Andrew Serrano – Barbell Brigade Open Meet Recap

I competed in the Barbell Brigade Open over the weekend. Lord Eliot ran a great meet and I had a meet PR in every lift. Having not been on a platform in 4 years and going for much higher numbers since my last meet, I was nervous but that’s pretty normal for me.


The weight cut went super smooth. I didn’t even need to sauna or use water pills, I just followed the water/sodium load in Brian Carroll’s Guide To Cutting Weight and weighed in Saturday morning at 195.7 after starting at 210 on Tuesday. Even though the cut was smooth, I feel like I had trouble getting fully hydrated and my muscles felt tired, this could have been nerves though.


Squats – On my first attempt I timed the knee wrap too close and when I walked up to the bar the judge called ten seconds, so I rushed my set up and when I came up I hitched at a sticking point and got red lighted for it. I took the same 567 for my second and got it easily. The original goal was to break 600 but I didn’t feel confident jumping that much so I took 589 and got it.


Bench – I took my first attempt at 367 and got it, but it felt a lot heavier than I anticipated and that combined with a decent length pause shook my confidence a bit. I went to 385 which was my planned second attempt and got called for my butt coming off the bench. Again I went just shy of my original goal of 400 and got 391.


Deadlifts – I was getting tired which I expected but my confidence for deadlifts was high until I hit my warm ups. PRS Teammate Tucker was there and called my weights for me which helped a lot. There was only a stiff bar available and I worked up to 510 – it felt heavy, I figured I was missing the whip of a deadlift bar but when I took my 585 opener it still felt slow. Had that moved fast I would have called 610 for the second but my goal was to break 600 and having missed my other two by just ten pounds I called 600 for my second attempt and got completely stapled by it, I got the plates about an inch off the floor and fought it for a couple seconds then dropped it. At this point I felt I had nothing to lose and I suddenly felt much more calm than I did the rest of the day. My tunnel vision opened up and I felt much more present, I retook it for a third attempt and it moved faster than the 585 did.


I know what I need to work on, a lot of it being mental. I haven’t discussed when I’ll be competing again with Paul yet but will probably do one in the winter with maybe a tune up meet before then just to get more familiarized with the process. There were a lot of little mistakes on timing with warm ups being done too early and wrapping my knees too close to the platform being ready that I feel affected my lifting. Overall I can’t complain – I hit PRs in each lift, my walk outs – while not great, were worlds better than the last time I competed and something I focused on in training, and even on the lifts that I missed I never got into bad positions. I feel sore today but not hurt like I usually would.


I had a ton of support from everyone on the team here throughout prep and I’m very grateful to have access to these guys. Paul knows his shit when it comes to programming and getting me to not overthink everything. Tucker made some very simple changes to my diet and I leaned out while getting stronger and with better energy and recovery levels. I was able to meet up with Brian during prep and get some form fixes on my lifts that helped a ton. MDLP; he’s just a wise man. I also need to thank Candace Lopez, my acupuncturist for fixing a multitude of issues and being at the meet. And Doctors Michael Rintala, Michael Stromsness, and Locatelli Rao from the DNS community for all their help in understanding certain imbalances that were holding me back. I feel very lucky to have access to this level of resources.


All equipment used was provided by Inzer Advanced Designs the best wraps and belts on the market. And the Belt Crowbar came in really handy as there was nothing to hang onto near the platform.

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Andrew Serrano

Andrew Serrano is a full time trainer, holds a B.S. in exercise science and has worked in almost every facet of the training industry. He is currently competing as a 198lb raw lifter, his meet PRs are 589/391/601. His training is guided by the 10/20/Life philosophy with a focus on sustainable injury free progression.

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