SO YOU WANT TO START POWERLIFTING?
THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF YOUR FIRST NOVICE COMPETITION
There's a good chance you're about to embark on your first steps into powerlifting, whether that be in a novice competition or simply starting to introduce barbell movements & strength training into your exercise routine
We are all about that, which is why we wanted to create an e-book that would save you years of hard lessons and mistakes and instead let you get straight to all of the best parts of strength sports
That means great results, a huge return on your investment in yourself in this sport, and a much more enjoyable time for you
I have been involved with powerlifting for 6 years now, and a strength coach for nearly 10 years across both North America and Australia
From competing nationally, to being invited to represent Australia within the IPL, to also leading our own clients & community from taking their first steps in the sport to setting national and world records; I love this sport and what it can provide for us
All YOU have to do is apply the simple steps contained in this blog and enjoy getting strong as hell
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO START POWERLIFTING?
Fortunately there are very few things you actually need to start powerlifting, which is one of the great aspects of the sport
For the most essential set up, you'll need access to
- A barbell
- Some plates (preferably calibrated steel plates, but rubberized or bumper plates are fine if you're in a bind!)
- Ideally an adjustable rack or upright squatter-arms
- A bench
More solid equipment is desirable because it's going to allow you to brace harder, move greater weight and ensure that nothing is moving while you're lifting, but this will be enough to get you started with the right movements
Do I need a uniform or specific gear to wear?
NOPE! You don't ever have to buy a belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps or anything else. You can choose to train or compete completely bare knee and beltless if you'd like
With that said, much of this gear will often provide some assistance, so you might consider some
- Knee sleeves (we recommend starting in sleeves, and graduating to knee wraps with more experience)
- Wrist wraps (to support the wrists during bench & squats)
- A supportive belt (ideally leather and around 10mm thickness - you CAN get a velcro belt or another cheap alternative, but you'll get little from it and likely replace it)
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I AM READY TO COMPETE?
This can be a tricky question, especially when you're newer to lifting. It's totally okay to be unsure (you can see our blog post about it here)
The real answer here is that there is no answer, and that's okay - you WANTING to compete is enough. If you're REALLY unsure, however, you can
Work with a coach & have them evaluate your level then implement a competition plan with you
- Ask some friends if they'd like to register with you for support
- Find a novice roughly 6 months away, and register for it! Nothing like a little pressure to keep you focused
HOW DO I ACTUALLY REGISTER FOR A MEET?
The process can be slightly different from gym to gym, but MOST gyms will have a list of events on their website (typically known as their competition calendar) with links to each of their competitions!
You will normally need to pay online - cash registrations are very rare, so make sure you have a useable card
Double check that the ruleset being used at the competition you want to enter is one you are currently training with - each federation has slightly different rules and sometimes even different equipment they will use, so familiarizing yourself with these differences will save some stress
Know the rules
While this one might seem simple, I have competed & refereed at enough meets to know that there are always a few people that show up who get called on technicalities - know the ruleset that you're going to be competing with!
Give yourself enough time to prepare
If this is your first real meet prep, make sure you register around 20-24 weeks out to give yourself time for a few good training blocks, then a peaking block to get to your best performance
Focus on yourself & your training
Tunnel vision is your best friend! Don't compare yourself to what others are doing - just do your best to keep adding to the bar each week and enjoy what you do
Have a plan going in & open conservatively
Know what you want to achieve, what your win condition is, and open conservatively enough that you can put together a great total!
Work with a coach
Working with a coach is going to be your greatest weapon. This will ensure you know the rules, have a plan, are lifting to the right standard and getting feedback on your performance - this is what sets you up to win!
Think you can wing it
Look, you can definitely have a good day out there on your own IF you do a lot of your own research. There's plenty of great resources out there for free, but more often than not your best bet is to invest in an experienced online or in-person coach who can guide you each step of the way
Put a tonne of pressure on yourself
If this is your first or even second novice, remember that you are just trying to set yourself up for more wins & success in the future - putting a ton of pressure on yourself can make it miserable and an exercise in perfectionism. Learn to enjoy your meets and have fun with the experience each time
Blame the referees/volunteers/weather/etc
If something doesn't go your way, which is completely possible, remember that it will always fall on your shoulders. Don't give refs an excuse to give a red light & always do your best to be prepared for the day
Jump your calls
Here's an easy one. WAIT & LISTEN! Two calls for squat, three for bench, one for deadlifts
Open too heavy or push for silly PRS
Build your total! Successful lifts breed more success, while misses just breed more misses
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
Your next steps are totally up to you!
Powerlifting is great in that you truly can see some incredible results if you want to fly solo - it's just a matter of checking in with yourself and doing your research!
You can work out completely from your own home if you'd like to invest in the right equipment
You can get a commercial gym membership to have access to potentially a broader variety of machines without the hassle or of creating your own home-set up
We do know that environment is key though!
When you make the investment in joining a powerlifting specific gym, you're joining a community of like minded people that will help you stay focused & on track
You're also very likely to make some lifelong friends along the way
If you want to know more about coaching or memberships, just email firstname.lastname@example.org today!