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The Education of a Powerlifter
Blast f rom the Past: The Education of a Powerlif ter
When I start working here at elitefts™ I asked Dave what article, of the hundreds he has written, he feels was his favorite. Which article flowed onto the paper with such clarity of voice and raw sincerity of spirit that he felt it spoke to readers in a way that is often difficult to achieve? Without hesitation, he declared this article (originally posted on T-Nation in March of 2004) as his magnum opus. I recall reading the article when it was originally posted, but as I reread it eight years later, it resonated even deeper with me. It definitely is worthy of another viewing and if you don’t get at least a little bit choked up at the ending, then you have NO heart. –Steve Colescott

Want to know how to become a powerlif ter? Believe me, there’s no “Powerlif ting f or Dummies” book at your local Wal-mart. Being a powerlif ter is a strange blend of mysticism, drive, strength, and a little bit of crazy. To be one you’ve got to want it bad; got to want it so bad that you’re willing to devote years to its pursuit. Still, as rough as it is, those that are indoctrinated into its strange world rarely leave. T his is part a story about one man’s journey into the cult of powerlif ting.

Jonathan Among The Giants
When Jonathan walked into the hotel lobby he f ound himself among giants. Huge men milled around the room, all of them looking like they lif ted boulders f or a living. What was going on here? Some type of prof essional wrestling event? A casting call f or a gladiator or barbarian movie? Jonathan had never seen anything like it. He’d come to the hotel to meet a f riend f or lunch, but as they ate all he could do was stare at these powerf ul looking leviathans. Finally, he asked the waiter what was going on. “Powerlif ters,” the waiter said. “And we’re running out of f ood.” Af ter lunch, Jonathan walked out of the restaurant and noticed a commotion coming f rom the hotel’s grand ballroom. Peeking through the door he saw hundreds of people cheering these giants on. He paid the entry f ee and f ound a place in the back of the room to watch what he thought was called the “deadlif t event.” Lif ter af ter lif ter would approach the bar with a crazed look of intensity and pull with his greatest ef f ort. Each pull would f inish with the lif ter either making the weight or missing it, but either way they all had a look of pride and accomplishment. Jonathan didn’t really know what was going on here. He’d never attended a powerlif ting meet bef ore. He knew only one thing: this was coolest thing he’d ever seen.

Tom didn’t have to think about his answer. Tom was ready to go. T he bar slowly lef t the ground as the crowd all got to its f eet. The Decision . some standing in the aisle. bench and deadlif t — the biggest total of his lif e. he thought. Seconds later he was standing with the bar locked out and heard the head of f icial say “down. To Jonathan. T hey had all put in countless hours in the gym f or this and wanted to extend it as much as they could. Tom kept pulling. T he tension in his back and hands was insane but he knew if he just stayed with it the lif t would be his. “It’s back in the gym Monday. “What’s next?” asked one of Tom’s training partners. you become obsolete. He’d hit a record squat. the day was his. T his. With a look of controlled rage on his f ace. is what it’s all about. Some were excited about their new records. T he lif t was his. what top powerlif ters always say. He’d trained his whole lif e f or this moment. the lif ters made their way back into the warm-up room to exchange stories about the day’s battles. sacrif ices and training hours f inally seemed worth it. I know I have more lef t in me. Weighing in at a ripped 275 pounds. injuries. other were disappointed but were already planning their next training cycles.” the loud speaker announced. Tom sat in a circle of chairs with f riends and training partners. we have a world record attempt. When you become satisf ied.Tom Gets His Total “For the f inal deadlif t of the day. Tom approached the bar. some standing on chairs. When the meet was over. the scene was unreal. T his was Tom’s day. satisf action isn’t an option. all cheering as loudly as they could. All the pain.” It wasn’t until the bar hit the ground that he noticed the roar of the crowd. he approached the bar and began to pull with everything he had.” T his is what he said af ter every meet. For them.

” he said. Half way through the giant’s lif t. but he had to try. “Pretty serious. the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. Jonathan couldn’t help but f eel he was being sized up. Jonathon was never an athlete in high school and hadn’t done anything f itness related since he graduated f rom college a year ago. When the event was over he knew one thing f or certain: he had to become part of this. “Excuse me. he’d f ound himself up on his chair screaming encouragement to a man he’d never met. Jonathan asked. Sweat was still running of f his bald head as he handed Jonathan the paper. He did work out f rom time to time in college but nothing with any structure or consistency. “How serious are you?” Tom asked. but that was years ago. but how does one get involved in the sport of powerlif ting?” Tom and the other lif ters turned to look at him. “Meet us here Monday at 5:00. At his best he was about 185 pounds at 5’11″ with a personal best bench press of around 250. T hey didn’t. “T hat was. He loved what he’d just witnessed but had no idea where to begin. What would these huge men say to him? Would they laugh and kick him out of the room? Would they make f un of him? Jonathan didn’t know.” Shut Up and Spot . “T his is my gym. well. He f ound Tom packing up his bag. I guess.Jonathon couldn’t believe what he was f eeling. Making his way to the back room. Hesitantly. It was then he made a decision: he had to talk to the giant. Tom took out a piece of paper and scribbled some notes on it.” Jonathan said.” He waited f or the giants to laugh at him. he had no idea what he would say.

He walked over to Tom and asked what he should do. T his was still one of the best days of his lif e. “but when you grow up you have to become what you dream about. “Come back Wednesday. he kept looking f or the neon sign f or Tom’s gym. Jonathan was lef t with Tom and asked again what he should do. T his continued on f or another week. Tom explained that when he came in he was in awe of the lif ters in the group and that you can never become what you’re in awe of . He really wanted to be a powerlif ter and all he was doing was spotting. we thought you weren’t coming!” Tom shouted above the music. He drove home still psyched up over the day’s events but wondered why he didn’t train.” Tom said. “We know what we can do f or you. these guys were hardcore and the weights were certainly hardcore. Jonathan spent the rest of the day loading the bar f or all the other lif ters. He was now bored out of his skull. T he last time he asked Tom when he could lif t. T he bar was loaded with more weight than he’d ever seen. “Go home. what can you do f or us?” . When the last lif ter was done Jonathan was ready to learn how to be strong. T he businesses soon turned into residential neighborhoods and he began to wonder why Tom would ask him to pick him up at his house. T his was Tom’s gym.” Tom said. T here were about seven guys crowded around a power rack. As he sat in silence at the end of one of their bench sessions. “Your job today is to spot and keep your mouth shut. He was f ired up to f inally be joining a gym. T he weights these guys were moving were unreal! It was a privilege to be there. he couldn’t believe what he saw. “It’s okay to have idols as a kid. what we really want to know is.” T hen he said something Jonathan would remember f or the rest of his lif e. “Now you’re ready. He’d asked a f ew times what he should do and the lif ters kept telling him to shut up and spot. He began to wonder if he was brought in only to load the weights. Jonathan was in awe. Tom must be working on his car or something. but 5:00 did f inally roll around. T his place was hardcore. In a last attempt. He was now going to be a powerlif ter. Af ter a f ew minutes he began to wonder if Tom was home. Tom walked over and said. Time couldn’t go f ast enough Monday. Jonathan was a bit set back. T hese guys were crazy strong and he couldn’t wait to become one of them. “One more rep!” shouted Tom as the lif ter’s f ace turned beet red under the strain. Tom told him f lat out that he wasn’t ready. He had no idea what the equipment was but there was nothing in there like he used in college.Jonathan couldn’t sleep at all Sunday night anticipating the Monday training session. “Hey. Jonathan thought. He pulled into Tom’s driveway and honked the horn. Two more weeks passed and Jonathan still hadn’t touched a weight. T hen it dawned on him that maybe he’d been blown of f and sent on some kind of wild goose chase. But he was still excited to be there and was having a great time. With little conversation all the lif ters packed up the gear and lef t. Jonathan couldn’t believe how great this was.” Jonathan knew instinctively not to argue. T hey were doing some strange movement in the rack with some type of yolk bar suspended by chains. As he drove through the commercial developments. As he walked toward the house he heard loud metal music coming f rom the garage. When he walked through the door. Jonathan got out of the car to go ring the doorbell.” “Why now?” Jonathon asked. When the session was over.” Tom replied.

He’d do a set. bent over at the waist and then stood up. Jonathan was told to do f ive sets of something called reverse hypers. Next he did incline sit-ups and straight leg raises.” T hey walked out back and Jonathan was given a weight belt attached to a sled with a couple of plates on it. When he f inished his lower back f elt tied up in knots. Jonathan was about to become one. T hey already had all the spotters they needed. some were dragging a sled and others were stretching out. “T his is part of your job. “No. Jonathan had no idea what this was but was game f or anything. heavy day. then come get me. You aren’t ready. T he other guys were using around 500 pounds but all he could use was 50.” Tom said.” Tom said. Some of them were doing extra abdominal movements. He could f eel it all right. . He couldn’t use much weight at all. T he one thing that stood out is that they were all doing something dif f erent. He arrived early at 4:30 and f ound a f ew of the guys were already there. “What the hell are you doing?” “Good mornings. at least he wasn’t spotting and loading the bar. As he drove to the gym he wondered what they would have him do today.Jonathan understood. he went back into the gym.” Tom said. Come with me. Tom told him to spot and he’d get with him af ter they f inished. He was told to try and f eel the movement in his lower back and hamstrings. As he walked up to the bar Tom asked. While he really wanted to train like the other guys. Tom f inally got there and they all agreed to do some type of good morning movement. He was taught how to f lex and tighten his abs. He f igured this was pretty easy and took his place in the line up. Once again he wondered why they all did dif f erent things. Becoming Bullet Proof Monday rolled around and f rom the past weeks’ experience Jonathan f igured out this was a lower body. Af ter he f inished. From time to time they would come over and push their f ingers into his abs to make sure they were being held tight. “Drag this f or ten trips down to the tree and back.” For this he stood on a big rubber band. He was positioned on a bench with a strap attached around his ankles. No one is above spotting and coaching here!” When the movement was over. He could hear the intensity of the session going on inside and wished he was part of it. Jonathan spent the next ten minutes watching the guys just about blow their heads of f under the strain of the good mornings. He did f ive sets of each with coaching coming f rom many dif f erent lif ters. “you’re not. “Everyone spots with the big weights. T he last movement he was asked to do was called “band good mornings. A couple of the guys placed the bar on their back and began to bend over at the waist. placed the other end around the back of his traps. He would have to ask Tom about this. rest. Af ter a f ew trips he could f eel his legs getting tired and it was getting harder and harder to breathe. and then do another. He began to swing the weight up and was told to arch as hard as he could at the top. What they really wanted were lif ters.” Tom replied. the guys split up and began doing dif f erent exercises. Jonathon asked Tom why he was spotting again. T he guys were now into their top sets and he walked over to Tom and asked what to do next.

” T his was the day he’d waited f or. When he was f inished with this he was told to do 100 push-ups and to do them in as many sets as it would take. You see Matt over there? Matt’s doing extra lower back work. “You see Jim over there?” Tom said. he asked Tom why he had to do all the “crap” work and why no one else was doing it. When he got to the gym he was told once again to hit the sled f or ten trips. His grip width had to be in the same position he’d eventually bench in. Technique. T his was f ollowed up with some work f or the rotator cuf f and rear shoulders. Jonathan was told that this would be his workout f or the next month and that he was to try and do more weight and/or reps on each training session thereaf ter.“Crap” Work While he thought he’d be sore. Mark was one of the . He needs to make his back stronger to keep the bar in a better position when he squats. Once again he was getting f rustrated with this training plan and began to wonder if these guys really knew what they were doing. You’ll never be 100% injury f ree.” Technique. He couldn’t wait f or Wednesday’s heavy bench press session. He wanted to be a powerlif ter and all he was doing was “sissy” movements. Two weeks passed and he was ready to do some of the movements the other guys were doing. “Jim has weak glutes and is doing extra work f or them. He already knew that none of them did the same thing. As he walked into the gym he saw the guys were setting the rack up to do high box. Tom wouldn’t budge. T his is what he needs to do to get his deadlif t to go up. He couldn’t wait to give this a shot as he was sure he could handle some decent weight. he actually f elt pretty good. Technique It had been six weeks since Jonathan’s f irst conditioning session and he was eager to begin “real powerlif ting. And Mike over there? Mike’s doing extra ab work to help with his transf er of power out of the hole when he squats. To his surprise he was told to do band good mornings and abs again. Finally. You need to do conditioning work to be able to handle the work we’ll ask you to do later. but you better be prepared to handle the strain. He had to use good f orm and with his hands placed on a pair of hex dumbbells. Jonathan was ready to walk up to the rack when he was stopped in his tracks by Mark. T he kid had to stick to the plan. When he came back in the guys were doing a bench press movement where they would lower the bar down to a couple of boards and press back up. Manta Ray squats.

He watched videos and worked on his f orm any time he could f ind the time. Af ter his f orm work he was told to train right along with some of the others guys and get used to the many . 7. Mark then explained that to f ully learn how to squat. Now squat!” Rep af ter rep they worked on f orm. Today he was going to squat and squat correctly. By this time Jonathan was pretty f ond of the sled and asked if he should do more. Keep your abs tight. Mark took Jonathan aside and f irst explained how to do a squat with perf ect f orm. It seemed Tom had ordered a new piece of equipment and it was here! T his was not just any piece of equipment but a glute ham raise—not only a GHR but the best you can get: a prof essional GHR f rom Elitef ts. 4. Jonathan was handed a broomstick and given the instructions: 1. Jonathan must’ve perf ormed 300 reps that day and actually made his way up to using a 45-pound bar. It was business as usual f or Jonathan though. is very important but you don’t compete in GPP. About this time there was a knock on the door. Af ter what seemed to be 45 minutes of squatting he was told to move onto reverse hypers and ab work.” Mark said. man. “Squat back?” he said. close stance GHR’s. General Physical Preparedness. then f inish with the sled f or a f ew trips. 5. T he weight wasn’t a problem. 6. T his is accomplished by hearing the squat explained. Force your knees out to the side. From the corner of the gym Bob shouted. Stand with your f eet out wide. then doing it so many times it becomes squatters in the gym and pulled him aside to let him know he wasn’t going to be doing box squats today. then seeing it done properly. ab work and anything else they could think of . Tom answered it and turned around with a huge grin on his f ace. He even f ilmed his sessions to compare against the f orm of the guys on the tapes. Arch your lower back as hard as you can. “Oh no! Not another Mr. GPP!” Tom then pulled Jonathan aside and explained that GPP. none of us do. He was to stick with this plan until he got the nod of approval f rom the rest of the guys. 8. 3. T he key is to get as close as you can. but Mark wouldn’t let him use more as long as his f orm was sub-par. Right now you’re at 0% and are piss ass weak. Jonathan had to f irst understand the squat. What Jonathan really needed was optimal conditioning f or powerlif ting and anything too much over that is pointless. Push your f eet out to the sides of your shoes. T here were a f ew other steps but all Jonathan could remember is doing rep af ter rep while Mark barked at him to squat back and sit on the bench. Pull your shoulder blades together and make sure your upper back is tight. next they watched a f ew training videos detailing squat f orm. “I’m already tired!” “Look. 9. “you’ll never squat 100%. Squeeze your hands on the bar as hard as you can. 2. Pull your head up and drive it back into your traps. Place the bar on the center of your back. For the rest of the session they were all doing wide stance GHR’s.

Over breakf ast one Saturday. The Program It had been f our months since Jonathan’s f irst visit to Tom’s gym. Tom reviewed how the program worked. He knew he was ready f or the intense training he’d been watching over the past several months. he was becoming a powerlif ter. “I guess by f ollowing the program you’re going to give me.supplemental and accessory movements they were using. right?” Jonathan said. His body was now much bigger and stronger than the f irst day he’d walked into the garage. to be the best you have to also be the best at f iguring out what works f or you. T he number one secret all top lif ters know is that the best program f or them is the one they come up with. but to reach the higher levels Jonathan would have to learn how to come up with his own program. You have to be able to f ind and f ix your weaknesses while always keeping your eyes on the higher goal.” Tom explained. Tom explained that a set program isn’t a bad thing. “How are we going to get you strong. He was beginning to become part of the crew and was eager to get on the same program as the rest of the guys. kid?” Tom asked. “You see. not the program someone hands to them on a piece of paper. but he knew he had a long road ahead of him. . Finally. He was now beginning to f eel his body getting stronger and noticed that he’d already gained 15 pounds.

“What does this have to do with training?” he thought. All he needed to know would be there.” The Method to the Madness To explain the dynamic ef f ort method. Tom asked that he repeat the jump again but this time he had to jump in slow motion. It didn’t .” “Okay. “But don’t I have to use chains and bands to get strong?” Jonathon asked. “Okay.“But how do I know what my weak points are?” Jonathan said. “I get it. Now.” Tom replied. nothing f ancy. “while the dynamic ef f ort days are designed to make you f aster. Jonathan did this with no problem. “At what weight class? What will your specif ic lif ts have to be? Let’s set some long range goals. T he template would look like this: Monday — Max ef f ort squat and deadlif t day Wednesday — Max ef f ort bench day Friday — Dynamic ef f ort squat day and deadlif t day Saturday — Dynamic ef f ort bench day “T he max ef f ort days are intended to make you stronger. and 700 pound deadlif t. You f irst must understand the program.” Tom said.” said Jonathon. they’re only a f unction of the program. Jonathan showed up to the gym on Monday f ired up about the “Eight Keys” article and wanted to start with the chains and bands. “Your weak point right now is you don’t know how to discover your weak points! So tell me. T he same is true with strength training. Now let’s talk about the methods that’ll make up your program in basic terms you’ll understand.” Jonathan was then handed a series of articles titled T he Eight Keys and was told to read them f or the details. Tom asked Jonathan to jump onto a small box. Next. “No.” T hey put together a plan that would have Jonathan lif ting in the 275-pound weight class (he was currently 245) with an 800 pound squat. but he knew he had a very long way to go. how to get there? Tom explained that there would be two days per week f or max ef f ort work and two days per week f or dynamic ef f ort training. No need f or chains and bands until you get the basics down f irst. T hat’s it. Tom turned to Jonathan and asked one very simple question: “Can you compute the gravitational f orce exerted on a mass of two pounds located f ive f eet above the center of a circular disk with a radius of ten f eet and mass of three pounds per unit of area?” Jonathan looked at him like he’d lost his mind. Tom laughed as he dug into his mountain of f ood. “You have to get strong to use chains and bands! Chains and bands aren’t the program. 500 pound bench press. T he f irst thing f or you is to build a strong base of strength to the point where you can get on a platf orm and display it. Tom went on to explain that you can’t understand calculus without f irst understanding basic math. Jonathan f elt great that he f inally had goals to shoot f or. Strength plus speed equals new personal records.” “Good.” Tom said. where would you like to be f ive years f rom now?” Jonathan thought f or a moment and replied that he’d like to have his Elite status in the sport of powerlif ting.

Good mornings with various bars (cambered. but were heavy enough to get a good f eel f or where his strength base was. Later that day they were all doing low box squats with the cambered bar. Jonathan’s dynamic bench wave was set on a f lat cycle using 50% f or eight sets of three reps. Jonathan began to understand the importance of speed and strength but needed to know more. pin pull and of f -the-f loor. so he f igured everything was weak and he needed to do everything . Jonathan’s dynamic squat wave was set up in three-week cycles. T his is where the max ef f ort method comes in. We can make you very f ast but as long as your strength stays the same you’ll only improve your current strength level. Jonathan did a f ew extra sets af ter the f irst eight sets and added weight on each one. Speed will help you get to 21 but to go higher your strength will have to increase. “T hat’s right. He also used a box squat set at parallel f or all sets: Week one: 8 sets of 2 reps with 50% Week two: 8 sets of 2 reps with 55% Week three: 8 sets of 2 reps with 60% On all the days where he f elt good and the speed was on. Leave Jonathan at Home Af ter some time. He remembered Tom telling him about the weaknesses several of the lif ters had and what they were doing with their accessory work to overcome them. T he objective of his f irst week was to get used to the movement f or sets of three reps. same rules as above. T he good news is this is a component that can be trained. “No. All he knew was that he was still much weaker than everyone else.” Jonathan said.” T hey moved on to what Tom called the max ef f ort method. f or you to get way up there you’ll have to get stronger. On all the days where he f elt good and the speed was on. “I need to be f aster to get up there. Low box squats with various bars. 3.take Jonathan long to learn this was impossible to do. Af ter the three weeks the cycle was repeated. Let me explain it this way: you may be strong enough to jump to 21 but now are only f ast enough f or 18 inches. buf f alo and saf ety squat).” Tom said.” Jonathan’s max ef f ort work consisted of the f ollowing movements: 1. Jonathan looked conf used. T he problem was. T his is what the dynamic ef f ort method is f or. He had to know what to do af ter the main exercise of the day. T he second week’s . He was totally lost. “You gotta have speed to generate f orce. Various deadlif ts: standing on mats. there’s a need f or both speed and strength to be developed at the same time. His max ef f ort movement was set up to rotate every three weeks and would later come down to every week like the rest of the guys. See. 2. Jonathan did a f ew extra sets. he had no idea what his weaknesses were and had no way to f ind out how to f ix them. Jonathan was f ired up f or this as it would be the f irst time he was doing a max ef f ort movement f or a second rotation. He set up a 50-inch box and asked Jonathan to jump onto it. T hese were never taken to f ailure.

and torso f elt incredibly strained. 185. but he pushed on. lower back.” He was a lif ter. As he sat to the box the rage kept building.” Tom said. As time went on. J was pretty messed up the rest of the day and could only manage to do some glute ham raises and ab work. Up. “Up.” Jonathan was no longer a guy who “worked out. As he approached the bar he heard the battle cries f rom the crew: “Get this bitch!” “You got it!” “Get ya some!” “Kill this mother!” “Get tight!” …and “Come on. “Today you became ‘J’ and Jonathan is a thing of the past. Tom explained to J that weak point training was a very advanced concept and that he just needed to f ocus on bringing up the basics f or now. With T he Eight Keys Part III and the crew’s help. He accomplished a 275 max during his f irst rotation with the cambered bar and was geared up to break this record. and abs. He’s the one who’ll take you where you want to go. Af ter the max. T he bench press movements should target the triceps. He turned to Tom with bloodshot eyes and a huge grin on his f ace and said simply. His back. He pushed with all he had and the bar kept moving. T hen he realized he was seeing stars f or the f irst time in his lif e. He was called to the bar and noticed three 45′s on each side.” “Welcome to the world of powerlif ting. The Payback J kept training and breaking records with the crew f or the next two years. legs. His warm-ups went well as he completed three reps with the bar and then 95.objective was to set a one rep max while the third was a “balls to the wall” strain lif t. J!” He lif ted the bar out of the rack and f elt the load bearing down. He paused f or one second and began to stand up.” Tom said. and lats. “So what are my weak points?” J asked. He lef t the box f ast and at the mid-point began to stall. When he racked the bar he opened his eyes to see silver lights f loating around. Tom would teach him that the best way to f ind weak points was to look at where the lif ts break down during max ef f ort lif ts. 265 and then a record at 285 pounds! He was jacked up about this and was ready to quit f or the day when he heard the loud slam of a 45 plate on the bar. delts. “T his may seem very simple. Up!” and “Head up!” is all he heard. Tom told him he was done and that he had to learn to listen to his body. “You’re up!” Jonathan f elt the adrenaline running through his veins and rage beginning to build up inside. he’d be able to bring up these weak points and his lif ts would go through the roof . 135. He then dropped to singles and completed the f ollowing sets with 245. With newf ound motivation and . T he crew shouted. He f elt the pressure building in his head. He asked how he was supposed to do all the other work f or the day. For the squat and deadlif t these included training f or the hamstrings. From now on leave Jonathan at home and bring J to the gym every workout. “Holy cow. and 225 pounds. but just do the basics and your lif ts will jump. He f irst thought it was chalk in the air but then realized it looked more like glitter.

has moved the gym f rom his garage to a small private training center. J was then of f ered an assistant strength and conditioning coach position and over the next six years worked his way up to being the head strength and conditioning coach. but then lost touch with him and the crew. J!” T hat last one hit Tom like a ton of bricks. hoping they’d pass on what they’d learned to the next generation of lif ters. He was taken back twelve years ago where he f irst met Jonathan at this very meet. the “kid” was here and going af ter his record. but this was what people train their entire lives f or. T he f irst round of guys took their opening attempts and the f inal lif ter’s opener was 100 pounds over the next guy. now retired f rom competition. J kept pulling with everything he had. He could no longer train with the crew as the university of his choice was hours away f rom home. T hrough the chalk and dust emerged the “jacked” lif ter. Sure. He had a look of determination and a thousand yard stare that only another powerlif ter could understand. Tom looked very close at the lif ter as he approached the bar and realized that this was the same kid he’d helped bring into the sport so many years back. Tom could hear the lif ter’s helpers shouting words of encouragement: “Back tight!” “Tight grip!” “Shoulders back!” “Get some!” …. Tom’s main goal with all his lif ters was to help them achieve their elite status. T he crowd was going nuts and everyone was now on their chairs. he went back to school to become a strength coach. Tom jumped up onto his chair so he didn’t miss a thing. His crew was now gearing up f or the Nationals. Tom remembered the last time the Nationals were in his hometown twelve years ago. the day he’d set the f ederation world record f or the 275 class. “Down!” the head judge shouted. T he methods he learned f rom the crew have been the core of his training programs and the results were amazing. T he weight rocked of f the f loor and began to stall right above his knees. J would call Tom f rom time to time f or the f irst f ew years af ter he lef t. Veins began popping out all over his f rame. Due to his hard work in the gym and classroom.determination. His center has been producing great lif ters f or the past eleven years. T his was one of the best competitive days of his lif e.and “Come on. J grabbed the bar and began to pull. He’d f inally realized one of his longtime dreams! Tom had to make his way back to the warm-up room to congratulate J f or the awesome lif t. with no lif ters in the last round. his record was at risk. T he loud speaker crackled. “T he next attempt will be f or a new 275 pound class world record!” T he crowd stood and Tom could f eel the adrenaline building up inside him. but he kept training and entering local powerlif ting meets f or the next f ive years while he earned his degree. Tom. Now. he f ound himself relaxing in the back row watching the deadlif ts. J held the bar f or a f ew extra seconds to savor the moment. . As he chalked his hands and made his way top to bar. As he approached. T he barbell kept moving inch by inch until he stood at lockout with the huge load in his hands. He didn’t know the lif ter’s name but the guy was “jacked” and had perf ect f orm. T he Nationals were a great meet f or Tom’s crew and. T his was exactly what he got into the sport f or.

” J said. Make sure to use your real email because we will hook up those who post the best stories. “You’ve already paid me back more than you’ll ever know. You and the crew were a big inf luence on my lif e and I can only hope to repay you f or this someday.” said the kid. Your Turn We would love to hear who. Someone took the time to help me once.” And that’s how a real powerlifter gets educated. “My name’s J and this is my direct phone number. “Sir. how and when you got involved in the sport. but I also have a great job and f amily now. how he’d quit school and started sleeping all day and drinking and drugging all night. Now that kid will be calling you everyday.” T he kid thanked him and walked away with a look of hope and excitement in his eyes. man.” “It was no big deal. it’s been a long time! I’ve been wanting to get in touch with you again f or years to thank you f or what all you did f or me. . Training is great. “I didn’t do so well myself . It’s what makes powerlif ting such a great sport. “You gave me something to live f or. Give me a call anytime and I’ll help you set up a program f or your next meet. “T hat was smart. T his was my f irst meet and I really don’t know what I’m doing yet. that was a great pull. One of the other lif ters looked at J and said.” J looked at the lif ter. J?” J looked up and his mouth f ell open. T hat’s when J told Tom the story of how he’d been at the end of his rope twelve years bef ore. “Tom! It’s great to see you. “I hope so. What was your “Education of a Powerlifter”? In two paragraphs or less share your journey – at the very least take a moment to thank those who introduced you to the iron game. “You still pulling that sled around every day.” Tom looked at J.Tom noticed a young novice lif ter speaking with J.” J looked the kid up and down and took out a piece of paper and handed it to him. Tom made his way over.” Tom said. “You took the time to help me out.” Tom heard the whole thing and recognized this f or what it was: the greatest gif t he’s ever been given. J had become a champion powerlif ter and had learned more along the way than just how to bring up his weak points.

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