Powerlifting Meet – Lessons learned

Yesterday, Saturday, was an awesome day at the Yorkshire & North East Masters and Junior Classic.

I competed in the Masters 2 which is the 50 to 60 bracket in the 66kg class.

The 66kg class was new for me but let me give you the facts behind it.

I normally weigh around 69-70kg, and at that weight I am lean but not ripped.

Over the last few years I have competed in powerlifting in the 74kg class. Being at my heaviest 72kg, this was hard for me to hold up as my metabolism is so fast. So I was between a rock and a hard place, undecided of which class to compete in. So over the last few months I just let my body settle into this new Conan program.

Remember the Conan program being neither powerlifting or body-building, but more of a feel thing – feeling and being strong and agile and ‘in shape’.

The diet got more towards eating lean, simply because that’s how I was moving in my training. I was training hard and fast not heavy and sluggish.

Coming into the powerlifting meet and weighing myself I noted 67-68 was the norm and I felt strong and very fluid. A couple of weeks before I was 67 so I sent word to the organisers to switch classes.

Being at many meets I knew their scales always weighed you light. This was just not my opinion but that of others I spoke to.

So I had nothing special to do, eat the same train the same, simple.

Meet Day, Saturday 02/07/016

I got up nice and early and went for my usual walk. When I got home I had the normal morning rituals, then had a bath and weighed myself. Bang on 66kg, awesome I thought, right I will weigh in at 8 as the meet was only down the road for me at our gym Brain and Brawn. Then I will have breakfast and water then I will have a coffee and chill. Jo came to mine for 7.30 and we chatted a little and set off at 7.50. I was shocked to see the gym full of girls in the entrance of the gym all waiting to be weighed in.

It was just before 9 that they started to weigh the men. So I had another coffee and waited to be called.

It wasn’t long and I was in the room checking in and I started to strip off down to my socks and pants. As I did, I looked over at the scale and was shocked to see it was different to the one I see at all the meets.

Bugger, oh well I was on 66 at home I have had nothing to eat or drink should be fine.

Stepped on, officials either side – 66.5!

So these scales are not light and are actually bang on, oh dear.

That will teach me I thought.

Dave the official said “Ian you are half a kilo over, you have till 10.30 to see if you can loose that”.

So that’s just over a pound I muttered to myself as I pulled on my kit and headed out into the gym.

Looked at Jo and Chris and said “I’m over”, they laughed and I set to getting a sweat on.

Walking lunges 200

Press Ups and Chins 3 x 10 back to back

My thoughts on this was it would warm up and prime my body for lifting rather than bike or something.

So I sweated a little then squeezed out a wee and 20 min later went back to the weighing room.

Down to my pants and socks again I stepped on – 66.03 — this was about 300g.

Officials Dave and Sheridan told me to take everything off.

Socks and pants off I stood on bollock naked – 66.01.

“Now exhale – blow out everything from your lungs” said Sheridan. I did and I watch the scale amazingly sit at 66.

Awesome I’m in! I thanked the guys and headed for some food and water – oat cakes I had made the night before, I then drank about a litre. It was only a half hour then I had to start warming up for the first lift of today Squats.

Warm ups went well and everything felt good.

I opened with 130kg good rep.

Next lift 135kg good rep.

Last lift 140kg fail – later I found I had failed on not locking out at the top.

Judging is very strict, let me just say here, and I like that as everyone has to do the same.

For the squat for instance you un-rack the bar, step back and stand still and tall. You do nothing till they say squat. Then you squat so your hips go below parallel.

Drive up the weight and stand still ramrod straight and do not move towards the rack till they say rack.

It’s like squatting to Simon says, so concentration is a must. There are so many things you can fail on.

Right after the Squat I went back to warming up for the Bench Press.

But within minutes, I knew I had a problem. Cramp. Both quads locked up even just sitting down onto the bench for the press caused huge spasms.

I took stock, here’s the problem I thought to myself. I have walked miles, lunged done press ups and chins and dried myself out to photo shoot look, make no wonder I’m cramping.

Remedy – water lots of it. By the time I had warmed up on the Bench fighting off the cramps as I did so I had got through 2 litres of water. They were starting to calm a little by the time I was lifting on the platform.

Lift one 85kg

Lift two 90kg

Lift three 92.5kg fail

These are performed as so. Weight is passed to you arms have to be locked. Ref says start. You lower to chest and hold it there The ref says press. You press to lock out. Ref says rack.

You cannot move until he says so.

No part of your body other than your arms pressing the bar can move or you get red lighted. To pass a lift you have a minimum of two white lights from the three judges/refs.

Cramp subsiding a little but still there if I moved wrong I was a little worried about coming into the Dead Lifts, as your legs are used.

So I chugged some more water and a little fruit.

Warm ups went very well with my timing for the whole comp so far being perfect. This meaning that from your last warm up weight you are not waiting to long before being on the platform. I was at the point in the fight of being one of only a few men my weight, the rest being girls. My weights were such that I was the last to lift at the end of a flight of 11 on each lift.

Our flight being flight B we flick flacked with flight A. So this made it easy to judged timing. As flight A got to there last round of lifts I knew I had to be on my last two warm up weights then do them then head out to the platform with a normal rest period for me and lift.

So I warmed up to 170kg

Headed over to the pit — then to the platform

Lift One 180kg

Lift Two 185kg

I picked this weight as 180 felt harder than it should I was also conservative with my legs, god forbid they lock up. 185kg I got but it was slow and pulled away forward.

So I called for 190kg and got raised eyebrows from Jo and Chris, knowing how that last one looked.

I had sussed it though, when I was heavier I stepped not as close to the bar. So when you looked down the bar run though your instep and this was perfect. I was doing the same now, but it felt wrong. I thought back to the days in the 69kg (no longer do) class and I use to compete at 67kg how then I use to shove my feet way under the bar so my shins touched it.

So thinking on – bar pulling away… I’m not close enough.

I said to the guys I have this, went out and readjusted my stance and the bar flew up.

The only commands you listen for here is bars loaded and when you are fully erect – with not a hitch in site ‘bar down’.

Wrap Up

Very happy with how the day went.

I lifted a total of 415kg and needed 335kg in my age a weight class for qualification into the British.

I won my age group and also the 66kg class on a wilks formula.

When I lifted in the class up I was not lifting a huge amount more and I can see I fit this class like a glove.

Things I learned are…

I don’t have to do the lifts as they stand, I have been doing variants of them and feel stronger and mobile.

I will have to come into the weight class like I was bodybuilding. When competing you come in maximum muscle minimum body fat. Although I looked like I was doing a show apart from hairy legs, I could have been fuller leaner and stronger at 66kg.

My thoughts were to sit around 67kg all the time then diet show like the last two weeks before a meet.

I learned to think – think and think of how things feel and look for tech errors constantly.

I also noted that if I kept calm and focused rather than aggressively lifting I lifted much better.

Not Done Yet

After an hour I was buzzing and decided to train, yes train ha ha.

I wanted to wrap up the upper body work. Legs were sore from both squats and dead’s and cramps.

Here was my wrap up

Dips 15kg 14 reps

Drop weight 8 reps

All slow strict pause bottom and top reps

No rest

Slid the weight back on

Chins 15kg 12 reps

Drop weight 6 reps

No rest

Dumbbell Shoulder Press 25kg 8 plus 2 forced

No rest

Lat Raise 12.5kg 15 reps

No rest

Close Grip Bench 15kg a side 10 plus 2 forced

No rest

Push Downs – weight ? – 15 reps

Job Done

Train next on Tuesday

Pro and rice cakes

Got a trophy — said thank you to everyone, then took a gang to Nandos.

Awesome day

Love to ya all

Ian x


1 reply
  1. Craig Dillon
    Craig Dillon says:

    Nice read that Ian , I remember doing the YNE back in 93` ( under 75kg … altho weighed around 71kg ) and I can relate to all you wrote mate.


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