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First meet report

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  • First meet report

    Hi all, this last weekend I participated in my first powerlifting meet and wanted to share my thoughts.

    It was a small (limited to 60 lifters) local, USPA, meet. The mix of lifters was very broad. About 40% women to 60% men and junior, open, and master ages.

    As everyone always says, it made zero difference how strong the participants were. There were several young ladies very new to lifting and guys deadlifting 700+.

    Even though it was only 60 lifters, there was a single platform so the meet went from 8am to 5:30pm. They ran the meet very efficiently, but I was surprised it took this long.

    Common advice says to be conservative for your first meet so you can feel successful with nine good lifts. I decided to reach for PRs for each of the three lifts because I thought I’d prefer to fail my third attempts rather than wondering what I could have accomplished.

    My attempts:
    Squat: 185kg (408lbs) good lift; 195kg (430lbs) good lift; 205kg (452lbs) failed
    Bench: 140kg (308lbs) good lift; 150kg (330lbs) good lift; 160kg (353lbs) good lift
    Deadlift: 205kg (452lbs) good lift; 220kg (485lbs) good lift; 230kg (507lbs) good lift
    Total: 585kg (1290lbs)

    I have no idea how to best choose my attempts. These seem maybe to be too big of a spread? I was going for just 22lb jumps, which is light for when you’re working out.

    I went for a slow taper to peak at the right time but got impatient and did a workout five days prior to the meet where I worked up to a single of all my openers. I have no idea if this helped me or hurt me.

    If I have one excuse for missing the last squat, I’d attribute it to going too low. I was keen to not get red-flagged for depth and was probably overcompensating. This is a disadvantage to working out alone in your garage. I need more practice with heavy singles and hitting the optimal depth.

    I weigh 232lbs and am 51 years old, so I was in the 110kg Master (50-54) Raw class. I’m 5’ 10” and have around a 43” waist, so I really didn’t like the way I looked in the singlet. I think this was my least favorite aspect of the experience.

    It was tricky for me to warm up. They had several racks and I just worked in with other guys but I definitely warmed up too early for the squats. The meet organizer was proud of how may racks they had and mentioned it is often very hard to warm up at other meets.

    I ended with a 5lb PR on the squat, a 28lb PR on the bench, and a 52lb PR on deadlift. This was the first time I’d ever picked up more than 500lbs! I was pretty confident I’d get it because I’d been able to get 455 for four in my training.

    Interesting to me, I had never used a deadlift bar before. I really liked it and may have to buy one now.

    I had the option of registering for just the Open class, just the Master class, or both. I’m not that strong so I just paid the fee for the Master division. As it turned out, even though there were lighter guys who were stronger than me, I would have won the Open division in my weight class (there were only four of us).

    All of my equipment passed inspection the previous day but after my first squat they asked me to take off my old Rehband knee sleeves because apparently they no longer pay the extortion fee to be listed as approved gear. It was a little odd but I didn’t mind.

    My son convinced me to stay for the awards and they gave me a medal. It seemed like half the lifters received a medal because of all the different combinations of age classes and weight divisions. A bit much but everyone seemed to appreciate it.

    Random thought: What’s with the “bench only” guys? One huge guy benched in the mid 500’s (more than I deadlifted!). He was definitely at another level.

    Another random observation: The crowd really gets excited when the lift is a slow struggle. I think it actually helped me a bit for my third bench.

    After I missed the third squat, my lower back felt pretty tight all day. It would loosen up as I warmed up for the other lifts, but it might be worth considering how a failed lift impacts your body later in the meet. It didn’t impact my confidence because my plan all along was to probably fail that third attempt.

    Even though it wasn't that much volume, I definitely felt sore and beat up the next day (I never get sore from regular workouts anymore). I guess that's a good sign that I put in the max effort. I took two days off and had a good workout last night.

    Thankfully, I brought just enough food for myself. I brought coffee and a pretty big bowl of cold oats (I used oat milk as the liquid. Low protein and double carbs!). I had plenty of energy for the entire meet. I forgot to bring food for my son, so he had to run out and get himself a snack. Next time I’ll have to remember to meal plan for everyone.

    My total was enough to reach the USPA Class I level (for Master 50-54), so I qualify for the “national” meet in July. I really need to lose some weight and get into the 220lb weight class. However, you can’t go down a weight class for these restricted meets. You can only enter at the weight you qualified under (or one higher weight class). I guess it wouldn’t be too hard to get above 220 again when the time comes, but I would definitely be at a disadvantage competitively.

    Some questions for those who compete:
    1. I chose this USPA meet because the timing was good and it was within an hour of my house. Would it be better to look for a USAPL meet next?
    2. Have you found it difficult to find a rack to warm up at the meets you’ve competed in?

    Overall, it was a good experience and it’s nice to have an “official” documented total. It definitely had a positive impact on my training. Having the meet as a goal is a great incentive to focus and to push yourself. I recommend you all give it a try too.
    Last edited by sjalbrec; 01-23-2020, 08:19 PM.

  • #2
    All of my equipment passed inspection the previous day but after my first squat they asked me to take off my old Rehband knee sleeves because apparently they no longer pay the extortion fee to be listed as approved gear. It was a little odd but I didn’t mind.
    I laughed.
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