50 Tips For Competing at a Powerlifting Competition

Will Freeman Dunn Coaching, General, Powerlifting, Sports Performance Leave a Comment

It’s what all your training has been geared towards, and you are finally able to test your strength and get some ‘official’ numbers. A powerlifting competition is fun, exciting and a bench mark to hold yourself against in future. It can also be nerve-wracking, intense and overwhelming.

You will want to reduce the chances of something going wrong as much as possible, obviously there are some variables that you cannot control, but some of the ones you can are listed below.

 

  1. Make a check list of what you need to take

You will either be one of those people who takes everything but the kitchen sink to competitions, or you will take the bare minimum – either way, you don’t want to forget anything. There’s nothing worse than getting into your comp clothing or starting warming up to find out you’ve forgotten your singlet or belt. Write a list of things you need to take at least two days beforehand, you will often remember additional things that you have missed and add them on. When packing you may well be quite nervous already – this list will stop you forgetting things.

  1. Make sure your kit is legal / approved

Although most of the kit you can buy can appear pretty similar, there are only certain items you can wear / use at British Powerlifting competitions. At the time of writing this, the Northwest division will allow competitors to wear any kit as long as it meets the IPF Technical rules:

www.powerlifting-ipf.com/fileadmin/ipf/data/rules/technical-rules/english/IPF_Technical_Rules_Book_2016_1_.pdf

However, if you have aspirations to lift at a national or international level (or as a guest in another division) you will need to have kit listed on the IPF Approved Kit List:

www.powerlifting-ipf.com/rulescodesinfo/approved-list.html

Don’t get caught out by having the wrong stuff.

  1. Pack the night before

Just like writing a list of items to pack – you should pack the night before to avoid missing things. Have all your clothing / equipment in your bag and ready to go & any food / drink you’re taking in a bag in the fridge. Doing this will help jog your memory and may make you realise there are other things you need to take, you will also realise now if you have forgotten to wash something or that your lifting shoes are in the gym and you need to get them – this stuff can’t be done the day of the comp. if the worst happens and your alarm doesn’t go off in the morning you will just be able to grab things and leave.

  1. Bring the correct underwear

You can’t just wear your normal boxers, like everything in powerlifting – there’s rules for what you can and can’t wear. Men have to wear ‘Y’ front type underwear (unless lifting at an equipped competition), women have to wear sports bras). You can’t hide this stuff under a singlet – if you’re wearing the wrong stuff someone will see and ask you to change it. If you don’t have the correct stuff you won’t lift, if you happen to be approaching the platform for an attempt then you will time out and lose a lift.

  1. Take food that you usually eat

This one’s a big one for less experienced competitors, and I myself was guilty of it a couple of times. If you don’t usually eat nuts / bananas / Haribo / drink coffee then why do it on comp day? Different people’s bodies react differently to foods, coffee can act as a mild laxative for example – not good to realise just before squats.

Take things that you would normally snack on, don’t worry about being too healthy either – just eat things that you can easily chew / swallow and digest. It may sound silly but with the mix of nerves & adrenaline it can be hard to eat anything at all.

  1. Don’t eat too much before your first lift

Following on from above, I would recommend not eating too much before your first lift (except if this is what you normally do before training etc.), nerves are funny things and any excess food in your stomach may want to come out all over the platform or centre referee. If you have to eat (if you’ve had no breakfast, or even dinner the night before, to make weight) then fair enough, but stick to calorie dense foods. I would recommend protein bars – be careful with sugar intake, you don’t want to crash. It’s a tough one, if in doubt consider consulting a qualified sports nutritionist.

  1. If you don’t usually drink energy drinks / caffeine then now probably isn’t the time to start

In addition to not eating food that you wouldn’t normally eat – don’t drink drinks that you wouldn’t normally. I have mentioned about my experience with coffee above, if you OD on caffeine and become very jittery you may miss-groove a lift, or be too eager on the bench press pause etc.

  1. Take spare equipment (if you have it)

Belts break, singlets rip and shoelaces can snap. Powerlifting is a very friendly and supportive sport, if any of these happen to you then you might be able to borrow some equipment from someone else. You don’t want to rely on this though, as they will be competing too – they don’t want to worry about whether you will have their wrist wraps back to them before their next warm-up etc.

If you have spare kit then take it, even if you just leave it in the car or a separate bag at the back of the room. Having a spare singlet is much better than ripping yours during warm-up and having to pull out.

  1. Take a toilet roll

It’s surprising (or maybe not) how often us powerlifters have to go to the toilet. It’s a nightmare scenario needing a number two but when you get into the toilets there’s no paper. You either have to do it anyway and figure out how to solve the problem afterwards, or get on the platform knowing that disaster may be seconds away.

I first heard this one from Owen Hubbard, and I have taken rolls (and needed them) at more than one competition. As an additional side note – once people realise you have a roll they will ask to borrow it. Although it’s nice to help other people… look after yourself first!

  1. Take your own chalk/talc

At Northwest competitions there are communal chalk bowls to use on the platform, and usually some talc knocking about. There may not be any chalk in the warm-up area however. If you rely on chalk and talc then take some, after borrowing someone’s belt and used their toilet roll you really don’t want to be asking to use their chalk as well.

  1. Take cash

This isn’t to bribe the referees, I believe they only accept certain types of chocolate or cakes. Most expenses on competition day are cash only – entrance for spectators / clothes stalls / merchandise / food etc. At some bigger competitions or nationals, you may be able to pay on card but I wouldn’t risk having no lunch if I were you.

There also may not be any cashpoints in the local area, competitions are usually held at local gyms with the closest cashpoint some way away.

  1. Find out what time you need to arrive

When you enter a competition, you will receive information about what time the venue opens, what time weigh in starts and what time lift off is. I would recommend getting there as early as possible, this way you can get set up and ready to weigh in early. Running late is never fun, and adds stress. At some venues parking can be limited too. Also, make sure you look at the correct session. If there’s a morning session and an afternoon session, don’t show up for the wrong one. You will either be three hours early, or three hours late and not be able to compete.

  1. Weigh in as early as possible

You will want to get this out of the way, then you can relax and eat/drink. It doesn’t matter if you are borderline on making weight, you can weigh in as many times as it takes. Get in there as early as possible and if you then need to lose a few grams, go do it and come back. The more time you have to relax and get into your pre-lift routine the better.

As an additional note – you will need to show your membership card and give your opening attempts during the weigh in. at larger competitions you will also have to take your kit (singlet / sleeves / belt / wrist wraps / shoes etc.) with you for a kit check.

  1. If it’s your first competition, don’t cut weight

Following on from above, if this is your first competition then don’t cut weight for it. Enter in the weight class that you are in naturally. Having said that, if you are naturally a male weighing 105/106kg for example then consider dropping to under 105kg. if you’re 108kg then just enter the under 120kg class. Even if you think you may be able to break some records, there will be plenty of time for this at other comps.

Regarding weight classes – if you enter in a particular weight class but know for a fact that you will be a different weight class on the day then tell the organiser as soon as possible. As well as being good manners, this will help then planning of the competition. In competitions other than ‘novice’ comps, if you weigh in in a different class to the one you have entered you will have to lift as a guest (at the discretion of the organisers) and will not be able to place or set records – unless you change before the closing date (and let them know).

  1. Look at the lifting order to see where you are

There are usually two flights per session, sometimes three and sometimes only one. Your first job once weigh-in has finished is to find out which flight you’re in. Once you know this, look where in the order you are lifting – it will be lightest opening weight first, heaviest opening weight last. The attempts (1st/2nd/3rd) work on a rising bar, the weight will keep getting heavier. If you are lifting towards the end of the flight then you can delay warm-up by a few minutes, if you’re right at the start then you will have to get going.

  1. Put your equipment (clothing) on early

Everyone is different, and have different pre-lift rituals. But for the novice / inexperienced lifter I would recommend putting your lifting underwear, singlet, lifting t-shirt and socks on as soon as you’ve weighed in. The changing rooms can get busy, and with the nerves you don’t want to be rushing anything. Get this done and then relax and wait for your time to warm up. The only exceptions to this would be – don’t put your knee sleeves, belt or wrist wraps on until you’re about to warm up. These can be done anywhere – you can’t just strip down to your underwear (or less) whilst sitting in the crowd.

  1. Start warming up early

This is a tricky one to gauge, I don’t mean start warming us as soon as you have weighed in but you also don’t want to have to go from empty bar to final warm-up in 10 minutes. You can always do a couple of sets with the bar if you’re very early, but if you wait until everyone else has two/three plates on then you will just annoy people by asking to strip it right off.

If you leave it very late to start you may also encounter the flight after yours wanting to start warming up when you’re still finishing.

  1. Take the same jumps in warm-ups that you do in training

You will be warming up with people of varying strength, some may be weaker than you – some WILL be much stronger than you. If the other people warming up at your station are taking big jumps in weight then don’t feel pressured to do the same – if you normally go from empty bar to 40kg, to 70kg etc then do that. The idea is to replicate training as closely as possible – this will help you relax and you won’t shock your body.

  1. If you don’t know something – ask someone

If you haven’t competed before, a powerlifting competition can be a very alien experience. Even for those who have competed before, different competitions are set up differently – where to stand before being called to the platform, where to weigh in, who to give your attempt slips to etc. If you don’t know something or are unsure of anything then ask another lifter or coach, they will most likely know the answer and will be happy to help. If your query is more technical, you will need to find an official – do this before lift-off. If the lifting has already started then approach someone on the table – be aware they will be busy.

  1. Don’t wait until you’re ‘stronger’

I was guilty of this, thinking I wasn’t ready. The reality of it is that you will never be happy with your lifts before your first competition. If you can squat 90kg but want to wait until you can do 100kg before you enter a comp for example, then you get to 100kg but think ‘I’ll wait until I hit 110kg’, then 120kg, then 140kg and you see my point. You learn more during competition than during any training session, and you will start improving much faster.

It’s also good looking back on how far you’ve come – and your numbers are only 100% legitimate when you have had them judged on a platform!

  1. If you have to travel far, try and go the day/night before

Obviously, this will not apply to most people, for most competitions. Unless you are competing out of your region or at a national event then you shouldn’t be travelling too far. If you are however then try and go the day/night before. Getting up at 3am isn’t conducive to heavy lifting, especially if you’re driving. Planning is everything, you want to be rested and not rushing around. If you’re staying in a hotel, know how to get to the competition, how far it is, how long it takes, what means you’re using (car, public transport, walking etc.).

If you’re in a hotel then consider taking your normal breakfast with you. Again, if you wouldn’t normally have a greasy full English, 4 slices of toast, 2 yogurts and 7 grapes before training then why do it on comp day?

  1. Take all timings on the day with a pinch of salt

Sometimes the officials seem to have different clocks to us, or live on a different timeline. There is usually a break between squats and bench press, and bench & deadlift – 10 to 20 minutes is usual. This will be announced during the lifting at some point. I was at the British Championships with a lifter a couple of years ago, in the first flight. After bench press it was announced ‘there will be a 20-minute break before deadlift’. Warm-ups were planned accordingly, but after seven minutes there was another announcement ‘As we’re running late, deadlifts will commence in three minutes’. All subsequent warm-ups had to be done and then straight to the platform – another reason to start warming up sooner rather than later. Its just a case of trying to be prepared for anything.

  1. Make sure you have an up to date membership

You can often enter a competition using a membership that is running out (if it’s late in the year and the competition is in January). It is your responsibility to arrive on comp day with a fully up to date, valid membership. You will have to show your membership card during weigh in and there are no excuses or exceptions. It’s also worth nothing that memberships run from January 1st to December 31st, not 12 months from purchase. It doesn’t matter if you paid for it in September – it will run out at the end of December.

I’ve been at a competition where a lifter has been running around trying to get internet signal to get onto the website and register there and then. This may not work, or be accepted and you don’t need this stress believe me.

  1. Take a photo of your membership card on your phone

If you’re forgetful, or have a habit of losing things like I do then take a picture of your membership card (front and back) on your phone. It doesn’t matter what else you forget or lose, chances are you will always have your phone with you. if you forget your card then this will be accepted at Northwest competitions (at the time of writing this).

  1. Don’t open too heavy

Another big one for new competitors. If you fail your 1st attempt on any lift you cannot reduce the weight – you will have to do the same weight again or go heavier. If you fail all three lifts you’re out of the competition. People do this surprisingly often and I don’t understand it, even seeing people grind out the opener baffles me. One reason is possibly watching Olympic Weightlifting on TV – these guys open on 125kg for example and will go up by 1kg each lift. Why they do that, I also don’t know.

Make your opener something you can do for 2/3 reps when you’re ill. Once your opener’s in the bag you can relax – especially during the squat.

  1. Don’t jump up too much in weight between attempts

Having taken note of the above, you don’t want to open on 100kg and then take 150kg for your 2nd attempt. When you’re warming up you take smaller jumps between sets, when you’re approaching your 1RM these want to be smaller again. Generally, I wouldn’t recommend taking a jump of more than about a 7.5% increase between 1st & 2nd attempts and a 5% increase between 2nd & 3rd attempts.

  1. If it’s your first competition, don’t try to PB

Let’s face it, if it’s your first competition then every successful attempt is a PB. Everything is new on comp day – being on the platform, lifting in front of a crowd, having three referees watching you, the atmosphere, other lifters etc. It’s a lot to take in, so the chances of you lifting an all-time max weight are unlikely, if you can get close to your max gym lifts then you’re doing well. Like I said, there’s plenty of time to improve, and you will hit PB’s enough during your time doing this, don’t put undue pressure on yourself.

  1. Try and go to a competition beforehand to see how things work

One way to minimise the ‘shock factor’ of a competition atmosphere, and get used to some of the new things that you will encounter is to go to a competition beforehand. Maybe you have a friend to support, maybe you just show up at a random local comp just to watch – go and do it. You could even help out by volunteering to load the bar or spot. This way you will also meet lots of the lifters and organisers.

  1. Go with someone (coach/friend/family member)

If you have a coach then you should obviously go with them, but if not then it’s a good idea to take someone with you. it’s helpful if they know something about powerlifting, or competing in general, but if not then it’s good just having someone there for support. They can go and get you food, look after your things whilst you’re lifting and cheer you on. Having someone familiar there with you will also help with your nerves, and keep you (relatively) calm.

  1. Don’t worry about how you look

This goes for both whilst you’re lifting and whilst you’re walking around. It’s not a fashion show, and no-body cares which brand singlet you have or what belt/socks/shoes etc. you’re wearing. A lot of people tend to have the same stuff from popular brands such as Strength Shop & SBD as they are on the approved kit list – don’t feel that spending lots of money is essential. It’s not even necessary to buy new stuff, I spent the first year and a half competing in a 2nd hand singlet from Ebay and football socks.

When on the platform it’s normal to make faces when lifting heavy. None of us are pretty when we’re lifting – and if we are then we aren’t trying hard enough. The trick is to learn to not care, just put your all into it and maybe have a laugh at the pictures afterwards.

  1. Get your next attempt slip in on time

At weigh in you will be given attempt slips, usually three for squat, three for bench press and five for deadlift. Even though you give your openers at weigh in you still get three cards for squat & bench as you can change your opener up to just before lift off in your flight (in case warm-ups are going particularly well / badly). You get five for deadlift as you can also change your 3rd attempt twice if you want to.

Fill these slips in as soon as you get them, write your name and sign them (leave attempt selection blank for now) and keep them handy, with a pen. When you finish each lift, you need to give your next attempt into the table within one minute, you won’t have time to be signing each one after each lift. A pen is something else for the packing list.

If you miss this one minute deadline you will be given a set increase next time – 2.5kg heavier if you passed your last attempt, and if you failed you will be given the same weight again.

  1. Don’t squat facing a mirror

If you train in a commercial gym then the chances are that you will have to squat facing a mirror. This isn’t ideal as you end up watching yourself when you should be focused on a point in the distance. There are no mirrors at comp, just a room full of people and a referee with his/her hand up in the air. The first time I squatted in comp I’d never squatted without watching myself in a mirror, it’s completely different. I nearly lost balance and fell forward, if I hadn’t opened so light it may well have gone wrong (another reason to open light). If you have no other choice that to squat in front of a mirror, look past yourself – at something in the distance behind you.

  1. Don’t always deadlift fresh

Another one to consider whilst training. In competition you deadlift last – after maxing out on squat and bench. You’re going to be pretty tired, especially with all the excitement and adrenaline from the day. It’s definitely worth deadlifting in training when you’re fatigued at the end of a session (at least some of the time anyway). This way you will also have a better idea of numbers that you may be able to hit on the platform, and give a more realistic opener. Having a great squat & bench performance ruined by bombing out of deadlifts won’t be a happy experience.

  1. Learn to squat to depth, pause your bench and deadlift without straps / a hitch

You may be the strongest person ever to step on a powerlifting platform but if you can’t squat below parallel then you’re not going anywhere. If you’re unsure, video yourself and watch it back. Get the opinion of other people, especially if you know some powerlifters or there are some at your gym. The same thing goes for pausing bench presses – this isn’t something you can learn on the day. Even if you think you are pausing it, you probably aren’t pausing for long enough – beware that the rule states that you will not get the ‘press’ command until the bar is stationary on your chest (not wobbling/sinking/bouncing). As far as deadlift goes, you cannot use straps or hitch like in a strongman competition, train without these things.

  1. If you want a centre / side hand-off for bench then tell the spotters

If you train alone you may well un rack the bench press yourself, this is fine in competition – tell the spotters you don’t need their help. Again, don’t fall to peer pressure or follow the crowd and get a lift off if you have never done this before as it will put you right off.

On the other hand, if you always have a centre hand off (one person giving you the bar from above your head) then ask for this. If you are used to a side hand off (one person either end of the bar passing you it together) then ask for this too. If you are particular with how you want it passing in either case then make sure the spotters know this – it’s no good blaming the hand off if you haven’t specified how you like it. Be aware though that your one minute to get a ‘start’ command starts from when you hear ‘bar loaded’, keep the conversation as brief as possible.

  1. Don’t expect everything to be like training

Unless you train on an Eleiko/ER/Kustom Kit combo rack then the bench will feel different. Power bars also feel different, with less flex and more aggressive knurling (the sharp bits that help grip), and may be thinner than bars in commercial gyms.

One thing that catches a lot of people out is the markings on the bar. All Olympic bars have smooth markers towards the outside, near the collars. On a powerlifting bar these are 81cm apart, whereas on a weightlifting bar they are 91cm apart. Cheap bars in commercial gyms could be anything around this area, if you always place your hands on the bar in relation to these marks then it’s worth measuring them on the bar you use. Take a tape measure to the comp and figure out where your hands should go with the proper markings.

The lifts will also feel different in general, take your time getting used to the equipment in the warm-up area and the atmosphere by the platform.

On the other hand – remember your training. You have done these lifts many times before and you WILL be ready. Trust in your preparation and that your body knows what to do.

  1. Chalk your back & glutes

After putting in all the hard work in training and getting your head in the right place to lift big, it can be spoiled if the bar (or you) is slipping around. If it slips during a squat it can be the difference between getting it and failing it, as well as being potentially dangerous. Put chalk across the top of you back and shoulder blades (wherever the bar sits) to help stop this.

For the bench press, you will want to re-apply this chalk to your upper back to stop yourself slipping on the bench. You will also want to put some on your glutes (high or low depending on your arch), wherever is going to be in contact with the bench, chalk your hands too. If you have a coach/friend etc. with you then ask them to do this.

  1. Don’t get talc everywhere

At the other end of the scale, talc is very useful for deadlifts. It will stop the bar catching and sticking on your legs/singlet and will make things smoother. It has the opposite effect to chalk so don’t get it on your hands, this means asking someone else to talc you or doing it yourself and then washing your hands. Because it makes things slippery make sure you don’t get it on the floor either, if it’s on the bottom of your shoes (or anyone else’s) it could cause accidents. A lot of competitions have certain areas where you are allowed to use talc so it doesn’t go everywhere.

  1. Practice commands

Not waiting for commands is a common reason to fail a lift, I see it at every competition I go to – including nationals. When you’re in the heat of the moment and focused on the lift, it’s easier to just do it without listening for the command. Again, if you practice the commands in training then you will be less likely to do this. Even if you’re on your own, physically stop and tell yourself ‘squat/start/press rack’ etc.

Hitting a PB and then racking the bar whilst starting your celebration only to find out you didn’t wait for the ‘rack’ command is devastating.

  1. Know the (federations) rules

Different federations have different rules regarding things like equipment and foot placement on the bench press. Find these rules and learn them, they aren’t overly complicated but not knowing them will cause issues if you are doing something wrong but you don’t know you are. Your feet on bench press must be flat on the floor, if you can’t bench without lifting your heel then you will have to sort this out before comp day – you can request blocks to put your feet on if you have trouble reaching the floor (something else you would find out by reading the rules). Don’t waste an attempt trying to do something you don’t have to.

  1. Don’t rush onto the platform

From when ‘bar loaded’ is called you have 60 seconds to get a ‘squat’/ ‘start’ command or start lifting your deadlift. Although it doesn’t sound like much time, it is deceptive. Guaranteed you won’t take a minute to start lifting after approaching the bar in training. Get focussed, get yourself set-up properly and hype yourself up.

If you ever watch an international powerlifting event they will take 40/50 seconds to start and they are in no rush. Having said this, don’t time out. And don’t blame me if you do.

  1. Know the platform rules (walking through rack / equipment / swearing etc.)

Treat the platform like sacred ground. You must have all your equipment sorted before you step onto it, this means belt on and done up, wrist wraps on (with thumbs out of loops), knee sleeves on and pulled up, chalk/talc on, singlet on over your t-shirt, shoelaces tied, deadlift socks on – literally ready to lift. If you have not done any of these things then you will be asked to step off the platform until you have. Your 60 seconds will still be counting down.

You are not allowed to swear on the platform, if it is audible and one of the referees hears you then you will be given a warning and could face disqualification.

You must enter the platform from the back/side and also exit at the back/side. Do not walk through the rack and out of the front of the platform after a squat – again, you will be given a warning.

  1. Go to the toilet before squat & deadlift

Assuming there is some toilet paper, or you have brought your own then you should go to the toilet before squat and deadlift. The reason why will become apparent if you are grinding out a lift. It’s not uncommon for women to pee themselves on the platform, or for men to do much worse. Air is embarrassing enough, but having to hold your singlet legs whilst doing a penguin walk to the toilet is a different league.

  1. Do everything your coach tells you

If you have a coach with you then they will take care of everything for you. They sacrifice their own brains so you don’t have to do any thinking, do everything they say. If they say stretch, stretch, if they said do a certain weight for a warm-up, do it – they know better than you. If you’re not feeling right then tell them, if something feels off then they will adjust the plan, this is not for you to do.

  1. Don’t drop the deadlift

I have literally seen someone lose a World Championship because they dropped the bar after a successful deadlift. If your hands lose contact with the bar even for a split second when you are lowering the bar after your ‘down’ command on the deadlift then you will fail the lift. Get used to holding it all the way to the floor in training, and then for a second or so afterwards to emphasise the fact that you’ve still got hold of it.

  1. If you fail a lift – don’t ditch the bar

The ‘don’t drop it’ rule also applies to the other two lifts, as well as failing the lift though you will also risk seriously injuring yourself and the spotters if you let go of the bar after failing a squat or bench press. On the squat, if you fail and the spotters take over you must stay with the bar – lift it up with their help and walk it back into the rack with them. Don’t drop it behind your back like you see some weightlifters do.

On the bench press, if you fail the lift and the spotters take hold of the bar you must also keep hold of the bar and push it back up with their assistance. Then rack it with them. If you take your hands off the bar then you risk the bar dropping onto your chest or face – neither are good. You will also get a warning from the referee for doing either of these things, and again, risk disqualification.

  1. Respect the other lifters

Although you want to look after number one, it’s not just you in the competition. Everyone else is also there to do the best they can, and to enjoy the experience. This means don’t hog the warm-up area – share the bar/rack/floorspace etc. You will expect people to help you out, so help them out too, chances are there is someone who is equally as nervous as you or maybe more so.

If you are going to do ‘The Swan’ in the middle of the warm-up area, make sure you’re not going to get in anyone’s way. Those who know, know.

  1. Respect the referee’s decision

There are three referees watching each lift, and each one will either give you a white or red light. Two/three whites and you’ve passed the lift, two/three reds and you’ve failed. There are lots of reasons why you might fail a lift, and they may not be obvious to you at the time. The referees are very experienced and very fair, if they have given you a red light then it will be for a good reason.

If you are unsure why you have failed – ask the referee (politely) as soon as you have left the platform, they should be happy to explain briefly. This is not a debate however, you cannot argue your point, if you disagree with the decision you or your coach may be able to lodge a complaint (only if it’s two to one – if you have been given three reds this option isn’t open to you).

No matter what the outcome is, you should respect the referee’s decision. They don’t have the benefit of a reply (and will not watch your footage on your phone), and do not give red lights to upset anyone. If you argue or hold grudges you will just make yourself unpopular.

  1. Don’t worry about what everyone else if lifting

There may be 10 people in your flight and 15 in your weight class, there will be some people who are stronger than you. There may be some people who are national or international standard, and there might even be someone who weighs half as much as you who’s lifting twice as much.

The thing to remember is that there’s only one person who you’re competing against – yourself. You will have set PB’s in training, these are good targets for your first comp – as mentioned earlier. Don’t get hung up on how much weight other people are lifting, do your own thing and don’t let your ego push you to risk an injury.

  1. Relax and enjoy yourself

Most of all, try to enjoy yourself. Everyone’s in the same boat and everyone will help you if you get stuck. It’s a great experience, and if you choose to continue competing then it’s a brilliant social sport and nothing makes you feel better than getting stronger.

The buzz of being on the platform when you hit a good lift and the whole room is cheering you on is like nothing else you will do.