So, the meet has arrived, you’re nervous AF and eyes are all greedily watering to win the prize.
Powerlifting is something that draws the concept of ‘train with a purpose’ and even though you’ve set many PRs set in the gym, everything changes once you set foot on the platform. To be honest, powerlifting is something that actually kills the exerciser within you and helps you realize what you’ve been missing.
Needless to say that powerlifting is quite different from bodybuilding and the goal must be met in each session. And I must emphasize that it ain’t for the fluff. Your goal is to get stronger, train smarter and have more discipline.
But what makes it so unique?
- It makes you stronger.
- Makes each rep appear as if it’s the last one.
- Gives the feeling of strength after every session.
- Aims for improvement in each session.
What makes one more obsessed about powerlifting is the improvement in each session which comes in different forms. Though it’s all about power and strength, it may not be always focused on lifting more. It’s possible that you may feel the same weight might feel heavy for a week or two. One thing is for sure, after every session, that barbell becomes a toy for you.
You’re probably here because it’s your first meet or you’re thinking of hopping into a powerlifting meet sometime this year. Here are 5 killer tips for you that you need to consider.
Tips For Your First Powerlifting Meet
1. Don’t Cut The Weight
A big mistake for your first meet. You’ve already been training and peaking for the meet which means the load increases, though the volume of training decreases. However, by this time your body should be well-prepared for the meet.
Eating less or cutting water has no added benefit. Focus more on your body weight rather than the weight you are lifting. Doing a water drop before the meet to drop a weight class could benefit you only a little. As your body weight goes down, the risk of lifting less weight goes up. Dropping water could cause your muscles to cramp up during your lifts, then all the preperation you took will be for naught.
2. Don’t Wait Until You’re ‘Stronger’
It’s important to be prepared well for your first meet but what you shouldn’t do is to wait for too long just because you want to put those numbers on record.
This is what makes powerlifting great! You set your own goals and then break them. It’s good to be competitive but waiting too long to be ‘competitive’ is merely an excuse. In powerlifting, the majority of athletes are focused on surpassing their own personal records and usually don’t give a sh*t about what you lift. Don’t consider yourself very important. All you need to do is show up and lift.
3. Setting Realistic Goals
I know it’s something really important, as it is your first meet but do you have any realistic goals? For instance, if your current bench max is 250lbs. and you set up an eight-week peaking cycle to hit 300lbs. at the first meet, you’ll have a harsh lesson to learn.
As a newcomer, you’ll see gains but keep those jumps to 5% or 10%. Powerlifting is a long-term sport. Strength doesn’t come overnight.
4. Don’t Miss The Lifts
Usually, a 5-8 week gradual peaking program is enough for most lifters. The main goal is to taper the volume as you draw closer to your first meet. And I must mention here that extra volume and lots of assistance work has absolutely no room in the final two or three weeks of the training.
It’s extremely important not to miss lifts leading up to the first meet. Try to avoid the gritty and ugly reps near the end of the peaking cycle. It’s actually worse to grind on a weight that is less than your opener before the first meet.
5. Know The Federation Rules
Last but not least is to know the Federation Rules, especially when each federation has its own set of rules. Know about them ahead of time to train properly. While they are not much different from each other, some might allow the toes to come in contact with the ground on the bench press while others want the entire foot to be on the ground throughout the rep.
Similarly, some allow to have Velcro belts, others have recommended belt widths and thickness etc. Just get familiar with all the rules before the first meet.
I would say that you must have a plan for success before your first meet. Try to pick the conservative openers as they will be the most nerve-wracking lifts. Also, powerlifting meets are a result of months of hard training. Taking care of these few things will help to take of the stress.