Interview With Powerlifter Greg Doucette As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - May 2009
CRITICAL BENCH: Thank you for doing this interview, please introduce yourself:
My name is Greg Doucette, I am 33 years old and have been training for 23 years. I am a teacher and personal trainer and my website can be seen at www.gregdoucette.net. I recently won the middleweight drug tested Canadian National Physique Championships 2 weeks after the Arnolds. Then 3 weeks after the Arnolds I won the middleweight Nova Scotia Provincials championships and the next 4 weeks after the Arnolds I won the Atlantic Championships ( 4 provinces middleweight and Overall titles being declared the overall winner of all weight classes).
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your Best PR's right now?
In competition I have at 88.5kg gone 300, 255,320 = 872.5 = 561 wilks. In competition at 81.6kg I have gone 290, 245, 300 =835 = 563 wilks
CRITICAL BENCH: How long have you been into powerlifting?
I first started competing in power lifting in 1998.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting?
I 1st started lifting weights when I was 10 years old with my father and twin in the basement. I immediately was addicted and have not stopped since. By the time I was 14 I was winning bench press contests in local meets against adults and was encouraged to keep training.
CRITICAL BENCH: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a power lifter?
I never even knew the sport of power lifting existed until I looked up bench press records when I got the internet. I even lifted with my t-shirt off in the basement in order to see how much I could bench raw with no shirt. Once I started competing I first looked up to John Fraser because he had a great bench and had a muscular build like me. Latter in my power lifting career I admired Jeff Becker because he was in my weight class and consistently broke records and dominated the sport.
CRITICAL BENCH: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in power lifting?
I would recommend that they 1st compete raw without any suits for at least a meet or 2 and to keep training the raw lift even once they start using the suits. Too many lifters rely on the suits to get big lifts but if u do the math; big raw lifts + suits = really huge equipped lifts. Without the raw strength to back you up the suits can only get you so far.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have a favorite out of the three or is it all 3 lifts?
Bench by far has always been my favorite (probably because it has always been my best lift).
CRITICAL BENCH: What are the challenges of coming up as a power lifter?
The biggest challenge for me was getting the hang of all the suits. I first competed raw and was able to break shirted records without the shirts. When I 1st started using the shirts it was throwing off my form and I was not able to get much out of them. By talking with other athletes I was able to gain the knowledge necessary to maximize the assistance of the suits.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell everyone here the difference between someone who wants to look "pretty" and someone who does what we do? What is the difference between a workout and a training session?
This is a loaded question because I just happen to be one of those guys who wants to look "pretty" yet still have power. Therefore I have incorporated my own power bodybuilding workouts in order to excel as both a bodybuilder and power lifter. All my workouts revolve around the big 3 (squat, bench and dead lifts) followed by exercises to make me pretty following the big three. This in my view capitalizes on the benefits of both forms of training.
CRITICAL BENCH: What would you tell a power lifter if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport? Do you believe that power lifters' have a lifestyle of their own?
I recommend that they hire a coach or train with other lifters and never stop asking questions. You can never know too much and the more you put into it the more you will get out of it.
CRITICAL BENCH: How driven would people say you are about being a power lifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
Most people who don't know me would say it's all I care about, whereas people who know me can see how I have a great balance between sport and life. Power lifting has no ill effect on me outside the gym. It simply is a lifestyle that I enjoy and am very passionate about.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any training partners? How have they helped?
I have nearly always trained alone and it is one of my weaknesses. Most of my training partners have been younger students who I have coached. The only problem is I have always been the leader and have never had the opportunity to learn from a training partner.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology do you follow?
Basically I train my entire body every 4-5 days. I do squats bench and dead lift on 3 separate days and about 50% of my workout is spent on the big 3. I believe that intensity not volume is the key to getting strong. One other factor that separates my workout from most is that I believe in doing higher reps in the off season in order to build bigger muscles and allow for joints and injuries to heal.
CRITICAL BENCH: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
Get strong on the 3 lifts, you need to do the 3 lifts. Assistance exercises and fancy programs involving chains, and what not, are good but nothing beats doing the actual exercise.
CRITICAL BENCH: What drives you as a lifter?
I am driven most by personal improvement. I am just as excited setting a PR in the gym as I am setting a PR in a meet. I still enjoy setting records but personal records to me are just as important if not more than trying to beat others.
CRITICAL BENCH: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
Over the years I have learned not to over train leading up to a meet. I used to train too much and peak early. For my last 2 meets I dead lifted less often and took more time to recover and be fresh for the meet and it really paid off. I used to always lift more in the gym then at the meet whereas now I sometimes lift more at the meet then I have in the gym.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you think using bench shirts/gear is cheating?
Yes of course it's cheating, but when everyone is cheating that evens out the playing field and so while it's cheating it is still fair. Personally I wish the suits had never been invented but since they are I had better learn to use them or else I will be at a serious disadvantage.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
I lift raw most of the time until it's time to peak for a meet. I use suit bottoms for dead lift and squats for about 6 weeks and gradually use tighter gear and straps up as the meet approaches. I use a loose bench shirt about a month out from the meet for my heaviest set and then a tight shirt for a couple workouts before the meet. After the meet it's back to raw lifting.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you think is the reason for all the big numbers as of late like Kennelly's 1075 and Frankl's total or Hornstra's raw strength? Has strength training evolved?
I think there are several factors contributing. 1st science has evolved so athletes now know how to eat and train more effectively. 2nd there are more athletes training now then in the past and 3rd better competition leads to better performance.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you think the standards went up in the sport?
Standards have certainly risen dramatically over the years however a lot of it has to do with better equipment.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your nutrition like now?
I am currently dieting for several bodybuilding competitions so I am eating a low calorie high protein diet which has also enabled me to drop back down into the 82.5kg weight class.
CRITICAL BENCH: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
The one major change I need to make is to fill out more so that I can compete at the top of the 90kg class. I am able to easily drop 15+ lbs in 2 days to make a weight class so I need to let my weight slide up to about 215 lbs. My best performance would come as a very large 90kg lifter. I hate the thought of being fat in the off season but that really is the only way I can increase my total past the 900kg barrier.
CRITICAL BENCH: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
I would like to thank my sponsor PVL for believing in me and doing everything they can to help me and for providing me with the best supplements on the planet.
Greg Doucette powerlifting deadlift at 188 - 6 and a half plates for 10