Here are 5 bits of advice we would have liked to have had before our first powerlifting meet, there’s a lot we could say here but we think these ones are standouts.
Pick safe opener attempts –
Think about what your warmups will be - they should be very similar to or the same as what you do in training. Time your warmups in training and give yourself an extra 5-10 minutes at the meet because there will be others warming up and sharing equipment with you.
We recommend choosing a safe opener, a weight that you can comfortably perform 3 reps at. Having some sort of a written plan for your attempt selection for the 3 lifts will be important – having a plan with a plan a,b, and c is a method we employ with our athletes – it allows you to prepare for any scenario and manage your expectations. Normally, you’ll have a short amount of time to make your next attempt after finishing one. This means you want to have an idea of what you want to do for each attempt. Not having a plan can make you overthink, potentially not make a good decision, or worse, not put in an attempt in time.
Practice the commands in advance –
Be sure to check what’s expected of you from the federation that you are competing in. Each one has slightly different technical rules – we cover some of these rules in our FAQ section on our site.
Bring plenty food and drink
Bring plenty food and drink with you – stick to the usual types of food that you eat and know you digest well.
If you’re water cutting and need to rehydrate don’t forget to bring the essentials for that. E.g. salty food, water, electrolytes etc. On top of this you’ll want to bring food and likely protein shakes. Some people don’t like eating much during a meet but still need to stay hydrated and get carbs in. Dextrose powder or sugary drinks are a good option if you struggle to eat the carbs you need. Protein won’t particularly play a role in meet day performance but will help with satiation (not feeling hungry without bloat) and recovery. We’d recommend bringing some easily digestible simple carb foods that are low in fat. Some examples are Rice Krispies bars, pancakes, sweets etc. A lot of these choices will be determined by what foods you digest best. Eat foods that you digest well, enjoy, and provide you with simple, quick energy. Be mindful that whilst you may need to eat a little more than usual, more is not always better – nobody wants to feel uncomfortably full whilst competing.
Talk to people
Especially if you’re alone or new, if you have a question, ask. You’ll be surprised how friendly and willing to help you out people are! On top of this, you can learn a lot from watching and talking to the other lifters.
Have a checklist
There are a few things you’ll need to have with you at a meet like shoes, belt, wraps/sleeves, socks, water, food etc. Chances are that with all the nerves of a first meet you might forget something. Take some of the guesswork away by writing a list and checking off all of your kit/things you’ll need with you.
Footwear & socks
Attempt selection plan
Pen & paper
Water + carbohydrate drinks
Change of clothes
Mobility/warm up tools
If you’re one of our athletes, no need to worry, we have a checklist all ready for you. If you’re not, get in touch with one of our coaches and they’ll be happy to give you some guidance.