My First Meet in December. Total Noob, Advice?

First of all, regarding frequency - training each lift a certain number of times per week should never be an objective but rather a means to an end - the goal is to get stronger. There have been a bunch of recent studies on training frequency and the overall conclusion is that (for all but the biggest and strongest people) training a muscle group or movement pattern once a week is suboptimal. However, there are no clear benefits of going beyond twice a week either so a basic upper/lower split where you bench twice, squat twice, and deadlift once or maybe twice is pretty close to optimal.

For various reasons there are some potential benefits to a higher frequency, the main one is more opportunities per week to practice the competition lifts. However, once you have solid technique there may be no clear advantage over the previously mentioned arrangement. Some people prefer full body workouts and like to squat more often, some people’s technique suffers if they don’t practice it often enough, some just do better with it for whatever reason. If you fall into that category then higher frequency training might be for you, but if you don’t have a coherent plan and have been benching once a week then there is no need to jump into something like that just yet.

Here’s an idea for you: since your squat and deadlift are behind and likely lacking technically you can do 5/3/1 with 5’s progression and 5x5 opposite first set last, followed by some higher rep hypertrophy work. I assume you don’t know what I’m talking about so basically you follow the 5/3/1 progression but do 5’s for all work set (NO REP MAXES) and if things are going well you continue to make 10% jumps (10% of training max) and do sets of 5 with that weight. Don’t make another jump if you aren’t confident in your ability to do the next set, stop the set if your technique is breaking down, and absolutely do not fail anything. You need to practice the correct movement pattern and pushing close to failure will not allow for that until you have very good technique.

5x5 opposite first set last - this is your volume work, on your main squat day you will deadlift with the weight for the FIRST work set for your deadlift day that week. Vice versa on deadlift day. After this do some hypertrophy work, I would suggest leg press or hack squats on your squat day and SLDL or RDL (same thing essentially) on your deadlift day, maybe about 3 sets of 8-15, aim to add reps or 5lbs each week and stay a couple reps short of failure. Do some ab work after, I would recommend ab wheel, RKC plank, or hanging leg raises.

I can give you some bench advice later, I need to go and train right now. Post some videos for form check since you likely need it.

I’ve been thinking of doing Jim’s Full Body, Four Days from Forever. It seems to check the boxes and it’s been a little while since I’ve done a 531 cycle. But I have to say. It never really did shit for my squat. But it did work very well for my DL and bench

I definitely need to. Especially my squat, it fk’in sucks and I can never figure out why, I just keep grinding it out (it is my least experienced lift as I neglected it for years because of… I dunno, bro gainz)

Most any program will peak you at a given date. IF you are really green you can make gains on any program. obviously one written for you is best.

Prior to your first meet here is my advice to you.

  1. start pausing al of your doubles and triples on the bench.

  2. Hit your deadlift opener for a single 10-14 days out.

.3 Hit your squat opener for a double 10 days out

  1. hit your bench opener for a paused double 7 days out.

  2. deload until wed before meet.

  3. dont’ cut weight for your first meet.

  4. open light. not with your ego. People who bomb meets are the stupidest of all humans.


If it didn’t work well for your squat then it’s probably not worth repeating. Your squat should make up a large percentage of your total so you don’t want to neglect it. If I was you I would do the program I outlined above, if you have problems with squatting after deadlifting then it can be changed to light squat followed by heavy deadlift, the precise details of which I can explain if necessary.

For bench you don’t want to be doing 2rms every week, that is a good way to stall. There are plenty of different approaches that can work, I would do something like 3 sets of 5 competition paused bench on the first day, starting with a weight that you can do about 8 good reps with and just add 5lbs. each week. After that you can choose another bench variation that seems appropriate and finish up with some assistance work - triceps, extra chest work if necessary, and lat/upper back work. The other day can be touch and go bench for higher reps (say 8-10), some overhead pressing after that, then more assistance work for the same body parts as the other day, just not the same exercises. Add weight gradually until you are hitting doubles and triples then reset and change assistance exercises if necessary. This isn’t gospel, this is a basic way to progress your lifts.

OK from now until then make sure your Squat (depth) and Bench (pause) are locked in and get a program that will focus on strength.

At about 4-10 weeks out you can start some version of a strength and taper block.

I have a thread in Bigger Stronger Leaner with a bunch of free programs.

I would highly recommend “Working Title”. Its basically cannibalized “531” and “5th Set”.

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I saw @chris_ottawa recommended that you use 5/3/1 with 5’s and fsl 5x5. He recommended the same program to me. Kinda a mouthful lol. Anyways I made a spreadsheet that takes care of progression if you want to use it. A few things to note, you can substitute close grip bench for ohp, which is what is recommended in orgiginal 5/3/1, but Chris recommended close grip bench for specificity, and it’s working well for me (to be honest I’m enough of a noob that almost anything would work lol) also you can deload every 7th week instead of every 4rth week. I’ll probably update the spreadsheet at some point with the fsl sets, but I just know what to do by looking at the first set of the respected exercise of the week.


Thanks bro!

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My coach sets my openers based on what I can triple. The approach seems to work. My second attempts sometimes are a meet PR, but it depends on how my training has been going and how close my 3RM (opener) is to my last meet PR.

For example, in my last meet I opened at 420, then 456 (meet PR was 440) then 480. My squat has moved along nicely and hope to make a 20 lb jump in my opener and go for 500+ in my 3rd. That all assumes I’m having a good day. I’m 11 weeks out. (raw, 198 lb weight class, 50 y/o)


My coaches did the same. Although, in my first meet, I was making 40lb jumps just to try new weight. In my last meet, we did openers based on a triple, and then my coach would put in all my next attempts so I wouldn’t know what the weight was till after.

In my next meet, I hope my new coach will do the same.OP, where are you competing?

Sounds like a good coach

Chiang Mai, Thailand

That’s whats up! I’ll be competing on the Oregon coast, close to where the movie “Goonies” was filmed.

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