I host a lot of powerlifting events, a lot of them are for complete beginners, and one is very clear, nearly all competitors don’t really know what to expect on comp day.

That’s ok though, I run these events for novices to learn about our sport.

In this post, I want to cover a few of the main things that constantly come up at weigh in, and on comp day.

1- Entering a competition.
The first thing you need to do is actually enter a competition.
Ideally, for programming purposes, you want to pick a competition at least 8 weeks away, though I prefer 16-20.
Because powerlifting has boomed in recent years, you will probably find the meet director will have to cap the competition at a certain amount of lifters. Normal amounts of competitors are 30,45 or 60.
If you intend on competing, get your entry form and fee in as soon as they are released  to ensure you secure your position.


2- Weigh in

Every powerlifting event will require you to weigh in.

Before you can weigh in, we will require you to have your attempt card completed.

card

The attempt card has basic info that we require such as your name, age, whether you are competing raw or equipped (if you are not sure, you are definitely raw) and body weight (which will be recorded by an official at the actual weigh in so leave that part blank).
You will also need to fill in your FIRST attempts for the lifts. Make sure you ask your coach before you get to weigh in as you can not be weighed until they are completed.
If you don’t have a coach, pick a weight you could comfortably do for at least 2 reps.

You need to record your monolift height and whether you are racks in or racks out.
You need to record your bench press height and face saver height also.

Here is a video showing how to adjust a monolift, the bench press, and the face savers: How To Set Your Pin Heights

 

Once the card is filled out, you are ready to weigh in!

In a sanctioned GPC event, the MOST you can wear at weigh in is your underwear.
At a novice comp, you can weigh in fully clothed.

If you are not going to win or break a record, DO NOT CUT WEIGHT!


Things to pack in your training bag.

For a novice comp, you really don’t need much.
Just bring some food, drink bottle and your belt.

For a GPC comp, make sure you have all of your essentials.
Food and drink
Knee wraps, wrist wraps, belt, deadlift socks
SOFT SUIT
Talc, and if you wish, nose tork.


The competition.

Comp day.
For first timers, you are probably going to be incredibly nervous, but that’s ok. That’s why we picked a weight you can comfortably do for a double or triple as your first attempt. You want it to be easy, and lessen the pressure on yourself.
On a 3 lift comp, you will squat, then bench, then deadlift, and a typical comp will go for around 5 hours, but some comps can run for 8-9 hours. It’s a long day. Make sure you stay fed and hydrated.
You will get 3 attempts at each lift to put up the biggest number you can. The biggest squat, bench and deadlift passed by the judges will be added together for your “total”. The highest total in your weight class wins.

I always make sure I have a good breakfast,  a couple of litres of water a few hours before I compete.

Each lift will have a 1min allowance from when the bar is called loaded, until you get timed out. I recommend making sure you are prepped and ready before you name is called. If you’re wrapping knees, start wrapping 3 lifters out. If you are using wrist wraps on bench, make sure you are putting them on whilst the previous lifter is still on the platform. That way you’re ready to go when your name is called.

Squats are up first.
In most competitions, the RAW division allows knee wraps, wrist wraps and a belt.
Once your name is called, approach the platform.
Center yourself under the bar, big breath, chest up, and unrack the bar.
When the referee see’s that you are in control of the bar, they will give the SQUAT command. Once this happens, you can no longer move your feet at all.
You must now squat down to below parallel, and stand back up.
When the referee sees that you have got control of the bar, they will call “RACK”. When you receive that call, you may return the bar to the rack.

A few of the basic rules include:
Do not go over your 1 minute allowance.
Do not move your feet after the squat call.
Squat down so the crease of the hip is below the top surface of the leg at the knee joint.
Wait for your rack call.

squat-depth

After I finish squatting, I’ll eat again. It will normally be something like 2 banana’s, something high in salt, and a protein shake.
The reason I don’t want to go out for steak and chips, is I want it fully digested before I get around to deadlifts.

Bench press is up next.
In most raw competitions, wrist wraps and a belt are allowed to be worn.
Once your name is called, approach the platform.
Set yourself on the bench, and when you’re ready, lift off the bar. Your handler is allowed to pass the bar to you if you wish, but they must leave the platform immediately. The referee will not call START until they are gone.

Once the referee calls START, you can begin your attempt.
Your glutes must stay in contact with the bench for your entire attempt.
When the bar is motionless on your chest, the referee will call PRESS. The length of time you are on your chest is completely up to you. As soon as the bar is motionless, the referee will call it.
Once they call press, move the bar upwards until both arms lock, and wait there until the referee gives you the call “RACK”.

 
A few of the basic rules include:
Wait for the commands – Start, Press, Rack.
Make sure you don’t dip the bar after the press command.
Make sure your glutes stay in contact with the bench.
Don’t let your feet move.

The final movement, the deadlift. 
This is where the final results of the competition are generally decided.
In most competitions, belts are the only supportive equipment that is allowed. You must also wear knee high socks.

On the deadlift, once your name is called, you can approach the bar, and pick it up when you are ready (as long as it’s within the 1 minute allowance.
When taking the bar up to lock out, you can NOT hitch or lap the bar to get it there.
Here is a short video of hitching and lapping:

The only command for deadlift is “DOWN”, which signals the lifter that the judge wants you to place the bar back on the ground. Do not drop it, or slam it, that will earn you a red light.

A few of the basic rules include:
Not starting before the 1 minute allowance.
Hitching or lapping of the bar.
Not locking the shoulder or hips to the judges satisfaction.
Dropping or slamming the bar.

The end of the day!
We’re done!
It’s been a long day for you, but trust me, it’s been a longer day for all of the officials, so make sure you thank them for giving up their Sunday to come down and put on this comp for you.
Please unload any bars in the warm up room, and put your rubbish in the bins.

In a nut shell, that’s all you need to know for your first few comps.
Hopefully this helps all of our newer lifters, especially with weigh in and their attempt cards.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to comment below.

Until the next one,
Stay Strong,
Scott Wasson.