Lab Rat – THE MEET in PR City – Part 1

Three and a half months later it was time to step back onto the platform.  This was one of the quickest returns I’ve had, especially considering I just came back from a year hiatus.  During that time my overall health was improved and I dropped a weight class.  At the APF Equipped Nationals (June 17th) I totaled 1631lbs however I knew weight was left on the platform and was eager to claim it. Bert and Mindy always run an outstanding meet so lifting at the RPS Chalk & Iron was a no brainer.

As always, I beat my alarm Saturday morning and slowly worked my way out of bed.  Once my feet hit the ground I felt great, stepped on the scale and saw 261 lbs.  Perfect.  The previous day was filled with more Gatorade than a typical football team consumes, plenty of water and button popping amounts of food.  Byrd and I checked the flight details, to no surprise he was at the end of the third squat flight, shockingly I was stacked right in the middle.  The meet had a 9:30 start giving us plenty of time to grab breakfast and make our way to the warm-up room.

My squat warm-ups were interesting to say the least.  Meet day is treated no different than any other Saturday training session.  I commandeered some space and kicked things off with the McGill Big 3.  Sets with an empty bar were skipped as I went straight to 155 for 2 sets of 5 followed by 245 and 335.  At this point we were notified there would be a break between the 2nd flight and 3rd.  Knowing I only had three warm up sets left things were shut down.  After waiting a little while I did a set with 245 then 335 to find out there was another delay in the start.  At this point I was rather annoyed and voiced my dislike for multi-ply lifters to Byrd. HA!  As Adam Driggers always states –

I got the ball rolling for my third and final set of warm-ups with 335.  Jumped to 425 for a double then got in light wraps for 515, which felt like shit.  Thoughts of earning the notorious “BOMB SQUAD” shirt ran through my head.

OPENING ATTEMPT was set to 262.5 kg (578.7 lbs).  Brian and Clint were responsible for spinning Black Beauties over my knees and Danny Belmore kept me updated on my position in the flight along with ensuring I had everything needed.  As I approached the bar any doubt that ran through my head after the last warm up was gone, I knew this would be a big day.  578 felt light once un-racked.  Once the squat command was given I broke my hips, sat back into the wraps then exploded out of the hole.  3 whites.

SECOND ATTEMPT was set at 277.5kg (611.8 lbs).  I’ve been known to get into my head and “miss” the lift before it ever started so Brian took care of entering all my attempts and did one hell of a job.  Execution of this lift mirrored my opener and it was another easy lift.  3 whites and a small PR.  While walking off the platform Danny said that moved easier than the previous lift and questioned why that wasn’t my opening attempt.

THIRD ATTEMPT was a lofty, yet possible 287.5 kg (633.8 lbs).  Clint and Brian gave me the perfect knee wrap and the rest was on me.  As I was cranking my belt and starting to dial in mentally both reminded me about keeping my upper back tight, elbows down and head back.  Brian told me it would slow down on the way up and I had to ensure the advice just given was adhered to if I wanted the lift. The weight felt surprisingly light on my back as it was un-racked.  Again, I sat back into the wraps and exploded out of the hole while forcing my knees out.  As Brian called I started to slow down on the way up and remembered the ques.  After a quick fight, 633.8 lbs was set back into the monolift and the “Good Lift” announcement was made.  3 whites and a HUGE PR.

Stay tuned for Bench and Deadlift!


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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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