• My Deadlift Journey: 315lbs to 782lbs pt2

      by Jeremy Hartman

      Part 2:
      I was now full immersed in the sport of powerlifting, leaving my wrestling career behind, but never forgetting the lessons I learned to earn success in my new sport. Since weight cutting was no longer a concern, I was finally weighing 190lbs and getting stronger with every pound I was able to put on. After training all year and going through several training partners at Bowling Green State University, I was making some really good gains. I was home for Christmas break and asked Greg Page if he would take me down to Westside Barbell to meet Louie. Sure enough Louie welcomed us down and we got to train on bench day. I called him up about one month out from the USAPL Teenage Nationals and asked if I could come down and train for a few more times. Needless to say that after watching me squat and deadlift, Louie had a few comments to say. During some speed deadlift pulls, he suggested that I try some conventional pulling as it seemed as though I had a strong back from all my years of wrestling and earlier training. For the second time ever, I tried conventional pulling. Speed and everything looked good, so we decided to work up. He asked what my best pull was and I said 555lbs. from my last meet. So we decided to put on 585lbs and I reluctantly pulled it with some decent speed. So a month out from the USAPL Teenage Nationals, I was going to go conventional. I had to travel to the meet alone and actually got the nerve to ask Brad Gillingham to help me with my deadlift as I didn’t have a coach and didn’t know what position I was in going into the deadlift. Brad really not knowing who I was, or what I could do said, “sure, whatever I can do to help”! I went in the low 500’s on my first deadlift attempt and then upper 500’s on my second deadlift attempt. For my third attempt, I smoked 600lbs. Needless to say I decided that conventional was my choice from now on. –Thanks again for Brad for helping out an un-known 19 year-old kid.

      I was home for the summer from college working during the day and then training at night. I came across articles in PLUSA about Vince Anello that I found in my gym. Still being hyped from pulling my first 600, I came back down to reality when I read about Vince pulling in the low 800’s in the same weight class back in the 70’s. Crazy I thought. As I began to search on my own, I found it he lived about 45 minutes away. I got his phone number off his website and too much of my surprise, he called me back and invited me to come and speak with him. I was in my car the next day headed down to Parma, Ohio. Vince started talking to me at his personal training studio like we had been friends for years. Our meeting lasted well over two hours as Vince talked about his training methods and shared stories of old school powerlifting, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. He showed me some pictures, memorabilia, and talked to me about training numbers. Vince told me that even though he deadlifted a lot during training, he really focused on keeping his body totally strong with different exercises. He asked what type of back work I did with my training and I gave him the usual 19 year old kid answer of lat pull-downs, back rows, and heavy weighted chin-ups and pull-ups. He asked how much I could lat pull-down and I said that I could do the whole stack (210lbs.) in my gym for sets and reps. He sat back and laughed and said, “good for you”. Then he stated that he could do anywhere from 350-380 for sets and reps on a regular basis when he was pulling in the upper 700’s and low 800’s. He then asked if I ever did any heavy partial squats and what I used, I chose not to answer this time even though I knew the answer. He told me that he could walk out over 1,000lbs. with a Marathon suit and ace-bandage knee wraps and hit his partial squats 4-5 inches down, pause on the pins and come back up, and then walk the weight back in. He felt partial squats helped his deadlift, more than his actual squat. Finishing up our conversation Vince put me through one of his mental training exercises that he used to use for deadlifting. He basically put me in a trance and made me think about training, deadlifting, and goals setting. After 15 minutes, I felt refreshed and ready to move on to my next goal of pulling 650lbs six months later. This again was a nice reality check to put me into my place in powerlifting when I thought that I was strong and thinking that right around 600 was my deadlifting limit.
      That summer I went back and forth visiting Vince at his personal training studio and taking up as much of his time as I could. He even invited me over to his house to meet his family and watch some really old powerlifting meets of his. I was having the time of my life listening to how the old powerlifters trained and what Vince thought about training all those years now looking back. After heading back to school in August, I had a new mindset about training and deadlifting again. Now weighing 208lbs. and being lean, I had trouble cutting weight to make 198lbs. with a two hour weigh in for the USAPL. Needles to say I pulled my goal of 650 pretty easy at the USAPL Ohio State Meet in November. Vince said he was proud of me and knew I would hit that 650 no problem when I left that summer to go back to school. I came back and visited Vince on my way home from College during Christmas Break and we talked about my next goal. I told him that I was struggling to weigh under 210 and asked what I should do? He told me that for 2-3 years when he was a 181lbs. powerlifter his deadlift went no where and he couldn’t figure it out. He told me his coach said for him to go up a weight class and feed his deadlift. He said he finally did and grew too fast into 220lbs. for a short while, but finally got everything under control and cut down to 198lbs. and his deadlift took off again. His advice was simple, I was a young lifter and I should let my body go where it wanted and stop trying to control my bodyweight so much at this point in my lifting career. After we finished talking Vince commented about me being 5’10” and competing as a tall and skinny 198lbs., and then of course I made a comment about how short he was and how he was the only person I knew who could scratch his knee while standing up straight! Vince literally reminded me of foot soldier from the teenage mutant ninja turtles. We both laughed, talked about his greyhound dogs, and I left again.
      During this point, I let my weight get up to 214lbs. in preparation for the USAPL Ohio meet in March. My good mornings took off, my rack pulls were going great, and my speed was coming around with heavier weights on my deadlift. I was only using around 315-335lbs. for 12sets x 2 reps on speed box squats with 30 second breaks with only a loose belt on. I was also doing a lot of speed pulls with the same weight and set and rep scheme immediately after I squatted. I usually stood on a 2-4” box when doing speed deadlifting. No matter how much pain my body was in, I still did some type of max workout 3 days later. My favorites were deep arched back good mornings up to 405lbs. for 3 reps, high box manta ray squats (3-4” box above parallel) to the low 700’s with a belt only, and heavy rack pulls below the knee cap. I always worked up to a 1-3 rep max and when I say max I mean as heavy as I could go. If I ever missed a weight or rep, I would always try it again and sometimes again. At this point in my training it was the basic outline of having a speed squat day containing of speed deadlifts afterwards, then glute/ham machine work, heavy band or cable pull-throughs, and some extra machine back rows and other back work. I always did 4-5 sets and anywhere from 8 – 15 reps depending on how far out from a meet I was in. The second squat/deadlift day was what I described earlier with some variation of hamstring work and lower back work following my max lift. My assistance exercises were Olympic style front squats (close stance and deep), heavy back extensions on a 45 degree angle, or on a glute/ham machine, banded leg curls for high reps, and always some type of upper back and extra lat work with dumbbells.
      Part 3 to come:

      Jeremy Hartman is a high school strength and conditioning coach in Ft. Wayne, IN. He has been a competitor in the USAPL/IPF since he first started powerlifting. His national accomplishments include a USAPL Teenage National Championship and best lifter, 4 Collegiate/Jr. National Championships and best lifter, 2008 Men’s Open National Champion, and 2x Deadlift Competitor at the Arnold Sports Festival-finishing 4th place in 2008 and 2009. His international experience includes being a member of 2 Jr. World Teams; traveling to Koscian, Poland in 2003 and finishing 4th all-around, in 2005 he was a bronze medalist. Jeremy finished 4th at the IPF Open World Championsips in 2008 in Canada and included a 523lbs. bronze medal bench and 782lbs. gold medal deadlift. His last meet was at the World Games in July, 2009 in Taiwan where he finished 7th out of the best IPF lifters in 198lbs. and 220lbs. weight classes combined. PR’s include a 733lbs. squat, 523lbs. bench, and 782lbs. deadlift all while weighing under 220lbs in the USAPL/IPF.