Muscle And Performance

Why Am I Doing This

Muscle and performance is why most of us started lifting weights. Along the way, I lost sight of that. But in the past year, I remembered my first love and started working on turning things around. A lot of things have influenced my determination to stop settling for what I’ve had.  As a powerlifter, the temptation strong to simply let my body be what it is and cut water weight to slime into whatever weight class is most accessible, hoping to retain enough strength to make a positive impact. Maybe even break a state record occasionally. It is so strong you can almost touch it. But that’s no longer good enough for me. I’ve had state records.

steve goggins with his lifters mike da bird parrott and john greaves III

hanging out with successful powerlifters like Steve Goggins and Michael “Bird” Parrott has taught me the importance of a muscular, fit physique

I mean, I broke a state record when I competed nine days after surgery on my leg. Albeit it was a bench record but I don’t care.  Nine days out of the hospital. But that’s no longer enough.

The thing is I’m a people watcher. I’ve been one since I was a bouncer in nightclubs.  I can’t help but notice that at every meet I attend, there are several powerlifters with physiques packed with lean muscle. Physiques that are good enough to put them if not on a bodybuilding stage; at least in a physique contest with a little time to dry out.  They also tend to win often.  How can I walk around just hoping that my flabby self will miracle it’s way to best overall lifter when I’ve got guys like Chris Dunn, Ezell Dawes, Abner Nazario, Justin Bethune, Dustin Reed, Ibn Mahama roaming America’s powerlifting venues unrestrained?  I recognize that those guys compete in the Open Division and I compete in the Masters along with all of the other geriatrics.  My response to that cannot be argued with; or denied.  Here it is.  I’m over 40. So?

Let’s pause so that can sink in.

Remembering Why

Ready? Let’s continue.  I said something a while back that applies here.    My goal is to be strong. Not strong twice a year in only three events that most of the world doesn’t care about.

Strong. Not strong as long as I’m wearing the right products and my song is playing.

Strong. Dave Draper pick up the car and hold it while my buddy changes the tire because the rental didn’t come with a jack strong.

Pick up my wife one handed and hold her overhead like Bud Jeffries or Arthur Saxon strong.

grandmaster strongman dennis rogersFold a frying pan in front of you like Dennis Rogers strong.

Real world strong. Every day strong. No wristwraps no knee sleeves strong. I want to grow up to be like myself strong.

No excuses no exceptions. So I guess I’m neither powerlifter nor strongman.

I’m a man. And I want to look good at the beach. So what to do?

Like Alexander Juan Cortes said in an article for EliteFTS muscle is the answer and bodybuilding is the way.  Don’t like that? Okay, he also said, “Low reps express strength built with lighter reps”. I’m an advocate for a defined offseason dedicated to moderate weights and higher reps as well as the use of higher reps, eliminating momentum and controlled squeezes along with multiple angles (i.e. bodybuilding techniques) for accessory work.  Honestly, why should I go super heavy on lying triceps extensions if I can get the same results and save my joints by going lighter and concentrating on quality contractions?  Is there some International Nosecrusher Competition I’m not aware of that I’m training for?

I’m not off on a tangent.  I’m pointing out that using bodybuilding techniques to build muscle will make me a better, more durable strength athlete.  I’m tired of working around joint pain when Robby Robinson is still deadlifting (okay rack pulling) 550lbs in his 70s.  Who’s Robby Robinson? Former bodybuilder. He’s the one with the Afro tossing a football to Ken Waller in Pumping Iron. So if I add muscle and educate it with powerlifting technique, I should be stronger and less injury prone.

I’ve stumbled along the way. I was 191lbs last June and 208lbs last month.  But I’m still on the path. My iron journey isn’t over.

Look out Open Division. I’m coming.  Don’t believe me, just watch.

Height: 5’9      Age 43

Goal: Physique recomposition.
Goal: 190-195lbs    Starting Weight: 208lbs  Current Weight: 205lbs
Goal: 31 inch         Current Measurement: 38 inches Starting Measurement:  39 inches
Chest: relaxed
Goal: 44 inches  Current Measurement:                      Starting Measurement: 43
Goal: 17.5 inches flexed/16 relaxed Starting Measurement: 17.5 inches flexed/16 relaxed  unchanged

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on