View Full Version : Last Man Standing Meet

Travis Bell
07-29-2012, 08:22 PM
Figured since this is the first meet of its kind, I'd get a thread started here with my thoughts and some of the other guys will chime in who competed this weekend.

We had about 6 heavy weights and I'm not sure how many light weights (5 or 6?) and we got it all done from warmups to final bench in under an hour and a half. I loved it. When I start warming up, I don't like to stop and wait 30 min between attempts.

Almost everyone hit their first attempt which I think is probably a first in a bench only meet lol. Every one of the lightweights took their first bench and then we moved the bar to 700 and all the heavy weights took their first, then back to lightweights, then back to 750 for heavyweights etc.

It worked very smoothly. I liked the fast pace, as well as the simplicity of the the event.

I hit 700 in a size 60 SDP with fair ease and wore the same shirt for 750 which also went right up. My plan was to switch to my 56 for 800 and up, but 750 went so smooth I changed my game plan and stuck with the 60, which was a mistake. I blasted it about 3/4 the way up and the shirt just didn't have enough. So I quickly ran back and changed shirts.

Now in this format, you don't get an extra long time to take a repeat (you were allowed to miss a weight once) rather you had to re take it at the end of the "flight" at that weight. So since I missed 800 and I was the first to go, I had to re take it after Rob went who was last. The challenge is getting into your shirt fast enough, getting it set and all tucked in before you have to go again. Fortunately I was able to do this.

I touched and locked out 800 but when holding it locked out, I drifted back slowly and bumped the uprights which got me reds.

It ended up coming down to Rob and Vincent both nailing 850 and both missing 900 which was really awesome to watch. Vincent won on bodyweight.

I realize the event was unconventional and I'm sure some guys didn't appreciate the fast pace. I loved it. I like a new challenge and I liked the pressure of changing shirts quickly and the game plan of when to change. Kinda kicked myself for not sticking to my game plan but that's what you do, live and learn.

Smaller jumps after a certain weight was brought up and I'm actually not a fan of that. Personally I like taking big jumps in the shirt, but also I think that smaller jumps would lengthen the event beyond a point of interest at that point. Vincent came within an inch of hammering out a 50lb PR at this meet! Rob almost a 52lb single ply PR! That's just incredible.

The number of "ties" was brought up which I feel is almost irrelevant since it's about the last man standing, not the placing. But if that's a big deal just do it by bodyweight.

I was the lightest heavy weight by a good distance and was not bothered by it at all. At the end of the day you are either strong or not. That's at least the standard I hold myself to.

Although I will admit I'm going to be working on getting bigger. I think half the crowd thought I was in the lightweight category lol.

Bottom line, well done by Vincent with the idea and getting it into action and Gene for putting on the meet. I had a really great time.

Will definitely compete in something like this again.

Travis Bell
07-29-2012, 08:32 PM
Side note, a HUGE thanks to Josh Flores and Matt Rhodes. Both were a massive help to me. Matt did all my handouts and was just awesome. Not going to lie, I don't know if I've had a better handout. He just floated it right out there. Plus the guy is the funniest person in powerlifting next to Tee Tee

07-30-2012, 06:16 AM
Ha! Thank you Travis. It was great meeting you and getting the opportunity to help you out. We'll all have to get together and do this again.

i thought the format was great. The crowd was actually watching guys hit weights. They knew what was on the bar and then got to watch everyone hit it. I've never seen a crowd so involved. I love the format and hope it catches on. I don't think it should or will replace traditional powerlifting, but it was a hell of a lot more fun to watch.

everyone did a great job and clearly took their time in training figuring out how to approach the meet. I think we only had one dumped weight, as opposed to the dump-fest at every other bench meet. It was great to see 7 heavyweights hit 700, 750 and 800. Then we got to see 3-4 guys move on to 850 and then Vincent and rOB TAKE 900! i THINK vINCENT TOOK 7 ATTEMPTS! i THINK rOB ENDED UP WITH 6, BUT i'M NOT SURE. eITHER WAY, WE SAW 290-400LB MEN TAKING 4-7 ATTEMPTS. iT WAS A SHOW OF STRENGTH AND EDURANCE.
Damn, I hit Caps Lock! Oooops!

I don't remember all the weights the lightweights took, but they started at 550 and made 25lb jumps and I believe they got all the way to 700lbs!

It was just great. Josh Stottlemire, Tim Hensley, Joe Johnston, Brandon Lilly, Gene Rychlak, Travis Bell, Tone Barbaccio, Tee Tee McCray, Rob Luyando and Vincent Dizenzo - it was just great. I'm glad Gene was opened-minded enough to give this a ride. I hope the Arnold committee takes a good, hard look at this format.

07-30-2012, 08:05 AM
Travis, Rhodes is the man isn't he. I am so lucky to train with some of the most unselfish lifters in the world. They treat me far better than I deserve. Rhodes, just an FYI, I'm rockin' my U of Albany swag as I type. I love this stuff. Thanks big man.

Someone recorded the entire event, here it is:


07-30-2012, 08:10 AM
Here's my writeup. It's long and illustrious just like my manhood.

Ok, so this Last Man Standing Pro Bench Off was my idea. Rhodes and I were inspired years ago when we saw the same format used at a Pro Strongman deadlift event at Madison Square Garden. It was very crowd friendly. Knowing multiply benching is still out of the Arnold, I approached Gene Rychlak of the RPS with this idea and he quickly ran with it. The days of catching lightning in a bottle at the Arnold are over. They want to see made benches. To some of you, 700 might not sound like a big bench, but the rest of the world thinks it's huge. I have competed at the Arnold. It's awesome, we need to get it back!

The next move was to get some competitors. There were two guys who I went to immediately, Rob Luyando and Travis Bell. I respect them both immensely as lifters and consider them both great friends. I shamed Tone Barbaccio into doing it. He's stronger than he knows and needs to get his head around that fact. Another great addition was my new friend Brandon Lilly. Seeing him go big raw and equipped, I knew he'd be up for this challenge. A nice surprise was Gene Rychlak throwing his hat into the ring. Gene is one of the best equipped benchers of all time hands down. Last, but not least was my training partner and 900+ bencher Tee Tee McCray. My homie jumped in even though he's hardly been able to train.

For those of you who follow my log, you'll know I have been training raw exclusively for a bench meet I did two weeks ago. So I got one training day in the shirt the week before the contest. I decided to go with the Ace because I had a loose 66 (with pinched sleeves) that I could get weight in easy with. So I hit a 700 and an 800 last week and that was the extent of my training.

Rode up that morning with Jessica and Rhodes. I don't think we talked about the contest once. I stayed on my backload plan and did not eat any carbs prior to lifing. I did however eat breakfast which I don't normally do and made sure to take in extra healthy fats to get me through the day. We got to the meet and hung with the competitors for a while.

Before you know it, we were warming up. I warmed up on a bench with Travis. He was matching me. I think his 500 raw was faster than mine. We both put the shirt on with 600 to a board and we were ready to go.

The comp went like this, all the heavyweights hit 700, Tone missed a call and under the rules was allowed to take it again and got it. Big Gene showed what a gamer he is and hit a token 700, then stepped aside to get back to running the show. Brandon was out with 750 because he had no idea he had blown up to 325 lbs. His shirt looked tighter than a grape skin. He then took over the microphone and got the crowd going. Next out were Tone and Travis with 800. I gotta say Travis' 800 looked really close.

Then there were three. Me, Tee, and Rob had 850 on the bar. I got out of my 66 Ace and jumped into my 62 Ace. I have not worn this shirt in over 2 years. When I took the weight I could not get it in. Part of the problem was the shirt was completely cold. It really is a good thing to get these things on and warm them up. Anyway, I almost panicked and went back to the 66. Travis told me to stick with the 62 and big Tone told me I was really close and to just push my belly up. Sure enough I listened and got the 850. I can't believe I tied a pr on what was essentially a fifth attempt. Of course Rob smoked his first 850. However, my man Tee did not did not get one in.

Now we were down to two. Without getting too dramatic, neither Rob nor I got it. My first attempt at it got out of the groove and I had them take it. I was really surprised I got a decent push on it for my seventh lift of the day. Rob was super close both times. The winner came down to the scale. Rob was 290 and I was 286. Rob was all class. He shook my hand and congrtulated me.

Not to forget about the lightweights, they crushed it. Tim Hensley, Jeff Johnston, and Josh Stottlemire hit 550, 575, 600, 625, and 650. Tim and Jeff tied on 675. Tim won on by bodyweight. You have my respect boys, that was a lot of weight to be moved. Thanks for coming out.

All in all, I couldn't have imagined it going much better. My wife has been to far too many meets, God bless her. She usually corrects papers or reads books when I'm not lifting. She said she was riveted to the stage the entire time. The format was so user friendly, everyone knew exactly what was going on and it was a real competition. In total I think there were 34 made attempts with only 10 lifters. That has to be some kind of record for a bench contest.

I want to thank all of the competitor for coming out. The camardarie was like nothing I had seen before. Each lifter was cheering the next on. This is what lifting is about. Thanks to Gene and Ame of the RPS for putting it on. Rhodes, Karsten, and Josh for helping me out. We have one of the tightest crews around. Thanks to my sponsors EliteFTS, AtLargeNutrition, and DangerouslyHardcore, I couldn't do it without you.

I will leave on this, I am a man of my word. I took home $550 for first place. I said that would all go to the Special Olympics. I was overwhelmed by lightweight winner Tim Hensley who donated $100 of his earnings to the cause as well, so friggin' cool. Matt Rys also said he'd chip in $50 if I won. To my pleasant surprise when I got home today and checked my email, he had already sent it via pay pal. Powerlifters are great peeps. This Novemeber I will have the great pleasure of presenting a $700 check at the CT Special Olympics Powerlifting Meet. Good times.

Oh yeah, I don't think I saw a single person pick me to win this event. For all of you I did my favorite "Suck it!" dance. That fueled me all week. I have said it before and I'll say it again, the best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't. Your silence spoke volumes.

Here's the vid of my performance.


07-30-2012, 08:49 AM
Looked like a really fun meet to be a part of. I like the format, and if nothing else could make it more tv friendly.

07-30-2012, 09:16 AM
congrats on the win sir, you guys succeeded in making benching interesting again for someone who went to watch table tennis at the arnold instead of watching any of the benching there haha. it was quite exciting! here's my vid of your 850.


J Stottlemire
07-30-2012, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the great write up Travis, it was awesome to lift with Vincent and Travis for the very first time, I have hit the stage with most others at the Mr Olympia or Arnold early this year, this was fun fast paced competition and alot of crowd involvement. I will definately be throwing my hat in to do this style meet again. You all handled your self with honor and strength and it was great to meet each of you. Best of luck in training fellas.

07-30-2012, 10:15 AM
Nice writeups Travis and Vinnie. Sounds like you guys had a awesome time. Congrats on the win Vin!

07-30-2012, 10:27 AM
As a spectator it was a great competition to watch unfold. The appeal of an event such as this has already been mentioned. It is set up in a way which is interesting to the casual powerlifting fan or even someone who never has seen powerlifting before. Watching weight after weight get crushed, rather than watching one successful attempt out of 5 or so, keeps the crowd into it. Great job by all. Believe almost all the participants are active members on here too, which added to the event in my opinion.

07-30-2012, 12:51 PM
Awesome, I like this format, more like you are battling each other. And I could see some interesting strategies used in prep, and having to guess what your opponent is going for.

07-30-2012, 07:07 PM
As a spectator/handler I thought this was an awesome event. To have 10 of the best benchers competing on the same platform was a great experience. To see this come to fruition and be part of it on its first run was really cool. I think this is definitely the answer to making multi-ply benching more crowd appealing and I hope to see it catch on.

chris mason
07-31-2012, 10:10 AM
Sounds like a cool meet!

07-31-2012, 12:25 PM
Sounds like a cool meet.