Competition Shenanigans: Part II

By Daniel Dalenberg

More stories from the warm up room and the platform! After Dain’s recent article about interesting, silly and some downright unintelligible things he had seen over 15+ years of competing, the PRS team decided to all pitch in and do some story telling. It’s all in good fun, anyone who has been competing for very long probably started out making some of these same mistakes and have almost certainly seen these made at one time or another.

“I was at a push/pull meet where one of the lifters had emailed the meet director exclaiming that he was going to beat all the records. The record deadlift was well over 800 pounds and this lifter had signed up as a 181, so we were all very excited to watch the show.

The lifter showed up with a bag full of gear and generally bad attitude, pacing around the room all day, trying to intimidate the other lifters. Bar loaded to 135 and a huge yell is heard from the warm up room “PULL HARDER.” Every set after, the same battle cry.

Strangely, his opener was set under 600 pounds, a far cry from the 800+ pound record pull. The stage is set, lifter called and like clockwork, “PULL HARDER.” Apparently gravity got turned up, the bar was glued to the floor. Next attempt, same song and dance and same result. He packed up his bag and left the meet right after.”

“I was handling a large group of lifters but still managed to notice that a “raw” lifter was pulling on a pair of compression shorts over his briefs. He  was  a big strong kid. It was odd to see because normally we’ll put compression shorts under briefs and you really shouldn’t wear briefs when you’re competing raw. I think they call that cheating.  For those that have never worn briefs, the groove changes and it changes the rate of descent. It’s pretty easy to spot. I’m very interested in seeing how this was going to play out.  He has his training partner wrap his knees for his first attempt. He takes it out and starts the slow descent of a geared squat. Doesn’t hit depth because it locks up like a good pair would. He hammers it up and gets reds for depth. Obviously upset because he thought he was deep enough he complains to the head judge and meet director. Neither of which are idiots. The head judge asks him to take his singlet off. He protests a little bit eventually does. After it’s become apparent that he’s in briefs instead of disqualifying him they just adjust him into the geared category. He still protests saying they’re only compression shorts but doesn’t really put up too much of a fight.  He proceeds to bomb out on the squat and leaves. He leaves his training partner who was also competing to fend for himself. I offer to help the guy and he was a pleasure to work with, a new guy that was strong and eager to learn.”

Recently at a meet, I noticed that the first flight of lifters was very inexperienced and didn’t have much help in the warm up room. An eager bunch, but it was starting to get a little dangerous. With the guy I was handling lifting in the 4th flight of the day, I decided my crew could help out these newer lifters and keep them safe. After all, someone did it for all of us at one point!

One lifter was having a heck of a time getting setup in the monolift. He would setup way too far forward or backward, and have serious balance issues right after the unrack. Finally, towards the end of his warmups, he takes a 275 single, loses it forward and jumps out from underneath the bar, leaving it in my arms to catch and put away. Not a great move to do to a complete stranger who was trying to help you!

It got better as squatting went on. This lifter was clearly having some confidence issues. He actually took his opener in the warm up room  before hitting the platform. After the his opener, he ran back to the warmup and loaded the second attempt. Took it and then took it again on the platform. Same thing on the 3rd attempt! Now, he did miss the platform 3rd attempt, but I would say 5/6 isn’t bad! Just imagine the weights he could have moved had he saved all that energy rather than taking 6 competitions squats.

Regarding the meet I did in someone’s backyard, the story follows: I drove out of state to do a meet early in my lifting career. It was a Deadlift only meet. I arrived at the venue, having already paid for the meet of course, to find the meet was in a guy’s back yard. The area we were deadlifting at was a short sidewalk directly behind a door going in to a screened in porch on the back of the house. The deadlift area was about two feet in front of the screen door. This was the same door we would go in to the guys house if we needed to change or use the toilet. So, you can imagine trying to lift with people going in and out of the house through the same door in the same area where the deadlifting was taking place. It was annoying to say the least.

While warming up to deadlift I noticed the ground seemed uneven and the bar was rolling away from me. Sure enough the sidewalk was nowhere near level. We had to put two small plates behind the 45 pound plates on the deadlift bar to prevent the loaded barbell from rolling away from us as we lifted. The plates were resting on thin mats over grass on either side of the sidewalk. Again, more uneven ground.

With so many people going in to use the meet director’s bathroom, the toilet backed up and overflowed onto the floor. You can imagine how bad that was with powerlifters. Public restrooms with heavy duty plumbing, multiple toilets and urinals can’t withstand the onslaught of powerlifters let alone one toilet in someone’s home. It wasn’t much longer and everyone started talking about how bad the area smelled. It smelled like a sewer. Soon we discovered the meet directors yard being filled with overflowing sewage from his septic tank which apparently had not been emptied in some time. My gym bag was resting in this sewage filled wasteland of a yard. Needless to say I threw out the gym bag and everything in it. I ended up lifting well on this day and saw a few other very impressive lifts despite lifting conditions that literally stunk!

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Daniel Dalenberg

Dan Dalenberg is a pro level raw and equipped powerlifter with elite totals in the 220, 242 and 275 class. Best official raw meet lifts include an 804 squat, 507 bench press, 715 dead lift and 2006 total. Best equipped lifts include an 950 squat, 715 bench, 735 deadlift and 2400 total at 242. Dan has been training under Brian's guidance using the 10/20/Life methodology since late 2010.
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