October 04, 2021 4 min read

Some people like to train for their own health and wellness, while others want something more meaningful. There are plenty of sports to train for, but serious gym-goers may opt for bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, or powerlifting. Though each strength sport has its specific requirements, here are some tips on how to prepare for your first powerlifting meet so that you’re ready for the big day.

Look for Local Competitions

The first thing to know for any powerlifting meet is that you should try to find some smaller, local competitions in your area. These may be held at local gyms, schools, or fieldhouses that can fit all the necessary equipment and people in a contained facility. More so, it also means you won’t travel as far as for an out-of-state meet. Your first competition doesn’t need to be a USA Powerlifting-sanctioned event either. While those are important to get your foot in the door if you plan to compete long-term, keep your first competition small. It may surprise you to know that a local competition may have a friendlier, more open environment than a professional competition. It may even spur you to do more competitions in the future.

Start Training for the Meet

Like any sport, powerlifting has its own specific training requirements. Ultimately, what differs powerlifting from basic weight training is the movement. Powerlifting focuses on the three core lifts: bench press, squat, and deadlift. Each competitor gets three attempts at these lifts with the option to advance in weight. If you fail the lift or use an incorrect form, referees fail that attempt. However, if you successfully complete the movement, it’s counted towards your score. Given that, it’s important to focus your training on those core lifts. When training for your meet, add in variations that improve your power and strength. Many powerlifters incorporate a 3x3, 4x4, or 5x5 split, depending on their training days. Don’t forget to train grip strength, breathing, and form that could otherwise impact your performance.

Keep Up Food and Recovery

Food and recovery are two crucial elements for any strength sport. They are fundamental to powerlifting since you need proper nutrients and rest to grow your muscles. Powerlifting is intensive. It requires consistent heavy weight training, light cardio, and overall flexibility and mobility to correctly execute the three lifts. Therefore, keep your food consistent. Stick to lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats throughout your days to energize your body. While many people may think powerlifters can eat whatever they want, remember there are weight classes to the sport. If you’re above your weight class, you’ll need to either cut down or go up to the next weight class. Moving up is a disadvantage if your competitors lift significantly more than you since they’re bigger people. Cutting down requires more cardio, more restrictive diets, and more consistent training. Ultimately, whichever weight class you’re going for, don’t forget to eat.

Rest is equally important. You never want to overtax your body through strenuous exercise. That leads to injury, which can in turn prohibit you from competing. Rest days come in handy as they allow you a full day to eat and recover. Catch up on your favorite shows, movies, or video games—or read a good book. The important thing is not to train on your off day. Even post-training, use a massaging tool or take an ice bath to alleviate soreness or pain. Powerlifting is a sport, and your body needs the proper treatment to perform its best, like with any other sport.

Supplement Accordingly

It’s common in strength sports to use sports supplements for extra energy, protein, or recovery. There’s nothing wrong with sports supplements, but keep in mind they are not miracles. You must still eat right, train hard, and rest accordingly. With that, don’t be afraid to use a pre-workout supplement for extra training energy. A post-workout protein shake also comes in handy to feed your muscles as soon as possible. The faster you get protein into your body, the faster your muscles repair and strengthen. Essential amino acids or branched-chain amino acids are also considerable supplements as they further help to repair your body from strenuous exercise. Keep in mind supplements are not food replacements. It’s still important to eat whole foods and drink plenty of water. Supplements simply give you an energetic boost or muscle repair that you may not get from other sources.

Buy All the Necessary Gear

When preparing for your first powerlifting meet, remember to buy the right equipment. Lifting wraps, straps, belts, and sleeves come in handy. These have their advantages for training and performance. Belts, wraps, and sleeves protect your back and joints from excessive training, which further reduces the risk of injury. Chalk, straps, and smelling salts help boost performance, even if only temporarily. Check your meet’s requirements to see if these are allowed. Some federations prefer natural powerlifting which keeps accessories to a minimum. If yours has no prohibitions against lifting accessories, stock up so that you protect your body and lift beyond your plateau.

Don’t Stress

Finally, don’t stress it. This is your first meet of many to come. It’s okay to feel anxious and potentially frightened at what to expect, but at the end of the day, everyone is there to better themselves. You’ll meet plenty of people who are also there for the first time. Talk to them and befriend them. You’ll make plenty of connections and gym friends along the way. If you find competing is not something you’re interested in, now you can tell people you’ve tried it. You would have missed the opportunity otherwise.

Fortunately, you don’t need to train for your powerlifting meet at a fancy or private gym. Now you can set up your own powerlifting station with Top Fitness Store’s weightlifting power racks. We carry all the cages, racks, and rigs you need to create the ultimate versatile home gym you can imagine. With these pieces, you’ll never need to leave your home. That way, you save more money on food, supplements, and lifting gear for your big event.

How To Prepare for Your First Powerlifting Meet

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