T Nation

Gym Lifts vs. Meet Lifts


How do gym lifts translate to a meet? Will they be higher because of adrenaline and the competitive environment? Lower because of the pressure and judging restrictions?

Interested because I'm doing my first meet soon and really not sure what to expect.


I too am interested


Depends on the person lol

Personally my best ever pull was in a meet.


It really depends on what kind of day you're having and how you feel. Sometimes you'll hit PR's and other times a weight you easily hit in the gym wont move. The adrenaline doesn't seem limited to meet day (at least for me).


All my best lifts have been in a meet. IMO, if you're being honest with yourself in training about depth/pause etc. then generally you should usually do better in the meet due to adrenaline etc.

Edit: one thing to also factor in, if you're dropping a lot of weight for the contest, that can really mess up your lifts - especially if you're lifting in gear.


Usually those doing their first meet get a good adrenaline rush and generally do well IF they have been training honestly. It is the most apparent in the deadlift, somewhat helpful in the bench and a little helpful in the squat. However if you haven't been training properly (good depth and paused bench), don't know the commands, and/or can't control your nerves (or psyc yourself out because most likely there will be a lot of people stronger than you) then the added adrenaline can hurt and by the time you get to deads you will be so depressed/upset from a shitty performance it will not help you.

The more experienced you get the more you can psyc yourself up when you want to and the less boost a meet gives you (it is a tiny bit like sex in that regard, still exciting but not quite the same as the first time you did it). Indeed it can get to a point where it is easier to hit a max in the gym than in a meet, even if form is the same, because at a meet you are at a different gym, using a different bar and equipment, most likely lifting at a different time, on different food, surrounded by different people and that can throw you off. To rectify that issue personally I take the attitude that my maxes don't officially count until I do them in a meet, so I try to save the really big lifts for the meet most of the time, especially on something like deads. I also found it harder to psyc myself up for something I have already done before.

Good luck with your meet, hope it goes well


Same here. I've only done one push pull meet, FWIW. Hit a 20lbs DL PR. I don't think I've been able to do that weight in the gym since, either.
I might have been able to do the same on bench, but was too conservative with my weights.


My first few meets I hit PRs for the reasons noted above. Adrenaline was a huge factor. The past few meets, while they were my best ever, I still haven't hit my gym maxes.


One factor is the weight of the plates . You'll often find that regular exercise plates weigh heavy . I have 45s that weigh 47-49 lbs . Your 315 gym bench might be 339 lbs . Or it might be 303 if they weigh at 43 lbs, which one of mine is. Usually plates weigh heavy , at least in my experience .

I tried 585 last year , made it , then weighed the plates
. It was actually 14.5 lbs heavier . You get to a meet with precision competition style plates and are lifting on heavy plates
, you're going to have a pleasant surprise .


At the time...meet. Most likely because I used something along the lines of 5/3/1 so I usually keep the 1RM maxes to a minimum.


I usually get close to gym maxes in meets, but don't quite hit them. For me, it is the fact that squatting heavy takes something away from my bench and pull. Since I don't usually squat before I bench or pull in the gym, those numbers are higher while my meet squat is a bit higher than my gym squat.


I've always wondered if it would be better to leave a few pounds on the squat so one would have more for his/her bench and pull.


I always hit my best lifts at meets. The biggest reason is that I usually train to leave a little in the tank and save something for the meet. I've noticed that people who tend to go crazy with training lifts also rarely match those lifts in meets. I train hard and do heavy lifts in training, but I try to save the stuff that needs a big psych up for the meet. I've found if I use too much adrenaline in training, I burn out rather quickly.


My best lifts have all been gym lifts. But I think that could be because of the sheer volume of times I train lifts in the gym vs. being on the platform. Think about it: you train for months and then have one day on the platform. In addition, there are variables you have to work around at a meet that you don't have to deal with at the gym. Timing, for instance, is out of your control at a meet. You may warm up and then have a longer wait till you hit the platform than you anticipate. And timing of gear can be very tricky at a meet as well. There's a definite adrenaline rush on the platform that is impossible [for me] to recreate at the gym. But that often isn't enough.


Yeah, I've thought the same thing. My last meet I hit a total grinder on my third squat. Fried my pull completely. It's just really, really hard to leave a little in the tank on the squat even though the meets I tend to do the best at overall are the ones where I smoke my third squat.


Strength is a crazy thing. Some days you have it some days you don't. I know guys that never max out in the gym and only hit heavy singles on meet days. Those guys may hit singles but they leave a rep or two in the tank. They generally compete realy well.

Then there are guys that like to see what they got in the gym before competition. They gennerally compete well but I'd say the guys that don't push too hard in the gym compete better. It takes a while to recover from a max effort single.

Personally If I hit a big pr Single before a meet it screws up my training from that point on. I've only done it once and I wll never do it again. To answer your question, I prefer to save the heavy lifting for the platform, therefore all my heaviest lifts are done at meets.


Appreciate all the insight, thanks.

Fortunately, I have an experienced coach who has had me do sub max singles the past few weeks in training. Trying to save my CNS I assume. So because of that, I'll expect to do higher lifts at the meet. But, since it's my first meet I'm not sure how I'll respond personally. So we'll see.


I think I'm weird, but here's my typical meet. Squats always feel heavy...I've never hit a squat PR in a meet, and usually end up 20-25 pounds less than in the gym. This always makes my first lift of the day an adventure, and it has taken me three attempts to get my opener. Bench is usually pretty dialed in to what I can get in the gym, and I don't struggle so much to nail my opener. Then, for some strange reason I can go balls out on the deadlift. My best meet pull is a good bit better than anything I've ever gotten in the gym.


Think the jitters might be taking a little from your squat form since it's so technical and helping your DL since it's a bit simpler movement?


Yeah, I believe you may have hit the nail on the head. My best pull came at a meet where Nick Dunn had missed his first deadlift, and his dad was giving him the pep talk of a lifetime. I was standing next to him, and everything he said to Nick applied to me. Even though my deadlift sucks, it is my favorite lift of the meet because it moves pretty quickly, everybody's strategy is playing out to place or hit a specific total, and the emotion runs high.