USAPL-NY would like to spotlight some of the stand-outs in the state. We will feature a new lifter each month, and ask them some random questions to get some insight into what makes them tick…..
This month’s featured lifter is ROB ALI.
My name is Rob Ali. I live and train in Commack, New York. I have formerly competed in the 74 kg Raw Junior Division, and in 2015 held the New York State Record for the Deadlift in the Junior and Open divisions of the USAPL. I currently compete in the 83 kg Raw Open Class in the USAPL and in this division, I am currently ranked 10th in the United States for 2017. I attended school at Baruch College where I received my BBA in Finance. Currently, I am pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
My career and love for powerlifting are one in the same. I work as a coach for strength athletes (both online and in-person) in addition to being a personal trainer. My life is dedicated to the improvement of my athletes and clients, through an evidence-based approach.
A little about Rob Ali
Home City: Commack, New York
Schools: Baruch College
Question and Answer time!!
USAPL-NY: What got you interested in Powerlifting?
Rob Ali: When I was in high school, I hung out with the football team quite a bit. I wasn’t on the team, but I would join them during their training in the weight room. I was instantly addicted to lifting weights from this point on. I wasn’t interested in becoming the most muscular I could be, but rather I was interested in how much weight I could put on the bar (at this point I didn’t even know what powerlifting was). I became quite good at squatting and deadlifting and at 16ish years old, 150 lbs was able to squat 385 lbs and deadlift 405 lbs within a few months of training. My sister recommended I try competing just for fun. After some Googling, I found powerlifting; the rest is history.
USAPL-NY: Where was your first meet?
RA: My first meet was an RPS meet in Merrick, Long Island. Soon after, I wanted to elevate the challenge of competition. I chose the USAPL for its strict judging and drug-free approach. My first USAPL meet was in March 2015 in Michigan, where I competed in the 74 kg Raw Junior Division.
USAPL-NY: What have you learned since that first meet?
RA: There is way too much here to write about. But I’d say the number one thing is that training must be enjoyable. I had a tendency to push myself in training to the point of border-masochism because I thought that I needed to push myself as hard as possible to make the most gains possible. A more measured approach, that accounts for volume, sessional-intensity, with properly periodized blocks is a far more efficient approach to a long-term athletic career in powerlifting.
USAPL-NY: What goals do you have for the future?
RA: My long-term goals are to improve myself as a powerlifter and push the limits of what I’m capable of doing, plain and simple. In the short term, I’m looking to improve my total, and get my Wilks score into the 500 range (currently sitting at 470). My current best lifts are a 578lb squat (595 in the gym), 347 lb bench (365 in the gym) and 617lb deadlift (625 in the gym) so I’d like to push these numbers as high as possible before Raw Nationals this year. I’d also like to compete at the Arnold and North Americans this year.
USAPL-NY: What is your favorite lift and why?
RA: Definitely the squat. It comes the most natural to me. There is also a very meditative feeling I get performing this exercise that I don’t seem to get with other lifts, especially under heavy load.
USAPL-NY: What is your least favorite lift and why?
RA: I don’t have a least favorite lift, but the one that presents the most challenge for me is the bench press. I’m working to improve this before Raw Nationals this year to achieve a double-bodyweight bench in competition
USAPL-NY: Do you follow a specific training program? And if you do what is it?
RA: I do not follow a specific program in particular. The plan set forth before every competition is to improve my efficiency as a lifter. These needs change as my body develops and grows. Training is adapted to my needs as a lifter and is not concrete or rigid, although I like to use a mixture of percentage and RPE systems.
USAPL-NY: Do you lift as part of a team? Who are they and how did you become part of that group?
RA: I am coached by and am affiliated with The Strength Guys. I learned of them through my friend and natural bodybuilder, Gary Amlinger at the gym I train out of.
USAPL-NY: What advice would you give any new lifter young or old?
RA: Don’t go too fast or hard all at once, thinking it will get you the results you want the quickest. If you don’t have a coach, the best approach is to create a plan for your development and keep a record of the work you have done in the gym. What’s measured is managed, so be sure to measure your progress along the way. Also, have fun while you’re lifting! Programs that are enjoyable are usually more effective than mundanely grinding without direction.
USAPL-NY: Tell us something about you that others in the PL world don’t know about you?
RA: Before I found powerlifting, I thought my athletic goal was to be a track athlete (namely the 100m and long jump). That all changed very quickly once I got hold of a barbell.