Fixing the Weak Links | Bryan Dermody

Posted on October 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM

On September 5th of this year I competed in the USAPL Deadlift National Championships in Killeen, TX. This was my first competition since incurring some pretty severe injuries that I detailed in my last blog. I tried to keep my goals very realistic going into this meet, especially considering that I could not walk without pain just five months earlier. My goals were to remain healthy and pull a 200 Wilkes score deadlift. The minimum requirements to be invited to the Pro Deadlift at the Arnold Classic are to pull at least a 320kg (705 lb.) deadlift with a minimum 200 Wilkes score at a USAPL National Championship meet. This meant that I had to pull at least 760 pounds at Deadlift Nationals.

After recovering from injuries I think you are always a little nervous going into your first meet, at least this was the case for me. Fortunately my nerves quickly calmed down when I started my warm-ups. I felt pretty strong and on track to pull a 200 Wilkes Score. I opened up lighter than I ever have at a deadlift-only meet at 683 pounds. It felt good, but not great. Review of the film showed pretty good speed, so I upped my second attempt to 733 pounds. This attempt slowed down quite a bit, so I knew I had to dig deep for my last attempt of 766 pounds. In spite of a loose suit and leaving my hips high at the start of the deadlift, I was able to complete a good lift. What made the accomplishment even better was that I received an official invite to the Pro Deadlift at the Arnold Classic! This is the only motivation I need for my training.

After evaluating my performance at Deadlift Nationals, it is clear to me that my hamstring strength and lockout strength in my spinal erectors is deficient. I knew this would be the case since I had to drop RDL’s and rack deadlifts from my training program prior to this meet due to the pain they caused in my lower back. Now however, my back seems to be nearly 100% healed and those two movements are back in the program.

With my lower back feeling better my training is in high gear for the Arnold. I am building up to a testing period in 6 weeks where I will assess my strength to see if I’m on track for an 804-pound deadlift at the Arnold. My goals for this testing period are to set a personal record 3-RM raw back squat (>570 lbs.) and to deadlift 655 lbs. for a raw cluster of five repetitions. The two things that I have to avoid in order to remain healthy right now are very high volumes of deadlifts and squats and deadlifting without a belt. Usually I do quite a bit of beltless training, but I will make do without it. Being healthy is the first goal!

As always, it is the people that make competitions such an enjoyable experience. Johnny Graham put on a very well run meet, a big thanks goes out to him. It was also great meeting Greg Johnson who is a good man and a great powerlifter. Best of luck at IPF World Championships Greg!

I cannot thank TSI (makers of PEAK ATP) for all of their support. I feel like I can train for days with PEAK ATP!

-Bryan Dermody

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