So you’ve signed up for your first comp! Congrats! It can be a pretty daunting experience, especially if you’ve never attended a competition. However, there’s nothing for fear. Novice competitions are literally there for newbies, so when you rock up at a local competition you’ve got an idea of how things are run.
When doing a novice powerlifting meet, what equipment you have isn’t the biggest deal, since the aim of the comp is just to hit 9/9 lifts and to get a feel for what it’s like to lift in front of a crowd. They don’t force you to wear soft suits, you just need to compete in a t shirt.
When you do local/state/national comps, equipment will matter a bit more. What I recommend is buying;
- SBD soft suit
- SBD or Inzer knee sleeves
- Belt from SBD, Inzer or loaded lifting
- Weightlifting shoe with a heel; Nike and Reebok do the best
- Deadlifting shoes (optional) from loaded lifting or City Strength. Converse or Vans will do a good job as well
- Wrist wraps (optional) for squat and bench
Don’t fall into the trap like I did and train deadlifts with wraps! You need to work on building forearm strength, and the wrap also will cut off blood supply to your hand.
Also dont be like me and keep your lifting belt at the same size throughout your powerlifting journey … you’ll get stronger and get more muscle lifting, so adjust the size accordingly.
Stick to your program! Your coach has spent time properly periodising your program, so if an exercise is an RPE 7, do RPE 7, not 8.5-9. You’ll have a chance to do that RPE in a few weeks. Also, training your heart and doing cardio is still a good idea while you’re powerlifting. We’re here to be strong and healthy, so we want to make sure we get some blood pumping and challenge our cardiovascular system every once in a while. Two 20 minute sessions a week is plenty. Your mood will improve, your joints will feel more lubricated, and your recovery time between lifts will improve the fitter you are.
My second piece of advice is to take more rest than you need on your compound lifts. This is where the strength gains are made. During a comp you’ll have about 10 minutes rest between lifts. During training, depending on the intensity I’d go with 3-5 minutes on weeks that aren’t as intense, and 5-10 minutes for the last couple of weeks of the program.
My last piece of advice; treat your accessories with the same respect as your compound lifts!! Gains don’t just occur in the compounds, if anything the intensity you drive with accessories will have a pretty good influence on muscle size. Accessories will help you improve weak areas, and improve stabiliser muscles = better lifting!!