Category Archives: Competition

Kettlebell Garage Comp 7/9/13

Yesterday was the KBG‘s 2nd comp in Melbourne. My original plan was to do the powerlifting comp a few weeks ago, then take time off heavy lifting to work on my kettlebell training for this comp. Unfortunately I had the flu for 2+weeks, and this past week was my first full week of training after 3 weeks off. I spent the week doing dedicated powerlifting training for my next PL comp, and only a small amount of kettlebell technique work.

So because of all this, I only entered long cycle at 14kg. I know I should easily be able to do 16kg or even 18kg by now, but I wanted to enjoy this comp, rather than suffer through it. I like to support KBG’s local comps. They have a good friendly vibe, and even if you are not planning to get a personal best, you can go along to have some fun and get a bit of lifting done too.

So I did 14kg with 50 reps on the left side and 53 on the right. I was going to stop at 50 on the right, but I had 30 or so seconds to go, so I just slowed down and did a few more. After the first 2 minutes I sped up a bit, and by the time I switched hands, I was quite happy with the faster pace.

I found it quite tiring towards the end. I joke with my clients that the last minute is the Death Minute. But yesterday it was the last 3 minutes that were Death Minutes! It was all good though. I just had to remind myself that it was only 14kg, I was not aiming for a set number of reps, and all I had to concentrate on was technique.

I did not video myself this time, since I was not making rank or anything. I could feel my left arm was doing an ok job of locking out. My right arm struggled at times, but with a lot of concentration, I could get that elbow to lock out about 60% of the time. That is much better than what my right side used to be able to do. I know if I added 1 or 2 dedicated KB sessions to my program I could improve more, but I am sick of getting sick (twice already this year!) so I need to think more about recovery than adding in more stuff. So for now I will continue to do KBs for fun when I feel like it.

Everyone got an orange KBG tshirt, which is really good quality. I’ll be wearing it a lot this summer!


There was also some peanut butter, from a guy there who’s from a peanut butter place.


There was a mini deadlift comp at the end. Of course, with 3 weeks off training, I shouldn’t’ve expected much, but I still hoped for a PB. I pulled 125kg easy, 130kg with some effort, and failed 142.5kg, putting it down after a long struggle atย shin height. I was not happy with this, although I should not have been surprised. James pulled 160kg with one arm (both arms)!

Looking forward to the next KB comp! Hopefully it will fit nicely into my regular programming so I can make some dedicated effort into training ๐Ÿ™‚

Melbourne’s Strongest Man And Woman 2013

Yesterday was MSM&W, held at Defo Gym. The only training I had done was a few regular barbell clean and jerks (not heavy, just for technique) and on Monday I did some axle clean and jerks – I got up to 2 reps at 40kg. So… I wasn’t exactly trained for a day of extreme conditioning, high reps of things, dragging sleds and running with sandbags etc. I didn’t care. I wasn’t in it to compete as such, just to have a bit of fun.

So long story short – I came last, as expected.

Here’s the recap:

1st event – Sled Drag
There was some weight on a sled (maybe 60kg?). We had to drag it up a slight incline, and every 20 metres or so remove a weight plate. My quads felt like jelly after this. My legs can take pretty much anything, so this was an amusing surprise.

2nd event – Deadlifts
There were 3 barbells loaded at different weights (for us 70+kg girls they were 125kg, 100kg & 75kg). We had 75 seconds to lift as much total weight as possible. I started on the 100kg bar, and moved to the 75kg bar, before feeling sick and unfit.

3rd event – Axle clean and jerk
As many reps as possible in 75 seconds. For the 70kg girls the bar was at 45kg. ermmm so if you read my first paragraph, you’ll know I haven’t lifted this weight on the axle bar before! One rep and I was done ๐Ÿ˜€

4 Axle


4th event – Medley
I think we had 75 seconds to complete 20 metres sled drag (don’t know the weight), 20 metres sandbag carry (don’t know weight) and 10 metres tyre flip (150kg). I’m glad I got this one done… and just in time.

5th event – Sandbag throws
Again, 75 seconds, to complete 4 sandbag carries and throws over a bar (130cm? – a bit tall for me) and one stone. I’ve never lifted even the 60kg stone before, and this was 75kg put in front of me. Whatevs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was a great day and lots of fun. It was particularly inspiring to see the other girls compete. They had obviously trained hard and were super strong and fit. One of the <70kgs hurt her leg on the axle event and had a huge lump the size of a tennis ball on her quad. But she kept going, and won her division. Amazing stuff! It was also exciting to see the guys do the atlas stones (rather than sandbags, they can lift actual heavy things).

I’ve been really inspired by these amazingly strong and fit girls, so today I wrote up my next program for my next powerlifting comp, and included more conditioning into the week. Oh, and I already started training today. It was kinda tough ๐Ÿ™‚

Special thanks to Defo for putting on another great event. And also to the sponsor. We got a good showbag this time, with a pressie from Black and Blue, and also a protein shake from Alkaline Extreme. But get this – the protein shake is actually a decent one, and I will give this one a go, instead of throw it out as I usually do with samples. And I also got a meal from Zuji Nutrition. They do portion controlled meals that are actually healthy. Kinda like Lite n Easy, but for body builders. I had fish and green vege. Not bad for a microwave meal, but I like fresh fish ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks heaps also to A, who came along for most of it. And thanks heaps to my clients V and J, who popped by and also helped video stuff when A was not around ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

The Kettlebell Garage Competition 13/4/13

On Saturday was The Kettlebell Garage’s first comp. The organisers decided to break away from the WKC federation, and all federations, to create their own group without the bitching that goes on between federations.

I found it a little odd they wanted to create their own ranking system in the future – to be honest, I think they should not have one. But I suppose it will be more to enforce safe lifting and quality lifting than anything else. Of course, when you video your set, you can submit it to whichever federation you want in order to get a rank however you like. And this is the case with any comp anyway.

I entered long cycle, at the WKC’s lightest weight of 14kg. I already have rank 3, so could have attempted any weight up to 18kg, but I did not want to train seriously, and would not have been at a good enough level to give that a proper go. I’d prefer to keep kettlebell training as something to do for fun, and not part of a highly regimated training program, so it’s unlikely I’ll ever lift at a high level, but I do strive for quality lifts and always aim to improve my form.

My training in the lead up consisted of 2 or 3 kettlebell specific sessions and a few trail runs to increase cardiovascular fitness.

It was a really small comp this time with maybe about 1/2 the number of lifters as usual. I think it just wasn’t promoted very well/at all. One of my clients was competing, and another came to spectate – and help video a set when my hands were still shaking after my set! ๐Ÿ˜€

I don’t have much to say about it really, since I wasn’t trying to win anything or even lift a certain number of reps. I just wanted to do good reps.

My vid is here:

I can see I am much better than I was previously at long cycle. My arms are locking out better and fixation overhead is much better. As with previous times, I’ve found my neck and traps were very sore for the following 2 days. I think because I learnt to clean and jerk a barbell before a kettlebell, I move my head a lot out of habit, as you would when you are clearing your head of the barbell. Of course, this isn’t really necessary with a kettlebell, so that’s one thing for me to work on.

I didn’t really find it too exhausting. I mean, I was out of breath, and my arms were fatigued, but 10 minutes of long cycle with little specific training didn’t completely wreck me, which is what I expected. So I’m pretty happy about that.

As usual, it was great to lift alongside friendly lifters, see lots of good lifting, and walk away with some things to practise at home. I really love these events for this reason. You don’t have to have a ‘go hard or go home’ attitude. It’s really about giving it a go and doing the best you can, then walking away after learning a bit more about yourself and the sport ๐Ÿ™‚

Australian Raw Powerlifting Championships

Yesterday was the Nationals comp. I only qualified about 5 weeks ago, so I didn’t have long to try and better my lifts, but I’m very happy with how it went.

Coachless, I decided to put on my own coaching cap, and write out a plan for the day. On Saturday I wrote down exactly what I would warm up with, and what I wanted all my attempts to be. I didn’t want to leave anything left in the tank. I wanted to push myself, get some good solid PBs, and really see what I am capable of. I did not want to let mind tricks get in the way of a good comp. So I wrote it all down and committed to it.

Late on Saturday night – when I was kind of thinking about going to bed – I got a call from someone who’d found our cat ๐Ÿ™‚ So we picked her up. She was quite skinny from being a street cat for 9 days, but her coat was glossy, so we think someone had been feeding her at times.

She’s really an outdoors cat, but we decided to keep her in for the night. Then we remembered why she’s an outside cat. She carries on non stop. I think I got about 4 hours sleep. At 5am we gave up and let her outside! I took finding our cat to be a good omen for the comp ๐Ÿ™‚

So on Sunday morning, with less than ideal sleep, I ventured out to buy some caffinated coffee so I would have ample energy for the day. I was not on until 2pm, and weigh-in was at midday. This meant that I could not eat a lot beforehand. Ideally I would not eat anything so I could be as light as possible, but I needed the energy, and it’s not like I was going to win anything. So I had a light breaky and my coffee. After this comp, I have solidified my thoughts on ideal food before and after strength comps, compared to endurance racing. I will write it all down some other time. But I believe pretty much the opposite of what is perpetuated.

Driving into the city, I felt nervous, but excited. I was really happy having a plan in place! I allowed plenty of time to drive in, but not only was the Flower And Garden Show on near where I wanted to park, but Run For The Kids was on too. So although street parking was free on the streets, there were no parks! And after 20 minutes of driving around and getting slightly panicked, I ended up parking about 4 blocks away.

Weigh in was done with all us girls in the same room. Kinda weird. And a guy was in there. I think all the refs must have been in there. No biggie, but still different. I weighed in at 78.8kg. Up 300 grams or so from last time, but not bad considering I’d already eaten. It was interesting talking to some of the girls beforehand. A few, at least, hadย deliberatelyย decided not to cut weight so they would be strong, and not grumpy on the day. They had decided it just wasn’t worth it. One said she tried to put on weight, and only managed a few hundred grams, despite eating lots of fried food over the past week. I was thinkingย I could’ve put a couple of kilos on for you easy!

When it was time to warm up, I pretty much stuck to my plan, give or take 5kg with the weights. Considering I have never planned my warm up so precisely before, it was no concern. To be honest, if I see someone lifting something similar to what I plan to do, especially for squat and bench if their rack height is fine for me, then I’ll just jump in.

I was very nervous for the squat, as usual. Partly because it’s the first lift, so you have a lot of nerves to start with. Partly because my opener was 100kg and that was still going to feel quite heavy. Partly because I really really really wanted a new squat PB and I had my plan in place and was putting all my trust in myself as a coach instead of letting my mind tricks do the talking on the day.

So first attempt was 100kg. That felt easy. Depth felt higher than usual, but I got all 3 white lights so it was fine. Second attempt was 107.5kg. This was a new PB by 2.5kg so I was already happy for the day ๐Ÿ™‚ I got one red light for depth. Third attempt was 110kg. This was scary territory! When I set up, didn’t realise my knees were not locked, so they made me rack the bar and start again. I started again, and was alsoย consciousย of depth. I didn’t want to cut it high, as is often the case when it gets heavy, so I was sure to drop down low low low…. but then I couldn’t get up. Let out a rude word and laughed at the heaviness of it all while the spotters saved me ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know if I couldn’t lift it because of the interrupted start, or if I went too low, or if it was too heavy for me. Either way, I walked off the platform very happy because my plan was going exactly how I wanted ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up was bench. I opened with 62.5kg, which was my last PB. I have lifted that with relative ease several times, for one rep only. It was fairly easy on this day too ๐Ÿ™‚ My lower back felt a little twinge from a big (for me) arch after this. For my 2nd and 3rd attempt I failed 65kg. It just wouldn’t budge. It’s interesting – a couple of weeks ago I managed to lift 3 x 5 @ 60kg, yet I can only manage 1 @ 62.5kg, and cannot budge anything more. I will have to use the micro-plates to see more improvement.

As usual, by deadlift time, I was starting to fade. I had a sugary snack to keep up energy. Deadlifts are so intense and take so much out of you, that you really do need a lot of energy to exert so much effort.

My deadlift training has been a little average, but I had my plan to stick to. Theoretically I knew I should be able to do it, so I had to trust myself before the mind games kicked in.

I opened with 120kg. It was easy. My second attempt was 135kg – a new PB by 2.5kg. This felt a bit heavy, but I was very happy now I had a new deadlift PB and everything had gone to plan so far. My third attempt was 140kg. It was way out of my comfort zone, I knew it would be heavy, and I knew there was a chance of failing, but I also knew I had a good chance of getting it and I didn’t want to leave anything left so I went for it. It was heavy, and felt slow (although in the vid it actually wasn’t that slow), and I did it!

Here’s the vid:

So I have a new total of 310kg. I am very happy with how the comp went – it went exactly to plan and I lifted exactly what I expected. It really was good to have a plan in place before the day, also to have worked out the best nutrition for training and in competition.

I came last or 3rd, depends how you look at it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I did beat 2 others in the same weight class, but they were both masters and I have a feeling that masters were in their own separate category. They were both 4kg heavier than me though, so I am happy to be stronger than heavier people ๐Ÿ™‚

It was great to meet up with someone from my Facebook page, and catch up with powerlifting buddies, and meet new people, and see some really good lifting and many records being broken. Hopefully one day I can be competitive enough to match or beat a record ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I am aiming for A Grade – hopefully by the end of the year. This means I either have to add 30kg to my total, or if I lost 6.8kg I would already have it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think unless you are Elite standard, there’s probably no point in cutting weight. I can just work on solid nutrition and good training long term, and if I get very close to the 72kg class then I will do it. Elite II grading at 72kg is still a lower total than A Grade in the 84kg class.

There’s a kettlebell comp coming up soon in April, but I don’t think I will train for a ranking. I will just go in it to have fun and work on improving my form. I will take a break from powerlifting training for a week or 2 to do some meathead training, perhaps some olympic lifting, and other fun stuff.

Bench Only Comp – 16 Sep 2012

Since I haven’t been able to deadlift or squat much, I had to enter the bench only section of today’s powerlifting comp. I am always under the impression that the people who do bench only are super strong at benching. This is my weakest lift so although I was confident I’d get a PB, I knew it would be unimpressive.

Usually your opener should be something conservative you know you can lift to avoid bombing out. For me this would be 52.5kg – my last PB. I knew that would be very easy, and I knew I had a good shot at 55kg. So I thought what the hell, and opened with 55kg. That way, I had a chance at getting 57.5 and 60 – which would make me very happy.

I weighed in early and was about 500g lighter than the previous comp. This is pretty good for someone who doesn’t lose weight, plus I had already eaten breakfast. So with a ton of dedication, I could possibly be another 1.85kg down next time and finally move down to the next weight class!

I was feeling kinda relaxed, and not particularly fired up, so I walked up to Glenferrie Rd to get a coffee. They warned me a large long black had 4 shots, so I asked for only 3 shots ๐Ÿ˜‰ After a relaxing sit down in the warm up room drinking coffee, I managed to wake up and gather some nervous energy.

I opened with 55kg. It was a new PB that felt easy. Too easy. Other people’s weights always feel lighter than mine.

I think I was too relaxed on my 2nd attempt, which was 57.5kg. I didn’t set up right and my form was shoddy, although you can’t see it in the vid. So I failed.

This meant my 3rd attempt was also 57.5kg. I thought I had it in me. I took my time to set up well. I thought my back was pretty tight, it was arched more than usual, and I had plenty of drive in the legs. But, no. Didn’t make it.

I’m very happy that my bench only training has been working. I think I’ll have to keep it up this way, even when I can enter the full comp later, as it’s my weakest link, and if I hadn’t been doing high volume bench training, I may not have made any improvement at all. At some point, I also need to make an effort to show up to the club for training.