Our First Powerlifting Meet!
The Active Lifestyle took part in its first powerlifting competition last weekend, at the APA 3 Lift Competition in Manukau, Auckland.
For me, I have strength trained for a fairly long time, having been into lifting since university. For Amber, she has trained with weights a lot but never really worked on building up her strength. I was going to put up a big total - Amber wanted to give it a go and see what it was all about.
We headed out to Manukau about 730am for the 8am weigh in. We packed a huge sports bag the night before, because the last thing you need on competition day is extra stress.
Therefore, we had to grab all the equipment we (I) would need. It was a raw competition, meaning that a lifting belt, knee sleeves, and wrist wraps were allowed. I was pretty confident in my gear, having trained often in a belt, (albeit a different one to the one I would be using today) and doing a few sessions in the knee sleeves and wrist wraps just to get used to them before the day. We also packed a heap of food; including cans of tuna, smoked salmon, nuts, sweets, apples and nectarines to refuel with immediately after weigh ins.
The night before, I was well underweight, weighing in at 92kgs for a 93kg class. That meant I was allowed to eat that evening. Amber had to weigh 63kgs, and she was borderline - she had been cutting a couple of kgs for the past couple of days but was worried about putting on a bit more before the morning and so forewent food.
On the morning of the competition, I had my usual breakfast of eggs, toast and spinach. Amber weighed in fine in the morning and started eating. I had managed to gain a little bit, but was still a good kg under.
After weigh ins, it was time to head over to the lifting room to set up rack heights - as people competing would have different heights and limb lengths you have to go over to the rack to set up how high you want everything set up for you, for example when you squat and bench press. The safeties are set up on the bench so that you can comfortably unrack the bar, but above your neck, so that no matter what happens, there's physically no way of crushing your neck with the bar.
Once everyone had weighed in and set up their rack heights, it was simply a waiting game.
Now, let's explain how a powerlifting competition works. In a full powerlifting meet, as we were competing in, you get 3 attempts at Squat, Bench and Deadlift. Your best lift in each gets used towards your total, and the winner in each class is the one with the highest total. You are free to choose any weight you like, but you cannot go down in weight. Therefore, if you fail a squat, you can't then choose a lower weight for your next attempt. You can only go up - if you get a successful lift, the minimum increment is 2.5kgs.
They ran the day concurrently, with women performing their 3 Squats, then the men performing their 3 squats, before moving onto women's bench press, men's bench press, and then the same for deadlifts.
Being a 'novice' event, it was amazingly well organised and run, so a big shout out goes to the organisers because they even explained the basic rules of the lifts and how things would be judged before the competition commenced.
James' best lifts are in the video above - I finished the day with a 577.5 kgs total and qualified for Nationals, so I have to work my ass off for 10 months or so to see how I can do there and how much I can improve my numbers. I hit two personal bests on the day in the Squat and Deadlift, so I was pretty happy with it all and the peaking program I had put together before the competition. Amber hit a 200 kg total and kicked ass, she deserves a special shout for her effort and grind on the final deadlift - I've never seen someone put so much effort into a lift and she should be really proud of her performance.
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