Your First Powerlifting Meet

Zach Matheny

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The bar is loaded. If you’re new to the powerlifting game, then you will learn to love this phrase. It is the catalyst to PRs, broken records, and achieving what you have always dreamt of. Competing in powerlifting has changed my life and I know it will change yours. The best advice I can give you if you’re considering doing your first meet is to approach it to learn. My hope for you is that your first powerlifting meet will lead to a trail of many more.

It is important to remember that a standard powerlifting meet is 9 attempts at maximal effort lifts and depending on the size of the meet can be completed within a few hours. This can be extremely taxing on the CNS and can lead to bombing out of a meet if not prepped correctly. Everybody loves PRs, but PRs will come, first you must learn how to strategize your first meet. Below I have listed out my ten tips to a successful first meet. 

  1. Number one goal should be to go 9/9 and hit all lifts successfully—getting a sense of how your body reacts to 9 maximal effort lifts and the flow of a powerlifting meet
  2. Compete in a federation that emulates how you train (ex. if you squat in a monolift, choose a federation that uses a monolift)
  3. Do not cut weight—records will always be there to be broken, don’t bomb out of meet because you were dehydrated
  4. Familiarize yourself with the federations rules—nothing worse than hitting a big lift and getting red lighted because you had equipment issues or did not get on the platform in time for example
  5. Compete with friends/training partners—there is nothing more rewarding than being alongside your peers while competing. It is also good to have others to assist with equipment
  6. Do not worry about other competitors-- your goal should be enjoying your first powerlifting meet
  7. Pack food and liquids! Some meets will provide food, but do not count on this.
  8. Don’t expect the judges to get every call correct—this is a sport it happens
  9. Choose a local meet if possible—traveling can cause unwanted stress (I got a flat tire driving to a meet 2.5 hours away—not fun)
  10. Enjoy yourself—simple, but this will keep you coming back.

Zach Uses The Max Effort Post Workout to Recover From His Meets