Lodrina just informed me that she will be competing in May at the equipped USAPL Men’s and Women’s Nationals Powerlifting in Colorado. Lodrina is a BEAST on the platform and we’ll be sure to see an outstanding performance.
Lodrina get s a lot of questions:
Lo gave me this to help all of the new members:
I have some info for the newer lifters at TPS from veteran Lodrina Cherne. Lo has a passion for helping new lifters and has offered some great advice:
It’s been exciting to see a lot of new faces in the gym this summer!
It feels like the gym has never been busier with people training hard and asking questions getting settled in at TPS.
Here are some of the most common questions I’ve heard around the gym lately:
What is that thing?
There’s a lot of specialty equipment at TPS that might be new to some lifters. Setting the right height and position of the hooks or safeties on the monolift might be foreign concepts, and that’s totally fine! If you’re wondering how to set the monolift up correctly, or wondering what the heck a monolift is to begin with, just ask!
Sometimes it might be a more basic piece of equipment that you’re wondering about, like finding a barbell to bench with when you’re faced with a rack of bars that all look, well, like barbells but some are longer and others fatter. Or maybe it’s tracking down 3 pound dumbbells (one of my essentials for shoulder health!).
Just ask, there are plenty of people who can help you figure it out.
Now where does this equipment go?
Once you’ve figured out how to perfectly set up your workout, leave your rack or platform ready to use for the next lifter. This is common sense stuff like weights off the bar, safeties and band pegs in the rack and off the floor, and bench boards by the benches.
And if safeties and band pegs are more jargon, don’t worry! Just leave the area better than you found it.
Wiping down a bench when you’re done and making sure that plates don’t get put away with 2.5’s behind them goes a long way towards making the gym a better place for everyone.
Zach DiCostanzo – Turning the Volume Waaaaay Up
I’m not submitting anything too excessive here this week; no long, drawn out, philosophical waxing on powerlifting, strength, life balance, etcetera.
I’m peaking for USAPL Raw Nationals in October, and I’m not really thinking too much about anything else other than getting stronger. In that regard, the last few weeks have been phenomenal.
Overall my training has been going pretty smoothly.
Better, even. I’ve been working with a pretty crazy amount of volume and frequency lately: squatting, benching, and deadlifting three times a week, with a fourth day for bodybuilding and accessory work.
The way it’s functioned is through a DUP block focusing on three different rep schemes: 15×2 speed work, 5×5 plus an AMRAP downset, and 6×3 heavy work.
On any given day each competition lift will follow one of those three rep schemes. I’ll hit 15×2 squats with 30 to 45 seconds of rest, 5×5 and AMRAP on bench, and 6×3 deadlifts on one training day, 5×5 + AMRAP squats, 6×3 bench, 15×2 deads the next, and then 6×3 squats, 15×2 bench, 5×5 + AMRAP deads on the last. And man, oh man, have I seen some crazy growth.
I’ve hit volume PRs on both squat and deadlift, ironed out technical flaws on all three lifts, and just seen basically exponential progress from where I was a few months ago.
The only thing I haven’t seen much improvement on is bench, although that’s because I’ve been dealing with a shoulder injury and have been taking things easy there as a result. The shoulder is healing up well, though, and I’m sure I’ll see some growth on bench soon to mirror what I’ve experienced on squat and deadlift. Hell, I’ve even seen some massive changes in my physique.
Although it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of powerlifting, it’s nice to feel more jacked, especially in the summer.
My bodyweight is hovering somewhere around 157 pounds right now, which is short of ideal considering my weight class is 163 lbs.
However, I feel bigger than I ever have before, including the time I managed to bulk up to 165, and my body is recovering more quickly and feels healthier all the time.
Hopefully, come October, I’ll have filled out my weight class a little better and will have managed to even further improve my strength as a result of the weight gain.
All-in-all, it seems like volume, volume, and more volume is the name of the game for me. In the past, I’ve seen the most significant improvements to my lifting running programs like a Sheiko template, which tend to stray from regularly high intensities in favor of accumulating more volume and lift frequency. It seems the same is working for me now.
Some highlights of my training recently:
• 6×3 squats at 465lbs for a volume PR
• In the same night: 5×5 deadlifts at 415lbs, then 20 reps at 375lbs with more in the tank
• 3×3, 1×2, 2×1 deadlifts at 495lbs for a volume PR (goal was 6×3, which would have been massive, but a callus tore and I couldn’t hold on to the bar)
• 5×5 paused bench at 255lbs (not a PR of any kind, but felt like benching an empty bar)
This week I’ll be deloading before starting a brief block of even MORE volume, followed by another short deload, and then a huge intensity hike. I’m extremely excited. I’ve never felt this good, or this strong so far out from a meet before. I’m going into Nationals not really concerned about placement or ranking, focusing on setting some new PRs, qualifying for the Arnold again, and then really hitting it out of the park then. The future is looking really bright!
Believe in 2k
I’ll never forget winning my weight class at Raw Unity 8.
I was (and still am) relatively unknown in the sport of Powerlifting. I’d won a bunch of local and regional meets prior, and competed at Raw Unity 7 the year before, but this was my first national level meet where I had the chance to total something special. I remembered totaling 1752 at 198 with a 644 Squat, 424 Bench, and 688 Deadlift.
I won first place in my weight class, and third overall in the middle weights category. I was so happy that my hard work paid off, and I had something tangible to show for it.
At the time, I thought to myself that this win would mark the start of a run of strong performances, culminating in a new 198 world record. I thought that at 25 years young, my future was bright — that I had plenty of time and the world was my oyster.
I was wrong.
Six months later, at my next meet, I totaled 1763, a 111lb PR, but tore my left adductor in the process, and placed third.
There was no fairy tale ending — I had to rehab and not lose any leg strength while recovering. Getting injured is one of the most humbling things an athlete can experience.
I was afraid that I was never going to be able to squat heavy, let alone compete at a high level ever again.
I managed to be back at full strength by January 2016, and started to prepare for a meet in April. I had one of the best training cycles of my life squatting 705, benching 450 for a double, and deadlifting 675 for a triple. It felt like I finally had my lifting preparation figured out and was ready to total somewhere in the neighborhood of 1900.
I bombed out.
Another humbling lesson learned, and another opportunity to reflect on what went wrong.
I learned that strength doesn’t care what my excuses might be for a lackadaisical performance. Having been in the iron game for ten years, I should have known better than to bomb out at a meet. I let my ego get the best of me, and instead of looking at my meet day prep as scientifically as I do in my day-to-day training, I let my emotions drive my strategy.
Strength is a callused lady, and she doesn’t care about anything other than whether you’ve done what’s required to make progress.
I made the mistake of allowing past performances to dictate my opener. Past performances are not a good indicator of present capacity, and just because I won at a high level once didn’t mean I was an exception to this rule. The best way to manage ego is to look honestly at what you need to do to make progress versus what you’re willing to do. I had failed to swallow my ego and do whatever it took to produce a PR total.
I honestly thought 1900+ was in the cards that day. There’s no point in dwelling on this, because, again, strength doesn’t care what I could have accomplished — only what I actually did.
Now, I’m 8.5 weeks out from my next competition. I’ve hired an amazing coach, and surrounded myself with a team of lifters like-minded in their goals to get stronger.
As I keep putting in the work, and letting the programming rather than my emotions dictate my numbers for meet day, I believe totaling 2000lbs is achievable.
I’m cautiously optimistic about my goal for this meet. It’s funny because all of us as lifters acknowledge how much of performance is mental, yet we don’t give this enough credence when we miss a lift. You have to learn to read the signs that strength sends and not be derailed by your emotions. I know that I feel like I’m further ahead and a better lifter now when it comes to the mental aspect. And all of us can admit that this is essential for making progress in the strength game.
As for training, below is what my week looks like.
Stay tuned for more as my competition gets closer!
Competition Squat: 3×4 @ 550lbs, 1×5 @ 530lbs
Competition Bench: 3×4 @ 370lbs, 1×5 @ 360lbs
Incline Dumbbell Curl: 3×12
Competition Deadlift: 1×1 @ 635lbs, 3×3 @ 610lbs
Underhand Chest Supported Row: 3×8
Cable Crunch: 3×12
Triceps Pushdowns: 3×10
Competition Squat: 7×1 @ 585lbs
Competition Bench: 7×1 @ 395lbs
Laying Incline Dumbbell Row: 3×12
Dumbbell Curls: 3×12
Block Pulls: 4×2 @ 625lbs
T-Bar Row: 3×10
Competition Squat: 4×3 @ 585lbs
Competition Bench: 4×3 @ 395lbs
Romanian Deadlift: 3×6
Triceps Dips: 3xAMRAP