 3: 75% x 5, 85% x 3, 95% x 1+                                                                                        Week 4: Deload Week



If you are going to train for a power lifting meet, do power lifts. I thought I was doing everything right, until I realized that I was overtraining. I was working out with a client 2x week, did my power lifts 2x week,  1 hr-conditioning 2x week, and rock-climbing 1x week. After 7 weeks of doing that, I was wondering why my lifts weren’t feeling better. I was not doing enough soft tissue work to keep up with my workouts and I ended up hurting my shoulder. I stuck to 2x week training starting at Week 11.


This was a challenge for me because I was so set on the initial goals I set, that when it came to final weeks of training I didn’t want to be chasing numbers. It was an accomplishment to train for this meet, and all the weight that I lifted were PR’s, but I needed to get my mind right for the meet or I would been discouraged. My goals for the meet were: Bench: 100+ Deadlift 260+ Back Squat: 140+


My biggest regret is training for the bench without the pause. As I was doing the 5 3 1 program, my numbers were going up every week. Then I started incorporating the pause into my workouts and it took 20 lbs off my bench press. If I had practiced how it was going to be in the meet, I feel like I would have been more prepared for my third lift.


Back Squat Attempt 1: 137.8 lbs          Attempt 2: 148.8 lbs          Attempt 3: 170.9 lbs Bench Press: Attempt 1: 88.2 lbs      Attempt 2: 99.6  (PR)        Attempt 3: 110.2  (no good) Deadlift: Attempt 1: 225 lbs       Attempt 2: 248.2 lbs      Attempt 3: 264.6 lbs (PR!)

The meet came and went. I had such a blast!  I had to keep reminding myself that the competition was me against the bar, not the other competitors.  My goals the day of the meet were to get my best numbers. To say the least, I ended up winning first place for the women’s division and first in my weight class (I think I was the only one in my weight class). It was like no other competition I had competed in. It was me against the bar and you either pick it up or you don’t. I decided to pick it up.


Week 1: Deadlift = 120 x 5; 140 x 5; 160 x 10         Bench= 55 x 5; 70 x 5; 80 x 13           Week 2:Deadlift: 130 x 3; 150 x 3; 170 x 10            Bench: 65 x 3; 75 x 3; 85 x 11            Week 3:Deadlift: 150 x 5; 170 x 3; 190 x 3             Bench: 95 x 5; 100 x 3, 100 x 1 (w/ pause)                                                                                                                                              Week 4: DELOAD

Week 5:Deadlift: 130 X 5; 150 X 5; 170 X 7                       Bench: 70 X 5; 80 X 5; 90 X 7  Week 6: Deadlift: 140 x 3; 160 x 3; 180x 10                      Bench: missed lift (sick)         Week 7: Deadlift: 160 x 5; 180 x 3; 205 x 3 (reset)          Bench: 75 x 5; 85 x 3; 85 x 3   Week 8: DELOAD

Week 9: Deadlift: 135 x 5; 160 x 5; 185 x 8 (reset)       Bench: 70 x 5; 80 x 5; 95 x 5 (pauses) Week 10: Deadlift: 150 x 3; 170 x 3; 195 x 3               Bench: 80 x 3; 100 x 3; 110 x 1 ( pause) Week 11: Deadlift: 135 x 5; 150 x 3; 185 x 1; 205 x 1; 225 x 1; 230 x 1 (PR!)                   Bench: 90 x 5; 100 x 2; 115 x 1+ (failed attempt)                                                                  Week 12: DELOAD (rest shoulder up)

Week 13: Deadlift: 135 x 5 (warmup); 185 x 3; 225 x 1; 240 x 1; 255 x 1 (PR)!               Bench: no lift — injured shoulder                                                                                                Week 14: Deadlift: 135 x 5; 185 x 3; 225 x 1; 245 x 1; 265 x 1 (failed attempt)                         Bench: 45 x 5; 55 x 5; 75 x 3; 85 x 3; 95 x 1 (pauses)                                                                 Week 15: WEEK BEFORE THE MEET (Tapering)

Recommended Reading:

All About The Bench Press by Jim Wendler

How To Build Pure Strength


About trainwickedhard

About Me: My name is Ana Tocco. I am a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. I graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology and walked on to the Womens' Rowing team where I dedicated three years to my athletic career. We were a successful crew winning A-10 Championship, Dad Vail Regatta, and US Rowing Collegiate Championship races. Before college, I played soccer and basketball and I still have the passion of team sports. I completed my internships at BNS Sports Science in Salem, MA and Athletic Evolution in Woburn ,MA. I was a Personal Trainer at FitCorp and currently am a Strength Coach/ Personal Trainer at Boyle's Strength and Conditioning Facility. I am RKC(Russian Kettlebell Challenge) Certified, a Functional Movement Specialist (FMS), and have my NSCAA Level IV Soccer Coaching Diploma and am a goalkeeper coach for Arlington High, Arlington, MA. If you are interested in working together to meet your fitness goals contact me at My specialties include: Kettlebell Training, Strength and Conditioning, Functional Training, Circuit Training, Weight Loss, and Muscular Endurance Training.
This entry was posted in PRs, Strength Training. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. coachstevo says:

    Um… awesome sauce!!!

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