Last weekend, RWF took three lifters down to the BDFPA National Full Power Championships, held at Motiv8 Gym in King’s Lynn (if you’re in the area, go take a look. Lifting paradise!).
The venue was excellent; a nicely set up gym with a great warm-up area and a separate room entirely for the actual competition lifts. It made a nice change to be lifting in a room without the distractions of the warm-ups in the background…every little helps when you’re on the platform!
The refereeing standard was incredibly strict – as you’d expect at a National level competition – and it was pretty nerve-wracking to watch many lifters failing their opening attempts (some down to poor opening lift selection, some down to nerves). I think it’s safe to say that if you have any doubts at all about your squat depth, you need to eradicate that before competing at a National event.
I (Derran) finished with a 207.5kg squat, a 145kg bench press, and a 210kg deadlift. Those were all competition PBs, meaning I also got a new PB on my total, up 12.5kg to 562.5kg. I was really happy to only fail one lift (an ambitious 220kg deadlift; any of you who follow me on social media will be bored to tears by my deadlift struggles). All the other 8 lifts I had three white lights on, meaning they were pretty much perfect lifts on the day. Getting a better total than I’d expected meant I finished higher than I had thought possible – I came in 8th out of 16, well ahead of the 12/13th I’d been targeting.
Being the oldest guy in the Open class by a couple of years makes it a nice achievement too. Next year, I’ll be 40 and in the M1 (Masters) class. The next competition for me is likely to be a qualifier for next year’s Nationals, probably around September 2016. I’ll be expecting a top 3 finish in the M1 class next year. And a vastly improved deadlift!
Video of the slowest 207.5kg squat you’ll ever see:
So what did I learn/see on the day? Here’s my take-home list, in no particular order:
- Travelling down the night before, and staying in a local hotel, is essential. Less stress = better lifting.
- Get to the venue EARLY. You get weighed in quicker, get to eat sooner and again…less stress.
- Bring more food than you think you could possibly eat. You’ll eat it all. Also, litres of water!
- Set up a playlist that inspires you. This is the first comp I’ve had headphones in for between lifts, and it made a MASSIVE difference to concentration levels
- Set your openers as low as you can, whilst still being respectable lifts. NOTHING gives you more confidence and reduces nerves like getting three whites on your first squat. Likewise, nothing messes with your head more than failing your first lift.
- Do as you’re told! So many people missed the basic commands, and failed otherwise ‘good’ lifts.
- Constantly check who’s up next. Make sure you know who’s in your ‘flight’. Don’t assume anyone will come and find you to tell you it’s time to lift. They’ll just plough ahead without you.
- If you’re going to struggle to make weight, try and get rid of some excess a couple of weeks before you compete. The less harsh your dieting/water loading has to be in competition week, the better you’ll lift.
- Lift for the conditions on the day. If you feel like shit, revise your expectations. Getting a total is the first thing that matters; you can’t compete without a total. If your second lift was supposed to be 200kg, but your opening 180kg barely passed, *change your second lift* and go lower. Better to get a lower total than would have been ideal, than a rubbish total. I wanted a 210kg squat, but the 200kg felt niggly and I’d seen people miss third attempts on depth. I dropped to 207.5kg so I could really nail it. Turns out I only just got that – I’d have bombed at 210kg and dropped 10kg off my total, and out of the top 10….
- Be nice to everyone! Everyone is nervous, probably even the spotters, loaders and judges. They’re all human. Let’s not turn powerlifting into physique shows where everyone has an ego the size of the Millenium Dome.
Photo credits go to Dave McWilliams.. You can see more of his pics from the day on his Facebook page.