Mike: Hey everyone welcome back to the RTS podcast it’s been a little while since we got together for an episode thanks for bearing with us through the break today we’ve got a really cool episode planned. We’ve got myself here, Mark is here, Paulie is here, and we’ve also got twio guests today I’m really excited about talking to these guys we’ve got Troy and Laddie Gibson here with us. Troy is a 93kg masters world champion and world record holder, and Laddie is a 83kg masters world champion and world record holder. So kind of a cool thing going on today we’ve got 4 world record holders in 1 podcast Lets start off talking to Troy and Laddie
To start off with some bio questions; can you tell us a little about yourselves
Troy: we are twins born in the Bronx and shortly thereafter moved out to Suffolk county at an early age and joined the marines where we picked up powerlifting. I saw a bunch of big guys training at the gym out there and we were mesmerized by them. When we got out of the marines in 1988 we went to our first state powerlifting meet.
Mike: I didn’t’ realize you guys were in the marines. We both of you in the marines?
Troy: Yes we were never stationed together but we both went through the same boot camp. Laddie wasn’t’ really in to powerlifting when we were in the marines. He was more into running. I used to go to the gym to try and stay in shape and when we got out and fell in love with powerlifting at our first state meet.
Mike: How did that go? Were you guys talented from the beginning? We’re trying to find out how great lifters started.
Laddie: We lived on long island, our first meet was the 1988 American drug free powerlifting association up in Albany. We rode up to Albany in a van and slept the night before the meet in the van. We didn’t even have a hotel we just stayed in the van. We lifted the next morning and we both won first place and I got best lifter and ever since I’ve been hooked. It’s very interesting, Troy actually did a bench competition in the marines in 1985 then when we got out I had a car and troy didn’t so I used to drive him back and forth to the gym. I got tired of driving back and forth to the gym so I asked, let me stay and train with you rather than going to do my calisthenics and running and that’s how I started powerlifting
Mike I have a hard time imagining you guys doing calisthenics. You’re both such wide human beings. You’re obviously built for lifting weights I have a hard time imagining you guys running. I guess it happens though, you guys were in the marines and I was in the air force
Laddie: all the running went out the window when we started putting size on.
Mike: so you guys don’t keep up with that nowadays do you?
Laddie: we thought running would possibly take away from our lifts. One of the things that we didn’t do a lot of was mobility which if we could change something going back we would have done a little more mobility.
Keep up general athleticism. While you touched on that what sorts of injuries have you dealt with?
Laddie: I have had 2 knee surgeries sore my patellar tendon in 95 and the meniscus in my right knee n dive been dealing with shoulder impingement issues off and on for the last 10 years or so. About 4 weeks out from the world champs I was really struggling. i probably wouldn’t have gotten white lights with 350lbs on bench.
Mike: Just for comparison what kinds of numbers were you hitting in Finland?
Laddie: prior to the meet I was on track to hit 402lbs maybe even 407lbs prior to having shoulder issues and training was going great
Mike: So the injury impacted you pretty dramatically is there anything you’ve done over the years to make it go away any faster
Laddie: As soon as I got the initial injury, it was one of those things where every once in a while you have an injury like this where you don’t remember what event caused it. How did this happen? I have a great medical team and af
Troy: I’ve had quite a few injuries myself, knee surgeries, herniated discs, partial rotator cuff tears these things over the years have seemed to heal from getting more involved with mobility which is something when we first started we never would really do. Leading in to worlds when we started working wit you mike I had tendonitis in my knee happened before 2014 nationals I got really lazy with mobility and the knee was worse I basically had to lay off and work around it but I got lucky when I started actually listening to you and putting it together.
Mike: Sometimes you have to work around these issues. Mark you have a few things to add regarding injuries
Mark: oh yeah, I was just laughing at Troy’s comment about not backing off during training early on. I remember a commend you made to me mike a few years ago when I tore my bicep and I was lifting 50times more than the doctor recommended… the typical powerlifter. I guess it takes some maturity and wisdom
I hate to say that its something that comes with age and experience going back to my academy days when I first started coaching how do I teach these guys with 4-5 years’ experience to lift like they’ve been doing it for 15-20 years and to have a sense of their own body. How does the saying go? There’s no teacher like experience
All of us tend to want to push things to the limit but you have to learn where that edge is individually. If you go over that line you’re going to get set back and it’s going to take longer. Experience is huge
Mike: Paulie what do you think?
Paulie: I’m just wondering 3 out of the 4 world record holders here are masters lifters… have you guys learned your lessons yet? All these injuries and issues… everybody just came off classic worlds… what are you guys going to do differently going forward to be healthier and set a good example for the youngins’
Troy: That’s a tough question. Always before you get injured training is going well when something bad happens. Then you try to push the envelope and something happens… a little nagging thing. You’re never going to want to stop completely which isn’t the right answer so you work around it to try and get it to heal fast. Another lifter will ask what to do and I’ll give the advice to back off or try something else. I generally have to hear it from my brother or somebody else if I need to back off.
Laddie: I think that’s one of the good things that troy and I have. We both listen to each other when it comes to injuries and we are both pretty stubborn.
Mark: my training partner chad rexrode gets asked by me for advice on what to do a lot.
Mike: I end up training by myself a lot so I don’t have the benefit of having a consistent training partner in the meantime it’s a lot like what troy is saying. Things will be going well and sometimes that’s when you need to watch out. Something might be creeping around the corner. You don’t want to pull eh plug to early but its better to be a little to early than too late. It’s a really hard thing to do when you are making a lot of progress and riding that gainz train. All of the time that’s good but don’t get stuck there. Some coaches put a limit on it and they say after this ‘x’ percentage gain we’re going to pull back the throttle a little bit. I’ve done that with a few lifters, Hey man we’re going to take a de-load week because you’re getting too strong too fast.” That’s a really hard sell sometimes. That’s the route that I’m trying to take but we’re working on putting that into practice
Paulie: so basically everybody its all easier said than done and you need to have some trusted people around you.
Mike: my wife asks me a lot of times when I’m venting… what would you tell one of your athletes in this situation, but that’s a really good way to frame the question.
Paulie: now we have to follow that advice.
Mike: You guys said you did your first powerlifting comp in 1988 so you’ve both been lifting for 17 plus year… how do you stay motivated to pursue this for that long despite injuries. It’s fun getting stronger but it’s not always fun.
Troy: Still being in the military, after 1988 desert storm came up, then we got out and went to 4 different police academies between laddie and i. you do a couple meets then take time off… injuries come up. I remember in 2014 when we decided to do the RTS seminar in Brooklyn. When we went to that we went because we weren’t motivated or interested in getting back into powerlifting. We came out of that with some real motivation to step up our game. We went to nationals and got a lot of motivation back. Every once in a while something like that comes along that really lights a fire.
Laddie: We love the sport of powerlifting, but we always stry to challenge ourselves and that’s another way to get motivation.
Mike: so everybody is kind of in the same boat here. Everybody is in
Laddie: nobody is going to continually win all the time. The only person you are really competing against is yourself.
Mike: listeners will get mad at us if we don’t talk about training at all
Laddie: we’re working with RTS now doing more RPE system, but we’re actually doing a lot less volume than we used to. We would just keep going with training
Mike: did you spend more time doing assistance work or competition lifts before
Laddie: we used to do a lot more assistance work. And after all these years of training, we’re finding that
Troy when you think about it when we first started we would only squat bench and deadlift once per week and everything else was assistance work. The assistance work didn’t really carry over to our main lifts. We’ve learned that isn’t the right call for us
Mike for where you were at the time, shifting from program that was assistance heavy that had more emphasis with high frequency competition lifts, you’ve seen good improvement?
Laddie: this past cycle prior for worlds I felt this was the best cycle I’ve done in the past 10 years
Mike: some people seem to feel that if they can train the lifts with higher frequency they actually feel better injury wise. Have you guys felt that way at all?
Laddie: I’ve noticed that doing the actual powerlifts has really helped with injury prevention and now that we are focusing more on the powerlifts injuries have gone down
Troy: I haven’t really had time to evaluate whether assistance work would help the injuries but I do think higher frequency competition lifts does help train that particular lift
Mike: I know that some people have achy knees etc. I trained with a guy in ND who said that if he went for a week and didn’t squat but as long as he squatted once per week his knees wouldn’t hurt
Troy: I would get into the gym on Saturday and I have noticed that I don’t have any problems with depth because I feel warmer sooner.
Mike: Paulie you’ve coached a lot of lifters. Is that something you’ve seen as well?
Paulie: Yes when we do increase frequency for the competition lifts. Troy and Laddie, have you felt that too where you had to look at
Mike: High frequency training is way more popular now than it was then.