Previous to my education at Western University I attended Canadore College. While I was the president of the powerlifting team we won best team award at three OPA College/University Meets. This guide is to give everyone who is a part of the team going to Seneca an idea of what to expect. Naturally there will be some things you may disagree with, however, in the best interest of the club gaining recognition by winning best team, I would respectfully ask you keep your opinion to yourself and mess up at another meet. Put aside your ego and take advantage of this great opportunity to be coached by extremely knowledgeable individuals. They will ensure you have a great first experience and put together a solid total on the platform.
Heed this advice: this is a once in a lifetime lifting opportunity-- very seldom is a collective effort like this made at a powerlifting meet to help new competitors succeed. If you don’t want to follow this advice because you feel we won’t allow you to accomplish your goals, ultimately it’s your meet. You can at any time take your attempt cards, do your own warm ups, and pick your own attempts.
You’ve Registered, Now What?
Besides training your asses off you will need a few pieces of equipment. Before purchasing anything be sure to double check the “IPF approved equipment list”. If you google this, you will find a comprehensive list that includes everything you can wear on meet day.
These rules are strictly enforced
You will need to buy a singlet which are available at Inner Strength or Titan Canada. Do not buy a singlet from elsewhere as usually they have international shipping charges and can often take weeks to months to ship. They are not cheap but it’s a necessary expense you can’t lift without one. Order them early!
You will need socks that go up to your knees for deadlifts. Soccer socks work but I personally buy mine at Ardene’s. They have great socks there that are really cheap.
Women probably won’t need to worry about this too much. Underwear cannot have any leg aspect to them at all; they need to be your traditional tighty whities or a thong. They cannot be boxers or briefs and don’t think they will not know what you’re wearing. Just buy the pair of underwear because they do look for this and if you’re caught all your lifts will be disqualified.
Print out a copy of your CPU card before hand. You are allowed to use a picture of it on your phone, but having a paper copy on the day of is always best. Make sure your CPU card is not expired at the time of the meet or you will not be allowed to lift.
Have a copy of your student card on you at the meet since they may ask for it when you enter weigh ins.
All meets provide chalk for athletes in both the warm up area and platform area.
Baby Powder (Optional)
For your deadlifts! It looks funny but it does help.
There are little restrictions on footwear, but make sure they don’t have giant holes in them.
Knee Sleeves (Optional)
Check the IPF approved equipment list and if your kind of knee sleeves are not allowed you cannot wear them.
Check the IPF approved equipment list and if your belt is not on there you cannot use it. Odds are if your belt didn’t cost you over $100 it’s not allowed. Inzer belts are not marked but all judges know what Inzer belts look like so you don’t need the markings.
Wrist Wraps (Optional)
Check the IPF approved equipment list
Bring some food to eat before and after weigh ins. Bring food to snack on between squats, bench, and deadlift. Bring lots of food, but not stuff that is super heavy – go for snacks that will give you lots of energy. There’s tons of junk food in the warmup room. It’s light on the stomach and digests fast to give you lots of energy. Do not count on the fact that there will be food on site, though.
**************************** DO NOT CUT WEIGHT **************************
There’s a big difference between cleaning up your diet and losing weight through eating healthy food and intentionally going in a caloric deficit. Do not cut weight! No one doing this meet is going for any national or international records. Odds are your Collegiate records will even be broken within a month because there is another Collegiate meet in Ottawa, so why risk injury in order to lift in a certain class? No one cares how much you weigh -- all that matters is your total.
For example, let’s say you want to hit a 400kg total at this meet. You cut weight and you struggle to hit your 400kg total, but you hit it. Instead of cutting you actually eat properly and because of this you hit your 400kg total with ease fully knowing you have another 20kg to add to your total next meet. Is losing that 5lbs really worth it?
If you do weigh over the weight class you’ve signed up for you will just be moved up to the next weight class; you will not be penalized for this. So don’t worry about your weight and just eat.
Leave your attitude at home since it will not be tolerated by coaches, refs, or fellow lifters. If you have a problem save it for later.
DO NOT SWEAR ON THE PLATFORM: if you do you will be disqualified from the meet!
Do not get upset with the judges! They are there to help you succeed not to make you fail. If you fail, it’s your fault not there’s so don’t take it out on them. You chose to lift in the strictest federation of powerlifting in the world. In order to even pass the Level 1 Provincial Ref test you need 90% or better so remember that.
If you argue with the refs or are disrespectful you will find yourself kicked out of the competition.
Figure out a way to get to the meet however you would like. I would highly recommend not driving on the day of. If you miss weigh ins you will not lift. You’ve already paid close to $300 for this meet -- why risk it for the sake of an extra few bucks? Not to mention, lifting after a 3 hour car ride is horrible.
When you arrive, the first thing is to find the weigh in area. Then sit down and wait patiently until your name is called. Weigh ins start two hours before the lifting is scheduled to start. When you go in there will be a ref sitting there who will request to see your CPU card. They will then ask you strip down to your underwear and socks and weigh in. They will record your weight and ask you for your opening attempts in kilograms. The coach will provide you with these openers, which will be light and for a good reason.
After you weigh in, find the equipment check area where a ref will be sitting to check all your equipment you plan on wearing on the platform. Any equipment that is not checked in cannot be used during the meet. As mentioned earlier you will be disqualified if caught.
Equipment check list
You can have more than one piece of equipment i.e., a pair of shoes for squats and another for deadlifts.
After this go and get your rack heights for both Squat and Bench. Wear your proper bench and squat shoes when getting your rack heights. There will be people there to assist you in getting your rack heights.
After these three things are done go and sit down. Eat and eat and eat some more get your body ready to lift but don’t get too full. Stop eating about 45 mins before the start of lifting.
When to start warm ups and how many warm up attempts you will take will be at the discretion of the coaches.
Do not hang out in the warm up area if you are not lifting in that flight. This helps keep the warm up room congestion-free. As you will see, traffic during lifting will be super annoying.
The referees will have a clinic where they go over the three lifts and say exactly what is expected, going over all the rules and commands.
Attempt selection will be at the discretion of the coaches
For the first-timers any attempt you make will be a meet PR. Gym and competition lifts are completely separate things.
The individuals coming out to coach are taking time out of their lives and spending money to come help you, so respect that by trusting them 100%. They are there for the singular purpose of helping you be successful, so when they say I’m loading this even if it’s 25lbs off your max, don’t argue with them about attempt selection. There’s a reason they chose that weight. Those who argue about attempt selections will be given their attempt cards and will be responsible for coaching themselves for the rest of the competition. This may seem harsh but it all boils down to respect for the coach’s time.
Lifters are placed into weight classes and then placed into flights; usually the flights include 8-14 lifters. Each lifter in the first flight will take their first attempt before moving onto the second attempts. The weight is loaded on the bar from lowest weight to the highest weight for each attempt. This is the same set up for second and third attempts. So if you start first in the flight then you will have to wait until every other lifter in your flight has done their first attempt. This same order repeats itself until all lifters have done all three attempts. Then the second flight of lifters will start, in this exact same order, until all flights for that individual session are finished.
Usually the day is broken up into two sessions, with the female weight classes and lighter men in the first session of lifting. The second session is usually the remainder of weight classes. However, this changes from meet to meet depending on entries. The meet director will include the layout of the flights before the meet.
So for example, if the morning session has two flights of lifters, the first flight will do all three of their squat attempts. Then the second flight will do all three squat attempts before moving onto bench. Then both flights will do their benches in this same order, then the same will happen with deadlifts. Usually there is about a 10 min break between each lift to prepare the platform crew and refs for the next lift.
Attempt Selection at future meets
Typically, you want to open with a weight you know you can hit very easily. This is because usually on meet days you’re very nervous before your first attempt and strict judging can mess up how you lift. You want it to be an easy lift so it will boost your confidence. I usually open with a weight I can do for an easy triple. It should be a weight you can hit any day of the week no matter how tired or sick you are.
Once your first attempt is on the board you’re in the contest and can start adding some weight on the bar. The second attempt is usually dictated by how well your opening attempt moved. Usually what I like to do is pick a number that is fairly close to my gym 1RM, roughly around 95-97%.
The third attempt you can use to either build your total by taking a smaller jump to a weight you know you will hit, or you can go for broke loading on 105-110% of your current max. Contest adrenaline can make you hit some crazy numbers.
After each attempt you have 60 seconds to get in your next attempt selection, so have a plan before hand and make sure all your attempts are in kg.
Regardless of whatever style programming you are following, each one will have the same basic layout. When you’re about 12-6 weeks out you will be doing a high volume of total reps at a moderate intensity. When you’re 6 weeks out your intensity begins to increase and your volume lowers slightly.
The week before you should be doing doubles at 70% early in the week 7-4 days out and 4-1 day out you should be doing 70% singles for very few sets 3-5.
Here is a very simple linear progression to demonstrate this:
Week 1: 4x10
Week 2: 4x9
Week 3: 4x8
Week 4: 4x7
Week 5: 4x6
Week 6: 5x5
Week 7: 6x4
Week 8: 7x3
Week 9: 8x2
Meet Week: 3-5 sets and 70% doubles (early in week 7-4 days out) and 70% singles (late in week 4-1 day)
Typically, I like to test my lifts by doing rep maxes e.g., finding out your max for 3 repetitions. If you can figure this out before hand and provide this information to the coaches, they will have a good idea of what your max is. This helps reduce injuries before a meet as 1RM take much more out of your body than rep maxes.
I like testing my deadlift rep max roughly 21 days out, squat 14 days out, and bench roughly 7 days out. Do not just sit around and not train on your meet week. These sessions are to simply keep the movement pattern well rehearsed. For a more individualized peaking program please contact me privately as I am offering peaking programs for a heavily discounted rate for those doing this meet.