Recently I was lucky enough to coach/hand out/wrap/be the warm-up-monolift-bitch etc at WA’s biggest ever Powerlifting competition (120 odd lifters), The GPC Powerlifting State Titles. Whilst I'm relatively new to Powerlifting these are just a few of my thoughts and observations from the weekend🤷♂️
Bar speed is the best dictator of attempt selection.
..not what you want to hit, not what you hit in training and not what gives a magical round number total. We’ve all made those emotionally charged attempt selections to try and hit numbers we “had in mind” our whole prep and a lot of times those emotions end up getting the better of us, having a coach/handler or personally being able to assess bar speed and make sensible and realistic attempt selections goes a long way to building a good total. On the weekend I witnessed a handful of lifters make jumps that were just never going to happen based on their previous lift. You must be able to unemotionally re-adjust.
Bench PB’s are very rarely comp PB’s?
After a quick recap of the results from the weekend there were clearly more missed Bench attempts than Squat and Deadlift. I’d hazard a guess that this is pretty typical. I might be out by a couple (because I can’t be fucked recounting) but there were 81 missed Squats, 74 missed Deadlifts and 119 missed Bench attempts over the weekend. To me, that’s a relatively big discrepancy! The reasons for this are obvious; we don’t train with proper calls enough and we don’t train Bench after Squats enough. Paused benching and benching to a call are two different things in my book, so training with calls will help. I also think it’s worthwhile benching after squatting for a designated period during comp prep before we get to the pointy end, this is something I plan on implementing more in the future. The last reason is simply the “how much you bench?” conundrum. It’s always been the yard stick/dick measuring competition and we are too emotionally attached to what we can bench, which leads to poor attempt selection.
Some of these knee wrapping techniques are fucking absurd.
I’m relatively new to knee wrapping and personally I’m not a big fan of it. It adds another thing to worry about on competition day, it’s yet another barrier to getting people into Powerlifting, it becomes a crutch and I don’t think it’s any safer (probably more dangerous) than competing in a knee sleeve. That’s just me. I wrapped two athletes over the weekend, we wrapped 2 lifters out from their attempts, starting the wrap on the tibial tuberosity (just below the knee) and wrapped to cover the bottom of the quad and tied that thing off – fucking simple. I then observed all types of illuminati type shit from other lifters and coaches as they wrapped up to 6 lifters out with a whole host of figure 8’s, elaborate criss-crosses using everything from garden tools to kitchen utensils (slight exaggeration) to try and eek out every little bit of help from their wraps in order to squat more. It seriously was like “knee wrapping” was the fourth Powerlifting exercise. Is this Raw or nah? *cue deep breathing.
Strong people aren’t always good at Powerlifting.
Being strong doesn’t make you a good Powerlifter! I’m sure you know what I mean. If your opening attempt is a 10 second grind and you take a 15kg jump on your next attempt – you might be strong but, you aren’t good at Powerlifting. It’s all about building a total. Making simple mistakes like rushing your warm up (or warming up forever), opening too high, not re-adjusting attempt selection, missing calls, not timing your wrapping, not playing the scoreboard - is bad Powerlifting.
Lasting the whole day is part of the game.
Big comps mean long days and if you can't keep your body in tune all day your gonna have a bad time (similar to if you french fried when you should've pizza'd). South Park jokes aside, 7 out of the 9 lifters who didn't attempt all three Deadlifts were men from the 100kg weight class and up. It might be a stretch but I think a bit of general conditioning comes into play here. It was a long day with 5 flights and a couple of hours between lifts, a few of the big boys definitely struggled with this.
Let me know what you think, what your thoughts are, or if I'm talking out my ass.
That’s it from me, and yes I know, I barely lift so I will proceed to shut the fuck up *sarcastic 👍*