WSBB Blog: 5 Tips to Prepare for Your First Powerlifting Meet
Time to Read: 3.5 min
At some point in time, if you want to really be a powerlifter, it will become necessary that you seek out competition and test yourself on a powerlifting platform. For many beginner powerlifters, this can seem like one hell of a mountain to climb. A new lifter enters a powerlifting competition relatively blind, not knowing what exactly to expect or what it is like lifting in front of people and against competition. What we will discuss below are a few suggestions and strategies to make sure that your first powerlifting meet goes as planned.
Pick a Local Competition
One of the best ways to reduce stress, increase familiarity, and make sure you have a good crew to handle you at the meet is to choose a local competition. Having your team around to help you out and make sure everything goes smoothly at your first meet is absolutely invaluable. Whether it is to wrap knees, monitor warm up and attempt times, or just to get some general advice, having your training partners there for your first meet will give you a greater chance at having a successful first meet.
Keep on Keepin’ On
When preparing for your first meet, you may start thinking you need to change up your methodology, diet, whatever. As long as you have been making steady progress, it is suggested you do not make any major changes to your methodology or programming during your first meet training cycle. You want your training outcomes to be relatively predictable, and as a beginner switching methodologies can throw off your ability to properly judge progress and recovery. Continue doing what got you strong enough to want to compete in the first place, and get your competition in. There will be plenty of time to experiment with training methods and nutritional strategies as you gain experience, but your first meet cycle isn’t the time to test a new strategy.
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is opening way too heavy. First, you really don’t know how your mind and body will react to the pressure of lifting in front of a crowd, so you want to open with a weight you can easily handle. Secondly, opening light makes sure you don’t bomb out and end your day and potentially your entire powerlifting career. One bad meet can be the end of a lifter, don’t let your ego choose your openers.
Keep Your Ears Open and Ask Questions
Given the fact that this is your first meet, there will be a lot of things that you don’t completely understand. Make sure you fully understand the rules of the meet, if you have any questions you need to either ask the head judge or find an experienced lifter willing to share knowledge. Additionally, you will have to be mindful to properly time your warm up lifts with your position in the lifting flight. This can cause a lot of issues for first time lifters, they either don’t know how to
properly time their warm ups, or they are nervous and get steamrolled by experienced lifters throwing plates onto the warm up bar and they don’t get a proper warm up in. Find an experienced lifter that is in your lifting flight, preferably a spot or two behind or ahead of you, and follow them through their warm up. That way, you know you’re timing your warm up lifts properly and won’t have to go take an attempt on the platform that is 200lbs above what you warmed up with.
It’s your first meet, it won’t be your best meet. Go in with the mindset you’re going to take this seriously and do the best you can, but keep in mind that this is just the beginning and the results of your first meet do not define the trajectory of your powerlifting career. Some lifters nearly break world records their first meet, only to fade from the sport within a year or two, while other lifters start out having terrible meets only to end up world record holders five years later.