Interview With Donnie Thompson
Mike White interviews powerlifter Donnie Thompson at the North Carolina APF board.
The state of powerlifting today and his move from the WPO to the IPA:
The current state of Powerlifting is disarray. The WPO was great and going great. That changed last year. The ones involved know why. The IPA is where I got my start and I love to compete at York Barbell. It is the best facility to hold a meet. When I was making my decision to go to the WPO Semi’s in Lake George, it was out of habit because that is what I have done for the last 5 years. I figured if I was going to pay my way to fly there, pay for my hotel and food, pay for transportation there, pay for an entry fee and card membership, I might as go somewhere closer where I could drive. Mark and Ellen Challait have always put on a great meet in York PA and were giving out $1000.00 for best lifts in each category. Money is never a guarantee but at least it is an opportunity. So I went and had a blast. I almost totaled the all-time record total but fell short. I will not go back to the WPO but do not wish any ill-will towards the organization and especially the lifters who are the real WPO! I just feel that my whole weight class there and the other ones too are so good that we should not have to pay travel expenses, hotel or food when we go there to the Arnold to compete. Especially an entry fee. How ‘professional’ is that. I think someone will step up to the plate and do what’s right concerning the treatment of the top powerlifters of today.
How training with Louie Simmons at Westside changed him:
As I stated earlier, I learned group training- that is surround yourself with training comrades that have like minded goals. I also learned attitude. If you do not lift with aggression and purpose, forget it. I lost my fear of weights on October, 2000. That is when I learned to take the emotions out of lifting. For instance, weak minded people, who may be incredibly strong, will judge if they can get a lift or not by how it feels when they take it out of the rack. If it ‘feels’ heavy, they fold. I know max effort attempts are freaking heavy. It is how I execute the lift that determines if I am successful or not. If I do not incorporate explosiveness and speed at the exact moment I should, the lift will not be. Also, if I have a bad day or am I not getting a projected pr, I shrug it off when I leave the building. I will get it next time. The weak minded can’t even seem to function. They won’t sleep that night and they will question their ability. How amateur! That is what separates the champions from the chumps. The New England Patriots probably have the most hungry quarterback in the league. When they lost the playoffs last year, the quarterback vowed they would be back to win it all the next year. This is after three Superbowl wins this decade. After the loss, I did not feel the NE Patriots would fold the team up and quit the league! They would be back to fight next year. How many times have the Powerlifting community wrote Gary Frank off only for him to come back and smash his old records?
How to push beyond sticking points:
Motivation is usually the key. When someone does something spectacular, others start saying to themselves that maybe they can do that to? Most walls of resistance are ones we build in our heads. When the 700 bench was unattainable, Ted Arcidi broke it. Now no one is even impressed if you bench 700. My how times have changed! I am still impressed when someone squats 800 and benches 600. If you do that, you are a strong man!
Training for beginners:
I don’t let beginners do a single max very often. I like to condition them and work the piss out of them. A lot of strong man stuff like tire flips and chains drags. Farmers walk and prowler pushes. In Powerlifting, I like them to do the major three lifts for sets of 5. Progressive overload works well for the high school age kid and the strongman lifts keep them from getting bored. I do add bands and chains for fun!
Concentration should focus on execution of the lift itself. Perfect form throughout the execution of the lift. I also like for the beginners to do a ton of ab work. 7 days a week is still not enough in my view.
On meet day:
First is taking a great crap when you get up. You know, the nervous crap? Then try to eat. I have trouble eating on meet day but my breakfast is two eggs scrambled, bacon, one pancake and a cup of coffee and orange juice. With out these two getting done, the day starts out on the wrong foot. I like to arrive a little early. I talk and stretch a little. I try to keep it light. I try not to take myself too serious and have fun. I am not super intense until I get under the bar. I hate warm-ups for the squat so when they are over I feel the meet is down hill from there. All considerations are done prior to the meet. I have the best handler for me for that particular meet and depend on him with my life. I also have someone to cover the little things like food and beverage. They are tremendous help too.