Post Meet Fatigue
You don’t have to be around the powerlifting game very long to hear someone mention how beat up they feel following a meet, or the popular thing on social media these days, frying their CNS (Central Nervous System). While I am aware this is a real issue and something you must monitor with more experienced/stronger lifters, the majority of beginner/intermediate lifters are actually just experiencing fatigue in general.
Below are some things you need to do to help avoid feeling like you got hit by a truck the day after a meet.
Shorten your warm ups
Remember what you are training for, long term, a powerlifting meet, and for that day, probably a specific movement, squat, bench, or deadlift. The day of the meet is going to be a long day, you need to preserve energy in order to finish with a big deadlift. You need your warm ups to be short and to the point, and this has to carry over to your training, not just the meet. In training, you are going to be performing a controlled, specific movement, you do not need to warm up like you are about to play a football game. A perfect warm up for a squat is a light squat, you will use EVERY muscle required for a heavy squat, the same goes for bench and deadlift. As you progress, work on making bigger jumps in your warmup. If I am squatting with working sets at 405, I will do a few squats with 135, throw another set of plates on do a few reps at 225, then the same at 315, then youre into your working sets. I honestly believe people do not put enough trust in their body, they do extensive warm ups because their mind (or social media) convinces them to. The human body is extremely resilient, designed to work and perform on a DAILY basis. As Jason Newlan points out in his article The Mental Aspect of Strength Training, the mind is extremely important in the sport of powerlifting. I have seen many more lifters fail mentally than physically. Get your mind right, get some blood flowing, and get under the bar.
Increase your work capacity- GPP/Conditioning
Along with shorter warm ups, having a high level of GPP will help you come meet day. A great place to start is pushing the pace in your training, this is something I learned from Coach Myers, well before I ever started training for powerlifting. Just because you're a “powerlifter” doesn't mean you shouldn't be in shape. The great thing about increasing your GPP and work capacity is that it can be done in many different ways. While from a powerlifting standpoint, it is very beneficial to make some of you GPP work come from things like sled pulls, farmer’s carries, or strongman style work, I have found that as long as you are doing something to keep your muscles and lungs working fairly hard for an extended amount of time, it will carry over. For example, I try make the majority of my GPP/conditioning work come from thing Jiu Jitsu and skateboarding. Both are taxing on the body, but i thoroughly enjoy both of them. Keeping up with GPP helps your body be prepared for the 6-8 hour meet.
Implement these in your training to help avoid that post meet fatigue.
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