I competed in the USA Powerlifting RAW Nationals in Spokane, Washington on October 14. The meet was held at the Centennial Hotel overlooking the Spokane River near the falls which was a great location. Amazingly, the small venue was able to host the largest USA Powerlifting Nationals in history. There were more than 1,200 lifters; competing over four days, on three platforms.

This was the twenty-fourth time I have competed in the USA Powerlifting Nationals dating back to 1992. RAW lifting has really brought more members into the organization. USA Powerlifting had around 5,000 members in 1992 and now the membership is close to 20,000.

Stepping on the Platform

It was obvious that a lot of planning went into this meet, and the warm up room did not disappoint. It was set up very well with enough adjustable racks and weights to accommodate all of the lifters. Warming up for a meet of this size is always a concern of mine, so I planned for light opening attempts. My opening squat felt light, but I took a conservative jump to 606 lbs. on my second attempt. I left a lot in the tank on my third attempt and finished with 628 lbs. Unfortunately, one of the lifters had a horrific squat injury. This resulted in a long delay and really effected the mood of the all of the competitors. It is hard to see one of your fellow competitors be injured. I know I speak for everyone by wishing Samuel Trawick a fast and complete recovery.

I was a little disappointed in my bench press. I took a very conservative approach and smoked my first two attempts. I messed up with my set-up on my third attempt. I got out of position and did not complete the lift. I ended up with bench of 450 lbs., but early in my training, I felt I would be close to 500. Time to go back to the drawing board on the bench. I have plenty of power off the chest, but I need to concentrate more on my lock out.

I was happy with my deadlift. I opened with a light first attempt of 660 lbs. I made a mistake selecting my second attempt. I put in the wrong number, and did not exceed my Masters-2 American Record. Not wanting to miss an opportunity at an American Record, I selected 750 lbs. on my third attempt and pulled a new Masters-2 American Record. This attempt felt very strong, and in the process, I won my fourteenth National Championship. I am fired up about getting back to training, and working on getting over 800 lbs. next year.

Team Jackal Gym

Three lifters at the USAPL RAW Nationals represented Jackals Gym.  Super Heavyweight, Lucas Damm, was Junior National Champion in 2017. His training was very strong leading up to the meet. Unfortunately, he ran into a problem with getting his squats passed. This put him in a hole from the start. He was not able to make up the lost attempts and he finished in fourth place. This will only be a temporary setback for Lucas. He has a great future in the sport.

Antonio Meikel competed in his first USAPL RAW National Championship. Antonio trained with me for several years both as a SMSU wrestler and at Jackals Gym. He has since moved to Utah, but it was great getting to coach Antonio on Thursday. He is also just starting in the sport and has a bright future.

Fueling Results

HMB has rebranded the product line. Same great products with a different logo. Make sure to add myHMB, myHMB Clear, myHMB Clear + Peak ATP and myHMB + Vitamin D to your supplementation plan. These are all great products, available at your local GNC store. They are designed to supplement your strength and recovery needs. Train smart, stay healthy, set your goals high!

Stay Strong!



Brad Gillingham

Brad Gillingham is a Hall of Fame Powerlifter who is a 6-time IPF World Powerlifting Champion and has more than 30 IPF World Championship medals under his belt.  Brad is the co-owner of Jackals Gym where he coaches a variety of athletes.  Brad is also strength and conditioning coach for wrestling and volleyball at Southwest Minnesota State University.


Related Posts

NSCA National Conference

Strength & Conditioning Conferences I recently attended the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. The conference…

Read More