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15 Steps to Nailing Your First Powerlifting Meet

At my first powerlifting competition, I bombed.

Because of this I wasn’t in a position to full no less than one attempt of either the squat, bench press, or deadlift. In my case, it was the bench press, which was my strongest carry based mostly on training. As is perhaps anticipated, there are a whole lot of elements that go into performing nicely at your first powerlifting competitors that extends past the training course of.

In this article, I share 15 steps that any powerlifter should know when competing for the primary time. These are the issues that I wish I knew going into my first meet, and the elements that helped me go on to grow to be a national champion and world bench press medalist.

The 15 steps are:

  1. Go to the competitors venue someday prior
  2. Have a recreation day coach or handler
  3. Don’t minimize weight
  4. Follow the motion requirements
  5. Read the rulebook
  6. Get the right lifting apparel and gear
  7. Be reasonable with what you possibly can carry on meet day
  8. Take the 100% photographs together with your makes an attempt
  9. Deliver any warm-up modality that you simply need
  10. Take into consideration your food decisions ahead of time
  11. Ask plenty of questions to these around you
  12. View the first meet because the ‘first of many’
  13. Study out of your missed lifts
  14. Start a post-competition journal
  15. Become involved in ‘non-athlete’ roles

1. Go to the Competition Venue One Day Prior

For those who’ve never been to the competitors venue before, then you must go to someday prior to your meet day. The thought is that you really want to develop a psychological map of the area that you simply’ll be lifting in ahead of time.

Photograph By sportpoint / Shutterstock

Listed here are the things you have to be on the lookout for:

  • The place will the competition platform be? Get a sense of what the room seems like from the vantage point of the competition platform.  It will enable you to perceive, for instance, the place you’ll be wanting in the squat, the place the chief referee will probably be sitting, and the place you’ll enter and exit the platform when it’s your turn to raise.
  • The place will the warm-up room be? You’ll want to discover out if the warm-up room is in shut proximity to the place you’ll be competing or if it’s distant (i.e. in one other room or on another degree). This data will permit you to gauge the timing of your warm-ups so that you simply keep in mind the time it should take to stroll from the warm-up room to the competition area.
  • The place will the weigh-ins be? From my expertise, the weigh-ins rooms aren’t in apparent places. Typically they’re in washrooms, typically they are behind makeshift curtains. You don’t need to present up on meet day looking for the weigh-in area, so ensure that to know the place the weigh-ins are situated.
  • The place are the washrooms? For obvious causes, you’ll want to know where the washrooms are situated in proximity to the competitors area in case you want to go in between makes an attempt. This can be an excellent gauge of how a lot time you’ve gotten to price range for yourself.

My advice: Get conversant in the competition venue beforehand so that you understand the place you need to be at totally different points all through the day.

2. Get a Recreation Day Coach

A recreation day coach is someone who manages all points of your meet day, which can drastically scale back the amount of stress that you’ll experience at your first competitors.

Powerlifting Game Day CoachPhotograph By Jeffery L Willis / Shutterstock


Within the sport of powerlifting, there are two kinds of teaching roles:

  1. A personal coach who writes your packages and assists together with your method.
  2. A recreation day coach who handles all features of your meet day from warm-up administration to try choice.

For many, these two teaching roles will be the similar individual. Nevertheless, this is not all the time the case.

Let me explain further…

Some athletes’ personal coaches aren’t situated in the identical metropolis, which is widespread within the online coaching mannequin. As such, these coaches aren’t in a position to travel to the competitors and act as a recreation day coach. For example, I’m situated in Canada and I coach a number of athletes within the US. While prior to now I have traveled to Nationwide degree meets to coach my athletes, I’ve not traveled to every local or State competitors that my athletes compete.

In these instances where I’m not current, we’ve got arranged a ‘game day coach’. Should you’re in an analogous state of affairs, where you don’t have a recreation day coach, it is best to organize one to work with you at your first competition.

The Importance of a Recreation Day Coach

At a powerlifting competition, there are an infinite amount of little issues that can distract you out of your job as an athlete, which is to carry as much weight as attainable.

For example, there are guidelines that it’s essential to comply with from how a lot time you have got to submit your next attempt to the increments you’ll be able to select. There is a ‘timing to the day’ where you have to be in certain places at certain intervals. There are technical standards which may cause you to miss a carry and never know why.  There are both written and unwritten rules and protocols about how to behave in the warm-up room and staging areas.

All of this stuff may cause you stress.

However, with a recreation day coach at your aspect, you don’t have to fear about any of that. You’ll be able to give attention to lifting weights and nothing else.

Image by way of Jill Carson, licensed underneath CC 2.zero

Can your ‘friend’ or ‘significant other’ be a recreation day coach?

In case your pal or vital different has related powerlifting expertise, is a coach by trade or has competed earlier than, then they might be a great candidate for a recreation day coach. Nevertheless, in the event that they don’t, it is best to look to rent a recreation day coach that has the talents and information to enable you to succeed. You want somebody who knows the game guidelines, understands how a powerlifting competition runs, and may explain all the protocols of meet day to you.

Where to discover a recreation day coach?

When you don’t know where to start in hiring a recreation day coach, it is best to attain out to the meet director and ask if there are any recreation day coaches they will refer you to. You possibly can also get related with other athletes via social media forward of time and ask them who their recreation day coach is. When you’ve got a coach who designs your programming, typically occasions they’ll know a recreation day coach within the powerlifting group who might give you the option to attend the competition with you.

My advice: don’t do your first competition alone. Look into getting a recreation day coach forward of time.

3. Don’t reduce weight

So as to scale back as much external stress as attainable, you shouldn’t minimize weight on your first competition, even if meaning being much less aggressive in a better weight class.

Background and Drawback

Powerlifting is a sport of weight courses. You’ll compete in a weight class and be ranked based mostly on these classes. The higher the load class, the extra weight you’ll be anticipated to carry.

From my experience, first-time powerlifters who’re a number of kilos above a selected weight class are more inclined to raise in the lower category. They’ll do any variety of issues to minimize weight, including proscribing calories for weeks leading up to the competition, water loading, and sweating in a sauna the day of the meet.

Powerlifting MeetPhotograph By Jordan Jovkov
/ Shutterstock

This strategy to your first competition isn’t advised for several causes:

  • At an area competitors, you will in all probability be the one one in your weight class or considered one of very few. What this implies is that the courses usually are not very deep at this degree. Subsequently, you’re virtually guaranteed a medal regardless of what weight class you compete in.
  • Even when the upper body weight class is more aggressive than the lower bodyweight class, your aim for the primary competitors shouldn’t be centered on ‘being competitive’. You need to be targeted on making all your attempts, learning the game rules, and develop into snug within the competitors surroundings.
  • As it’s, there might be plenty of exterior stress on meet day. It’s because you’re getting into a brand new setting, and for the first time, you’ll be lifting in front of three referees and an viewers. Including in a weight reduce to your competition prep will only contribute to the amount of stress you’ll already expertise.

My advice: Don’t stress yourself out with last-minute water loading protocols or sweat periods within the sauna.  Give attention to having productive workouts leading up to the competition and fueling these exercises with an applicable vitamin plan.

Four. Apply the movement requirements

Each of the actions could have technical requirements that you will need to comply with in a competition.  You want to understand what these requirements are, after which follow them in coaching.


I’ve a saying:

“Your worst rep in training, will be your best rep in a competition.”

What this implies is that for those who’re not constant in coaching with the movement standards, then you’ll be able to’t anticipate it to come collectively in competition. In the event you anticipate that your worst rep in coaching would be the rep that you simply do in competition, then it is going to drive you to be extra constant and carry to the suitable standards.

If you’re going for a max carry in a competition, movement is unconscious and reflexive. You’re not excited about every individual joint angle or muscle motion. You’re targeted on the ‘total movement’ and applying as much drive as potential. In consequence, your movement patterns will already be ingrained by the competitors and based mostly solely on the method you practiced in coaching.

Widespread mistakes first-time powerlifters have with the movement standards:

  • Not working towards the instructions. You’ll be able to’t begin or end the actions with out getting a command from the top referee. It’s not pure to carry beneath someone else’s command, so typically lifters will leap the ‘start’ or ‘rack’ command. Even in case you efficiently full the raise, it gained’t cross. So, it’s essential to follow these instructions together with your coach or training companions a number of weeks main into the competitors in order that it turns into second nature.
  • Not understanding the place proper depth is in the squat. It takes some apply to understand the place your hips are in area, particularly underneath a heavy load.  You may need the right mobility, and be robust sufficient to perform deep squats, however in case you’re not according to getting depth as the load will get heavier then you definitely danger not passing a carry in competition. On your first competition, you need to go deeper than what’s required, just so you don’t have to fear concerning the judges calling you on lacking depth. As you develop into more experienced and develop higher body awareness, you possibly can follow slicing your depth right at the threshold.  In the event you wrestle to get to depth, you possibly can read my 9 ideas to squatting deeper.

Powerlifting Meet Miss Game PlanJordan Jovkov / Shutterstock

  • Having poor habits that superficially make you raise extra weight. In coaching, it’s straightforward to cheat your self since you’re not being judged.  As such, first-time powerlifters will typically decide up poor technical habits as a result of it allows them to raise more weight. These could possibly be issues like not pausing long sufficient on your chest in bench press or hitching on the deadlift. While these habits may allow you to raise extra weight within the coaching setting, it should only set you up for disappointment come the competition. You need to put your ego aside on dishonest the method to raise extra weight, and solely think about the reps utilizing the motion standards as your baseline for power.

My advice: Apply how you need to compete. You’ll be able to study more concerning the squat standards, bench requirements, and deadlift requirements in these articles.

5. Learn the Rulebook

You have to be prepared on meet day with an understanding of the essential rules of the game – this goes past what I discussed above relating to the motion standards.


There are specific guidelines it’s essential to comply with, every little thing from how the weigh-in course of is carried out, how you submit makes an attempt, what gear you possibly can put on, and the way the lifting roster is structured. You don’t want to know each line merchandise of every rule, but you must have a broad understanding of the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’.

It all the time surprises me what number of athletes present up to a contest and don’t know the essential guidelines.

Powerlifting RulesPhotograph By Jordan Jovkov
/ Shutterstock

This might be like enjoying a board recreation with your loved ones and not figuring out how to advance in the recreation, or what you possibly can or can’t do beneath certain recreation circumstances. Your family may get fairly indignant should you’re all the time breaking the principles, especially probably the most primary ones that everybody should know. The same goes for an athlete competing in powerlifting.

For example, a rule that you would be able to anticipate in most powerlifting federations is that you simply only have a selected period of time to submit your subsequent try. Underneath the Worldwide Powerlifting Federation (IPF) guidelines, it’s a 60-second time limit. Subsequently, in the event you’re taking an excessive amount of time deliberating on what your next attempt ought to be as you finish a carry, you danger having your attempt not being registered or mechanically going up by 2.5kg.  This might be detrimental to your general efficiency in the event you meant to go up by 10kg. This is solely one of many widespread guidelines it is best to know by studying the rulebook.

My recommendation: learn the rulebook of your powerlifting federation earlier than you compete.

6. Get the Correct Lifting Attire and Gear

Every powerlifting federation could have a selected listing of lifting apparel and gear that you would be able to and cannot wear. You need to examine to see that all your lifting attire and gear that you simply practice with meet these standards.


Identical to another sport, the federation will dictate what athletes can or can’t wear whereas competing. There are two reasons for this:

  1. The federation needs to have a regular for everyone that creates a degree enjoying area. Sure items of kit is perhaps thought-about ‘performance enhancing’. Subsequently, the federation will want to say that either ‘everyone can wear that piece of equipment’ or ‘no one can wear it’.
  2. The federation will get paid by company sponsors to have their emblem represented within the competition setting. Sometimes, because of this brands should pay a charge to have their emblem worn by athletes. Any company that doesn’t pay the sponsor charge, doesn’t get the branding rights.

In powerlifting, it’s widespread to have gear rules around the belt, singlet, footwear, knee sleeves, and wrist wraps. The referees will need to ensure that (1) they conform to a certain specification so that no one is being advantaged over another, and (2) that they are manufactured by one of the ‘approved brands’ who paid the sponsor payment.

With respect to the ‘approved brands’, the difficult part for an athlete is that the logos you’ll be able to or can’t wear change at totally different levels of competitors (local, state, nationwide, or worldwide). So it’s essential to read the rulebook, and should you’re nonetheless not sure, ask the meet director ahead of time. Furthermore, you’ll need to verify all the principles around the clothes you’ll be able to or can’t put on in competitors.  For example, in some powerlifting federations there are guidelines around the material your t-shirt could be. In the IPF, a shirt might be polyester, cotton, a mixture of polyester and cotton, however not spandex.

My recommendation: Start excited about your ‘lifting kit’ ahead of time.  Examine your federation’s guidelines and ask the meet director when unsure.  Your whole gear will probably be checked by the referee on the weigh-ins, so be ready to present your gear.

7. Be sensible with what you’ll be able to raise on meet day

If you’re setting objectives on your competitors makes an attempt, be real looking in what you’ll be able to raise. Don’t choose makes an attempt based mostly on an arbitrary ‘milestones’ or what you ‘want to do’. Somewhat, contemplate your training timeline and use proof from your exercises of what you’ll be able to carry in competition. This might sound simple, however implementing this level is somewhat exhausting. So, let me clarify further.


Sooner or later before the competitors, you will possible think about the objective numbers that you really want to reach in your third attempts. The third try are the end result of your coaching efforts. In essence, you practice to make your third attempts. It’s probably the most quantity of weight that you could carry on recreation day.

woman powerlifting meetsportpoint/Shutterstock

When fascinated with your third attempt numbers, you need to contemplate two elements:

Athletes love to take into consideration the load they could give you the chance to carry once they’re starting a new training cycle. They’ll set a aim weight for his or her third attempts a number of weeks, and typically months, out from the meet. For instance, an athlete may deadlift 335lbs in the present day, and have a third attempt objective of lifting 405lbs.

This follow of long-term objective setting in and of itself is just not essentially dangerous. Nevertheless, I typically find a disconnect between what the athlete needs to carry and the timeline they are coping with. Within the state of affairs above, if an athlete has 12-weeks to prepare for a contest, then going from a 335lbs to 405lbs deadlift will not be achievable. This is not to say it’s unimaginable, however the outcomes would definitely not be typical, and it’d contain coaching that’s high-risk and not sustainable.

You want to perceive a sensible price of development based mostly on the timeline given. Even with the perfect programming and all circumstances being good, ask yourself:

Is a 70lb improve in your deadlift in a 12-week time period practical?

To know this further, you must all the time breakdown your long-term objectives into short-term milestones. In other phrases, if you would like to improve your deadlift 70lbs in 12-weeks, how a lot would you need to deadlift after Four-weeks to be on monitor with this objective?  In our example, it means you would wish to improve your deadlift 23lbs each month for three months in a row.

An essential precept to understand is that power has diminishing returns…

The period of time, power, and effort that you have to invest to continue seeing a internet achieve in power increases the longer you practice, which is why progress just isn’t linear. You can’t anticipate to achieve the identical amount of weight month-after-month. So when you may achieve 23lbs within the first month, you’d have to spend more time, power, and effort to improve on the similar fee the next month. For this reason elite powerlifters are comfortable only gaining 5-10lbs on their lifts yearly.

My advice: Think about your timeline and fee of progression when setting your third try numbers for the competitors.

  • What is your current training evidence?

It’s essential to analyze your coaching and use it as proof for what your max capability is perhaps on meet day. Your competition numbers should not be based mostly on what you ‘want to do’. The whole lot ought to be grounded in your coaching efforts, and it is best to place a better worth on the exercises that contain heavier protocols, corresponding to reps between 1-3 at 85-100+% of your one rep max.

An excellent apply can be to report all your lifts above a selected proportion (85%) on video and begin creating a database of how you carry out beneath heavier masses.

What you’re making an attempt to understand is where your power is on common, after which base your aim numbers on the meet off these averages. This is a vital concept to understand. Let’s check out an instance. Should you full 10 workouts: one workout is perhaps the worst exercise of your life, one exercise may be the perfect workout of your life, and the opposite eight workouts are somewhere in between those two spectrums.

2019 Arnold Classic Strength Sports Powerlifting Event Schedule2019 Arnold Basic Power Sports Powerlifting Event Schedule

It’s clear that you would not base your third attempts off of the worst exercise of your life. However, would you base your 3rd attempts off of the most effective exercise of your life?

Many people do.

Nevertheless, I feel it’s unrealistic to anticipate that the most effective workout of your life is a illustration of what you possibly can successfully put together on meet day, particularly in your first competition.

There is a difference between one’s all-time ‘strength potential’ and ‘actual potential’ in competitors.

Your ‘strength potential’ can be what you’re able to lifting underneath the right circumstances when all ‘stars are aligned’ on a given day. Your ‘actual potential’ is the power you could efficiently switch from the training to the competitive surroundings beneath real-world circumstances and the dynamics of the game.

For example, you may need had one of the best exercise of your life when all elements of your day have been managed perfectly — sleep, vitamin, social interactions, time of day, relaxation intervals between warm-up units, gear used, familiarity with the health club setting, and so forth and so forth.

Nevertheless, for the first-time powerlifter, lots of these variables that you could control in the coaching surroundings usually are not underneath your control on meet day.  You also have the added stress of lifting in entrance of an viewers, being judged by referees, and being ruled by an entire set of latest guidelines. Subsequently, if you’re evaluating your training evidence to determine what could be attainable on your third try, it is best to look somewhere nearer to the typical of your power in training – not the most effective or worst day.

Benefits of Hypertrophy for Powerlifters

Practically speaking, this may appear to be reviewing the 5 occasions you deadlifted over 90% in coaching and making an attempt to understand the way it moved on common. You may need one exercise the place it moved lightning fast, one exercise the place it moved like an absolute grinder, and three exercises the place it moved clean but arduous.  Based mostly on that info, you’ll be able to estimate what your 3rd attempts may be on any given day.

My recommendation: At your first meet, should you can simply switch your prime coaching numbers into the competition setting that might be thought-about a hit. Over time, you might anticipate to exceed your training numbers in competition, nevertheless it requires you to grasp the talent of competing and getting used to lifting in that setting first.

8. Take the 100% Photographs With Your Attempts

Once you’ve developed a plan on your attempts, you want to make it possible for the numbers you truly select on meet day are ones that you’re 100% assured in lifting efficiently.

Background and Drawback

Many lifters fall prey to two mental traps on meet day:

  • They don’t adapt the original recreation plan. Once the sport plan is about beforehand, they’ve a tough time going off that recreation plan. They ignore meet day circumstances which may have an effect on their power.
  • They carry with ego. Athletes put a weight on the bar that they ‘want to do’ versus what they assume they’re truly capable of doing. This might be blindly going for a PR or milestone. They could even know that they’re not going to make the raise, but they want to ‘die trying’.

6 Meet Mistakes An Elite Powerlifting Coach Always Sees

In case you are choosing attempts in competitors and know there’s a very small probability of lifting them successfully, you then danger:

  • Losing power for future makes an attempt. This is especially the case for those who miss your third squat on power — your deadlift power will probably be affected.
  • Dropping kilos on your complete. Each kilo you could extract from every individual carry will add to your general powerlifting complete. Plenty of newer lifters don’t prioritize the whole, however it’s the full that ranks you in the sport, and allows you to qualify for larger ranges of competition. Athletes who make extra makes an attempt may have a better complete than those that don’t. You’ll be able to see from the info under that the male and female winners of every weight class at the IPF World Powerlifting Championships from 2012-2017 makes more lifts than the typical lifter.
  • Placing yourself in harm’s means. Anytime you set a weight on the bar that is unattainable to raise, you improve the danger of damage. This isn’t to say that every time you fail you’ll get injured. However, it definitely will increase the chance should you take these kinds of attempts incessantly.

Strategies for selecting profitable makes an attempt

While there are lots of methods for selecting makes an attempt, the two most related methods on your first competition are:

  • Plan your makes an attempt in ‘ranges’ not ‘singular numbers’. What this implies is planning your attempts with a variety of prospects depending on a greatest case, average case, and mediocre case.  For instance, on average you may give you the option to deadlift 185kg in your 3rd try. However, the most effective case in the event you’re feeling wonderful may be 187.5, and the mediocre case for those who’re feeling lower than ultimate may be 182.5kg. Once you design your recreation plan with ranges, then it’s much simpler to deviate up or down within the moment because you’ll nonetheless consider it’s “part of the plan”.

  • Use the prior try in competitors as evidence of the way you’re performing. Each try that you simply take on meet day offers you higher readability on what your subsequent raise will feel and appear like.  Your final warm-up can be a precursor to your opener. Your opener shall be a precursor to your second attempt. Your second try shall be a precursor to your third try. Every step alongside the best way you have to be evaluating whether or not or not you’re on monitor together with your next attempt based mostly on how you carried out on the previous. At this level, it’s necessary to ignore how the weights felt in coaching, and strictly give attention to meet day circumstances and efficiency of your lifts. It is best to view your makes an attempt as a compass for what to do next. When you’re performing better than anticipated, go to the excessive numbers in your attempt selection range. For those who’re performing less than expected, go to the decrease numbers in your attempt choice range.

My advice: All the time put a weight on the bar that you simply’re 100% confident in making.  Don’t danger wasting power, dropping kilos in your complete, or putting your self in hurt’s means.

9. Convey any warm-up modality that you simply want

If there are specific pieces of kit that you simply need for a powerlifting warm-up, then ensure that to convey them with you on recreation day.

Background and Drawback

Each warm-up surroundings is going to be slightly totally different. If the competitors is held inside a fitness center, then you definitely’ll in all probability have entry to the gear obtainable.  If the competitors is held at a lodge or conference centre, then the probabilities of having any additional gear for warming up is low. You must know your gear needs and ensure you convey anything you need.

For example, once I compete it’s actually necessary for my bench press warm-up that I have a dowel. I exploit the dowel to work my means by way of numerous shoulder rotations to improve blood stream and mobility.  It’s not typical to find a dowel in every warm-up room, so I deliver my own. Different warm-up instruments you may want are foam rollers, lacrosse balls, or bands.

Recommendation: Don’t rely on the competition to have the gear you need for warming up.  Convey your personal.

10. Take into consideration your meals decisions forward of time

At your first powerlifting meet, you want to ensure you are fueling your body properly with comparable forms of meals that you simply already know you respond nicely to. Vitamin shouldn’t be my area of expertise, so I asked Maggie Morgan from Married to My Macros for her recommendation on recreation day vitamin. Maggie is a world-level Canadian powerlifter and vitamin coach.

Here’s Maggie…

Background and Drawback

Many lifters go into competition day considering that they only need to ‘eat a lot’ and beyond that, the quality, timing or composition of their meals doesn’t actually matter. This mentality can negatively affect your performance for a couple reasons:

  • High calorie foods tend to even be high in sugars which give a short burst of power, followed by a crash and burn. In case you’re doing a Three-lift competition, you could have an extended day forward of you. We would like to be sure that your power remains as constant as potential all through the day so that you aren’t utterly tanked by the point deadlifts roll round.
  • Typically lifters see recreation day as a chance to bask in no matter food gadgets they could have been avoiding main up to competitors in an effort to put together (that is how I approached my first few competitions, too). Donuts, sweet, cookies, muffins – the record goes on and should you’ve ever been in the heat up room at a powerlifting meet, you’re doubtless accustomed to what I’m referring to. Now, in case you don’t repeatedly eat these meals gadgets, notably in and around your training periods, how are you to understand how you will respond? Perhaps you are feeling bloated, torpid or you get a abdomen ache. These are definitely situations we would like to keep away from in the midst of a contest.

Recreation day vitamin will certainly look totally different for each individual athlete, however there are a couple of onerous and quick guidelines that may pertain to virtually everyone.

Even when following these recommendations, all the time do what feels proper on your body. By no means make yourself uncomfortable by consuming an excessive amount of or eating something you’re unfamiliar with. As with every part else you’re studying about yourself and your physique at your first competition, you’ll be learning what vitamin protocols work greatest for you.

1. Eat loads of good carbohydrates.

About two hours before you begin lifting in addition to in between lifts, you want to have a meal that is really excessive in carbohydrates, however the appropriate kinds of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates you choose must be low in fibre and low on the glycemic index as this can present a gentle stream of glucose obtainable to your muscular tissues.

Examples of one of the best pre-competition carbs embrace:

  • Candy potatoes/yams;
  • Baked potatoes
  • Quinoa and legumes
  • Rice, pasta, oats, buckwheat and cereals

If you’re warming-up on your lifts, you’ll need to be providing your muscle mass with some fast release carbohydrates, resembling fruit, coconut water, child meals or gel packs.

2. Never introduce new meals or one thing you don’t often eat day of competition.

Even when it’s really high on the ‘recommended foods’ record above – stick to what your physique is aware of. There isn’t any magic formulation, just as there isn’t a magic meals that may make you perform higher on competitors day.

Three. Stay rather well hydrated.

Hydration is vital – even a 2% drop can lower your performance by up to 25%. Drink early and sometimes. You’d really have to attempt onerous to overdo this. Don’t be afraid of an electrolyte alternative either, preferably one low in sugar (this is the reason coconut water is great).

In Abstract: Vitamin is usually something that’s ignored when getting ready for a powerlifting competitors, yet can have such a big impression in your performance, each in coaching and in competitors. Should you plan to compete in powerlifting, you’re already investing so much time into your coaching that you need to need to get the most important return in your investment. Dialling in your vitamin and fueling your physique to perform will permit you to achieve this.

11. Ask A Lot of Questions to Those Around You

One of the main objectives in your first meet ought to be to study as much as potential concerning the competitors itself. Probably the greatest ways to study is to ask questions to those who are extra skilled.


It’s unimaginable to know completely every thing about competing in powerlifting until you’ve achieved several meets. I inform my athletes that it often takes round 5 competitions to absolutely understand how a contest runs: how the principles of the game apply in several situations, how warm-ups are structured, how the schedule and flights are organized, how attempts are managed by the score-table, how placings are decided, and so on and so forth.

Most of this stuff you will simply ‘learn by doing’.

However once you come throughout a state of affairs where you don’t absolutely perceive, you shouldn’t feel intimidated to ask questions to other athletes or referees.

Samantha Calhoun Deadlifts 225.5kgSamantha Calhoun Deadlifts 225.5kg

A few of the questions you may find yourself asking are:

  • How do I get my rack heights and the place do I get them?
  • How much time do I have before stepping onto the platform for my first squat?
  • Can I modify my opening attempt?  And in that case, what’s the protocol in doing so?
  • How a lot time do I’ve in between attempts?
  • Can I exploit ammonia or smelling salts?
  • Can I re-rack the bar after taking it off the rack?

You possibly can see that you simply possible wouldn’t be asking these questions before a contest. However, whenever you’re in the midst of competing, you end up having all types of questions based mostly on the occasions of the day.

My recommendation: Study as much as you’ll be able to throughout the competition by asking other athletes or the referees your questions.  They will be very happy to assist you to.

12. View the First Meet Because the ‘First of Many’

Go into your first powerlifting competition with a long-term perspective.  The primary meet must be a stepping stone to many different competitions that comply with.

Background and Drawback

Athletes typically strategy their first meet like it’s their last:

  • They put lots of strain on themselves by having excessive expectations for what they need to give you the option to carry.
  • They are hesitant to compete until they know they’re going to win.

That is the flawed perspective…

Before worrying concerning the numbers you raise or profitable, you want to do several competitions to find out how to compete effectively. Here’s the correct mindset to adopt when competing for the first time:

  • The first meet will set your baselines for future coaching and progression. Till you’ve competed, all your numbers are simply based mostly on training. Coaching numbers will not be as essential as what you can do in a meet context. The numbers after your first meet set up your capabilities. They supply an goal measure of your 1 rep max power, which can determine how you proceed in training and the way you evaluate your efficiency from one check event to the subsequent. Competing in several competitions permit you to benchmark yourself, adapt training based mostly on those benchmarks, and proceed progressing.

Deadlift Powerlifting

  • The primary meet is about learning the ‘unknown variables’. On recreation day, you’ll be confronted with all types of meet day variables that may probably impression your efficiency – most of which can fall outdoors of your personal control. These variables aren’t recognized till you compete for the primary time. Once you’ve competed in a number of competitions, you’ll give you the option to perceive all the meet day variables that influence efficiency. You’ll really feel more snug in the competitors setting, and it will enable you to understand your potential on the platform.
  • Give attention to transferring your current ranges of power onto the competitors platform. Many first time powerlifters may set lofty objectives for themselves that far exceed the numbers they’ve finished in training. The truth is that will probably be very onerous to replicate your coaching numbers at your first competitors given all of the meet day elements at play. Sometimes, you’ll need to compete in several meets earlier than enhancing your capability to switch your power from coaching to competition.  For the first meet, view success as the power to replicate your training numbers. This is able to be an accomplishment since you’re expected to do these lifts beneath the strain of a contest setting.

My recommendation: Inside the first yr of powerlifting, compete typically and hone your talent of competing earlier than being overly concerned with the numbers you raise or about profitable.

13. Study From Your Missed Lifts

It’s reasonable to anticipate that sooner or later you’ll miss a raise in competitors.  When this occurs, you’ll need to clearly understand why you failed the raise, and if there’s anything you are able to do to forestall this from occurring on the subsequent attempt or in the future.

Background and Drawback

You’ll be able to miss a carry for all types of reasons starting from not being robust enough to not following a selected movement commonplace. Should you’ve missed a raise since you’re not robust sufficient, then that is sometimes one thing that may require a more long-term programming strategy to right.  Within the second, it is going to be very arduous to right a ‘strength issue’.

You’re either robust sufficient or not…

Nevertheless, when you’ve missed a raise because you didn’t comply with a selected movement commonplace, then this is one thing you possibly can most definitely right for the subsequent try. For example, let’s say you simply completed your second attempt bench press. It felt pretty straightforward and it wasn’t onerous from a power perspective. However, it was red-lighted and the raise doesn’t move. On this case, it will appear that one of many motion requirements were not followed.

Powerlifting JournalPhotograph By Jordan Jovkov
/ Shutterstock

When this happens, the referees won’t mechanically say why you missed the raise. The athlete will walk off the competition platform and marvel why the carry didn’t move and be clueless on how to right their method for the subsequent attempt. I’ll typically hear athletes come off the platform and say, “I think the lift didn’t pass because my butt came off the bench”.  Then, someone else turns to them and says, “actually I think it’s because your foot moved”.

Nicely, which is it?  At this level, it’s completely speculation. Don’t let this be you. You must all the time know why a carry doesn’t move.

The issue is that the referees will only inform you why you missed a raise should you ask them. For those who don’t ask them, they’re usually instructed not to strategy athletes because it might:

  • Show a bias toward one specific athlete over another
  • Slow down the timing of the event if that they had to explain each attempt to every athlete

Nevertheless, it’s your proper as an athlete to ask the referee why the raise didn’t cross. Once you ask, the referee has an obligation to explain it to you. So when you miss a raise, all the time ask why it didn’t move. You’ll then be 100% certain on what you need to do for the subsequent attempt. That is additionally good info to gather because it is going to permit you to return to training being extra diligent together with your motion standards. When you miss a carry based mostly on a technical infraction, then making it a precedence in your exercises will permit you to grow to be a greater powerlifter.

My recommendation: Never stroll off the platform questioning why a carry didn’t cross. All the time ask the referee.

14. Begin a Publish-Competitors Journal

After you compete, it is best to spend time reflecting on what labored, what didn’t, and what you would do in a different way subsequent time.  These reflections ought to be written down inside a day of competing when the whole lot continues to be recent in your mind.


Till you compete, you’re relying on what different individuals say will be just right for you on recreation day. You’ll have learn this text, talked with other powerlifters, and received some recommendation from your coach.

Nevertheless, all these options are via the lens of other individuals’s experiences – not yours. This is not to say that other individuals’s advice shouldn’t be valued. In fact, you’ll study rather a lot from others. However, once you compete, you now have your personal set of experiences to perceive how one can improve performance.

What I encourage my athletes to do after each competitors is to write down:

  • Issues that worked
  • Things that didn’t work
  • Things to do on the next competition
  • Issues to do in coaching

It’s necessary that these questions are responded to in writing so that you simply keep a document extra time of how to enhance performance. Furthermore, the earlier you possibly can sit down and mirror about your meet day, the extra correct and detailed your responses will turn into.

Listed here are some examples from my own athletes’ post-competition journal reflections:

Things That Labored

“This meet I realized that I like to be more social backstage. I like to have friends with me and talk to other athletes. It helps me stay calm and not get stressed out.  In the past, when I don’t have friends backstage, or I’m isolated, I overthink my lifts. When I’m not taking my lifts so seriously, I do better.”

Things That Didn’t Work

“I need to have a longer time between my last warm-up and opener.  I didn’t feel like I had the best warm-up timing — especially on squat.  I don’t like to feel rushed, and I need time to go to the washroom before my opener.  Ideally, I would like 15-minutes between my last warm-up and opener.”

Things to Do On the Subsequent Competitors

“The warm-up room was super cold!  For the next competition, I need to bring warmer clothes.  Even if I wear them or not, it’s always better to be prepared.  Also, I didn’t anticipate the long breaks in between squat and bench, and bench and deadlift. I need to learn how to relax more during long breaks. At the next meet, I’m going to find a quiet area and listen to music, and not worry about warming up until instructed.”

Issues to Do In Coaching

“I need to work on my depth for squats and overall just get stronger in the hole.  I’d like to do more heavy pause squats and work on bracing my core so that I don’t lose tightness when the weight gets heavier”.

The exact reflections will differ from individual to individual, but this provides you a framework for the varieties of things you have to be excited about following a competition. As you possibly can see, there are several elements that go into acting at your greatest. For any variable you possibly can management where you assume it can make a significant impression on your efficiency you must doc it and think about its influence in your training and the subsequent competitors.

My recommendation: Keep a post-competition journal to perceive your experiences as a powerlifter and how you can improve.

Powerlifting VolunteerPhotograph By Igor Simanovskiy
/ Shutterstock

15. Get Involved In ‘Non-Athlete’ Roles

To develop into concerned in non-athlete roles, you need to think about volunteering as both a spotter or loader or a scorekeeper.


There are two explanation why you must contemplate volunteering for these roles:

  • You will study more about how a contest is structured. As a volunteer in these roles, you will notice lots of of makes an attempt throughout the day.  You will study from athletes’ successes and failures, and the way the varied guidelines apply to totally different contexts. All through a day of volunteering, you’ll really feel more confident figuring out what you must or shouldn’t do on meet day to optimize your efficiency. However, you’ll study the method that goes into successful lifts or not.
  • You’ll get related to the powerlifting group more broadly. A powerlifting competitors is run by volunteers. With out volunteers, powerlifting competitions wouldn’t exist. By volunteering, you will meet other athletes who choose to volunteer.  These relationships permit you to join with individuals within the sport you in any other case wouldn’t have the opportunity to achieve this. These might be people who you’re in a position to ask questions to, practice with, or simply have a well-known face the subsequent time you compete.

My recommendation: Contemplate volunteering for a contest earlier than you compete, or volunteer at your first competition (as well as to competing).

Ultimate Thoughts

If you make the choice to compete in powerlifting, there are several elements that go into acting at your greatest. You might be robust within the fitness center, however transferring that power into the competitors setting becomes difficult. The first competition must be a means of honing your talent of competing fairly than setting lofty number objectives in your lifts.

When potential, have a recreation day coach to help you, understand the principles and gear allowed, and be sensible together with your try choice. Ask loads of questions to those around you and take a long-term perspective together with your profession as a powerlifter. As soon as the first meet is underneath your belt, you’ll be extra confident for each successive competitors. Measure yourself not by the result of your first meet (like me bombing), but by your improvement over time and skill to study from one competition to the subsequent.

Function picture by Igor Simanovskiy / Shutterstock