Every year that I get the privilege of competing in the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival I feel extremely humbled. This year was my seventh time competing in the International Pro Deadlift. I had a very productive training phase leading up to the Arnold Classic. My number one goal was to come into this contest healthy and this was accomplished. Due to the fairly severe injuries I sustained last year in training, my approach to my training leading into the Arnold Classic was pretty conservative when it came to my deadlift. I do not regret this whatsoever because the health of my back continues to improve and I still have the goal of deadlifting 800 pounds one day!
As I have said many times before, the best part of competing in strength sports and best part about attending the Arnold Sports Festival is the people. This year I got to spend more quality time with the people from Metabolic Technologies and Brad Gillingham than I have in previous years at the Arnold. I also got a chance to hang out with Erin Stern and Tim Nassen of Team HMB. A big thanks goes to the great people with the USAPL for putting on another great weekend of drug-free powerlifting events, and Mark Bell for sponsoring the Pro Deadlift event.
The plan going into the contest was to open with 716 pounds, go for 760 pounds on my second attempt and then see how the weight was moving before selecting my third attempt. My opener of 716 felt ok, but not extremely fast. My second attempt of 760 moved very slowly – more like a third attempt than a second. I called for 782 pounds on my third and missed it above the knee. Typically, the lockout is the strong part of my deadlift, but with having to play it conservative in training with my low back I did not have the lower back strength to finish my last pull.
The training plan going forward is to gradually up the volume and especially the intensity of my lower back training as my back health continues to improve. My next competition will be the Bodybuilding.com Pro Deadlift Invitational on June 4th in Boise, ID. At the recommendation of my good friend and IPF Hall of Famer Brad Gillingham I will drop the intensity of my training and focus on building a good strength foundation with sets of 8 on the squat, bench press, and deadlift. When someone who has pulled 800+ over 100 times in drug-tested competition gives you advice, you had better heed it! My goals at the end of this phase will be to deadlift 600x8 and squat 505x8 for 2 sets. I will then move on to sets of five and attempt to set 5-RM personal records in the squat and deadlift. I will finish my prep for Boise with higher intensities of sets of 1-3 on the squat and deadlift. More details of this training plan to follow! Check out my YouTube channel for training updates.
I cannot thank everybody at Team HMB, Team BetaTOR and Team PEAK enough for all their support, and of course, for providing great supplements. There is no better supplement on the market for recovery than BetaTOR (known as Clear Muscle from MuscleTech in the supplement world). I would also highly recommend #Shatter from MuscleTech. It has everything you need to help you stay on the gas pedal for your entire workout, including PEAK ATP, Beta-Alanine and Caffeine.
-Bryan Dermody, Powerlifter