Tips for Your First Weightlifting Competition

A meet is the one place where I can display my hard work for the world to see, but more importantly it is a time to surround myself with people that love the barbell as much as myself. It’s the one place that I don’t feel strange or out of place.

When I am at family reunions, I normally just sit by myself because I don’t know what to say to the normal person. They don’t care about barbells, body fat, and grueling workouts. They don’t want to hear about the latest workout that I am doing, or the latest book that I am writing. However, when I am at a Powerlifting competition, Weightlifting meet, or CrossFit event, we all get it. We all want to hear about the workouts that each of us has been doing.

A lot of people make some common mistakes in their first meet. Hopefully this article will help to make your first meet fun, and help prevent some rookie mistakes that can lead to a bad experience. Here are 5 of those common mistakes:

1. Warming up too soon! I have watched people warm up three hours before they have a prayer for getting on the platform. If you are a weightlifter, you want to wait until you are about 21-27 attempts before starting to warm up. Some people like a little longer, and some people can warm up quicker. It’s important to time how long it takes you to warm up to an opening attempt. If you are a powerlifter, I recommend starting about 30-45 minutes before you are going to open up. It’s important to know the exact time that your flight will start. For example, you might think that you are starting at 10am. However that might mean that introductions are at 10a, and then there will be a 10-minute clock before starting. Just find out!

2. Don’t get crazy with weight loss for your first meet. Get your feet wet! Then you can worry about what weight class that you are going to dominate. There will be enough to worry about, so save the weight loss for later.

3. Open up light! Get in the ballgame man! Whether you are weightlifting or powerlifting, I recommend opening about 5-10kilos/10-20lb lighter than you want to just to make your opener something that you can crush.

4. Remember to have fun! This is the big one! Remember that you are in a room full of people that love the barbell as much as you. Just take it as a big gym, and you are out there training with your friends. Too many rookies get way to wound up! You will notice how the veterans are all relaxed, smiling, and having fun.

5. Make sure that you know all of the signals and commands that you are going to experience on the platform. Weightlifting is easy because you are just going to receive a down verbal or buzzer command. Powerlifting is way more complicated. In some federations, you are going to get a squat and rack command for the back squat. You are going to get a press and rack command for the bench press. The deadlift is simple. You will just get a down command. However always check the federations website to make sure.

Competitions aren’t always about winning and losing. Looking back it wasn’t the winning that I cherish the most. It was the relationships that I formed. It was the dear friends that I made. The barbell community is the real reason that we should all compete.

Your first meet is going to be awesome if you listen to these five recommendations.

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