My first sanctioned powerlifting meet is on Saturday.
That’s basically tomorrow.
Regardless, it’s less than a week away.
Here goes nothing?
I feel ready. Maybe not 100% ready, but ready. I don’t fully know what to expect, and there have been a few surprises thrown my way about equipment requirements, but I’ve read the rules, compared notes, and have my starting numbers. I’m currently 2 pounds over the weight class I intend to compete in, but I’m not letting that stress me out. I don’t like the idea of “cutting” – dropping weight before a competition – so I’m going to continue to fuel my body and let weigh-ins be weigh-ins. I’m not trying to win anything. I’m just trying to hit PRs.
I’ve been asked a few times now about training and preparing for a powerlifting meet. There are a thousand and one ways to train for a meet, but I’ve been “trusting the process.”
My gym follows the Westside Barbell method. Developed by Louie Simmons, it borrows from Soviet and Bulgarian training techniques that are adapted for powerlifting. Sometimes, I walk into the gym and think “he’s lost his mind” when I see what’s on the board for the day. The things you can do with bands and a barbell… But of course, there’s always a method to the madness and Justin proves to be right in his methods. I’m a big fan of Westside Barbell.
Typically, we follow a training pattern like such:
- Sunday: Upper Body (Dynamic Effort)
- Monday: Lower Body (Max Effort)
- Wednesday: Upper Body (Max Effort)
- Friday: Lower Body (Dynamic Effort)
For the last couple of months, we’ve been switching things up a bit, prepping our bodies for the meet. Squats on Sundays? Let’s do it. Speed bench on leg day? I’m in. I trust the process, and it must be working, because I’m certainly stronger than I was even a few weeks ago.
Still a little salty about the deadlift I failed Friday night, but that’s neither here nor there.
Honestly, if I didn’t have Justin and his team coaching me, I would be lost on training. I can write a strength training plan with my eyes closed, but preparing for a meeting is another level of fitness and coaching I haven’t experienced before. If left to my own devices, I probably would have done a lot of squats and some deadlifts, ignored the bench press until the last minute because its not my favorite, and showed up with no idea that wrist wraps were a game changer.
Moral of the story: if you’re considering competing in weightlifting – get yourself a good coach.
I’ve also started using knee sleeves and the aforementioned wrist wraps during my training. Getting the knee sleeves on is a cardio workout in and of itself. While I’m still new to wearing them, they have already improved my squat. I wore the wrist wraps for the first time last week, and now I don’t want to bench without them. I have a tendency to let my left wrist collapse on the press, and the wraps really helped.
What I think people tend to shortchange themselves on is mobility work. We start our workouts with mobility exercises, but I’ve been taking extra time to foam roll and stretch in the studio and in my living room ahead of the meet. I probably should have done a few more yoga classes, but here we are. I need to be able to move well on Saturday, and while foam rolling doesn’t always feel good, it is so beneficial. Love on your body, as Justin says.
Finally – food. I mentioned above that I don’t like the concept of cutting. That may or may not be a popular opinion. I know many people who do it. I don’t and won’t. Food is fuel. I don’t want to spend my week hangry and then “re-feed” after weigh ins. I’ll continue my healthy, whole meals of lean proteins, veggies, and a few complex cards (can’t go a day without sweet potatoes!) and drinking lots of water (and coffee, duh).
This week is largely a rest week. I’ll be in the barre studio and will do some light cardio early in the week, but the goal this week is to let my body rest and repair itself, get enough sleep, and hydrate.
I should probably also figure out what to wear under that awful singlet.