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Age 62 - First Meet in April. Warm-up Questions

So, I’ve decided to take the plunge - 21 April, already signed up.
My questions are these: What is the best way of warming up for the first attempt? Are the next attempts close enough time-wise to each other, or does one have to do in-between warmups?
Thanks in advance to any/all respondents.

Nothing fancy. Mine goes something like this, in lbs, assuming 45 lb bars in the warm up area.

Foam roll/body tempering

Bar x 10
135 x 8
225 x 6
275 x 3
315 x1
365 x 1
optional 385 x 1 depending on how 365 felt

Opener 420

No warm ups needed between attempts in my experience.

So the gist is getting in some volume at low weights that won’t wear you out, but rather, just get your blood pumping, followed by a progression down to singles, staying away from your opener by a decent margin.

Best of luck on your first meet. You only get one first meet and I found it pretty exhilarating.

Congratulations on entering your first meet.

Like @knobby22 said, you won’t need between attempt lifts.

I’m a 57kg woman (age 53) so my opener is significantly lower but look like
165x2 (has been omitted depending on time constraints)
225 opener

deadlift is tighter at
opener - 295

In my opinion, the fewer warm ups you need, the better. Most warm up rooms have 2-3 platforms but you are still jockeying for time with other competitors. I find it mentally draining having to worry about getting warm ups in so it’s just easier to require fewer warm ups. I also don’t spend any time on mobility stuff. I mostly sit, chill and eat. The more you compete, the more you will become accustomed to what works best for you.

Thank you both. Those insights are what I was looking for.

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Congratulations on doing your first meet. You’ll learn a ton so don’t get too stressed out about doing things exactly right the first time. For warmups I work backwards in 10% increments from my opener going down to the bare bar except for the deadlift, which is 135#. So if I open the squat at #350 my last warmup would be around 315# for one or two reps. The progression would be something like this: Bar-10 reps, 135-8 reps, 185-5 reps, 210-5 reps, 245-5 reps, 280-3 reps and 315 for one or two. Make sure you can nail your opener with good bar speed and control. That’s usually a weight you can do at least 3 reps of no matter how good or bad you feel. Depending on the size of your flight you’ll usually have 5-10 minutes between attempts so no worries about cooling down too much unless another lifter gets injured, etc.

The bench and deadlift warmups are similar with the exception that by the time the DL rolls around you don’t usually need as much of a warmup. I either start the DL warmup a little heavier or make bigger jumps with fewer sets.

Thank you.

On a side note, every meet I get the jitters and since squats are first, I feel a bit of pressure to make it through my progression. Otherwise, I’d get that sinking feeling in the back of my head of 'shit, did I do enough in my warm ups?. . . will this first attempt staple me if I didn’t? But, I’ve never had a problem with getting in all my sets/reps even when there’s 5 or 6 of us sharing the squat rack in the warm up area.

I’m turning 50 this year, and anecdotally it seems that the younger guys don’t need as much of a warm up. For me, it’s critical as otherwise I just don’t get my CNS primed and I think it’s linked to age. So to the OP, you likely know from training when things start clicking for you. . . oftentimes it’s not until well into my work sets that everything ‘turns on.’

That’s interesting. My observation is that the younger lifters tend to do more than I would bother with. That may just be inexperience though.

I think I’ve done approximately 30 meets over the past 10 years. My first were super structured and planned out. Over time though, I’ve worked out what works best for me. As a lightweight woman I’m usually weighing in 6 to 7 am and lifting 8-9 am. At that time of the day, for me, less is definitely more :smile:

I’m pretty much with everyone here, a bit of volume at lower weights to get the blood flowing properly and the joints moving and then just some doubles or singles moving up.

I watch plenty of people do what looks like a full workout for their warmup and personally I don’t get that one but I also think (I’m 40) that with age comes some experience. One of the nice things training Westside is that I’m used to working up to maxes and so I’ve got a great handle on how much and how little work I can get away with, especially shooting for a PR.

Don’t wear yourself out and as people have mentioned your opener should be something you can be kicked out of bed at 3am half drunk and still hit for a double or triple.

You’re far enough out now you could try doing some workup sets and like you were warming up at the meet and work up to an easy opener (whether that’s your real opener or one or two sets shy) just to see how you feel.

I personally don’t need to keep warm between attempts but if you get a small meet with a huge flight (they try not to do this but I’ve seen it) I suppose it could be an issue but then I’d just hit a few reps at a light weight to keep the blood moving.

Also, congratulations on deciding to do this! That’s freaking awesome! Get video!


Hey STU, (Sorry OP for hijacking your thread, but relevant question)

How close to your opening weight do you work up to?

I’m also competing for the first time in 8 weeks or so, trying to gauge how to balance not fatiguing myself but also not making too big a jump to the sets that count.

Thanks in advance.

Depends how strong you are. Personally I work up most of my stuff with just 45’s and 25’s and then stop with the last number that’s 10% or more away ish. . . maybe I’ll use 10’s on bench.

so squat might be:
135 x lots
225 x 5
275 x 3
315 x 2
365 x 2
405 x 1
455 x 1
Open at 500 ish. If I feel like i have less energy I might drop to singles earlier but do more than one single at a weight.

exactly what I needed to know, thanks man!

great responses, thank you.

I don’t do any more than singles once I’m past about 50% of my first attempt. So if I’m opening with, say, 500, 225 may be a couple or 3 reps, and then 315 will be a single. Then 405 for a single. Then 450ish. then platform.

Competing in strongman has taught me that powerlifters tend to overestimate the value of warmups. In strongman, we’re very often limited significantly in our warmup time, and we still get the job done. I see powerlifters at meets freaking out about having the right bar for warmups, the right bench, spotters, etc. It’s all nonsense. All you have to do is what it takes to prepare your nervous system for the lifts without unnecessarily taxing your muscles. That’s it. Prime your body/mind, and lift.

When I could, I always tried to warm up the exact same way I do for a training session.

Bar x 10
60 x 5
100 x 3
140 x 2
… singles up to my opener/first working set

I agree with this. The stress of thinking you need all that is draining in itself. You can get all wrapped around the axle and that mental stress does more damage than less than ideal warmups.

I’ll just add this. It makes all the difference in the world if you are lifting with others you know and/or train with who can help you through the warm-ups and keep an eye on the time, etc. I train with a “team” of powerlifters from my gym and we all show up at the local meets to help load the bars during warm-ups even if we are not lifting that day. It takes a lot of the stress out of lifting at the meet and makes it a lot more fun than going at it alone.

100%. This is one reason that in the gym I tend to grab whatever is available sometimes, when you get someone who’s used to having things exactly their way every time it can get pretty hard on them. I’ve watched guys who always work out alone lose it when trying to get in their warmups with other people on the equipment just because we weren’t doing it the way they do and they couldn’t handle it.

Ideally, you would try to warm up the same way you do in training. Definitely don’t do multiple reps for the last few warmup sets, save your energy for the platform. I would normally work up to a little over 90% for my last warmup. For example, at my last meet my squat opener was 430 and my last warmup was 390.

I have never heard of anyone doing warmup sets between attempts, only at the most dysfunctional meets should that even be a consideration. If you feel cold and there is plenty of time before you lift again then you could put on a sweater and jogging pants between attempts.

One piece of advice, if you get to the meet and you don’t know exactly when your flight is up, I would advise starting to warm up early. At my first meet I thought I was in the first flight (out of two) and started warming up but then realized that I was in the 2nd flight, by that time I had already worked up to something like 60%. I relaxed for a bit, did a couple more reps with 60%, and then took plenty time between the following warmups. No issues that I can blame on how warmups went. Last meet, there was some confusion as to the lifting order, I was told that I would be in the 2nd flight so I didn’t want to make the same mistake as before and didn’t start warming up. Next thing I know, I hear I’m up in something like 20 minutes. I had to skip a few warmup sets and it was all a rush, it was stressful too because there were about 10 guys on two racks. In the end it worked out, although my opener felt almost as hard as my third attempt. In retrospect, I would have just started warming up earlier and slowed down if necessary.

While I fully appreciate what others have pointed out about overemphasizing the value of warmups at a meet, I have found that it takes me a while for my CNS to start firing. Oftentimes in training an 80% squat will feel heavier than a 90% squat, and as I approach a max effort set, my very last work set will move faster and be more locked in even though it’s heavier than the set before. When things are fully turned on I feel like a different person. So, I always get my warm ups in and have never had an issue finding a rack I can jump in on with other guys.

But I’ve trained with others who can show up late and jump under the bar and work right in w/o a warmup. That doesn’t work for me.

Because of how my CNS gets turned on, it confuses the coaches I’ve had over the last 4 years. At the top of my heavy work sets, many times I’ve gotten “shit, if I knew how fast you were going to be on your last set, I would have put 35 lbs on the bar instead of 20” Then I joke about sandbagging so I can do less work. LOL

So to the OP, you should know from training when you will usually turn on and start lifting optimally. Just make sure you tailor your warmup so you can get to that point.