Meet week! Let’s jump right into it. I made weight at 165lb and made sure to hydrate and eat before my first lift, as there were hours before I started.

 

I typically refuel with liquid carbs and protein after my weigh-in, as they are delivered the fastest. I don’t want to feel bogged down with food, but I still need the energy, so this type of cocktail works best for me.

 

 

Squat

Breaking Muscle Shop

I don’t think I spent enough time warming up for the squat. My first attempt at 281lb was supposed to be achieved without batting an eye, but I didn’t hit proper depth. I’ve talked about the importance of hitting your first squat, as it sets the tone for the whole meet. This was my first time missing my first lift of the meet, and my heart sank. I was butt hurt for all of two minutes, when I realized I had to get back in the zone.

 

I went through my mental cues: tighten up my whole body, and squeeze that bar with all my might. I decided not to make the jump to 314 on my second attempt, as I couldn’t afford to miss another lift. With that being said, I still wanted to go up, so I decided to change my second attempt to 292lb. I must have squatted to the ground because there was no way I was going to miss my second lift on depth. 

 

"I’ve talked about the importance of hitting your first squat, as it sets the tone for the whole meet. This was my first time missing my first lift of the meet, and my heart sank."

I decided to jump up to 314lb on my last attempt, despite my desire to hit the 330 I had planned. The meet wasn’t going as planned, so I went out for my 314 attempt and grinded it out. It was rough! I was so paranoid about hitting depth that I dropped it low once more, and almost got stuck in the middle. This has never been a sticking point for me, as typically coming out of the hole is the hardest. I ended up squeezing the bar even harder and pulling it into my back/the ground, thrusted my hips forward, and peered up at three white lights. Ahhhh!

 

 

Bench Press

At this point my lower back was already killing me (as it’s always been a problem for me), so I rolled out, did some mobility drills, and yoga’ed it out. (That’s a word, right?) After warming up on the bench, I knew my opener was going to be a piece of cake. I wasn’t going to have a repeat of my first squat attempt. A couple of commands were missed by my competitors, so I made sure I was going to hit all three verbal cues for the bench. 

 

RELATED: Heal Your Lower Back With These 5 Yoga Poses

 

I went out and hit 203lb with ease, and then I took a big jump to 231lb. This felt great, so I figured what the heck? I decided to go for 242lb on my last attempt, and barely missed it by an inch. I had great control going down and exploded off the chest. I was about an inch away from locking it out, and pressed with all my might, but I wasn’t successful. I was happy with my bench, but watching a video of my third attempt on my iPhone made me cringe - I was so close!

 

Deadlift

It was now time for the last lift of the meet: the deadlift. For me, this is time to get hyped up on preworkouts. I made the mistake during my first meet of taking stimulants before the bench, and I couldn’t bring the bar to motionless on my chest since I was so shaky and antsy. Either way, lesson learned.

 

My lower back was dying, and I could barely pick up 225lb. I rolled out, got some more protein and creatine (liquids) into my system, and tried my best to focus. I decided to use a belt on the deadlift, which I have never even tried in the gym. I figured the belt would help stabilize my lower back and get super tight with the added intra-abdominal pressure.  I barely warmed up for the deadlift, as I figured I didn’t have much left in the tank, so I might as well save it for the judges.

 

RELATED: 15 Practical Strategies to Increase Your Deadlift 

 

I was going back and forth on what I should do for my attempts, as I wasn’t feeling the most confident. Eventually I settled on keeping my first two attempts as is. I trained so hard for this, so I figured I might as well be giving it 110%, even though I wasn't feeling like it. I walked out, got some air, and braced myself. 314lb never felt so easy. I then decided to make a big jump up to 369lb, which was a nine-pound PR for me. 

 

I went through the motions once more, and felt great picking it up. That s*** was heavy! I then told the referees I would hit 380lb. Why not throw on another ten? Even though I was feeling crappy, I decided to change my attempt at the last minute and go for 385lb. Oops! I might have made the bar budge, but it wasn’t happening. Maybe if I was 100%, but at the end of the day who knows?

 

 

Here’s my warm ups for the week. I clearly took it pretty easy:

 

Monday

Squat – Training up to opener

Bar x 5

135 x 5

185 x 5

225 x 2

245 x 2

275 x 1

285 x 1 (3 sets)

 

Bench to opener

95 x 5

135 x 5

155 x 5

185 x 3

195 x 2

205 x 1 (3 sets)

 

Deadlift to opener

135 x 5 (2 sets)

225 x 3 (2 sets)

275 x 2

315 x 1 (3 sets)

 

Tuesday

Bench

95 x 5

135 x 5

165 x 3 (3 sets)

 

Squat

135 x 5 (2 sets)

185 x 5 (2 sets)

225 x 3 (3 sets)

 

Deadlift

135 x 5 (3 sets)

185 x 3 (2 sets)

240 x 3 (3 sets)

 

Wednesday

Bench

95 x 5

135 x 5

165 x 2 (2 sets)

 

Squat

135 x 5 (2 sets)

185 x 5 (2 sets)

225 x 2 (2 sets)

 

Deadlift

135 x 5 (3 sets)

185 x 3 (2 sets)

240 x 2 (2 sets)

 

Thursday

Rest

 

Friday

Meet Day

  • Squat – 315
  • Bench – 231
  • Deadlift - 369

 

Saturday

Rest

 

Sunday

Rest

 

Next week I’ll reflect on the meet as I get ready to enter the offseason. I won’t be competing for a few months, but I will still be testing my max leading up to my next powerlifting competition. Stay active!

 

Ryan Seaver is a novice powerlifter who found his love for the sport after six years of going to the gym religiously. Follow Ryan's journals to learn how to get started as a competitive lifter.

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