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Derrington Wright is a strength coach at Kabuki Strength and an elite powerlifter in the USAPL/IPF. He may be reached with comments and questions at [email protected] The Arnold Classic 2018 was the best performance of my lifting career. I ended with an 1829lbs (830kg) total in the 105kg division, I was ecstatic. I even ended up winning a big check for $800 for placing first, literally the peak of my powerlifting journey at the time. Fast forward to March 14th, I wake up, half asleep and I see an email that says, “notification of doping failure”.In short, it said that I tested positive for the SARM Ostarine and unless proven otherwise, that I could be banned for up to 4 years from competing or coaching at any USAPL meet. At this point, I think I’m dreaming so I fall back asleep for another few hours then I wake up again just to see that the email was all too real. I was in such shock and disbelief; I couldn’t imagine how or why my test could’ve come back positive. Confused as to what I should do next, I messaged a friend of mine that I thought would know more about how I should move forward dealing with this, mainly because she’s a stickler for the rules and the person I usually go to if I have any USAPL related questions. So, she told me to email the national office back and ask them what my options are. I know this seems like the obvious course of actions, but I was so in shock that it felt like I couldn’t think straight. In short, I was told that I had 3 options.Accept the ruling- Meaning I would not fight the ruling and be banned from the USAPL for four years. ...

Derrington Wright is a strength coach at Kabuki Strength and an elite powerlifter in the USAPL/IPF. He may be reached with comments and questions at [email protected] Staying in the same vein of my last article I’ll be giving you some tips on things you could be doing to make your setup in the squat more efficient.There is a lack of attention that is paid to how people bring the bar out of the rack. I am no exception to that and I used to be the same way.My squat form has always been decent, but I’ve never paid a lot of attention to my squat-unrack. Then I came across the quote, “If it starts badly it’s probably going to end worse”. Then it clicked; if my setup is bad my squat is likely going to be bad too (or at least not as strong and efficient as it could be). I knew the importance of breathing, bracing, foot placement etc. during the actual movement, but when it came to unracking the bar, my only thought was to get the bar out of the rack without dying. Hopefully, I can save some of you from making the same mistakes I have.Below I’m going to note a few things that I don’t think lifters focus enough on when unracking the bar: 1. Making sure the bar is set over mid foot- When people have their feet too far back, their weight tends to shift forward and over their toes. Conversely, when their feet are too far forward their weight tends to shift towards their heels. Both of these things, while seemingly subtle, and may not make you fall on your face when unracking or fall back onto the ground, will lead to unnecessary energy leakage as you are trying to stabilize yourself afterward. 2. Setting...

A lot of people tend to give me a funky look when they see me doing self unracks, especially, with max weights. Let me start off by saying, if you have a great spotter to lift off for you, then totally do that. But bad handoffs happen fairly often and if you’ve gotten a bad hand off, then you know how hard it is to recover. After having noticed this problem, I had the best experience at 2016 USAPL nationals. I had a spotter named Eric Curry, and his lift off technique was literally the best I had ever seen or experienced.  It was so remarkable that I jokingly told myself that I’d never let anyone lift off for me unless it was him. Soon after, I started practicing self-handoffs out of pure curiosity. In addition, I usually lift alone so I thought it would be beneficial to learn. With all that said, here are a few reasons why I think everyone, especially competitive powerlifters, should learn how to effectively and efficiently unrack the bar on their own (whether you decide to get handoffs or not).1. Learn how to self unrack, and it’ll be easier to recover after a bad handoff. 2017 Nats, after telling the handoff guy twice that I want to unrack the bar myself, he still lifting the bar off anyway (terribly, I should add). Thankfully, because I’m used to unracking and stabilizing heavy weight on my own, I was able to stabilize, readjust, and finish the lift with no issue (for the most part). 2. What if you have no choice? Say you are lifting in the gym and for whatever incredibly selfish reason, your training partner decides not to come and leaves you to fend for yourself. I don't know about you but speaking from experience I'd...