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Noah Bowdy: Squatting Deep and Asking Questions

Noah is on the road to hit the “elite” numbers for the 93kg (205lb) weight class in powerlifting. He talked with Fight Against Chicken Legs about his training. By training like a mad man, Noah has been able to get his lifts up quickly and while staying lean, continues to improve. While not everyone likes leg day, Noah lives for the squats and goes to Deep Squat City when maxing out. Lifting is USAPL and hitting a big squat is no easy job.

How old are you, where are you from, and do you squat ass to grass?
I’m 22, started lifting about a year and a half ago. I’m from a podunk little town in upstate New York, and as for squatting ass to grass, no not usually. In a powerlifting meet, you only need to squat until the crease of your hip breaks the top of your quad at the knee, so I train accordingly.

Do you only train powerlifting? And what is your best squat? Contest and gym PR?
Yeah pretty much just training for powerlifting right now. I thought about bodybuilding for a while, but I don’t have the patience for it, I like the instant gratification you get from hitting a big lift. I’m in the early stages of a training cycle right now so I haven’t hit any heavy singles in a while. About a month ago I doubled six hundred with at least one more rep “in the tank” and that is my best to date. My best meet lift was 567 at USAPL RAW Nationals in October. I really undersold myself, but I hate missing lifts in comp.

Wow, in USAPL! People who don’t power lift do not know how strict they are about depth.
At what weight class do you lift at? You have a nice squat, Where do you train? Do you have a lifting team or partners?

That’s for sure! I like that they’re strict on the depth calls. Some other federations are far too lenient in my opinion. I compete at 93kg (205 lbs) but I usually walk around at about 215. I train at a place called diamond gym in Elmira heights NY. A friend of mine, Brad is the manager there. He usually chooses meets for us and help us with registration etc. As far as my lifting partners I usually train with a couple of buddies of mine. James Speigner, Brian Nelson, and Matt Tillotson. I prefer to train with them as opposed to training alone. They help provide a lot of motivation, especially on days when I don’t feel like putting in the work. All great dudes!

What got you into Power Lifting?
I’m a very competitive guy and I was looking for an outlet for that. Also, I realized as soon as I started lifting that I had a little bit of a predisposition towards strength, especially in the squat, so I just ran with it. In my opinion, it’s helpful to train with a purpose. When you’re working towards a meet you’re more likely to put in the maximum amount of effort in the gym, as opposed to if you were just lifting for fun.

Have you ever wanted to or tried equipped lifting? & What does a normal leg day workout look like for you?
Nah, I’m not really into the whole equipped lifting thing. Not bashing it by any means because I haven’t had much exposure to it but it kinda seems to me like a competition to see who can buy the best bench shirt, squat suit etc. As far as a “normal” leg day for me, I’m not sure because my training is all over the place. For example, right now I alternate between dynamic, heavy, and hypertrophy training weekly. But I’m a big believer in paused squats for building strength. I will usually hit them after training my comp squats. I typically use the 100-pound rule and train them with the same volume as my comp squat for the day. For example, if I was doing 5×5 comp squats with 550 I would drop down to 5×5 at 450 with three-second pauses. I also like to do them with a high bar position and narrow stance as opposed to my comp squat which would be low bar wider stance. After those, I like to do SLDL’S (Straight Leg Dead Lifts) and glute ham raises because hamstrings are a big weak point for me. Then I might finish with some lunges or something.

What do your non-lifting friend and/or family think of how you train?
Haha. I’m pretty sure it scares the shit out of my mom. But mainly everyone thinks that I bodybuild or do strongman. Not a lot of people understand what powerlifting actually is.

When is your next powerlifting meet? Have a number you are looking to hit?
I’m not sure. I’m thinking probably sometime in February or March. Right now I’m hoping for 650/350/600 but I think I’ll be a little bit higher than that at that time.

what’s next for you? Any goals you have to hit (short and long term)?
Well I mean, I’m just trying to get a little bit stronger every time I get under the bar. A short term goal is definitely to hit an “elite” number for squat in a competition. I believe that’s 637 for 93kg so should be pretty easily attainable at my next meet. Other than that I just want to make sure I stay injury free and eventually, in the next 5 years or so, break the 2k total mark.

Over the past years, what are some changes that you have made in your lifting style / programs?
Well like I said I’ve been lifting less than two years, but I’d say for the first six months or so I really focused on hypertrophy. At that time, I was watching a lot of the YouTube bodybuilder guys and eventually I found some videos of Dan Green and realized that you could be aesthetic and strong and it’s been powerlifting ever since. I’ve experimented with a variety of different programs, but I’ve always been big on the basics. Heavy barbell movements are the best for building overall strength and size in my opinion. Right now I’m running Brandon Lillies cube method and I’m a pretty big fan of it. The only quarrel I have with this program is that on most days, there is not a lot of volume for the competition lifts and most of the workout is spent doing accessory movements. But I trust his judgment as far as what’s effective for increasing your numbers. So we’ll see what happens at the end of this ten weeks.

You are very humble, even though you have some nice lifts. Do you have any advice for lifters still trying to get their lifts up?
I think the best advice I could give would be to just keep working hard. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. You’re gonna hit plateaus, you’re gonna miss weights that you have hit before, and you’re gonna get pissed off about it. But as long as you keep putting in the work, eventually you will get past that and you’ll be able to do things you never expected you’d be able to do, or you’ll look away that you never expected that you could look.

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Founder of Fight Against Chicken Legs, part-time workout stuff, sometimes making websites look pretty, and saving the world #OneRepAtATime