BDFPA British full power (my 2nd powerlifting comp)

March 3, 2016

Six weeks ago, I did my first powerlifting comp – a BDFPA full power unequipped qualifier.

The British Championships was last weekend. Here’s how I got on with an extra 6 weeks training under my belt.

[Edited to add: someone messaged me after I posted to ask if this is raw/unequipped. Yes: belt, wrist wraps, that’s it. No knee sleeves or wraps, no straps]

A First-Timer’s BDFPA British Unequipped Full Power Championships

After a typical (and irrational) last minute panic about not making weight, I ended up weighing in much lighter than I thought I would, so that was my first “challenge” of the day completed! (No matter what the scales at home have been saying, I never quite believe it til I see it on the competition scales).

I’d set my openers the night before, and had to declare them at weigh in:

Squat 95kg
Bench 60kg
Deadlift 140kg

Just as a reminder, at my previous/first comp, I squatted 90, 95, 97.5, benched 60 (failed 62.5 twice), and deadlifted 130, 140, 150.

Today, I really wanted
– a squat PB (during training, I’d switched to low bar squatting, and seen some great progress in my training numbers, so was hopeful for a PB today)
– any sort of bench PB (60kgs in comp was frustrating me, because I’d been doing 65kgs paused for a few reps in training, and had got 70kgs a couple of times, too)
– but mostly, a big deadlift PB! The 150 at my previous comp had felt pretty easy, and I’d been dreaming of 160
– I also had a total in mind (325) although in hindsight I wished I hadn’t focused so much on a total, as this meant I made some 2nd and 3rd lift attempt choices which were probably too big

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Squat:
I was feeling much more confident with technique since switching to low bar, and with weight after the extra training block. I’d done a pretty aggressive cycle of squat training, and all that time under the bar had made me feel much more at home with squatting.

95 – went fine, felt good, got 2/3 white lights
100 – went fine, 3/3 white lights (delighted with this – remember that my 3rd lift at qualifier was an ugly 97.5 grind)
105 – went fine, went up, 3/3 white lights! I jumped in the air with joy and had a quick celebratory dance with my friend and weekend roommate CK (who was also competing in my flight)

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Bench:
Warm up wasn’t great as there were about half the amount of benches as squat racks, so we mis-timed things a bit and had to queue for warm up reps.
60 – went OK but didn’t feel great. 3/3 white lights
65 – not sure why I opted for this rather than 62.5 but I did. It got stuck half way up – no lift.
65 – tried again. The same happened.
Sigh. At least I got my first attempt, so I didn’t bomb and was clear to go through to my beloved deadlift!

Deadlift:
(no photos of the deadlift I’m afraid – I wish I’d got someone to video my 3rd attempt!)

My happy place! I was SO fired up to get 160. Warm ups felt easy as anything.

At this point in the comp, I had a 165 total, so needed a 160 deadlift for that 325 total. 150 was my PB, so 152.5 would be a deadlift PB… but I had that total in my mind.

140 – fine. 3/3
150 – fine. 3/3
160 – I’ve never even touched 160 before. It left the floor fast, it went up… and it got stuck just below my knees. I battled with it for a bit, then admitted defeated. GUTTED!

Squat 105 (+7.5 from qualifier)
Bench 60 (= as qualifier)
Deadlift 150 (Grrr) (= as qualifier)
Total:
315 (+7.5)

Lessons learned:

I should have thought of each lift separately rather than chasing a total. I was never going to place top 3 in my flight, so I was only ever there to nudge my own progress forward. Why did I fixate on a random total number? If I hadn’t had a total in mind, I would have opted for 62.5 as my 2nd bench (and possibly would have got this?), and could have opted for 155 3rd deadlift, which I feel sure I would have got. This all would have meant a new PB in all 3 lifts, a successful final lift of the day, and a higher total anyway.

We live and learn! 😉

Huge thanks to BDFPA officials, spotters, loaders and referees – it was a great comp with a brilliant atmosphere and everything seemed to run like clockwork. And if any of the ladies (particularly those in my flight) are reading, thank you for contributing to such a friendly, fun atmosphere! Everyone cheering each other on despite being each other’s “competition” – the epitome of good sports 🙂

Back soon, possibly with a “Powerlifting Lingo Jargon-Buster” post (“what is a flight?”, “what’s bombing?”) and possibly with an answer to that old chestnut “what’s next…?”

Got any questions about powerlifting? Leave me a comment and… I’ll ask someone else to answer them, because I probably don’t know the answer either 😉

BDFPA British full power (my 2nd powerlifting comp) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


BDFPA Powerlifting Qualifier (307.5kg total)

January 18, 2016

Last Saturday, I did my first powerlifting comp (the BDFPA‘s Dean Mikosz Memorial). Quick version: a 97.5 squat, 60 bench, 150 deadlift for a 307.5kg total as a U70 unequipped lifter.

Longer version:

Got there bright and early, weighed in and set about getting hydrated (thank you client Bulkpowders for a generous gift of hydration drink and pre-workout gels for the day!)

Although there were other female lifters on the entry list, the others didn’t show up. So I was the only female competing full power on the day (you never can tell who will turn up, I guess – apparently there were quite a few women at this qualifier last year).

The day was split into two flights, under 80-something-KGs and over 80-something-KGs. So I was in the first flight, with the lighter men.

First up was squats (it’s always squats, bench, deadlift). And as my opening weight was the lightest of the flight, I was the first lifter.

This was pretty nerve-wracking! I’ve never lifted in a competition setting – on a platform and facing out in to an audience. The rack was different to the style I use for training. And being the first lifter, I hadn’t had a chance to watch anybody lift before me.

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That’s me in the warm up room – what an awesome old-school gym! My squat warm up had felt heavy, laborious and just not great at all. I don’t know if this was because it was earlier in the morning than I usually train, or because I didn’t warm up enough, or just due to nerves. No idea. But I wasn’t feeling great!

Anyway, little time to think about it. The comp started and I was announced as the first lifter.

Squat 1: 90kgs. Felt very heavy. But it went down, and back up again, and I got 3/3 whites (i.e. all of the 3 referees called it as a “good lift”).
Squat 2: 95kgs. Also felt very heavy. But again I got 3/3 whites although a couple of people in the audience told me I was only just deep enough.
Squat 3: 97.5kgs. I’ve done 100kgs in the gym, on more than one occasion, but I didn’t think it was happening today and I’d rather get another good lift than fail an over-ambitious one. After all, this is my first comp and just a qualifier. I only need to do as much as is needed to qualify. Felt very heavy, and was the slowest squat in the world on the way back up, but I fought for it and got it. 3/3 whites. Apparently it was deeper than my 95 and a better squat.

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Felt very relieved that squats were over!

Had a bit of a break here whilst the second flight squatted. Ate some decent food (stayed true to my bro roots: rice and tuna out of a plastic tub 😉 )

Bench 1: I went with 60kgs for my opener, a weight I only recently got for 2 reps in the gym. Maybe I could have opened with less. But I had no expectations for bench, I’ve only really started training flat barbell bench in the last few months. It went down and then up again. I got 2/3 whites (1 ref gave me a red due to me moving a bit before the “start” command). 2 of 3 is enough for a good lift.
Bench 2: I tried 62.5kgs despite never getting it before in the gym. It got stuck partway up and I battled it for a bit until the ref told the spotters to take it. A bit disappointing but I’ve never done 62.5kgs before so never mind. 3 reds – failed lift.
Bench 3: I tried the 62.5kgs again but the exact same thing happened again. I think I just need to train bench more, and iron out some technical issues.

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Another break here whilst the big fellas did their benching.

Deadlift time! Hooray! I love deadlifting, definitely my favourite lift by miles. I’d been waiting all day to deadlift.

Deadlift 1: 130kgs opener, very easy. I probably should have opened with more but wanted to feel confident.
Deadlift 2: 140kgs. This had been my PB in the gym for ages, in fact I only got 145kgs a couple of weeks ago and that felt a real struggle. This 140 went up FAST! The video (you can see it here) makes me laugh to see how fast it went up. You can hear someone in the background comment about how fast it was.
I decided to go for 150 for my third deadlift. I’ve never tried this weight before in training so it would be brand new territory and a PB if I got it. I really wanted to get a PB in my favourite lift as my final lift of the comp.
Deadlift 3: 150kg. I felt great walking up to the bar. I can’t really remember doing it, but it came up pretty fast, pretty smooth, no sticking points. It didn’t feel hard. Not easy, but comfortable. The video is here (you can see how pleased I am at the end).

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My total was 307.5 which was more than enough to secure a place in the full power unequipped Nationals. They are just under 6 weeks away.

In summary:

Squat was a bit disconcerting because I didn’t expect it to feel so hard and so uncomfortable. It just didn’t feel “right”. I don’t know if it’s technique, “attack”, confidence or something else I need to work on. Whatever it is, I will figure it out and work on it!

Bench was no more or less than I expected. I know there’s a lot more there once I get some more training sessions in the bank.

Deadlift was amazing and I’m buzzing! I also feel I have a lot more in the tank, I think I could have got 155 on the day (one of the spotters told me to do 145 for my second lift and 155 for my third, I wish I’d listened to him).

My goals for Nationals to be revealed, but are a “total” goal and a deadlift goal.

Over the next 5 weeks I’ll mainly be working on squat (weight, confidence, drive) and bench (technique, sticking point, a little extra weight).

I’ll leave it there before this gets far too long! If anyone from the BDFPA is reading, thank you for a very well organised, friendly, welcoming day. It was great fun and every single person I met was great. I’m a very happy new member of your Association 😀

BDFPA Qualifier: 307.5 Total is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


A Raw Powerlifter’s Competition-Day Packing List

January 15, 2016

I’m off to my first powerlifting comp tomorrow. I really should pack a bag.

Years ago, I did a “bodybuilding comp day” packing list for female competitors. It’s still one of my most popular posts. So I thought I’d do the same thing but for powerlifting. If nothing else, it’ll help me pack for tomorrow!

(That bodybuilder packing list is here, by the way, but I think I’ll re-post it so it’s not buried at the bottom of a load of waffle.) (Mmmm, waffles.)
powerlifting comp meet packing list
What To Pack For A Powerlifting Meet
(Assuming You’re A Raw Lifter and Female)

Clothing
Warm, loose clothing for travelling in, and for wearing between lifts
Change of clothing (or at least t-shirt) for afterwards
Trainers (unless you want to travel there in whatever you deadlift in)
Gloves, hat, extra layers if it’s a cold venue (or if you have Raynauds like I do)

Lifting Kit
Singlet
Belt
Wrist wraps
T-shirt (check your federation’s rules)
Sports bra (ditto)
Pants (ditto – apparently some federations don’t let you wear thongs)
Normal socks
Deadlift socks
Squat shoes
Deadlift shoes
Separate shoes for benchpress if you’re not wearing your squat or DL shoes
Chalk
Talc/baby powder
Nose tork if you use it

Drink
Water
Electrolye drink and/or
Some kind of carb drink
Some sort of pre workout (goes without saying that you’ll check the ingredients if you’re in a tested federation)
Hot drink in a flask (aka coffee 😉 )
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Food
Fast carbs (this could be in drink form)
Carb/protein meal/s (something you know your stomach is happy with)
Faster carb source (sweets, flapjack, bananas)
Food for afterwards, especially if you’ve got a long journey home
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“Sundries” (<<< love that word)
Towel
Wet wipes
Music and headphones
Phone charger and plug/in car charger
Cash
Tampons/towels if necessary
Pant liners if you think “a bit of wee might come out” (yes, really)
Any pain relief or muscle rub you use

Have I forgotten anything? Are there any secret weapon special items in your powerlifting meet bag?

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A Raw Powerlifter’s Comp Day Packing List is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Update on powerlifting training

December 19, 2015

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Four weeks today til my first powerlifting comp so I thought it was time for a training update.

Quick reminder for anyone who doesn’t know: powerlifting is the one where you perform three lifts in the actual competition. Squat, bench press, deadlift. You nominate your opening weight (the weight you’ll attempt for your first lift of all three lifts) before you start. You do each lift three times, going up in weight each time. You nominate your second and third weight once you’ve done each lift.

I’ve never done a powerlifting comp before so I have no idea what to expect. I know what I can lift in the gym but that’s not necessarily a prediction of what I’ll do on the day, what with adrenalin, people watching me, etc. Each lift is watched closely by referees and you only get a white light (“good lift”) if your technique is spot on. Squats have to be to depth, bench has to be paused at the chest, deadlift has to be locked out (there’s more to it than that, but that gives you an idea).

The qualifying lifts for my weight category are 90kgs squat, 50kgs bench, 110kgs deadlift, all of which I’ve done in the gym but that’s not to say I’ll get them in comp. Obviously I hope I will, but I’m well aware anything can happen on the day!
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Here’s how things have progressed over the last few weeks:
– I’ve been regularly squatting 80kgs and 85kgs for reps, 90kgs for 2-3 (although last week 90 felt very hard even for 1!) and I’ve done 100kg for 1 several times. I’d like to get more confident with squatting. I feel like it’s the lift which has improved the least, to be honest. Hm.

– I now bench 50kgs for reps with ease (which I’m very happy about because I can vividly remember the first time I did 50 for 5×5 – I felt like shouting it from the rooftops haha!), 60kgs for 2-3 and I got 65kgs for 1 with a lot of effort the other day. Last week I benched 70kgs to a board (powerlifting training technique) which gave me confidence. I’ve been doing a lot of paused bench as well which I actually really enjoy because I can feel it challenging my weak point in the press.

– I got a deadlift PB today! 145kgs. My love for deadlifting is well known (I never shut up about it). I’d love to set a new PB in comp but we’ll see. It wasn’t so long ago that I was jumping for joy about 140, so to get 145 today (whilst actually feeling quite shit after a late night last night) was very cool!

As well as working on my actual strength, I’ve been doing my best to work on technique, listening to the cues (so I don’t screw up on the day!), tackling my weak points in each lift, and maintaining some semblance of speed when things get heavy.
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And I am finding a way to co-exist peacefully with my Inzer belt. It’s softened up (a bit) and I guess I’ve toughened up. I just keep remembering that I only have to endure the pain for one rep at a time!

So, four weeks of training left til my comp. I guess one of those should be some kind of deload/rest. So, yeah, three weeks. One of which is Christmas/New Year/travelling/seeing family etc. Eek!

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Update on Powerlifting Training is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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