by Ryan Stinn
I get the question "when will I be ready for my first powerlifting meet?" all the time. Everyone is nervous to do their first meet and put themselves out in front of other people in the most flattering of all outfits, a singlet. People are worried that they aren't strong enough to do a meet and will be laughed out of the competition venue. This couldn't be further from the truth!
I honestly think that people should compete as soon as they can. However there are a few things that are important to know before you jump in.
As a caveat I compete in the Canadian Powerlifting Union that is a member of the International Powerlifting Federation and so some of my guidelines will be skewed towards that crowd.
These are important to know, I can't tell you how many people I've seen at their first meet that don't know there are commands or what those commands are. I would recommend you give a quick read of the IPF Rulebook (if you are competing outside the IPF, then I'm sure your federation has a rulebook available and you should read that). You don't need to read all the stuff about what a jury is for, etc, just read from page 10 to page 21 and that covers almost everything you need to know. This might take you a half hour but it's definitely time well spent!
Make sure you are performing your lifts to competition requirements, this means squatting to depth, pausing your benches and not dropping your deadlifts. If you need a set of eyes, tag me on IG @stinndler and I'll gladly help.
The IPF is pretty strict on what you can wear on the platform when competing, this will be covered in basics in the IPF Rulebook that is linked above but further to that it is in the IPF Approved List. We've tried to make this simple for you by creating a collection here on the site that has all of the IPF Approved stuff that we sell, go check it out! This can help you filter through what you are able to use on the platform. The three things that are an absolute must are a singlet, sport shoes and knee high socks for the deadlift.
Beyond the rules and equipment don't worry about what weight you will be lifting, everyone is at different stages in their career. Also don't worry about wearing a singlet in front of people, everyone is wearing one, and you won't look out of place at all.
You will be surprised by how helpful and friendly even the highest level lifters are. We all did our first meet at some point and remember how intimidating it can be. If you know someone who has competed see if they would be able to help you on meet day. It can be helpful to have someone to watch your warm ups and put your next attempts into the table. However if you don't have someone, don't let that stop you! As I mentioned above people are generally very friendly and willing to lend a hand if they can.
If you are still nervous and you've never been to a meet before and have the opportunity I would recommend going and watching. It will help you to learn the flow of a meet before you are the one doing the lifting. It can really help to take some of the nerves away from your first competition having seen how things go during the day.
Doing your first powerlifting meet can be a bit scary but remember it's supposed to be fun, so sign up, train hard and have a good time!
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!