T Nation

So There I Was Chalk On My Hands And A Barbell On My Face

Picture this:

It’s meet day, you’re warming up for bench, it’s your last warmup, your hand off guy steps away from the bench to mimic being on the platform, you press and then dump the barbell on your face… ( face savers did their job luckily )

After the butt puckering subsides do you take your warmup again? Do you lower your opener? What do you do?

Me, I took it again, lowered my opener and then proceeded to get my opener but fail a second attempt and skip my third.

The point of the post is, what do you do on meet day when things go south? How do you pivot? Do you meet attempt selection in the middle? Do you swing for the fence?

What about when your last deadlift warmup was perfect but then suddenly you get to the platform and your opener just wont budge off the floor? What about after being stuck for the second attempt, do you try a third? Do you bow out? Change stances?

Baring anything suddenly weird happening, how you pivot on a meet day will drastically impact the outcome. What’s some examples of you having to switch things up during a meet?

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Let me start by saying, you are in a strange (new) environment. Trust no one absolutely, unless it is your workout partner. And even then, it is a strange environment for him too.

Also, I would think that your adrenaline was amped after that close call, but it was totally wasted. Coming down from that “high”, I would suppose, compromised the next few hours productivity.

Had you already completed the squat? And if you did, how would you rate your strength? Did you white light all 3 attempts? Your squat performance should give you a fairly nice “strength gauge” going into the Bench and Deadlift.

Yeah it was my usual handler, and I’ve trained on this equipment several times before, so it’s not really “new” to me.

Yeah I got my opener and 2nd attempt squat in ( missed my opener the first go around because I went too deep (I’m a geared lifter and for some reason everything felt high when it wasn’t )).

Strength was fine. Biggest issue that likely affected my deadlift was the heat but that’s a different post ( was over 85 the whole day in the facility ). My bench shirt has been giving me fits for weeks so it wasn’t entirely unexpected that it wouldn’t be great lol.

I pick conservative openers. Easier lifting raw than equipped. I make a decision tree based on how that lift felt / went, for my next attempts. I never go up after a miss, I retake. I think the plotting out my lift possibilities has helped me get more successful lifts, but maybe I left some KGs on the platform?

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Don’t have any input, but glad you didn’t get hurt.

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I pick conservative too but things happen, especially in hot weather you’re not used to.

  1. ab cramp on third squat while setting my belt
  2. erector cramps
  3. hip flexor cramps on bench setup
  4. VMO cramp on raw sumo deadlift warmups
  5. not being able to hold the bar or break it off the floor on pulls.
  6. constantly rechalking your hands all day because the sweat keeps clearing it off
  7. sweat in your eyes lol

I’ve been known to go up in weight after a miss if it’s something easily corrected. I would of normally gone up for my 2nd attempt squat even after missing the first, would of just met the 2 attempts in the middle. For example opened around 685, planned 735 for 2nd. If it wasn’t so hot I would of probably just gone 720 on my second attempt instead of 735 then for my third taken the bigger jump to my planned third. But this time I did 685, 685, 735

Leaving some KGs on the platform is OK if it’s because you had to pivot or because you had a specific goal and wanted to ensure it happened perfectly.

Thanks! Bombing out on deadlifts definitely hurt the ego a bit but it’s not my first rodeo lol

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I’ve cramped during meets, but not like this. This may be something to look into for your next one. Maybe more electrolytes?


As a recommendation of an electrolyte source, I’d suggest Hydration (powder) by Essential Elements and add some highly branched cyclic dextrin.

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@mnben87 @RT_Nomad

I’ll just make sure I only do meets with AC moving forward lol.

The ab cramp is actually a fairly normal occurrence for me on squats it’s got something to do with my hip and how i’m sitting when getting wrapped.

The erector cramp happens on bench usually under load, the hip flexor was a new thing for me ( on both sides). Some salt tabs probably would of been ideal.

I had plenty of electrolytes just really needed more sodium to keep the hydration in me. Gatorade/powerade only goes so far without extra salt.

I do have a portable fan that helped a ton but it was still a very sweaty day beyond my normal sweat.

I’ve missed my opener on the squat due to my foot slipping sideways. Took the same weight again and got it. I always took really light first attempts 30kg below my expected max on squat and dead’s which left a big gap when I took my planned second attempt as my third.

I’ve also missed my first and second deadlifts due to cramp, got it on the 3rd attempt but it was the hardest lift I’ve ever done and left me 30kg short on the total. If it hadn’t been that light I would have bombed though.

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Yeah as a raw lifter the opener really needs to be something that you can handle no matter what.

Especially for dead lifts because you never know how you’re going to feel after squats/bench.

Good call on retaking weights, sometimes that’s the best move. I’ve missed 2 and gone up each time to get my third lol, I don’t recommend that, it’s a lot of stress haha

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Glad you’re okay even if the meet didn’t go to plan. I’m interested in whether anyone who witnessed what happened also got thrown off…

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hahaha, I was the last bencher so most were up front waiting to start the flight.

Hopefully not though

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So much of this depends on if you are lifting raw or equipped. I would never go up after a missed lift when lifting raw but would often do it when lifting equipped. Something as simple (or complicated) as the bench shirt not being set quite right could cause a miss that hasn’t a thing to do with having the strength to complete the lift. I once fell over backwards in the squat with 644 or something like that, took my squat suit off, put it on backwards and then upped the weight a bit on my next attempt. That ended up working out but might not have been the smartest meet decision I’ve ever made. But I never would have done that in a raw meet.

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What were your lifts on the day mate?

Sounds like a smart decision to me! LOL

Depends on why you missed the raw lift too I think. I once came up so fast on my opener I shot out from under the bar and ended up stumbling. So I went up for my second.

Ever benched but realized your grip was off? You can probably go normal grip and up the weight. ( even if it’s just a tiny bump )

738-424. Failed 606 deadlift

I planned on around 770, 505, 666 but that clearly didn’t happen.