Final Week Before Meet

Hi, guys. The final week before my first meet is coming up, and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my training. I’m thinking I should just lift something light, maybe about 60% and practice commands?

What do you guys usually do when you are one week out? Thanks in advance!

The safest thing to do is take the week off completely. If you are going to train keep it light. Some people go heavy the week of the meet but for your first meet take it as easy as possible.

Remember that you’ve already put all your work in. You should be at your strongest already. YOU WILL NOT GET ANY STRONGER by practicing your lifts during meet week. You can get weaker if you fuck it up.

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I completely disagree. You won’t get stronger, but you will avoid getting weaker and your technique will be on point. Assuming the meet is on Saturday, I would work up to openers on Monday and 80% for 1-3 singles on Wednesday. Some people do well taking the whole week off, but those are usually very advanced lifters who need a lot of time to recover. The taper I just mentioned is what Mike Tuchscherer uses for pretty much all of his lifters, I don’t agree with some of his methods but his taper works. Some people don’t do well with the large drop in bench volume, his suggestion was to train bench as normal all through the taper week.

Unless you are an elite lifter or your recovery really sucks I don’t advise taking the week off.

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And yes, you can get weaker if you do too much and accumulate a lot of fatigue but the weeks leading up to the meet should be heavy and low volume so you shouldn’t have any problem working up to your openers (if you do then they are too heavy) and you shouldn’t feel like you need a deload.

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I would do something just to be in gym, active rest. May be do some very light squats one third of max for 3 x8 squats on tues, a couple easy sets legex, leg curl, abs on Tuesday. Wednesday 3x8 one third max bench, some curls, kickbacks, band pull aparts, just get some blood in muscle and keep muscles stretched. Friday after weigh in get some good carbs, in you . And make sure you are hydrated, sleep with a bottle of water by bed etc.
Open conservative if the judges want you’re squats 2 inches deeper, or a three second pause take note, and ajust attempts according. Also have some food on hand, phil martin told us instead of fancy energy drinks ,maybe some candy bars, bananas quick energy, thats not large enough to mess up stomach. Good luck.

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I take off the last 7 days fully. If a week of complete rest makes you weaker it is your mental strength and not physical that caused your issue. I usually do some light cardio, stretching mobility, get a massage and a Chiro adjustment during this week and pretty much focus on relaxing and eating.

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With all due respect, don’t you squat over 800? You are precisely the kind of person that should be taking a full week off. Do you know of novice/intermediate lifters that do well with that sort of a taper?

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Rather than listening to conflicting opinions on this forum, look up these articles (they don’t allow most outside links here):

strengtheory (Greg Nuckols’ site) - Tapering and Peaking: Why and How

JTSStrength - Peaking for Powerlifting

And watch this:

I’m not just here spitting out bullshit.

Every single one of my clients from beginner to advance do the same. I have done it since my first meet when I Squat 475 in wraps to my most recent.

What worked for me is the following. Sunday before meet - Bench 75%, Close grip medium. Monday before meet - Squat 60%, Leg press medium. Wednesday before meet Squat and bench rehearsal at 135 for 3 singles. No deadlift during meet week.

So it worked well for the beginner and intermediate lifters too? I get what you are saying about the lack of mental strength, but the way I see it is that the longer you have been doing something the less practice you need to maintain technique. Also, confidence is a major issue and if you haven’t lifted anything heavy for a while your openers might feel much heavier than expected.

As long as you aren’t an elite lifter and/or your recovery doesn’t suck, the taper I outlined works well for most people. And I suppose taking a week off could work too, maybe the best option for someone new to this is to try something that has been proven to work and if it doesn’t go as planned then make adjustments for next time. For my last meet I used the same taper I was talking about and my squat and deadlift went better than expected, I could have gone 10-20lbs. heavier on third attempts. However, bench wasn’t as good and I failed what I thought was a conservative third attempt, I think that adding more bench volume during the taper week would work better for me as Mike Tuchscherer has suggested.

Confidence is a mental issue. If you aren’t mentally ready by 7 days out and confident in your abilities I personally believe your programming was off, your knowledge on programming was off, or you don’t trust who ever you are letting program for you. I don’t even go over my openers the entire peaking cycle. When I Squat 760 the heaviest I took in training was 680 14 days out. I took 315 8 days out for a few sets of 5 and I rest. The meet before this I Squat 740 and did the exact same thing but last heavy Squat was 660 14 days out. When I put 760 on my back I was more than confident.

There’s different ways of doing things for sure, it sounds like you do well training with much lighter weights than what you lift in a meet. On the other hand, Amit Sapir posted a video of himself grinding out an 800lbs. squat shortly before a meet. The main thing is that you perform well when it counts. I’m not going to tell you that you are wrong because you obviously know what you are doing, but it’s not the only way. Like I said, for the OP and other people, pick one style of tapering and if it doesn’t work then change it next time.

As far as the mental issues, in my case it’s not that I wouldn’t feel confident in my abilities but rather that going a full week with no training is much more than I need to fully recover and is more likely to lead to detraining. Even Matt Wenning, who is all into the “mental midget” talk, says he work up to 92% during his peaking cycle.

I’m not saying there is only one way. Simply giving my opinion and what I do and have people who have asked for my guidance do. I only Squat and Bench once a week any ways so 7 days is not going to “detrain” me.