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7 Reasons Everyone Should do a Powerlifting Meet

by Mike Robertson – 12/21/2011 Why You Should do a Powerlifting Meet

This year, I competed in my first powerlifting meet in over six years.

you asked me six years ago when my next meet was, I would've said in
4-6 months. But shit happened, and life got in the way.

My wife
and I moved from Ft. Wayne to Indianapolis. I regularly pulled 14-hour
days doing in-home training, and then repeated this schedule again
when I opened IFAST.

We started a family. Quite simply, "life" got in the way of lifting.

at 33 years old, with two thriving businesses and a young family, I
knew that if I was going to achieve my powerlifting goals there was
no better time than the present.

And getting back on the platform reminded me of how important doing a meet can be.

Training vs. Working Out

not the strongest guy you'll ever meet. My technique isn't perfect,
and like everyone reading this, I've got things to work on. But when
training for a meet, you suddenly go from "working out" to "training"
with purpose.

There's no more "Ho hum, what am I going to do
today? I don't really feel like squatting heavy – maybe I'll just do
some arms and abs."

That's why I argue that everyone
reading this could benefit from doing a powerlifting meet. Want to
put on slabs of muscle? Start squatting, benching, and deadlifting
heavy with regularity.

Interested in improving your sports
performance? Getting stronger is a great first step for many
athletes, young and old. And if your only goal is to get stronger? What
better judge of your true strength levels than a powerlifting meet?

it's a raw meet, single-ply, or even multi-ply, there's a federation
for everyone. So here are 7 reasons why I feel a powerlifting meet
should be in your future. Hopefully one (or all!) of them grabs your

1. An honest critique of your squat depth.

The average gym trainee has no clue what "squatting below parallel" means.

gym veterans know that the more weight you pile on the bar, the more
likely you are to start cutting depth. Eventually, your "ass-to-grass"
squat becomes nothing more than a power curtsy!

When you lift
in a meet, there's no choice but to squat to an appropriate depth, or
else you'll be red-lighted mercilessly. If you want an honest
appraisal of your squat depth, go do a meet and see what the judges have
to say!

2. A truly paused bench is a different ball game!

Why You Should do a Powerlifting Meet

don't know anyone (except possibly raw powerlifters) who reports their
max bench in terms of a paused bench press. Fact is, considering how
hard some gym rats blast the barbell off their chests, I'm shocked
more don't suffer from cracked sternums and punctured lungs!

a powerlifting meet, the bar has to rest motionless on your chest
before you get the "press" command. There's no such thing as a "touch
and go" bench in a meet.

Even if you decide you never want to
do a meet, at the very least run a couple of training cycles where
you pause for a 1 or 2 count on your chest. I guarantee when you go
back to the standard touch and go you're going to be a hell of a lot

3. The only thing worse than a paused bench is pulling after you squat.

I can't tell you how many times I've been at a powerlifting meet and heard the following:

"I don't know what happened – I pulled X more pounds in training than I did on the platform today."

tell ya what happened. It's something that I've tried to explain to
every young powerlifter I've ever coached. When you hit that PR
deadlift in the gym, it was the first exercise you performed in your
workout. You were fresh, focused, and ready to smoke a big pull.

when you go to a meet, not only do you have to uncork three maximal
effort squats, but staying rock solid when you bench can tax the hell
out of your lower back as well.

Finally, chances are you've
been sitting around for a while after you bench before you even start
deadlifting. At my most recent meet, it was almost two hours from my
last bench to the time I took my first deadlift.

Let me tell you, it's incredibly difficult to stay loose, while simultaneously staying focused, during a 2+ hour lay off!

you want a true measure of how strong your deadlift is, go to a
powerlifting meet and test it out. You might hit a PR, but don't be
surprised if it feels a lot heavier than you think it should!

4. To learn and identify weaknesses.

I learned anything in this past meet cycle, it's that there are certain
things that I need to work on if I'm going to be successful in the
sport. The most obvious mistake I made was switching from four
training days to three, and summarily dropping my heavy lockout work on
the bench.

The last three weeks of training were pure hell – I knew what my issue was but didn't have enough time to fix it!

a valuable lesson to be learned here, though. The only reason I
discovered this limitation is because I pushed the envelope far enough
to identify my weaknesses!

Here's a great quote from my good
friend Matt Wenning. Matt has squatted 1196 in competition, so he knows
a thing or two about training:

"You have to go up to a point where you break form to make form better. If you don't see what's wrong, how can you fix it?"

you're serious about pushing your training to the next level, you need
to push the weights to a point where technique breaks down. Then,
take that information and develop a program based off those
weaknesses so you can hit PR's in the future.

It's using an
assessment to systematically address weaknesses and/or limitations
and improve performance – and that's the truest definition of
"corrective exercise" that I know.

5. Setting goals and meeting deadlines.

the biggest benefit of doing a powerlifting meet is that you have a set
deadline, a proverbial line in the sand when you're either stronger
than the last time you competed, or not.

They're not pushing
the meet back because your girlfriend broke up with you, your dog ran
away, or you felt like taking it easy for a week or two in the gym.

A good friend of mine, Jason Wells, wrote this in his training log a while back and it's sheer gold:

me, once the entry form is in, my mind set changes. No more bullshit
– diet, rest, and training hit a whole new level. What do I get out of
the meet? Hitting a number that's legit in competition counts more
than a gym number.

"Setting goals for every
meet. State records, national records, and pushing myself to being
the strongest I can be. Train my ass for 10 weeks, just for one day,
put it all on the line.

"When I'm older and
looking back, I want to feel and know that I gave it my all. First
place is nice, but achieving goals I set for myself is what means the
most to me."

I've always enjoyed the process of getting ready
for a meet as much as I've enjoyed the meet itself. I love the idea
of setting goals, and developing a game plan going forward that will
allow me to get stronger.

6. The motivation of competition.

Why You Should do a Powerlifting Meet

How many of you are actually training for something?

How many of you have definite, written goals?

What about a deadline for when you're going to achieve that goal?

Or a game plan to help you get from A-to-B?

of you reading this are former athletes. Do you remember what it was
like to get on the field and smash somebody? To dominate them on the
mat? To cross them over and break their ankles?

If not, it's
been too damn long since you've competed and you need to get that
fire back! I'm lucky because I own my own business and there's a
definite competitive element to that. But there's nothing quite like
competing physically against yourself or others.

If you need a competitive outlet or need to get that fire back in your belly, a powerlifting meet may be the answer.

7. Being scared and uncomfortable.

When was the last time you were scared to do something?

when was the last time you were truly out of your comfort zone? Doing
something you weren't even sure was sane or right?

If you can't
remember, I can tell you one thing – you're stagnant. If you're not
consistently scared and uncomfortable, you're not making progress.

This is especially true when it comes to training. When
was the last time you thought you might get crushed under a squat
bar? Or pulled something heavy enough to remember what "heavy" really

Trust me, being scared and uncomfortable is a consistent
trait shared by the most successful people in the world. If you want
to get your training back on track, I suggest making it as
uncomfortable as possible.

You'll thank me later.


The competitive sport of powerlifting may not be for everybody. I get that.

you may be surprised to know that I initially had no intentions
whatsoever of competing. I got into the sport simply because I wanted
to learn better lifting technique and, in turn, make myself a better
strength coach.

But that first meet changed more than just how I
approach lifting – because the lessons you learn from training and
competition can be carried over to nearly every aspect of your life.

1. Wendler Deload Phase – Back Squat and Bench Press

The idea of any deload is to give the body a rest so it can recover
and then move forward. You can't step on the gas all the time.

 90% of 1RM is baseline

  • 40% x5 Reps
  • 50% x5 Reps
  • 60% x5 Reps

NO max reps on last set, only 5.

2.  Complete 5 rounds with a running clock:

•1 minute to complete 15 Kettlebell Swings -2 pood M/1.5 pood W
•1 minute Row for max distance

score is total calories rowed at the end of all 5 rounds. The clock
does not stop for transitions. Your rest time is the time left in the
minute after you complete 15 KB swings.

3.  Gym WOD – Clean and Jerk OTM and Grip Strength work


  1. back squat phase 3
    5 x 255
    3 x 290
    5 x 325
    Bench phase 3
    5 x 175
    3 x 195
    3x 220
    WOD # 1 – 82 calories
    WOD # 2 – Snatch 135 lbs. across
    C&J 175 lbs. across

  2. dl phase 3
    I messed up the math but pretty close. I lifted a little more than I was supposed to.
    sp phase 3
    50 x 5
    nutrition= b

  3. Lindsay says:

    Oly WOD
    Hang snatch
    80# x 3
    85# x 3
    90# x 3
    95# x 1
    Hang clean
    95# x 3
    105# x 3
    110# x 3
    Wendler Deload
    High bar back squat
    65# x 5
    80# x 5
    95# x 5
    50# x 5
    65# x 5
    75# x 5
    5 rounds
    15 swings 1.5 pood
    1 min row.
    1257 total meters. Didn’t read the directions very close and set the row for distance not calories.

  4. Lindsay, the directions are definitely confusing. My bad. Sorry for that!

  5. Scott F says:

    21 Day Squat Challenge (Day 1)
    1RM = 285
    200 x5 x2
    Gym WOD
    Sn 75
    CJ 115 (2 reps OTM)
    Transitions to overhead positions are not yet smooth. Working on shoulder mobility & correct OH position.

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