Just Not Today

Written by: Kevin Cann

“Just not today.” These are words I have heard from my coach, Boris Sheiko, a few times over the last two and a half years.  This was always on the heels of a missed lift during a test or competition.

My response in my head was always “No shit.”  I know it wasn’t happening today as I just experienced it.  I would be pissed off and want all kinds of answers as to why I missed the lift.  The problem is, with powerlifting that is just how it goes sometimes.

At my last meet I missed my 3rdattempt bench press.  This was a weight I hit with relative ease a few weeks earlier.  It wasn’t a PR or anything.  Fuck, I haven’t hit a PR on my bench in 2 years.  After the competition Sheiko said of my 3rdattempt “Just not today.”

This block of training after that meet looks very similar to the one before it.  There is a lot of bench volume.  Repeating the previous block put a lot of perspective on things for me.  There is no need to panic.  We will get this weight the next time.  Continue to put the work in and everything will be ok.

Even though my bench hasn’t moved, my total has.  I have put over 200lbs on my total since my first competition.  200lbs on my total going from the RPS to the USAPL.  My first meet I used a monolift, fast press command, and deadlift bar to my advantage.  When viewed in this manner that 200lb increase is much higher.  At the end of the day it is about having a bigger total.  That bench PR will come.

I am writing this article now as we are getting into the thick of things with competitions. Although PPS did extremely well this past Sunday going 52/54, not every meet will be filled with this much success. Powerlifting is a sport of peaks and valleys and you can’t have peaks without valleys.


There was one moment at the meet when one of the lifters was visibly upset after a missed 3rdattempt deadlift.  Weight got away from her a bit and she couldn’t lock it out.  No big deal, it happens.  This was her first meet and she is young and has a bright future in this sport.

However, it made me think of when I was in that position being told “Just not today.”  I think in the beginning of this journey into powerlifting we only see the things right in front of our face.  We put all of the work in and we expect to see PRs in the competition.  However, sometimes that does not happen.

It doesn’t mean that all of the work we did was for nothing.  We still get stronger.  The weight wasn’t there today, but it will be.  Powerlifting is a sport that we can do throughout a lifetime.  Every lifter misses lifts and has bad competitions. It is part of the sport.

This doesn’t mean that you need an entirely different program, a switch to RPEs, a different coach, or new lucky socks.  There should be some analysis done and a plan to attack the lift that isn’t where you would like it to be.  However, a major part of that plan is just getting back to work and putting that missed lift behind you.

Enjoy the peaks, let the valleys motivate you, but no matter what continue to work and trust the process.

About Kevin Cann 33 Articles
Precision Powerlifting Systems is based out of Boston, Mass. Head Coach Kevin Cann leads the raw and single ply powerlifting team through individualized programming leading up to local, regional, national, and international level USA Powerlifting meets. Coach Kevin has worked as a nutritionist and strength coach for several facilities in the greater Boston area including Harvard University and Total Performance Sports. He holds a master’s degree in kinesiology from A.T. Still University and a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness from Kaplan University. Currently, Coach Kevin competes in the 105kg class in USA Powerlifting as both a raw and equipped open lifter and was under the tutelage of former team Russia powerlifting coach and coaching legend, Boris Sheiko, from 2015-2018. Kevin utilizes many of Sheiko’s legendary methods in his programs. This includes the belief that technique is the most important aspect of training. Not only has Kevin been a long term student of Sheiko’s, he also possesses his Master’s Degree in Kinesiology, the science of human movement. The combination of his Master’s degree and time spent working with the legendary coach has awarded him with the skills to thoroughly analyze your lifts and utilize the right variations, weights, and repetitions to improve your technique and continue to steadily progress over time. Through Kevin’s experiences coaching, he has made many adjustments to the program to allow for the success of his lifters. PPS has had an Arnold qualifier every year in its existence, a top 5 national total, 2 top 10 totals, and many top 20 totals nationally. Kevin combined what he learned from Sheiko with a conjugate trining style. He learned that nothing builds 1RM strength like practicing singles. He uses a constraints-led approach with the singles. The variation allows for the athlete to continually take max singles without seeing a decrease in performance. Kevin will use variations that punish technical inefficiency and only leaves room to complete the task with a more technically efficient strategy. Heavy singles also works the psychological components of the sport. Oftentimes this goes untrained and is the largest weakness in a lifter. Along with the max effort work, PPS lifters perform sub maximal work to continue to increase technical proficiency within the lifts. Some of this technique work utilizes special exercises that Kevin learned from Boris Sheiko himself. PPS supports raw, drug free powerlifting. Kevin has coached numerous athletes that have qualified for USAPL Nationals as well as the USAPL competitions at the Arnold Sports Festival. Cost for coaching is tiered and ranges from $125 to $200 per month depending on the services required. This includes an individualized program based around your needs as an athlete as well as feedback on your lifts from videos. Text support as you are training, weekly voice memos explaining details about the upcoming week, and bi-weekly training meetings with the team to discuss training concepts is part of the tier 1 service. For more information email Kevin directly at kevin@precisionpowerlifting.com