Off week fun

Back to training. I recently “competed” at the XPC on March 3rd, but did not get to finish the meet. I have my sights set on a meet on May 26th in Orlando, and will begin my prep for that next week. Typically after a meet I like to have a decent off season to build myself up a little bit before entering a meet prep, but in this case I didn’t finish a meet and made a decision to jump right back into a prep for what I know will be a much more successful meet. Strength wasn’t the issue, it was a bunch of technical faults during prep that caused me to have a terrible meet. May 26th, redemption is 1o weeks away at this time.

Before this week, I hadn’t touched a weight since March 3rd since I took a nice long vacation after the meet. I suggest everyone take some time like that if possible after a meet, but I’ll touch on that in an article at a later point in time.

Monday March 12th was my first day back in the gym, and I decided to do a bunch of high volume sumo pulls just to get my legs back into the swing of things. I warm up and cool down with the McGill Big 3 before and after every training session for core stability, one of my big weak points. I felt pretty strong just doing pulls of 405 for sets of 8, and followed up with some DB rows and light leg presses.

Thursday I decided to have some fun and see what I could comfortably hit raw on bench press. I changed my setup on bench to something where my butt would be next to impossible to come off the bench. I never want to bomb out on bench for that reason again, and I found a comfortable setup that I am going to stick with for a while. I hit a pretty smooth PR on bench of 365, something I hadn’t even tried before since I usually was stuck around the 350 mark in my last raw meet. Got fairly excited about how it moved so I naturally threw a bench shirt on and hit 5 plates to a 2 board. During meet prep for XPC, I missed that weight more than a few times in training. I was happy with those for that day and didn’t want to push my luck, I’ll get after the heavy benches with my new setup in the next coming weeks. I followed up those benches with some close grip sets of 5, and some banded tricep pressdowns.


Sticking with the off week of raw fun stuff, I came into Saturday with the idea of hitting a comfortable raw squat. It’s been a while since I’ve done any heavy(ish) raw squats but they felt good all day. My best raw squat in a meet was 611, so I worked up to 600 for a good single. It moved very well, but I held back from going any heavier. I’m definitely comfortable with what I can still accomplish raw. For me, the satisfaction of hitting a raw PR just does not match the satisfaction of finally hitting an equipped PR.

I usually never go off the plan of my programming, but I wanted to see where I was at before starting prep next week. I’m happy with where I am at, and look forward to starting my preparation for this meet in 10 weeks. I definitely see myself going over the 2,000lb total mark that has been escaping me for the last few meets that I have done.

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Ben Sheard

Ben Sheard started powerlifting at age 13, competing in single ply from 1999-2004 back in his home state of Ohio. He started powerlifting again in 2014 after struggling with substance abuse/addiction for over 10 years. Competing as a raw powerlifter, he achieved an Elite Total at 198 lbs. Best raw lifts at 198 are 611 squat, 352 bench, and a 606 lb deadlift. Recently made a transition to Multi-Ply in 2017. Coached by Brian Carroll using 10/20 Life, he achieved a Pro Total in his most recent meet at 198lbs. Best equipped lifts in a meet are an 804 squat, a weak 463 bench, and a 700lb deadlift. He is a NASM certified PT, but works full time as a Supervisor at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Deerfield Beach, FL. Currently training out of Boynton Barbell Center in Boynton Beach, FL. Ben will be competing next at the XPC Pro Day in Columbus, where he looks to secure a 2,000+ lb total at 198.

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