Tyron Senituli

In late 2016 Tyron became the strongest PA lifter in all of Australian History with a 887.5kg total

HOW IT STARTED

Tyron came to me at the start of 2016, with a lot of ambition and existing talent. Tyron was already competing in powerlifting, but when we sat down to write up his career plan as I do with all my athletes, the first thing I picked up on was that he had conflicting goals. He told me he wanted to increase strength with a focus on getting a 300kg squat, but at the same time continue to lose weight. These two big goals, in most cases, are mutually exclusive as the process of long term strength gain generally goes hand in hand with steady weight gain (depending body composition and overall goal) and allowing for a reasonable increase in bodyweight is ‘generally’ (key word) the most effective way to reach long term strength goals. I could also guess that with Tyron’s genetic background which is very similar to my own, muscle gain comes easily and fat loss requires more intense strategies. Tyron had some massive strength goals and extraordinary potential, I explained to him that for ambitions this big we needed to priorities his goals based off our 2-5 year plan. Tyron identified that his main goal was strength gain, so this is what we pursued as our short and long term goals.

The man who chases two rabbits doesn’t eat‘ I heard this quote a long time ago in a podcast by Dr. Lonnie Lowery, and it has stuck with me since. To me, this quote brilliantly sums up the importance of proper goal setting. In cases like this I see time and time again an obsession over weight classes that people do not fit into and processes to lose weight that do not favour strength gain. Too many times people try to fit the athlete to the weight class, rather than choosing a weight class that suits the athlete. Because of these unrealistic expectations- trying to be smaller than you should whilst pursuing superhuman strength- you end up chasing two goals and achieving neither. With this in mind we focussed Tyron’s training on his squat (his short term focus) and overall strength gains in his preparation for the IPF World Championships.

the man who chases two rabbits doesn’t eat

Tyron already had a lot of muscle and an excellent strength base, so we focused primarily on improving lifting technique (and thus efficiency). When it comes to technique changes, our philosophy is that it takes 1000 reps to learn a new technique, and 3000 reps to master it. With this in mind, Tyron’s training leading into the PA Junior Nationals was focussed on low intensity training and progressive overload through the accumulation of more and more volume. To summarise his squat program, we averaged 68.5% training load, never going over 5 reps in a set to maintain technique quality and over his 13 week prep, he completed 1062 reps of squats. The results speak for themselves! (see video below)

focusing on squat we added 35kg to it and 65kg to his total in just over 3 months.

I mentioned that we had put the big focus on improving Tyron’s squat, which we successfully accomplished with an increase of 35kg over 3 months. Tyron’s bench and deadlift also saw huge improvements, we added 65kg to his total in this time with his squat going from 265kg to 300kg, bench from 200kg to 215kg and deadlift from 310kg to 325kg. Tyron competes in the IPF, and like every other high level IPF athlete is subject to extensive drug testing and strict technical critique on his lifts. Junior Nationals was a launching pad for him to receive an invitation to compete at the Open Nationals at the Brisbane Fitness Expo. After getting a little beaten up from the first prep we took 4 weeks of “deload” with a focus on hypertrophy and improving specific weaknesses. The final 6 weeks was a simple peak into the competition to peak his nervous system and squeeze out more from his prep without having to put together a serious prep. Coming into this competition we were feeling so good that we found ourselves tossing up between 3 outcomes: 1. Beat the current champion, 2. take first place or 3. take overall. Each of these outcomes required different tactics and we planned through every possible scenario. An additional complexity is that because I am not registered as a coach of Tyron’s federation (a lengthy and exclusive process), I am not allowed back stage at any Powerlifting Australia competitions. This posed very few problems for Tyron, as we had a line up of PA coaches wanting to help handle him because they all just wanted to see him succeed. I have Grahame McDonald to thank for his expert handling at the PA Open Nationals.

COMP DAY

When the day of competition arrived there was a lot of anticipation in the Brisbane Fitness Expo crowd. As usual, Tyron had his whole support crew in attendance, made up of Lifters League athletes and staff as well as Tyron’s entire family to cheer him on. Tyron opened with an easy 285kg squat. With comp nerves out of the way we went for our pre-planned strategy of a 310kg second attempt, this was an easy lift but Tyron struggled with the footing out of the rack. It’s not something you often consider, but unracking and walking the weight out can be extremely taxing and make or break a lift. After this slip up, we went for a safer number than originally planned with a (still impressive) 322.5kg squat. A principle I follow when picking numbers for a competitive athlete, is that it is always better to be slightly conservative and maximise the total by selecting numbers you know you have, rather than chasing a touch and go number thus risking a missed lift and no increase to the total. This is particularly important with squat and bench and always becomes apparent when you come to deadlifts and wish you had a spare 2.5kg in your total to secure the win. 322.5kg was perfect.

Next up was bench- Tyron’s favourite. We opened a lot closer to his previous max than I usually would but sometimes you have to break rules when you are chasing a win. We opened easily with 210kg. 12.5kg jump for his second, it was a slow start but easy out of the press. We were hoping for a 230kg for his third but 227.5kg was a safer choice. Unfortunately Tyron missed this on a technicality and dip the bar on the way up. We ended with a 222.5kg bench.

Deadlift is where all the fun begins. We tactically selected a 305kg opener which would put a huge amount of stress on the competition. I was very confident for a very big jump for a second going 327.5kgkg and had planned for a 340kg third. Tyron’s second slowed down a lot. In training we haven’t had as much contact time as we would have liked with deadlifts so I put this down to an issue of technique rather than power. We elected for a safe 7.5kg jump and then sat down and waited to see how the competitor performed before finalising our 3rd lift attempt selection. After an intense discussion we bumped his third up to 337.5kg to lock in a 12.5kg lead which to us seemed unbeatable. To the disappointment of the crowd, Tyron’s main competitor opted for a total that would place him second by 2.5kg, but finish off with a higher Wilks score than Tyron (score calculated based on bodyweight). Sadly, in some competitions there is more prestige surrounding this coefficient score than there is around the total weight lifted. As far as I’m concerned, the facts of this competition are: Tyron placed first in his weight class, had the biggest total in the entire competition and set a new record for the biggest raw total in Powerlifting Australia’s history.

Regardless of how you look at these competition results, nobody can deny that with only one year of competing behind him this junior competitor is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Watch this space as Tyron makes waves on the international IPF powerlifting scene.

Off To The World Championships

After that competition he got invited the the IPF World Championships.

Here is our very own lifter Tyron Senituli with his final deadlift of 332.kg finishing him off with a 7.5kg total PB taking the Powerlifting Australia’s all time total record of 890kg. Tyron is now currently ranking 9th in the world. Such an honour to have coached such talented and dedicated athletes. Such a bright future for this new lifter and can’t what to work with him more. 

Finishing with a small but easy 2.5kg PB with a 325kg squat. Making the most stride in his bench press adding 10kg finishing with a 232.kg bench press. Then a 5kg shy off his all time deadlift he finished with a 332.5kg deadlift, 890kg total and going 9 for 9.

“I would like to thank my family back home and friends  … lifters league Gus Cooke there awesome coaching, … I feel so blessed to have competed for Australia … I have only been powerlifting for 1 year … ranked 9th in the world … I’m so keen to progress and get stronger! …”

For the full video of the 120kg+ including lifts from Ray William see the stream below.

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