T Nation

HELP! First Powerlifting Meet


#1

I plan on competing on 21st feburary 2016 in a local com. however it is raw with wraps and I dont usually wear wraps. so could you give me some pointers on how to choose starting weights and just generally how to prepare for a competition. Also what I should do to peak and how long to peak for? Thanks Sam


#2

Just don’t wear wraps? You aren’t forced to use any kind of equipment.


#3

[quote]samkuti wrote:
I plan on competing on 21st feburary 2016 in a local com. however it is raw with wraps and I dont usually wear wraps. so could you give me some pointers on how to choose starting weights and just generally how to prepare for a competition. Also what I should do to peak and how long to peak for? Thanks Sam [/quote]

You don’t happen to be in Canberra do you? I ask because there’s a novice comp at Burley Strength here in Canberra on that exact date. I’m not lifting but someone I coach is.

With wraps, first, no, you cannot be forced to wear them. Raw with wraps means you’re allowed to wear them, but don’t have to. If you’re not used to wearing wraps you have the option of not using them or buying a pair and learning how to use them as from now to meet day is plenty of time to do that.

With your attempts, I’d recommend against just picking a starting weight. Mentally it helps hugely to have a plan for each attempt, and a fallback for your second and third attempts. The approach I’ve heard most often and which I have used successfully is as follows:

First attempt: 88% of goal

Second attempt A: 94% of goal
Second attempt B: 94% of goal less 5 kg or so

Third attempt A: goal
Third attempt B: goal less 5 kg or so

You decide on whether to use the A or B attempts depending on how the previous attempt felt. If it felt good enough, you go for your A attempt. If it didn’t feel how you wanted it to, you go for your B attempt. Note that the difference between A and B attempts doesn’t HAVE to be 5 kg. It could be 2.5 kg if your lifts are lower, but could be 20+ kg if you are particularly strong.

As to what the goal is, well, be realistic. If your current max is 100 kg and you have six weeks to train, aiming for 120 kg would be dumb, but aiming for 110 kg is possible and 105 kg very realistic. I’m guessing this is your first meet, so I’d suggest just focusing on going nine for nine. Besides, you’ll have a fair idea a couple of weeks out what you should be able to get. If in doubt, go lower.

One other option, which I used for my first meet, was to use the meet to ‘validate’ my training maxes and then have a crack at a small PR. To that end, I set my attempts as:

Attempt 1: around 90% of my max
Attempt 2: training max
Attempt 3: 5 kg PR

That worked fine for me, but having used the 88/94/goal approach I would very strongly recommend it instead.

If this is your first meet and your lifts aren’t too big, you don’t really need to worry about peaking. I’d just drop the heavy stuff in week leading up to the meet and four days out hit your openers at least for squat and bench, then do no training until the meet. You can hit your DL opener too if you want, but that depends on how well you recover from 85-90% singles in DL.

Also, if you’re not already training in the 1-5 rep range, start now! Something very simple like 3x5 @ 80% for three weeks, 5x3 @ 85% for two weeks and 3-5x2 @ 90% for two weeks. Train three times a week and hit each main lift in those set/rep/weight ranges once, followed by 3x5 @ 70% on the other two lifts each day adding 2.5-5 kg on those every week. Those are for practicing technique and getting in volume on the lifts. You should have room for two to three reps at the end of each of the practice sets. Don’t go nuts with assistance, do something like one or two exercises each session for 3xhigh reps. Good choices are GHR, chest supported rows, back extensions, pull/chin ups, Kroc rows and leg press and DB bench/incline/press (whichever). Don’t worry about adding weight to the assistance work. If it gets easier, do more reps.

Something like this in week one, for instance:

Monday
Squat 3x5 @ 80%
DL 3x5 @ 70%
Bench 3x5 @ 70%
Alternating sets DB press/chest supported rows 3x10-12
Band pull aparts AMRAP

Wednesday
Bench 3x5 @ 80%
Squat 3x5 @ 70%
DL 3x5 @ 70%
Leg press 3x10-12
Kroc rows 1 set AMRAP
Band pull aparts AMRAP

Friday
DL 3x5 @ 80%
Squat 3x5 @ 70%
Bench 3x5 @ 70%
Back extensions 3xAMRAP
Pull/chin ups (or some kind of row/pull) 3 sets
Band pull aparts AMRAP

If you’re going to go with wraps for the squat, get them now and use them for the last set on each heavy squat day to get a feel for them. That’ll give you time to figure out how you like to wrap them and how the affect your squat. Which wraps to get is up to you. My first pair were Inzer Iron-Z 2.5 m ones. I never touch them now, because I feel like they don’t give me anything. However, they are really easy to wrap and will give you some pop even badly wrapped. They’re also reasonably comfortable when wrapped tight. I use the red Slingshot wraps, which are really quite stiff and not at all comfortable, but when I started using wraps I tried them and hated them. I used a pair of old Harris wraps once which were kind of OK, but similar to the Inzers. I’ve heard great things about Titan and Metal wraps - but if you’re in Aus, good luck getting them quickly. Actually, if you’re in Aus your best bet would probably be Loaded Lifting’s own wraps as I suspect they’ll have them in stock. No guarantee for the imports.

Lastly, get very familiar early on with the technical requirements and commands for each lift.

The squat has two: squat (don’t squat until you hear that) and rack (don’t re-rack the bar until you hear that). You have to hit depth: hip below knee. Once the bar starts moving up it may not dip down again. You can be stationary for a bit and still complete the lift, though. Video of your training lifts is good to get an idea if that’s an issue for you.

The bench press has three: start (don’t bring the bar down until you hear this); press (don’t press off your chest until you hear this, and you won’t hear this until the bar is motionless on your chest); and rack (same deal as for squat). Likewise the bar cannot dip once it starts moving up, but can come to a stop and start again.

Deadlift has one: down (don’t put the bar down until you hear this). You don’t get a start command. Also, you must maintain control of the bar as you lower it. You don’t have to lower it gently, but you cannot drop it, and you can get red-lighted for slamming it down even while gripping it. You cannot hitch (lots of little tugs when it gets hard), and as usual the bar cannot dip but may come to a stop and start again.

There usually are other rules, but those are the big ones as far as I can remember.


#4

I just did my first at the beginning of December; just a few quick takeaways, to go along with the previous good write up.

  1. The whole day is a PR. Signing up, showing up…getting into your singlet. All PR’s! This is no small fact.
  2. Pack food and drink. You will need it. Nothing strange or new to you, keep it simple.
  3. Take a friend to help. I recommend my friend Karen, but I think she’s busy :slight_smile:
  4. I don’t know anything about you, but FOR ME…I like volume, I’m used to heavy and volume. I backed off to much towards the end. This was just one of the lessons I learned.
  5. Don’t for get to have fun.

Best of luck to you.
ERIC D.


#5

Great tips, hoping to do my first comp this year and haven’t even thought about the commands other than the press for bench, gotta take notes!