T Nation

Opening Attempts


Another newbie question. I've seen it on here before but can't find it. How do you guys pick your 1st/2nd/3rd attempts? I am doing a USAPL meet tomorrow. I have my plan, just wondering what others do. Also..I am opening by bench raw.


I say keep you ego out of it. Open with something you can rep 2 or 3 times, that way you on the board for sure. You'll have more confidence and that in it self will make those other attempts better.
When I did my first meet I had and easy open, the second was about 98% and third I aimed for the moon. I missed all my thirds though, but I didn't let that get to my head.

Good luck out there and just have fun.


I was going to open my squat pretty light 385. Also opening bench raw, because I hate that d@mn shirt! I was thinking like 95% for my seconds then PR's for the third. Also depending how I feel by the time I am on my third deadlift attempt LOL


Your lifting fully equipped? I personally think that opening raw then putting on a shirt for the 2nd is a terrible idea. This way you will have no warm up sets and have a huge jump in attempts from opener to 2nd. If you aren't prepared to do 3 benches with the shirt on, don't put the shirt on.


I lift equipped in IPF. My plan for events goes like this:

I know that the day is long, so I expect that my lifts may take a bit of a hit. Depending on how it's going, I throttle my last attempts up or down.
For bench, I try to find the lightest weight I can touch in with the shirt on, and add a few pounds to that for my opener. No matter what, I know I can get that lift, it's usually about my raw max (my shirt is pretty loose..)
For squats, I keep the knee wraps off for my opener, and use the weight where I go straps up in a training session.
Deads, I lift raw. I take something in about the 80% range, then 90-ish, then go from there.

I'd put the shirt on - especially if this is your first contest. I can't imagine having to put a shirt on between lifts, and not having the proper time to get it seated and practice the groove..


Jim Wendler in his 5/3/1 for PLing clearly states your opener should be a slice of pie (85%) He says you should be able to blast through it with no debate in order to set a standard for the rest of your meet.


I fall very closely aligned with Wendler's recs. I generally suggest picking a logical, reasonable third attempt that is a small PR for you but definitely within reason. That is your third attempt (100%), from there we work backwards. 95% of that for your second attempt, and 87.5% of your third for your opener. This works well with gear or raw.

I agree with the other posters that if you are lifting in a shirt but doing your opener raw that is questionable especially given your level of experience (it might take at least 10 minutes just to get the shirt on). On this method you should have very little worry about nailing your opener, and if you miss any lift but your third due to strength then you didn't really know how strong you actually were. If one is going less than 6 for 9 in comps they are not doing a good job in most circumstances.

Good luck with it, hope you enjoy it and do well,


All sound advice here. Remember, you just need one good lift to not bomb out. Pick something easy like 90% of your most current 1RM in the gym. Second attempt should be around a 5lb pr. Third could be something ridiculous like a 15lb pr is you are so inclined.

I think it has been said in here already, but don't open raw then put on gear for your other attempts, it just seems like it would fuck you all up. If it's your first meet I would recommend just going raw for everything. If not, just remember to give your self about 2 weeks to learn your gear and get used to lifting heavy in it and making sure you can actually get the weight down. Training for raw and training for gear are two different beasts, so I recommend you pick one or the other.


That's it? Took me a lot longer than two weeks to dial in my lifts with gear. And I have to train with it for quite some time pre-meet to get my CNS up to snuff.

Interesting how everybody figures their meet attempts. I have different methods for each lift.


I think it depends on just how frequently you use it and what type of gear it is. Obviously multiply and denim/canvas are going to be a lot harder to get used to than loose fitting single ply. Probably also depends on how quick of a learner you are and the experience of those around you.


I am always a bit puzzled when people suggest opening with 85% PERSONALLY. For me, I train competition lifts extraordinarily often. This makes me extremely confident in them and know that 90% or even 93% is always a joke lift. This is my problem. Lets say you squat 300kg...

Opening at 85% is: 255kg

That means you still have 45kg to go in order to really get your potential! Obviously we can't know exactly where we are at on a give day, so then 2nd attempt you put say 277.5kg or something... Still 22.5kg to your potential. It is very tough to guesstimate a 22.5kg jump!!! This is why I like opening with like 92%. I am confident that there are really no questions as to whether I will get it. Then I will be more able to assess what my potential is for that day and thus consistently be closer to my actual max!

Again, thsi is just my approach and I appreciate some people liking to open super light.

As far as gear... I think you should squat in a suit (obviously not comp tight) year round. Unless you are preparing for a raw meet as an exception. Other than that, I think you should put on the squat suit once a week. Bench shirt I think only for 6-10 weeks depending upon your experience. Deadlift suit only needs to be put on rarely unless you are worried about technique in it.


During warm up. I put the shirt on, and touched 225. I had turned my card in with 231 on it, because I was still planning to go raw. Well I left the shirt on. Got the 231. My second was 270, put my @$$ lifted. I got the 270 on my third. SO MUCH of this is new to me. The third attempt I narrowed my grip, and that lift was easy. That USAPL bar is different than whats in the gym.


I think that 385 opener for the squat was too light! I missed my first attempt because of depth. Got to parallel. My second was deep enough. The second at 424...was at parallel. SO my squat screwed my head a little. But now I know what I need to really work on: HITTING DEPTH!


for my meet yesterday; with deads i opened at 535lbs. then went to 565lbs. then did 605 on my last pull. you want it to be easy. if you are unsure, go under versus over