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Your First Powerlifting Meet


So you want to do your first meet? This guide will give you an idea on what you can expect. I hope this helps some of you, so you are not going in blind.

First: How to do the power lifts according to the judges.

This guide assumes you already know how to squat, bench, and deadlift. I’ll also assume you are entering a “full power” meet, which consists of these three lifts. This guide may also be helpful for push/pull meets, and bench only. Before you step on the platform, make sure you are performing the lifts in a way that will pass in competition.

Part 1: Peppering Thy Angus

The first lift, the Squat

  • Make sure you are reaching proper squat depth. If your squat doesn’t reach the standard depth, it will not pass.
  • Prepare for meet day conditions, and ditch the mirror.

The Bench

  • Paused on the chest
  • Ass remains in contact with the bench
  • Toes on floor or feet flat (check your federation’s rule book)

The Deadlift

  • No wrist straps, gloves, hooks, etc. Just bare hands, chalk and a strong grip. Mixed grip (over under) and hook grip are allowed.
  • Don’t drop the bar, keep your hands on the bar until the bar hits the floor.
  • And of course, don’t start with the bar from a rack. You will have to pick the bar up off the floor at the meet.

Equipment: What’s required, recommended, and optional.

You will probably want to know what you need to bring along with you for your first powerlifting meet. Make sure you order needed equipment early enough to arrive by competition date!

Part 2: The Meat and Potatoes

Required Items:

  • Singlet
  • Knee high socks (Required for Deadlift)
  • T-shirt (Usually only for Squat and Bench)
  • Shoes

Recommended Items (Check your federation’s specific rules!):

  • Belt
  • Knee Sleeves
  • Knee Wraps (Check your federation’s rules)
  • “Lifting Shoes” (Chuck Taylor’s, deadlift slippers, weightlifting shoes, etc.)
  • Wrist Wraps
  • Nose Tork / Ammonia

How to pick your first meet.

Part 3: Picking The Right Pepper

Picking your first meet, signing up, and weigh-ins.

  • Pick a meet
  • Read the federation rules carefully! (Causes for disqualification, equipment, etc.)
  • Sign up (Pick your class, weight class, and sometimes age division)
  • Send it in early (Don’t miss the deadline)


Figure out when and where you will be weighing in. It is recommended to weigh-in as early as possible, and get it out of the way. Depending on the federations, the weigh-in options may be the day before, the night before, or the morning of the meet. It is strongly recommended you do not attempt to cut weight your first meet! Weigh-in at your typical every day bodyweight.

Turn in your opening attempts:

A good rule of thumb is to pick your first attempt with a weight you can do for a triple with ease. Be very conservative on this first opening attempt to avoid “bombing out”. You may be much weaker on meet day in the given conditions. A training partner may be useful for judging following attempts.

Your opening weight may be “locked in” after a period of time depending on your federation. This means, if warm ups are going poorly this day, you may be unable to change your first attempts weight. Again, be conservative. You should be able to ask how much time you have to change your opening attempt.


Continue to page 2 for Parts 4 and 5.


  1. Sherry

    This was extremely helpful. Thank you! First meet is this weekend!

  2. Brian CP

    “Make sure you are reaching proper squat depth. If your squat doesn’t reach the standard depth, it will not pass.”

    Well, it SHOULDN’T be passed, but most feds have some questionable judges.

    That said, assume you will have to squat to proper depth (hip crease below top of the knee) and you will be stronger than the half squatters getting by on gifts.

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