Jason Kowalewski – The Meet

I just wrapped up pre-contest training and my cut to compete at the RPS Central Florida PHG Throwdown May 26th in Orlando, FL.  I’ll be looking to improve on my performance at the RPS Chalk & Iron September 28th where I tied my best total of 1653.4 lbs (squat – 633.8 lbs, bench 435.4 x lbs. deadlift – 584.2 lbs) at a bodyweight of 241.6 lbs vs. 268 lbs.

I couldn’t have asked for a better re-feed as I woke up Saturday morning feeling refreshed and sitting at 263.8lbs, slightly above my training weight.  Perfect!  Brian, Mike and I got the morning started a little early to ensure there would be ample time to make any necessary adjustments at the venue.  You never know what will happen and as the saying goes better safe than sorry.  Breakfast wasn’t anything out of the norm, just a larger quantity knowing I had more time to disgest compared to a typical Satruday training session and needed more fuel for the day.  IHOP is always a staple with waffles, french toast, eggs and bacon.

We arrived to at the meet venue (CTX Fitness) around 8:30 due to the typical I-4 Orlando traffic..  Brian and Ria setup a booth to sling some 10/20/Life and PRS Swag which worked well as it gave fellow teammate Ben Sheard and myself a command center for drink, food and gear storage.  Trust me it’s always nice to commandeer a corner away from the chaos of the warmup room so you can ‘get away’ between lifts.  My opening attempt of 265kg (584.22lbs) put me smack dab in the middle of the third flight.  Over the next half hour or so several members from Team Samson arrived to support / handle, during this time there was some quality conversation, jokes and of course focus on hydration.

Once the second flight started rolling my warmup routine kicked off.  As mentioned in my earlier training logs I condesned my knee rehab/prehab to accomodate conditions I expected to find at the meet venue.  Blood got flowing with a few sets of banded TKE’s followed by Peterson Squats.  After wrapping up focus on my knee two rounds of the staple McGill Big 3 were performed then I was under an empty bar.  The warmup room was rather chaotic with 23 lifters, 1 monolift and 1 powerrack with a monolift attachement.  In a effort to avoid some of the ‘madness’ I opted to walk out some squats using an empty power rack.  After a few sets with 1 plate, 2 plates and 3 plates then I jumped in line for the monolift.  425lbs was my last warmup in knee sleeves which felt ok..  Shane Ford was responsible for wrapping my knees and did one hell of a job!  Thank you again!  I took 535 as my last warmup then grabbed chair close to the platform, sipped Gatorade and waited.  As always, Brian was right there reminding me what needed to be done setup and execution wise, I was ready.

Squat Opener – 265kg (584.2 lbs)  Good lift, we’re in the meet.

Upon unracking the bar felt light on my back.  After a quick wait for a ‘squat’ command I got my air, broke my hips and started sitting back.  I made sure this was deep enough to leave no questions.  Upon turning around and pushing out of the hole I felt solild and locked in.  After a fairly easy rep I found the rack and was in the meet.

Squat 2nd Attempt 280kg (617.3 lbs)  No Lift

Attending a meeting with the support of not only one but two teams leaves little for you to do other than lift.  With that said Brian took responsiblity of calling my numbers knowing the end goal was a 1700lbs  total he called for 280kg.  Again, the weight felt light on my back and the confidence to handle the attempt was there however I ran out of steam in the transition and the spotters had to grab it.  Looking back this is a smilar area to my 585 miss several weeks back.  Side note, this is something to look into for off-season structuring.

Squat 3rd Attempt 280kg (617.3 lbs) No Lift

Unfortuantly a bigger number wasn’t in the cards for the day.  Based on the video it appears I got back on my heels coming out of the hole and couldn’t save it at that point.  At this point the frustration was already setting in as I knew it would be impossible to go 1700.

 

As mentioned above I was rather frustrated with my performance knowing my goal was already out of reach.  My last heavy bench training session was promising, thinking there was a PR at 242 and possibly an all time PR on the table I got my head on straigth and went to salvage the meet.  Bench warmups are alwasy quick so we let the 2nd flight get moving before I got under a bar.  The warmup routine was simple – 2 sets with the bar, 2 sets with 1 plate, 2 sets with 2 plates, 275 x 2, 315 x 1, 365 x 1.

Opening Bench 180kg (396.8 lbs) – Good Lift

Everything felt solid and locked in during the warmups.  Upon stepping on the platform I noticed the bench was on a wood olympic platform, no big deal.. or was it?  As I started getting on my traps and setting my feet I could feel my shoes sliding around.  I tried to set a few more times and couldn’t find traction.  To counter this I pulled my feet back to activate less leg drive.  Start, Press, Rack.  Good lift.  This moved MUCH slower than expected but I had little to no leg drive so I wasn’t concerned.  I told Brian what happend (he noticed) and called the next attempt.

Bench 2nd Attempt 190kg (418.9 lbs) – No Lift

Between attempts I switched to a new pair of Adidas shoes (more grip) and grabbed a bottle of StickUm.  Shane applied a generous layer of spray however i still pulled my feet back so in fear of sliding.  Not quite sure what happend however the bar stalled around a 3board (my forever sticking point) and just stayed there.  I couldn’t get it pressed any higher nor was I letting it drop.  Unfortuantly, that doesn’t count for much.  No Lift.

Bench 3rd Attempt 190kg (418.9 lbs) – Good Lift

Feeling how that last attempt moved (or didn’t move, is the glass half full or half empty?) we all knew a PR was out of question for the day, yet another blow to my intentions of the day.  Coming back to nail a missed lift on the next attempt was a good feeling though, mentally we were still there.  I will say the old me would have succumb to the situation at hand.

Deadlifts.  Joy.  To be completely honest at this point I was just ready for the day to be over.  My subtotal was ~ 80lbs off where i needed to be for the total I wanted so there was no salvaging the day.  Several teammates tried to get the fire going and shoot for a small deadlift PR but I just wasn’t having it.

Deadlift Opener 242.5kg (534.6 lbs) – Good lift

Based on how I was physically feeling and my warmups the fear of missing my opener crossed my mind.  After setting up on the bar, wedging and executing the lift I got the down command.  This moved MUCH easier than 495 in the warmup room.  Not earning the bomb squat shirt yet!

Deadlift 2nd Attempt 277.5kg (611.8lbs) – No Lift

After talking to fellow teammates a small deadlift PR seemed like a great way to conclude a less than desirable day.  I’ve pulled 606 at 242 so we made the smallest kilo jump above that.  I knew this was going to be a fight and mentally I’m not sure I was ready for it as it didn’t mean much to me, I couldn’t shift my focus from the total.  I got a solid wedge but my hips shot up, back rounded and I shut it down.

 

I walked away from the meet venue injury free so the day could have gone much worse all things considred.  There’s no question I didn’t perform to my prdefined expectations.  Not all meets go according to plan, I may not have taken away the total I was lookign for however the lessons learned will prove to be far more valuable.

Team Samson had one hell of a showing to support and make the day as successful as possible.  Brian/Ria, Mike/Lexi, Shane/Missy, Filipe thank you for taking the time to help make this day a success, it’s very appreciated!  Looking forward to returning the favor.

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Jason Kowalewski

Jason Kowalewski is an up and coming raw powerlifter residing in Jacksonville, Florida where he trains with Team Samson. In his younger years he was a “gear head” who built his first drag car before obtaining a driver’s license. Within the last 6 years his primary focus has shifted from motorsports to powerlifting. Jason began training under Brian’s tutelage in February 2013. He was actually one of the initial test subjects, hence the name Lab Rat. Since then he has seen significant improvements on all lifts with his commitment to Brian and the 10/20/Life methodology. To date his best total is 1653.4lbs via 633.8lb squat, 435.4lb bench and 584.9lb deadlift at 242lbs.
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