My First Meet in December. Total Noob, Advice?

Lemme know if you need more info.
30yrs old @79kgs (I’ll be competing in the 82.5)
I haven’t tested my squat or DL in a while.
Bench: 150KG (not paused, never trained paused before. That will be the most obvious change to make)
DL: I just finished up a cycle that had me finishing with 8x3@160KG. All but the last 2 sets were smooth sailing. I think I could pull 190 if I tried.
Squat: 165 as of 4 weeks ago. My shittiest lift (I skipped leg day for too many years haha)

I have 6 weeks left on my current cut and routine.

What should I do after that? What sort of training protocols have you used leading up to your peaking cycle? Also, is there a good peaking cycle you recommend?

Thanks guys for any quality feedback!

I did my first meet yesterday. Can’t comment on peaking, because I didn’t, but the only advice I’d give is to properly stagger your jumps.

I hit all my openers but then failed my second attempts because I jumped up too much. I only managed to salvage my squat on my third so ended up pretty down on what I expected heading in. It really is different on the day, although I can’t quite put my finger on why. In hindsight, I think I’d have preferred to go 9 for 9 and moved up in 2.5s than bomb out on everything but my openers.

Still, it was an absolute blast of a day, and I’m just gutted I didn’t start sooner. Already eyeing up another meet in 9 months. Good luck!

1 Like

Thanks man! Sorry to hear about your disappointment. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate it.

Is there a particular reason you’re cutting at the moment? It looks like you have a little room to fill out the weight class.

That’s a solid bench. I would definitely start training pauses. Different count pauses, have someone calling out commands if you can, etc. I trained some paused bench but I was doing it on perfect counts in my head. You never know how the judge is going to call it out on game day, so practice a wide range of pauses.

@BOTSLAYER has a bunch of templates for powerlifting on here. He put together my program for me and I ended up hitting PRs in deadlift and squat on meet day.

Some discussion/links here:

1 Like

Yes but unrelated to powerlifting. I’m pretty lean already, adding some poundage should be easy enough. I’ll do it slowly in attempt to get as much “lean mass” as possible.

This is great advice, thanks!

I appreciate the time to dig it out. I’ll comb through it now.

1 Like

Couple things I would suggest. Open light (88-92% of max, performed to comp standards), if you miss a lift take the same weight again, train to comp standards, and hit PRs on the third attempts only.

I think 1st attempts are to get you in the meet, 2nds are to build totals, and 3rds are to hit PRs.

Oh, and most important… Don’t cut weight unless you can take a record or qualify for a big comp. Powerlifting is about being strong, I would rather go up a weight class, and set PRs than make weight and miss PRs. Nobody will remember how much you weighed or how much you lifted, so have fun and don’t cut (ok, you can cut a kg or 1.5 kg, but if it is your first don’t do more than that)!

I see a lot of lifters who are not even strong talking about cutting 15-20lbs to make a weight class they still won’t be competitive in. Just silly. Rant over.

1 Like

If you fail to plan you plan to fail. No peaking plan and 6 weeks out from a meet? Not good. How you should peak depends on how you train, the general idea is to reduce volume and increase intensity. There is not much I can tell you beyond that since you haven’t said anything about your training.

Nice! I’m competing in December as well.

I don’t know why you’re cutting though. You might as well use these 6 weeks to get a head start on hypertrophy before you start peaking.

In my previous meet preps, the common trend I see is:
A few weeks of 5x5
A few weeks of 4x4
A few weeks of 3x3
A week or two of 3x2
Heavy week/Testing

1 Like

How many weeks are you out from your meet?

The training up until your Peaking/Taper/Specificity block should be what ever gets you the strongest as possible.

Are you familiar with RPE?

And agree with Little Sleeper about that bench Pause EVERY Rep from here on out. I like the idea of mixed pause lengths but I would make sure every pause is a 3+ count.

Also record your Squats and Bench to ensure depth and pause length.

At 79kgs unless you are really short you should start eating. Eat clean and that will go a long ways towards keeping you lean while you up the calories.

In GENERAL: The smaller the lifter the less time you should take off and the larger you are the more time you should take off. Obviously there is no one size fits all but that is a good place to start.

I actually made a Taper Video and I am debating putting it up right now. Even in the video that Bryce Lewis video is one (of many) that I would be linking in the description.


Yeah, I personally didn’t like deloading while working with coaches because I felt like that week wasn’t the best use of my time/money

I’ve always had trouble getting back into the swing of things once I’ve peaked and gone back into the gym after the meet.

1 Like

This is what I never got is that most people do not come back from a deload stronger. Obviously some do and that is left up to personal preference etc.

I dont want to put words in @MarkKO s mouth but I think he has good results with that strategy. He is also somebody who would have a lot of great advice.

EDIT: it should be noted Markko is massive.


@BOTSLAYER is very kind.

TBH, you’re not meant to come back stronger from a deload. All it’s for is fatigue management. If you’re training properly, you accumulate fatigue, because recovering from fatigue is how we progress. Accumulate too much and bad things happen. So to make sure you don’t run yourself into the ground, you deload. That lets you recover just enough to be able to keep accumulating fatigue without risking bad shit. When you want to bring your progress to bear, you peak. That’s when you see the progress.


I’d say more like 6 months :slightly_smiling_face:

It’s Dec 1 so like 5 and half months.

Damn, they really make you hold it that long?

I have a plan for that. 6 weeks left on my diet. That gives me 4 months to slowly add weight, ideally I would use the whole 4 months to hit 82.5. I eat very clean, when my diet is finished I’ll add carbs to all my meals instead of my current plan of only around training sessions.

So what I’m hearing is do the thing that gets me the strongest. Then 6 weeks out I should begin meet prep in order to peak at the meet? Well I suppose I knew that already then.

I was looking a bit more for programming. I’ve only just begun to bench 2x a week and I really like it. I ramp to a 2RM then drop to 85% of that and do cluster sets of 2 until I cannot do another set of 2 with solid form. Day 2 I take that same 85% weight and do 6x3. I like it a lot and have had good success. But my squat and DL need much more work and I dont know really how to program smartly for Powerlifting. I feel like general programming isn’t enough and I already can do that. I think ideally I’d like to gradually work towards benching 3x per week, squatting 2x per week, DL 1x per week (comp) and SLDL 1x per week. My main issue is I am not so sure how to program it in a smart way. Yeah I could just go in like a jackass and whatnot but I much prefer to learn from others mistakes rather than my own…

Thanks for the replys guys, I really appreciate it.

The only thing I thought would be useful to keep in the back of your head for your expectations and mental state: Gym PR != Meet PR, depending on which federation. So if you manage to hit a 190kg RPE9.5 deadlift in the gym, you might be short of getting this in a meet. This means, it is not a bad idea to leave some kilos on the platform but smash a 9for9 and come out of the meet with a positive attitude. If you get hooked, you will anyway mostly consider meet PRs, so for you next meet you stand in a very good position to hit a new PR again.


OK, I must have misunderstood when you said

6 months is a long way to go, you don’t want to run an actual peaking cycle until you get closer to the meet.

It depends on what you consider meet prep and what you do outside of that, personally I would use 2-4 months for a meet prep cycle. For now you can continue with whatever you have been doing if it has been getting you results but adding muscle mass is the easiest way to increase your strength potential.

Unless you are extremely strong at your current bodyweight (and you’re not, although you have a decent bench) you could consider moving up a weight class. This doesn’t mean getting fat - that is not what I am implying. However, no carb/low carb/keto diets are not good for athletic performance, Mike Israetel has written quite a bit about this and you can find it on his facebook page. What you are doing with carbs only around training is called TKD (targeted keto diet). I was arguing against keto a while back and later realized that I had actually done keto without knowing it - I did this TKD thing for a few months to lose a bunch of weight. The thing is that all my lifts went down, if you are fat and need to lose weight then it could be worthwhile and has been used by many bodybuilders (I got the idea from some BBers at the gym) but for powerlifting it just isn’t a good approach. The most important thing is total calories, whether they are coming from fat or carbs makes little difference for body composition but carbs will definitely improve athletic performance - which is what you are after here.

In the last two months before the meet you want to get a good amount of work in the range of 85% and up, heavy singles (NOT max singles, up to 95% at the absolute most) can be used but generally speaking you can work up to heavy doubles and triples at the end of the cycle and those should give you a good idea of what you are capable of. 3rm=opener, 2rm around a 2nd attempt, goal weight for your third attempt can be about 5% over your 2rm. However, seeing as this is your first meet it wouldn’t be a bad idea to open even lighter (maybe 95% of your 3rm) to make sure you don’t bomb out and just get some experience on the platform. As I was told at my first meet, if you have never competed then you have no PRs and every good lift is a PR.

1 Like

Thanks Chris

Agreed. It’s just a “blitz” diet as Thibs calls it. 3 weeks of extreme diet (for me atm is 1400 total calories). Then 1 week at maintenance, then another 3 week blitz. Then it’s finished, short enough that I don’t get weak. Fast and hard enough to lose a shit load of fat without losing any muscle. It works for me. But that’s all it is. Not sustainable by any stretch of the imagination. My reasoning for carbs at training is that with 1400 calories I don’t have room for them in the diet. And they serve me the best then so that’s when I eat carbs.

Thanks for the meet advice. I’ll do well to let my ego stay at home with the wife.

I’ll see how it goes. When my diet is finished I’ll gradually increase to a 10% surplus. When weight gain stalls I’ll add another 5%. If I am comfortably gaining lean mass then I’d be foolish to jot continue to do so. The 82.5 class is just my normal weight. I weighed exactly that before I started dieting.