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The Top Five Mistakes You Will See Lifters Make at a Powerlifting Meet
By Keith Payne
As a spectator, former lifter and coach I have attended well over a 100 powerlifting meets. I have directed over a 140 additional IBP meets. So, I have participated in one fashion or another 240 powerlifting meets. Over the course of these events I have witnessed the same lifter mistakes being made time after time.
I started to name this article The Top Five Novice Mistakes but after further reflection I remember that these mistakes were made by many “veteran” lifters as well. As a meet director you always want to see people have a positive experience and go home encouraged about their performance. Unfortunately, many times lifters have negative results due to lack of coaching, poor knowledge of the rules or being unfamiliar with the flow of a powerlifting meet.
Here are the most common mistakes we see:
- Not understanding the rules. Having a good comprehension of the rulebook can alleviate the majority of the following mistakes that are repeatedly made at most powerlifting meets. Many Novice lifters fail to have a basic knowledge of the lifting rules. It is imperative that a lifter is well versed on the rules!Also, many veteran lifters are not aware of the rule differences between different powerlifting organizations. Many times it is assumed that the rules are the same.(Example: USAPL has a start command when benching. IBP does not.)Please attend and participate in the rules meeting prior to each meet. Always feel free to ask questions if needed.
- Opening with too much weight. Countless lifters have bombed out of meets because they started with a weight that was too heavy. Keep in mind the bar will not be reduced in weight in the case of a failed attempt. So, if the first attempt is missed the lifter must retry the same weight or move up in weight on the next attempt. It is very important to choose a weight that can be comfortably completed.
- Not following judge’s commands. Many otherwise good lifts have been declined because of a simple “technical” rules violation. The RACK command comes to mind as the most egregious.
- Apparel Infractions. Lifters have been known to show up to a meet with no understanding of what they are required to wear. They end up rushing around before the meet trying to find a singlet or appropriate footwear. This can ruin a powerlifting experience.
- Novice Lifter wearing supportive suit or shirt. It is a sad sight to see a novice lifter who many times has been encouraged by a coach or co-lifter to wear a squat suit or bench shirt when clearly they have not even established any “raw” strength yet. This is ignorant and many times dangerous for the lifter.Well that is my top five but there are certainly many more mistakes that are commonly made at powerlifting meets. As stated before, we want every lifter to have a positive powerlifting experience. Most of the time mistakes can be avoided by a good understanding of the rules. Also, we encourage all new lifters to find a good mentor. The sport of Powerlifting unlike some other sports is known for an abundance of competitors willing to help other competitors.Keith PayneExecutive Director