T Nation

First Comp Advice


Ill be doing the WV Regionals on Nov 12 and I was wondering if any of you veterans have any advice for the competition itself. Ill be trying to total at least 1200 in the 181 weight class.


What federation?
Geared or raw?
What is your bodyweight at currently?
What are your openers?
What do you hope to finish with?
Do you know the commands?
Is it close to where you live?

With these answers we can provide more help.


400 for squat 300 for bench 425 for deadlift
450 for squat 325 for bench 490 or 500 for deadlift
Ive watched videos online so whatever thats worth
Its 2.5 hours away


I wouldn't try to cut that much weight for my first meet. I didn't look the records for your fed up, but if you're not approaching a record in a weight class, there is really no reason to worry about it at this point. My only other thing is your bench opener. You are opening within 25 pounds of what I assume is your max. I would consider lowering that and maybe make jump on your second attempt if you felt good.


Thanks for the help. So maybe open with 275 for bench? Also would you recommend gaining weight so Im closer to 198?


Just do your first meet and don't worry about your weight class. Gain or lose weight when you gain or lose weight.

Make sure you know the commands and that you practice them. If you don't, you WILL miss a lift on a technicality. Make sure your bench is paused and your squat is deep.

Open with something you can triple, second attempt is max/near max, 3rd attempt is shoot for the moon.


Clean and Jerk your opener

Do it you won't


Just have fun with it. There will be allot of helpful people there. I always like to bring a cooler of food and Like a gallon of Gatorade.


I've only done two comps so far so take what i have to say with a grain of salt but I know what it's like to worry about all this stuff before your first comp.

Don't worry about weight, you'll comfortably fit into the 198s so just stick with where you're at, it will save alot of stress and make it just a fun day out. Also yea openers, go light ! Stuff you could normally triple on any day at the gym, and squats be prepared to go deep, you never know what the judges will be like, if they're having a bad day or whatever so leave no doubt in their mind that you made depth.

Bench, be prepared for a long pause, even if the judge says it quickly it will feel like an eternity if you haven't practiced it before so practice with someone giving you the start, press and rack calls. Deads, just rip that shit off the floor but yea open with something your very comfortable with as the day of already maxing out on 6 lifts (3 squats and 3 benches) may start to catch up on you if your conditioning is not up to it.

No matter what you end up with, it's good going into it having a goal in mind, but it's all just a fun day out and there are plenty more comps coming up that you can beat your total at !!


Thanks everyone for the help. One last question. Should my last two weeks of training be a deload or should i just continue training normally? Im doing 5/3/1 if that helps.


I have no experience with 5/3/1, so maybe take this with a grain of salt. But I definitely deload the last two weeks. My heaviest gym lifts are three weeks out; my second attempts are two weeks out; openers only the last week. My last two weeks are warm-ups and those heavy single only and no accessory work.


I've not done a meet yet so but train with some of the best, plan on entering myself next year. The advice I've already picked up is:

Last month almost should be working your openers. One week out you should maybe do some mobility work and not much else. Decide from the start if you're going for a Total or a PR and stick to it. It won't help going for a 500 on deadlift if it means only getting a 410 on your squat if Total is your goal. As others have said don't worry about weight on your first meet.


Deadlift is the last lift...so why would you not want a 500 lb pull after a 410 lb squat?


Sorry wasn't thinking right and should said PR on Squat if it means a shitty Deadlift.

That's what happened to a guy from my gym at the ProAm last month, went for a big squat PR and as a result instead of getting the upper 6's on his deadlift he messed up his lower body and could only pull a 560 killing his total.

Point is you have to play the numbers and decide if you want a big PR or a big Total and stick to it - again I haven't done a meet but that's what the guys at my gym tell me and since they're some of the best around I tend to listen and thought I'd pass some of it on.


This is how I have done things leading up to every meet I've lifted in (6 total), so take it fwiw as some things may not work as well for you.

I wouldn't necessarily 'deload' the last two weeks so much as I would taper the overall volume of lifting. On the main lifts, my heaviest bench press will be 2 weeks out and it is generally somewhere in between what my planned opener and 2nd attempt will be. I do the same for squats, but for deadlift I will just go up to my opener and maybe do a couple of singles with it. During this week I cut accessory work roughly in half.

The week prior to the meet I work up to openers in the bench and squat, but will just do some light speed pulls for the deadlift in order to maintain a groove. During this week I usually cut back on the accessory work to a minimum, only doing enough to keep the joints loose. On Monday and Wednesday the week of the meet I'll do quick sessions both days where I go up to about 50-60% of my goal weight and do a single with it for each of the three lifts and that is it. I do this to stay loose.

As far as what to pick for openers, the triples rule is usually a good guideline for openers. For the second and third attempts, I think what is most important is to set yourself up for a good total -- that is unless all you are really concerned about is one particular lift. For the first meet, pace yourself so that you go 9/9.


If you are set on cutting weight to 181, realize that you will inevitably lose some strength, especially in your bench. I think the biggest thing you need to keep in mind is that if you fail a lift, you are out, so open with weights that you know you can lift on your worst day. If you are shooting for a 325 bench, I would open around 265-275, make a jump to 300 for attempt 2, and go for 325 on 3.

My first raw meet I was shooting for a 455 squat, a 385 bench and a 500 dead. I opened my squat at 365, my bench at 315 and my dead at 405, all numbers I knew I would absolutely smash in case worse came to worse and I was having an off day.


Thanks everyone. Ive decided Ill open up with a 375lb squat 275 bench and a 430lb deadlift. I really appreciate all this info. Hopefully Ill have a good total and a good video to post on November 13.


Hey. I posted a 1100 total on November 12 which was enough to win my weight class. I messed up my squat and let the judge get to me. lol On my second attempt i destroyed 335 and the judge told me, "Put some weight on the bar!" So i jumped up to 400. And that killed me. And thus that killed my total. The pause on the bench killed me as well. My previously best gym bench was 335. At the meet I got 305. My deadlift was only 460.


SKWATKING, what did you pull for your second attempt when going for 500? I'm close to 500 with a 485 PR about 2 weeks ago and I plan on trying some ammonia out for the first time and i've heard actual deadlift bars make a big difference so hopefully I'll get it. I'm only doing the deadlift in this comp because it is a push-pull and I strained my pec pretty bad 1 month ago and am just starting back on bench on this next workout. I triple 435 for my last set at the end of my workout so I'm thinking going 435, 465 or 475, then shooting for 500 if it feels good, if it doesn't feel good i'll just judge off of that. Today (saturday) was a heavy deadlift day so I'm gonna do speed pulls this week and then probably pull 455 next saturday and keep the accessory work light then speed pulls again on tuesday before the meet next saturday


If it's a full meet make sure you bring enough food, or that the meet is near a place with halfway decent food. My last full meet was 9 hours long and I ate 3 meals. So many people showed up for "bench only" that I actually ate twice between bench and deadlift, and then deadlifted 502 which was a PR.

Also, have someone to take pics or videos of your lifts. They're good for the memories, showing off, but most of all helping you see what you did wrong. Or get a tripod and video yourself. Several people had their own tripods set up at my last meet. Once you've done a few meets it's hard to get a girlfriend or wife to come with you. You'll find they don't like sitting 8+ hours watching people lift!