Preparing For Your First Powerlifting Meet

There are many things to factor in when deciding what meets to compete in, especially the decision to compete in your first one.  This meet can set up a positive future or leave you with a bad taste in your mouth about powerlifting.  Here are some tips to help with this first meet in order to set you up for success and make meets a great experience!

  1. Give yourself time to train properly – As a beginner, never take a meet on short notice.  You should give yourself ample time before a meet to get a solid training cycle in.  I have written in previous blogs about the workout I use and would recommend this method to anyone. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only program out there.  Find one that suits you, but make sure you stick to it.  The worst thing you can do is switch programs because you think it isn’t working.  Stick to it for a full cycle and then decide if the program worked for you.
  2. Pick a meet that suits you – There are several local, smaller meets every year around each state.  I suggest picking one of these especially if you know someone else competing.  These smaller meets usually puts the emphasis on the lifter, putting them first and watching them succeed.
  3. Recovery week – This is the final week leading up to your meet.  In a previous blog I talked about tips to help recover.  Use these, but the main ones to focus on during this week would be to make sure you get ample amount of sleep (10-12 hours a night), do a light warm up about six days before to get blood flowing, stay hydrated and supplement properly.  I make sure to not miss any of my supplements leading up to a meet along with making sure I take in proper nutrition to make sure I’m aiding in my recovery.
  4. Choosing the right weight class for the meet – Choose the weight class you want to compete in well before the meet. Work to stay around that weight leading up to the meet.  I always make sure I’m only a few pounds over 275 before the meet.  You will have other things on your mind to worry about without worrying about making weight.  You also take the risk of losing some of the strength you worked so hard to build if you have to cut weight the day of the meet.
  5. Picking the right attempts – After weigh-ins, you will have to decide your opening attempts for your squat, bench and deadlift.  Being your first meet, choose an opener what you can easily do for a double.  Remember you need to get a lift in to stay in the meet.  If you open too high and miss you take the chance of bombing.  This first lift should be 90% of your one rep max.  Your second attempt you should shoot for around 95-97% and then go for 100-102% on your third attempt.  Do what you’re capable of doing.  You can’t do anything the day of the meet if someone is stronger than you, and picking attempts too heavy can lead to injury.  You don’t get stronger the day of the meet but rather in your training cycles leading up to it.  Remember this.
  6. Warm up properly – Make sure you warm up with plenty of time to spare.  It’s better to warm up to early than have to rush to get your warm ups in.  Also, make sure not to overdue your reps in the warm up room and sap your strength levels.  The warm up room should be just that, to warm up.  Big weights should be moved on the platform, not in the warm up room.
  7. Make sure to listen to commands – A common mistake of beginners is to not listen to your commands.  In every lift, there are commands the head ref will give you to start and finish your lift.  Many times a beginner will not listen to these, causing them to miss the lift.  Know, listen and expect these commands before stepping onto the platform.
  8. Take the proper equipment to the meet – Make sure you plan accordingly and have everything you need the day of the meet.  This includes all lifting equipment, water, food and items like pain relief cream.  I usually have two duffel bags of equipment, which includes my bench shirt, squat and deadlift suits, shoes, belt, wraps, singlet, socks and t-shirts.  I also bring a ton of water and electrolyte mix, along with snacks to last the day.  Meet day is very long and you need to keep your energy levels up.  It’s always better to over pack.  It’s better to have something and not need it than need something and not have it.

This list should give you some tips to take into your first powerlifting meet.  Use these as a guideline but if followed they should lead you to being properly prepared for your meet.  And remember, the best thing to prepare you for any meet is the training cycle leading up to it.  Good luck.