T Nation



I received word of a local competition in my area. Turns out it's a full-blown, sanctioned meet. The ADAU Raw Power PA State Powerlifting Championships - May 28, 2011. I'm 16, and I want to compete. Right now, I have a window of opportunity to get a taste of it. But, here are the things:

  1. I don't have access to a power rack, so I can only do zerchers.
  2. I haven't trained bench in a while (focusing on overhead work).

I also looked at state records, and saw that I'm totally outclassed (well, by the record holders, lol). 585 pull @ 198 (16 - 17 division). Obviously, this is a meet for the big boys. I have one more cycle of 5/3/1 to go. I thought about working up to a single with 425 in the deadlift two weeks out (which is around my max), deloading, and then doing it. With rest and a belt, I should be good for 440. I've put some thought into this. Again, I want to compete, but it's a state championship, so maybe I'm getting ahead of myself?

So, what do you guys think? Should I ball up, bring it up with the old man, and give this shit a whirl?


Go for it man. Don't worry about what the records are, they are no indication of what the other guys will be lifting. The record shows that some guy one time, and one time only, of all the meets, came in and lifted such an unusually high amount of weight, that it was a record. If the other guys were doing that same weight, than the record, well, it wouldn't be a record.

My very first meet was when I was 16, and weighed 198. I did a 440 pull and I came in 1st place in my class, even though the record was over 500.

As far as it being a big meet, that is the perfect reason to do it. I mean, you don't want to pride yourself in only competing in small meets that you will easily win, and then avoiding any meet that may present a challenge, do you? Would you rather say "I came in first place in so and so's meet" that nobody has ever heard of, and you only had one other competitor, or would you rather say "I came in second or third at this officially sanctioned state championship meet". Plus, don't sell yourself short. You may win. I was lifting the same as you, and I won.

As far as squats go. I would ofcourse try to find access to a squat rack, but really, fuck it.
If you can take X-amount of pounds, bury it, and stand back up, than it not like switching the bar from your arms to your back will suddenly take away from your leg power. I mean, it will feel different, yes, and who knows what you will hit, but its not like a 400lbs zercher squat will translate into a 200lbs back squat.

As far as you not doing bench, well, that was fine before, but this sounds like the perfect reason and time to get back to benching.

I would say put your game face on, grab you belt, and go kick some ass!


Thanks for the insightful reply man. I really appreciate that.

My PR on zerchers is 300x5, so I'll probably want to go for ~320. Nothing super heavy or light; I'd want to save myself for pulling.

As far as bench... my PR is 230 with a close grip done back in November. I'm stronger now, so a 240 paused regular grip bench is possible IMO, even with only about a month to prep. :stuck_out_tongue:

Along with a 440 deadlift, that would add up to a 1000 even total. If that happens, I'll be pretty happy. :smiley: Now to get my dad to go for it. :stuck_out_tongue: Do you have to pay to compete?


Yeah, there is always an entry fee. That is how they pay for the trophies, judges, etc.
Also, I am not sure what type of equipment you are using now (I am talking about quality) but I know that every time I compete, I ALWAYS lift more in the competition. Most equipment in gyms, even though it is usually better than what you can buy from a sporting goods store, still isn't very good. Plates in almost every gym are heavier than they read (I have seen everything from half pound heavy up to 5 lbs heavy per plate), the bars are warped and have shit for grip, the benches aren't very sturdy (whether you realize it or not) and will shift, or flex a little bit with each rep, which takes away from power. Any time I go to a meet, having precision weights, a good bar that has great grip and is not warped, plus VERY sturdy equipment to use, I always lift more. I'll give you an example. When I was 18, I walked in weighing 195. I had been overtraining leading up to the meet, and a few night before the meet, 275 on bench pinned me (even though I had gotten 295 a couple weeks prior). With all the good equipment, though, and doing such low volume work spaced out over the day, I ended up doing a 300 pound bench on my last attempt. Which came up easy. I wished I would have had another attempt, I think I could have gotten 310-315. Same with deadlift. My best ever gym deadlift was 455 (I know its not much better than my deadlift at 16, but I had blown my back out a few months prior, and hadn't been back to deadlift long) and I ended up pulling 480. It fought me, and it took a lot of grit to get it up. But I ended with 480.

I would say that your second attempt should be your current max. If you for some reason miss it, you can come back and try one more time. But if you do what I think you will do, and nail it easily, and realise you got a PR in you, that is what you can use your last attempt for.

I'm sure if your dad has any idea how hard you train, or that this is something you are serious about, he will be all for it. Most fathers love it when their son's get competitive about something.


Wow, I was never aware of such discrepancies between meet equipment and typical gym equipment. Now I'm really encouraged! :smiley:

As far as the deadlift is concerned, I was thinking about opening with ~390, then ~410, then 440. Also, all of my lifts are without a belt. All of them. Once I used it on zerchers, and I felt super tight (in a good way) and it felt a good bit easier, so I'm hopeful that'll help, too.


I've never been in a meet myself, but people around here say to be prepared for the commands and don't jump the gun.


Nice! I lift in the ADAU in PA. Just finished the Great Lakes open in Erie where I went 7 of 9. Do the meet you will love it. Practice getting depth on your squats and pausing on your benches. Read the rule book because these judges are tough, its kind of their thing, they take pride in it. www.adaurawpower.com

Don't worry about records just go get yourself some meet numbers! There will be all kinds of people competing from 14 year old kids to 65 year old Granny's, lol. I don't know if I will be competing in this one or not but I will probably be there meet bitching for my partner Nick....


Sweet. Convinced my dad to go along with it and we got in contact with the director; we'll be getting the application soon. :smiley: Gonna read up on the rule book. Anyone know where I can find a singlet at?


You can get a singlet almost anywhere. Every powerlifting brand sells them, you can go to most sporting goods stores and find them, and they sometimes even sell them at the meets.

Good luck with the competition. Hope you do well.


Hey guys, I've unfortunately, as of right now, decided not to go through with the meet. Let's just say that I'm not in the best circumstances for setting PRs; tweaked back due to shitty technique. :stuck_out_tongue: You know, little road bumps. Nothing serious, but I'm working on improving my technique right now (after a deload), and I don't want to be pressured to prep for a meet.

Oh well. I'll drop into a meet sooner or later. :wink: Sorry for sounding like a pansy...ha, ha...