Byrd: Breaking 2500 (Part II)

Heading into the 2016 Arnold I had the best offseasons and meet preps I have ever had. Brian has a lot on his plate, and as far as business and training goes I do my best to help him with it. It helps having an amazing gym and environment to train at with Team Samson. I will forever be in debt to Adam for letting me join. Although Adam has stepped away from competing, he still makes sure the gym is focused on powerlifters and high level competition. We bust each others balls, but that is part of what makes the place great.

My offseason heading into the Arnold was a good one. I did all raw work leading up to it in the squat, mostly using various bars and light wraps. In the deadlift I switched over to raw conventional pulls. With my pec, my bench is always a work in progress and hard to follow a direct plan with raw work. The biggest key was more dumbbell work to see if I could help my pec out some.

Meet prep was all up to Brian. I have a pretty good grasp on coaching others, but when it comes to myself I just push it too hard. This often leads to me having injuries and burnt out by meet day. Leaving things up to Brian has lead me to both of my PR totals since the pec surgery. It is hard to give up that part of your own training, but it has been proven to be the best track. With my countless injuries it was important for me to find someone I trust who could help me stay together. Now I had no idea what it was she was doing, so I got her to explain it for me. It consisted of SASTM (sound assisted soft tissue mobilization) on my pec, front delt, and pec minor with attention to proximal bicep tendon and pec tendon attachments. We also did the same for the quadriceps proximal tendon. Thanks for all your help Kathy!

I had wanted to get up to 290lbs this training cycle, but fail short of that. The most I saw on the scale was 285 and only had about a 10lb weight cut for the Arnold. I weighed in at 270.6, and immediately went to putting the weight back on. A large group of us went to Cracker Barrel to eat. I had a lot of trouble keeping food down all week in Columbus. I feel like I got some sort of stomach virus while there. It kept me near a bathroom at all times, and even had me throwing up a fair amount on Thursday night. Even still I managed to force myself to take on fluids, and eat food. Before bed I hit 285 on the scale, and felt like I was in a good place.

The night of the meet I got a decent amount of sleep, and seem to be well rested. We got there pretty early to hang around the booth and just get a feel for everything. The meet actually moved at a decent pace for the number of lifters going.

Game plan for the meet: I need to be at least 5-6 going into the deadlift. I have safe 2nd attempts that even without thirds I can get to a 2500 total!

Squats went well warming up. Everything was on track, but like always I get to depth way too easy. Most lifters have to work to get to depth, and even myself am high sometimes in training. On meet day though, never an issue. I took 700s in full gear to depth with no problem. Took 850 as my last warm up, and was ready for the platform.

965 good
1015 miss!
1015 good

arnold squat

I missed 1015 my second attempt! I got lazy, my upper back didnt stay tight and got forward. My second attempt at 1015 I knew the depth was not going to be an issue, but I was ALL OVER THE PLACE! This was the first and only squat I have ever grinned out! I am just not a grinder, but I was not going up on that squat!

Warm ups felt great, everything was moving well.
590 to the 1board
680 to the 1board

Now I have not had anything below the 1/2 board in this shirt, but having Paul Key in your corner on the bench, I knew I would be fine.

720 opener good
750 good
775 miss

arnold bench

SHIT! I lost my temper a little bit here, I really needed the 3rd bench after my mistake on the squat. A lot of things went wrong on the 775, but I had no reason to miss that weight. It was a safe number, but I blew it!

I got some good rest between the bench and deadlifts. Made sure to ice my hands down well so that grip would not be an issue. Lisa stayed in my ear all day about eating and drinking fluids. I am bad about this on meet day, and I am really thankful for her help. Things might have been much different without her being a pain in the ass haha!

Dead warm ups went good. I took 585 as my last warm up.

675 miss!
675 good
735 good

arnold 1

Another screw up! I was simply forward on the pull, and tipped forward at the top. No excuses, I screwed it up. The second attempt was just as easy, but it left me with a decision to make. The top 3 were out of reach for me, but I knew that I could pull 760 if things were right. the 760 would have given me a top 20 all time total. 735 gives me 2500 exactly and 740 gives me 2505 and just over my training partner Clint Smith’s best total. I really wanted to go to 760, but its one of those bang or bust. If I pull it I look smart, if I miss I am the dumbass that threw away 2500. I played it smart, pulled 735 like it was an opener and took my 2500. With that being said, I promise I will be back for more.

So whats next? I really am not sure, but a meet in the near future is the goal. I feel healthy, better than I ever have after a meet. Right now I am really pushing for Brian to be more selfish. The guy busted his ass all Arnold weekend helping us, making sure the team was taken care of. Hopefully he takes my advice and lets us carry some of the load for him as he takes on the 242 total record!

Take aways from the meet! First thing is that I am my own worst enemy, and I mean that in the worse way possible. I really think of myself as a good coach, but I cant coach myself to save my life! Every single PR total I have hit since my pec was with Brian coaching me and Paul Key doing my bench. So why get away from that? This was the best I have ever felt and without a few mistakes I could have been looking at 2550+! So now I stay the course, I trust the people I surround myself with and let them think for me. If Brian asks for my input on his training, why the hell cant I check my ego and let him take care of mine. So for now on its hands off. I will do what needs to be done to get that end goal number!

Thank you to the entire PRS team! Thank you for all the people who text, called, and stopped by to see me during the weekend. It always makes me feel good to know that people care, and are rooting for me. Thanks to Chelsea for sending up a surprise thing of food for the team! Lisa, I really appreciate you sucking it up after the squat and being my sidekick. I know thats not hard to do, but you are a hell of a teammate. Todd, I appreciate you helping out my client and for the help with the refuel! Beth, thanks for all the work on the platform! Jason, I give you shit but you did a hell of a job! Jason took on handling both Brian and myself for the first time! Nikki and Ria thanks for working the video for me, I would have probably not got the 3rd squat attempt if I had not seen that video. Tuesday, you make a great PB&J! Conrad, you are the man…thanks for all the work you put in. Will stepped up big and helped a lot on meet day, and of course Paul Key for coaching my bench! Adam Driggers, honestly I would have probably given up lifting if not for Team Samson, thank you!

I am sure I have missed several people, but please dont be offended it was not intentional. If you helped, text, called, stopped by, even followed along on social media, THANK YOU!

HUGE thanks to Inzer Advance Designs for the best gear on the planet! Inzer has been SO good to TeamPRS! The SDP, LUP, Preds, doulble grippers.. cannot be beat!

Now its time to work on 2600.

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Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd is a competitive powerlifter, with over 16 years of training experience. Byrd has been ranked nationally for the past 6 years under multiple categories. His total has ranked as high as second nationally in the 275 class. He currently has a best total of 2500lbs. Best individual lifts include a 1040lb squat, a 750lb bench press, and 735lb deadlift. His 1040lb squat ranks him 26th all-time squats at the 308 class. Jonathan currently trains out of Team Samson Gym in Jacksonville, FL. Before powerlifting Jonathan was a college athlete at Methodist University as both an all-conference football player and track athlete. Following graduation he played four years of arena football in various leagues.
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