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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COMPETING IN YOUR FIRST POWERLIFTING COMPETITION
Thinking of having a go on the platform, breaking some PR’s or even some records? Powerlifting is an extraordinary sport that measures ones strength in the squat, bench and deadlift; and having the opportunity to showcase your strength on the platform in front of an audience of spectators is truly amazing. There isn’t any lying, cheating or blaming it on someone else – you either lift it or you don’t. Simple as that.
Like any competition, however, there are rules, different federations, lifting attire and a standard of etiquette and professionalism that should be noted by all athletes.
“How do I choose my opening attempts?”
“What equipment and attire do I have to bring and wear?”
…and many more important and valid questions that need to be answered before you compete.
POWERLIFTING EQUIPMENT ESSENTIALS
Shoes: These might comprise of flat shoes, squat shoes, sneakers and deadlift slippers.
Deadlift socks: Long socks are required to be worn during the deadlift.
Lifting singlet: A one piece is also required be worn during each lift.
Lifting belt: Can assist and drastically improve strength, however its personal preference.
Wrist wraps: Most commonly worn during the bench press, and also sometimes during the squat.
Depending on your category you might also use things such as knee wraps, knee sleeves or lifting suits [equipped]
PICK A FEDERATION. PICK A COMPETITION. PICK YOUR CATATORY. PICK YOUR WEIGHT CLASS.
In Australia there are a handful of federations, and here at CAPO AUSTRALIA we have any array of competitions held in each state, from our novice competitions for new lifters to our National Championships and The Arnold Invitational for our elite lifters – jump on the website to check it out and select your competition. Choosing a weight class should be the least of your worries, unless you are trying to break a record or you feel you would be more competitive in a certain weight class. Different federations have different weight classes and you should do you research on your chosen federation before comp day.
PREPARING FOR A COMPETITION
If you are preparing for a competition I would assume you would have worked up to and know you 1RM, if you haven’t I would highly recommend doing so months before the competition. By establishing a 1RM, you will be able to see how far you have progressed during the last training cycle and potentially take into account how you performed the lifts on comp day, to see what you might need to work on during your next phase of training.
PICKING YOUR ATTEMPTS
A great coach once told me:
1st attempt: 90% of your 1RM
2nd attempt: 100% of your 1RM
3rd attempt: YOLO 😉 Within reason.
WHAT TO BRING ON COMP DAY
Your equipment. Check and DOUBLE check your bag for all of the essentials listed above.
Food. Something that’s easily digestible and food that you eat on a regular basis. Don’t go crazy and eat all the things as you could potentially end up not feeling well. My favs are: protein shakes, quest bars, chicken and rice and some lollies. I also keep hydrated with coconut water and poweraid.
Music/ipod if you need it.
Money. In case.
WEIGH IN AND COMP DAY!
Depending on the competition and federation you may have a 24 hour or same day weigh in. Usually once you’ve weighed in and registered you will need to select your rack heights for the squat and bench. Some federations use a “walk out” rack for squats, in which case you only need to check your height and report it back to the appropriate meet director. However, if your federation uses a monolift, you’ll need to check your height as well as pin position. You will also have to check your pin position on the bench as well.
One of the most common mistakes among new competitors is the tendency to start warming up too early or too late. Remember, there are only going to be a few extra squat racks, bench presses, bars, and plates to warm up with (not to mention you aren’t the only person competing). I suggest beginning your warm up approximately 30–45 minutes before your first attempt. As a general rule of thumb, your final warm up should be about 90 percent of your first attempt.
Remember; keep it the same as you would in training. Don’t try a new foot position or a different grip on comp day. Stick to the plan!
The powerlifting community as a whole is one of the most generous, kind, and supportive groups of individuals in the world. While it’s obviously important to focus on the meet and set new PB’s, don’t forget to have fun, introduce yourself to others and cheer on your friends.
Welcome to the world of powerlifting. Glad you decided to join the party!
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