T Nation

How Strong Should I Be to Enter a PL Comp?

Im just wondering if there are some PL competitions for novice lifters? Im not really that strong but am a very competitive person so I’d like to experience a PL comp. I’ve never used any belts or straps so all my lifts are raw. What can you use in different competitions? Are belts allowed and still considered raw?

My lifts are:
Squat: 325
Bench: 265
Dead: 440

Is there a certain organization I should be looking at?
If anyone has a good website listing competitions I’d appreciate it.

Age? Bodyweight?

Belts are still considered raw. If you are looking to compete, enter, and even if you arent competitive, its an excellent opportunity to pick the brains of people stronger and more experienced than you.

Your numbers are fine. If at all possible go out to see a competition ASAP. They are generally low key compared to other sporting events, but you’ll notice the camaraderie between lifters is addictive.

As for websites try:
www.powerliftingwatch.com
The Navigation menu on the left hand site has some sections for powerlifting by State and Meets (I’m assuming you’re in the US).

Actually post whereabouts you are and someone here maybe able to chime in and offer advise on a local level.

As for raw lifting, generally it is a belt and depending on the federation it may also include wrist wraps and/or knee wraps. A few bigger raw feds (or offer a raw division) off the top of my head are USAPL, NASA, 100% RAW…

Also read up here, it was a good thread on first competitions:

Im 29, 6’4", 215-220lbs. Also I live in Southern California. Thanks for the advice guys!

If you can’t pull over 700lbs don’t enter a meet. I’m talking to you Wendler!!!

All kidding aside, the sooner you compete the better, it will give you and idea what your in for in the long run and give you meet PRs to beat!

FWIW, the last meet I competed at some guy had his third squat attempt at like 240lbs.

Enter the next meet you can attend. They’re fun.

There’s a lot of meets in Southern California. Just go compete. It’ll change your perceptions about what strong is. You’ll get to meet other lifters. You’ll learn a ton, and you may even find people to train with.

Good question, lately I’ve been wondering the same thing.
My raw numbers are
Squat 385
Deadlift 425 approx without wraps
Bench 225

I’m 6’0 185, would probably drop a few pounds to get down a weight class

Objectively speaking what do you guys think are good lifts ratio to bodyweight wise to be competitive at a novice comp as the OP asked? The benefits of learning and finding friends aside (though I’m sure these make it very worthwhile.)

I think there’s enough feds that any numbers will be competitive somewhere. My last meet I won best lifter. My next meet I probably won’t place top 5 in my own weight class (depends how many guys decide to not cut and lift @275). The variance of competition is that big. For the most part, people tend to seek out feds/meets where they are competitive.

Your numbers are not important for your first meet. Just go, learn what happenes at a meet, talk to everyone who is stronger than you, find out why they are stronger than you, and have a fun time.

GymJones, Where in southern california are you? I think there is a USAPL meet coming up in february in Santa Clarita if you want to check it out. IT’s too late to enter now. USAPL offers a raw class too, unfortunately it seems like they hold only one or two meets in so cal each year.

Depending on where you are and how serious you are about powerlifting there are a couple good powerlifting gyms in so cal. Good training partners make a world of difference and they will be able to help you out at your first meet.

check powerliftingwatch.com for gyms and upcoming meets.

i really wish people would get out of this mindset of “am i strong enough to compete” and “will i be competitive”. If your competing to beat other people, you have the wrong mindset IMO. powerlifting is about lifting more weight than you did at your last meet or setting a bigger total.

I think the reason most people will never compete is because they worry about what others think or what others are doing. just get out there and compete. when i compete i don’t care where i place or who i’m competing against. all i care about is getting a little bit stronger than the last time i competed. once you change your mindset and make it all about you, your focus becomes more precise.

I always laugh at the guys that go to competitions with the main goal to beat everyone there. i’ve seen guys run up the the judges table to see what other people have picked as second attempts before they pick theirs… wtf?? i personally know a powerlifter that will only lift heavy enough to come in first in his weight class. i just don’t get that.

anyway… enough of my rant. bottom line - just do it. set a basline set of competition numbers and then you build upon them for the next meet.

It’s really impossible to tell you how you will place in a meet just based on your numbers, it all depends on who shows up. Like everyone else said though, your first meet you shouldn’t worry about winning or if your numbers are enough, the only person you are really competing against is yourself.

I’m doing one – with significantly worse numbers. For the challenge and the fun and the accountability. I think of it this way: I’ll be better a year from now than I am today, and having already done a meet can only help me on subsequent ones. All I have to lose is having some strangers point and giggle at me, which isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things.

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
I’m doing one – with significantly worse numbers. For the challenge and the fun and the accountability. I think of it this way: I’ll be better a year from now than I am today, and having already done a meet can only help me on subsequent ones. All I have to lose is having some strangers point and giggle at me, which isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things.[/quote]

This is a good mindset. Good luck!

[quote]maraudermeat wrote:
i really wish people would get out of this mindset of “am i strong enough to compete” and “will i be competitive”. If your competing to beat other people, you have the wrong mindset IMO. powerlifting is about lifting more weight than you did at your last meet or setting a bigger total.

I think the reason most people will never compete is because they worry about what others think or what others are doing. just get out there and compete. when i compete i don’t care where i place or who i’m competing against. all i care about is getting a little bit stronger than the last time i competed. once you change your mindset and make it all about you, your focus becomes more precise.

I always laugh at the guys that go to competitions with the main goal to beat everyone there. i’ve seen guys run up the the judges table to see what other people have picked as second attempts before they pick theirs… wtf?? i personally know a powerlifter that will only lift heavy enough to come in first in his weight class. i just don’t get that.

anyway… enough of my rant. bottom line - just do it. set a basline set of competition numbers and then you build upon them for the next meet. [/quote]

Agreed and then some.

i got talked into my first meet 3wks before it. i’m glad i did it, my numbers sucked; but it totally hooked me and i’ve gotten tons stronger and made lots of life long friends.

fuck the numbers. just go.

look on powerliftingwatch.com

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
I’m doing one – with significantly worse numbers. For the challenge and the fun and the accountability. I think of it this way: I’ll be better a year from now than I am today, and having already done a meet can only help me on subsequent ones. All I have to lose is having some strangers point and giggle at me, which isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things.[/quote]

The thing is, if you go out there and try hard, then people will cheer not laugh. Honestly, the biggest applause at most meets when someone needs a third attempt to stay in the meet. Everyone gets behind the person.

[quote]MementoMori wrote:
Good question, lately I’ve been wondering the same thing.
My raw numbers are
Squat 385
Deadlift 425 approx without wraps
Bench 225

I’m 6’0 185, would probably drop a few pounds to get down a weight class

Objectively speaking what do you guys think are good lifts ratio to bodyweight wise to be competitive at a novice comp as the OP asked? The benefits of learning and finding friends aside (though I’m sure these make it very worthwhile.)[/quote]

You’re stronger than I was when I did my first contest (330 squat, 248 bench and 407 deadlift). If you’re anywhere near St. Catherines, you should come out and watch some of the Provincial Championships this weekend. Details can be found here:

www.ontariopowerlifting.org

I did my first meet as a raw and unsanctioned meet when I was in college…

on 2 weeks notice I weighed in at 243 and 6’5"… I used a cloth belt and no knee wraps…

squatted 425, benched 350 ( jumped the press command on 385), and deadlifted 540… I was 21 with four years’ experience…

I was unsure about entering but loved the contest, had a great time and knew that I wanted to get serious after that…

I’m pretty sure that most people start like this

at the 2009 APF Illinois state contest a new lifter benched the bar, then got stuck with the bar and the collars ( ~55lbs) … nobody laughed and the lifter had a great time just being there and lifting…