My Thoughts on My Arnold Performance and Going Forward

My initial goal of competing at the Arnold was to lay it all out on the table and see where the chips fell. I wanted to be as dialed in as I could be, as focused as ever, and I wanted to see where my prep worked for me and where I would need to make tweaks and corrections in the future.

Even though I didn’t think I’d be making finals, I knew that I had never been so mentally and physically prepared for a competition. My peaking and taper were on point like I’ve never experienced before. So I was really excited to get my “data” back so that I could hit the drawing board again.

Before I start openly nitpicking my performance, I don’t want anyone out there to think I’m ungrateful or unhappy with my performance. One of the big things I learned what that, for the most part, I’m right on track with what I should be doing and I’m fine tuning my body for performance using tools that are good for me.

In fact, leading up to The Arnold, I considered myself “an Olympic lifter that also competes in Strongman.” After seeing my results and discussing with my coach, I’m now making the mental and programming transition to “a Strongman competitor with an Olympic lifting background.” That’s a pretty significant switch for me.

Furthermore, what I’m good at and what I’m bad at stand apart in stark contrast.

First, the good. Anything that lets me plant my feet and pick something up off the ground I excel at. I suppose that ties into my years of Olympic lifting. If I can figure out how to make a movement happen with my legs, tie in an explosive hip/knee extension, I’m golden.

What I’m very bad at - picking something up and moving with it. I walk all clompy and heavy. I find this ironic because I have 18 years of ballet and dance training and 8 years of judo training in my past. You have to be light and fast on your feet and make things look weightless and effortless. Heavy feet will not translate to a nice performance and they tell your opponent what you’re about to do.

So I have a lot of room for improvement on that. This is the newest aspect to me, after all. Plus, it’s not like in judo we had to carry our opponent around before the throw, after all.

My plan for this is, on event days, to add in a few light runs for speed at the end of each heavy run. In the gym, I’m going to add in more bracing drills, from planks to overhead carries, to banded bracing work. I won’t be adding in more crunches, sit-ups or their ilk, I need to train my core to be stable and not contractile quick.

Then there is my overhead strength. In Olympic lifting your arms only need to be strong enough to support the weight once your legs launch it up there. It’s pretty evident by how out of proportion my leg size is to my arm size. Considering my best strict press is 125 lbs, yet my best push press is 190lbs, and my best jerk is 245+lbs, you can see that the more I take my arm strength out of the equation the “stronger” I get.

So pressing in all shapes and forms is going to have to be added to my program. I’ll need some general body building, high volume work to build up some size in my upper body as a base. I’m hoping this helps with my general stability in moving events as well. Arms the size of ropes aren’t particularly stable, arms the size of trunks on the other hand…

It’s going to be a lot of dedicated work. It’s not like in my 20’s, when I could practically put on muscle by just looking at a dumbbell. But I’m ready for a new challenge and a new change of focus.

This is going to be fun!