If you keep track of our Instagram page or youtube, you’ll probably be aware that my first meet of 2017 is coming up in 7 weeks.
So as a result of that I wanted to share the crucial elements of prepping for a powerlifting meet and preparing to be successful. But, before we begin let me give you some background. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, if you feel like you want to compete against yourself and you can complete the competition lifts with good form, you have the money for the entry fee and you have about 12 weeks then you are ready. (Sidenote: I will not be covering equipment in this post, comp equipment will be outlined in another post)
I’m going to breakdown a successful meet prep into about 5 steps.
Step 1: Build a base
A common theory is that the peak of your pyramid can only be as tall as it is wide. Think of a traditional pyramid and this concept holds true it is a simple equilateral triangle so the layout fits this pattern.
So from this, you have to take away the pivotal element, you have to build a base. A freaking wide one! There are a couple ways of doing this and I have probably done most of them. I think the best and most common is to do a program with a fat load of volume. For me I like to run a volume block right before my peaking, going through about 8 weeks of heavy comp focused volume. I do not focus on managing fatigue too much just pushing the total volume of the program to build up strength and conditioning over the lead into the meet. But, the base is an essential component of the pyramid, the peaking element of a meet is great and it is important but, it is nothing if you do not have the strength to peak from. You cannot peak as an untrained individual you need a decent level to push from. Additionally, you need something to cut down from. If you are not lifting with any volume or intensity there is really nothing to peak from and no fatigue to remove during the prep.
I do not focus on managing fatigue too much just pushing the total volume of the program to build up strength and conditioning over the lead into the meet.
Essentially, you have to find a reliable program that has some element of continuous progression to build up a foundation. Some examples of this can be found on our free training plans page Free Training Plans
Step 2: Establish your maxes
Personally, I think it is very difficult to build a training program without having an established max, or at least a solid estimation of where your lifting is currently at. This can be done in a variety of ways, however, the best and most simple is to just go ahead and test your maxes. Working up to a conservative 1RM to establish a baseline to work from, in my opinion, this is the best way to gauge your programming. Although, others like to use a 2 rep, 3 rep or 5 rep max or an AMRAP and then establish their strength from that. But regardless of how you do it, just find a way to measure your current level and have some goals to aim towards at the end of the prep.
Step 3: Set some goals
I think it is important to wait until towards the end of your program so you can establish your openers and warmups. However, having an overarching goal for the meet such as finishing top 5 or adding 10lbs to your total is a useful way of figuring out how to conduct your program. Plus, you get the added benefit of motivation to drive you through the program. For me I want to hit a 500 squat and beat my meet pr’s in all lifts so I am working my program around that to ensure that I hit my goals. But, setting SMART goals are essential to success in any sport but specifically powerlifting, as an essentially analytical sport.
Step 4: Cap the pyramid
So you have built a base, you know where it is, you have set a height you want the pyramid to reach not its time to get there. Think about the shape of a pyramid we start with a wide base and slowly and sure progess with weight while reducing the volume and building up the intensity. The peak of the pyramid is meet day and we want the cap to be a shining top affixed to the pyramid we build. The crucial element is timing the max of our strength with the end of the training cycle and ensuring that we build enough strength and resiliance so that when we chip away fatigue our strength is valiant and helps us to achieve our goals.
Step 5: Rest, hydrate and eat big
These are the crucial elements of prepping for a meet that most of us forget… but they are also the most important for us to succeed. They depend on a few interim factors. Firstly, your weight. If it is your first meet I would sugesst that you do not cut. If it is not then find a class you are about 10lbs above or below and enter that one. If you are able to you should eat into the meet this will allow you the best results from your training program. In the last week you would then do a water load to shed those pounds and then bounce back hard after the weigh in to maximize your strength. But, during the training cycle you want to make sure you are hyrdated and well rested (8 hours plus.) This is even more important after weigh ins. Especailly with a 2-hour weigh in, getting in some high sodium and drinking a tonne of fluids is going to ensure you are platform ready.
Okay so essentially that outlines everything you need for a successful meet prep. Over the next couple of weeks I will be laying out other components you might need if you are a more advanced competitior or a first timer. So sign yourself up and remember strength has no limit!