Qualifying for the open raw Nationals 2020 by gaining 80kg total competition PR

Blog by Alwin Tan (instagram)

I contacted Wim for guidance in Powerlifting, since he is a well-known (international) Powerlifting coach . He asked me about my goals and ambitions. Well… my biggest ambition this year is to qualify for the open raw Nationals in 2020, I realized however that I had to gain 80kg competition PR since my last meet in February. My best lifts were: 177,5kg squat- 127,5kg bench-175kg deadlift. “Ok, we will work on it as long as you can commit yourself to my program”, he told me. Well let’s give it a try then. But how on earth am I going to gain 80kg in just 4 months (since my next meet was in December)? I have been struggling with my deadlifts for more than 1 year, plus I was suffering from a lower back injury and my squats weren’t improving that well.

I sent him my current PR’s, goals and next meet. After a couple of days he replied my e-mail with an Excel attachment. One full SBD training and 3 training sessions with a variety of exercises… After having survived the first full SBD training, my quads and wrists were cramping.. What is the point of this heavy training session? I was spending over 4 hours in the gym!! How on earth am I going to survive this for the next 7 weeks?! Wim told me that the point of this, is to get used to the load of a full competition. In order to achieve that, it is not wise to “maximize” a squat, bench or deadlift session on separate days. It seemed to work for me, since my deadlift (my weakest lift) slowly increased from 175kg to 185kg conventional after 2 weeks. More importantly, I wasn’t cramping anymore.

Of course it wasn’t all about gaining weights, I had one training session where I failed two sets of deadlift (192,5 kg and 200kg) and I suffered a shoulder injury during the bench press. At that point, I thought that my qualification for the Nationals in 2020 is over.. If I even can’t pull 200, how can I gain 80kg total PR required for qualifying? Wim, however, showed his ‘coaching’ skills by letting me realize that failure is the best method for improving both physically and mentally. 

Two weeks out from the DRC Cup I was pulling 215kg deadlift, squatted 192,5kg and did a 135kg bench press (with a shoulder injury), meaning a 542,5 kg total. Instead of gaining 80kg, I “only” had to gain 17,5kg. That gave me a lot of confidence.

At the DRC Cup I was a bit worried, because I woke up with a bit of a cold, plus my shoulder wasn’t feeling that great. However, I surprised everyone (except Wim perhaps) by squatting 195 kg (+17,5 competition PR), benching 140kg (+ 12,5kg Powerlift match PR) and a 225 deadlift ( +50kg PR!!), meaning a 80kg total PR and thus qualified myself for the open Nationals!

I still don’t know why I gained so much in such a short period of time. But I think that the combination of one intense training session a week, lots of variety work with lighter weights and mental coaching works well for me.

Wim can convince his athletes to overcome their fears and turn them into positive, lifting energy. Together with Wim, I am looking forward to set some new standards 🙂     

Squat

Bench press

Deadlift

Ilrish pulled 228.5kg European Record (for 2 minutes) silver medal at the EPF Classic Powerlifting Championships

Full meet video (below the record attempt)

Colette Haddon pulling 180kg at the DRC Cup

Alwin Tan qualified himself for the Nationals at the DRC Cup

251kg worldrecord deadlift Iris Kensenhuis

Below full meet video

Nationals Classic Powerlifting Masters II 2019

Colette Haddon SBD 2019 -63kg class

Squatting above 200kg classic again…..

Iris Kensenhuis WEC Powerlifting 2019 Equipped

Ilrish Kensenhuis WEC Powerlifting Classic 2019