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What Weights to Compete?


I want to start competing sometime in the near future. I'm wondering what weights I should aim at being able to lift in order to not be that guy that everyone laughs at for being so weak haha. I really have no idea what your average weights people are lifting at these competitions are. My current weight is 180, but I can stand to lose a bit more weight (I'm coming down from being almost 300 pounds and obese my whole life), so I plan on getting probably to about 165-170 before really focusing on strength gains.

My current lifts are:
265 Bench
420 Deadlift
350 Squat

Just curious as to what I should be aiming for to start competing. I want to actually stand a chance at doing well, because I'm way to competitive to be happy placing last haha.


No one will laugh, regardless of the weight you lift.


no one will laugh at you, get in, give your best, have fun, rinse and repeat :slight_smile: good luck mate


Don't wait to compete. Find a meet that is convenient and 2-3 months out from now. Shoot for an 1100 total (65 pounds more than your gym lifts now should be doable) which will be a respectable start at your first meet. Are those knee wrapped squats? If not get some light wraps and practice in them some and aim a little higher on the total.

Also, try and go 9 for 9 on your attempts!


On your first meet, don't worry about your total. Do the meet, get lifts in, and find out if it's something you really want to do. Just experience what a meet is like and have fun.


Compete at whatever weight you happen to be at. Beginners really shouldn't worry about what weight class they're in, just train hard and have fun.


Don't worry about what weight you compete in, or what your weights are you're lifting. No one laughs at anyone, everyone is extremely encouraging and cheers you on. My first meet was one of the best experiences of my life and I can't wait to do the next. Wish I had started long ago instead of worrying about whether or not I'd be "strong enough" to compete.


Get in there as soon as possible. If you go to a meet you will run into a bunch of cool people who will help you out. Everyone is real supportive.


Your lifts arent bad man, so dont worry about it. I continually see guys around 200 in my gym playing with less than that, or god aweful form doing so. Just train your ass off and kill it in a meet. Also, your weigh in is surely lighter than where you're at now, its easy to lose water weight. good luck man


No one will laugh at you. I've never seen anyone laughed at or mocked. When you are on the platform everyone else is (figuratively) pulling for you.

Pick a meet a few months from now and plan a cycle then go out and have fun. You'll have a blast and meet a shit ton of great people that can help you out.


I'd say the weights you need are:
265 Bench
420 Deadlift
350 Squat

Go for it and have fun. As others have said, people are really supportive at contests.


your current lifts would rate you as a class II lifter at 180lbs bodyweight. at least according to RAW standards:

if you were to drop down to 165 and hit 1068 you will be a class I lifter. its a short hop to 1190 to be a master level lifter at 165.


If you want to compete, then compete. Don't let fear of the unknown stop you. The people are nice and you are likely a lot during both your prep and the meet.

Congrats on the huge weight loss btw!


Definitely just go and do it. The experience will be invaluable to you further down the line, you will find yourself training harder with something to focus on and you'll meet awesome, supportive new people.

There is always the desire to win, but if you look at the big picture it's really about going along, busting your ass to perform your best lifts, and then coming back next time bigger, better and badder. You've just got to take that first step.


I agree with all of the above, just go and lift and get your first total. There will be some super strong people and then some not so strong and a lot in between, no one will think you don't belong on the platform. See if you catch the iron bug (I hope you do) and then start worrying about what you lift and where you will place (and honestly even as you get more experienced it is still more about what YOU can lift instead of how you compare to others).


I think everyone else just about covered it, except for one thing.

Lifting 1rms in the gym is a lot different to standing on a platform, in front of a room full of people, with three judges checking that your lift fit what many people think is quite a narrow technique criteria.

I've seen a lot of very strong people come to their first meet thinking they'll take out their class or whatever only to bomb out because they took too long to set up, or they didn't learn to use their gear properly before the meet, or they couldn't get their next attempt card in before the time limit expired, or not knowing what the calls mean, or any one of about a hundred little things that don't matter in the gym.

(Also, there's nothing more frustrating for meet officials than some FNG who doesn't have the first idea of where he's supposed to be, or what he's supposed to be doing)

Most people take time to adjust to lifting in a meet environment.

I'm not in any way trying to discourage you from competing. As a matter of fact, the sooner you compete, the better, imo.

I just think that you would do well to get hold of a rule book for whatever federation you plan on lifting in, read it a couple of time, maybe get hold of someone who's competed in that org and get them to show you the ropes. As other posters have said most people are more than happy to help out beginners.

Once you have a couple of meets under your (regulation thickness, approved manufacturer) belt not only will you be a lot stronger, your experience will benefit you a lot more than someone who trained for years, waiting until they got strong enough.

Good luck, and happy lifting.


It might benifit you to watch a powerlifting meet first, but only if one is coming up soon and another meet is near in the future weeks/months. It helped me to watch a pl meet first, then compete six weeks later.

I was imagining an audience of several hundreds or thousands, like how high school wrestling was, after watching a pl meet the audience was no big deal, sort of. I tend to be shy and have stage fright. I get the impression this may be of benefit to you if the meets in your area are often enough, if not that's ok too.


No one is going to laugh. No matter what weight you are lifting, the crowd and the other lifters know that it is heavy for you. After watching me compete and seeing the supportive nature of the powerlifting community, my then-girfriend now fiance wanted to get into competing. She lifted in a bench press only contest and competed raw getting a 90lbs bench press. Everyone cheered for her just like the guys getting 400+lbs bench presses.


WOS brought up a good point regarding rules of competition and also proper attire and gear. You need to know WTF is going on, so get a rule book. You will have enough stuff going on, and you don't need things coming up if you aren't prepared.

Getting out there and having some fun is the best goal for a first meet. You will have lots of time to "Go to war" once you get some experience. Have fun!