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Deadlift Competitions: Insights for First-Time Competitors

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  • Post last modified:17 November 2023

Deadlifting is one of the most popular and effective strength training exercises. It involves lifting a heavy barbell from the floor to a standing position, using the muscles of the legs, back, arms, and core. Deadlifting can improve your physical fitness, posture, bone density, and metabolism.

But did you know that deadlifting can also be a fun and rewarding sport? Deadlift competitions are events where you can test your strength, challenge yourself, and compete with others. They are open to anyone who wants to participate, regardless of age, gender, or experience level.

By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive and detailed guide on how to participate and excel in deadlift competitions. You will also learn why deadlift competitions are a great way to improve your strength, fitness, health, and happiness.

Understanding Deadlift Competitions

deadlift competitions

Deadlift competitions are events where you can showcase your strength and skill in deadlifting. They are usually part of powerlifting meets, which also include squat and bench press competitions. However, some deadlift competitions are standalone events, where you only have to perform the deadlift.

The concept of deadlift competitions is simple: you have to lift as much weight as possible for one repetition. You can choose the weight that you want to attempt, but you have to follow certain rules and standards. You also have to compete against other lifters in your category, which is determined by your body weight, age, and gender.

There are various classes in deadlift competitions, depending on the level of competition and the type of equipment used. The most common class is the Open Class, which is open to anyone who wants to participate. To register for the Open Class, you just have to pay an entry fee and sign a waiver. You can also join a powerlifting federation, which will provide you with more benefits and opportunities.

Key Aspects of Deadlift Competitions

key aspects of deadlift competitions

Deadlift competitions are exciting and rewarding events, but they also have some key aspects that you need to consider before you sign up. Here are some of the most important ones:

Barbell Weight Range

The barbell weight range is the variation in weight that you can attempt in a deadlift competition. The weight range depends on the level of competition and the skill level of the lifters. Generally, the weight range is between 60 kg (132 lbs) and 500 kg (1102 lbs), but it can vary depending on the event.

The weight range is suitable for different skill levels, from beginners to advanced lifters. Beginners can start with lighter weights and gradually increase them as they gain confidence and strength. Advanced lifters can challenge themselves with heavier weights and aim for personal records.

Prizes and Awards

The prizes and awards are the incentives and rewards that you can receive for participating and performing well in a deadlift competition. The prizes and awards depend on the level of competition and the number of participants. Generally, the prizes and awards are trophies, medals, certificates, cash, or merchandise, but they can vary depending on the event.

The prizes and awards are given to the best lifters in each category, based on their body weight, age, and gender. The best lifters are determined by their Wilks score, which is a formula that measures the relative strength of the lifters. The Wilks score takes into account the weight lifted and the body weight of the lifter.

Cost of Participation

The cost of participation is the amount of money that you have to pay to join a deadlift competition. The cost of participation depends on the level of competition and the type of event. Generally, the cost of participation is between $20 and $100, but it can vary depending on the event.

The cost of participation covers the entry fee, the registration fee, the membership fee, and the drug testing fee. The entry fee is the fee that you pay to enter the competition. The registration fee is the fee that you pay to register for the competition. The membership fee is the fee that you pay to join a powerlifting federation. The drug testing fee is the fee that you pay to undergo a drug test, which is mandatory for some competitions.

The cost of participation is relatively low compared to other sports, such as running, cycling, or triathlon. However, you also have to consider the cost of travel, accommodation, food, and equipment, which can add up to your expenses.

Essential Equipment

The essential equipment is the gear that you need to use in a deadlift competition. The essential equipment depends on the level of competition and the type of event. Generally, the essential equipment is a barbell, plates, collars, a belt, and shoes, but it can vary depending on the event.

The barbell is the metal bar that you use to lift the weight. The plates are the metal discs that you attach to the barbell to adjust the weight. The collars are the metal rings that you use to secure the plates to the barbell. The belt is the leather or nylon strap that you wear around your waist to support your back and core. The shoes are the footwear that you wear to provide stability and traction.

The essential equipment is required for safety and performance reasons. You have to use the equipment that meets the standards and specifications of the event. You also have to use the equipment that suits your preference and comfort.

Rules and Standards for Powerlifting Deadlifts

Powerlifting deadlifts are the type of deadlifts that you perform in a deadlift competition. They are different from the deadlifts that you perform in a gym or at home. Powerlifting deadlifts have specific rules and standards that you have to follow to ensure a valid and successful lift. Here are some of the most important ones:

General Rules

The general rules are the rules that apply to all aspects of the lift, from the start to the finish. The general rules are:

  • You have to perform the lift on a platform that is level and flat.
  • You have to use a standard barbell that is 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) long and 20 kg (44 lbs) heavy.
  • You have to use standard plates that are 45 cm (17.7 inches) in diameter and vary in weight from 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) to 25 kg (55 lbs).
  • You have to use standard collars that are 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) each and fit snugly on the barbell.
  • You have to wear a singlet that is one-piece and form-fitting, and covers your torso and legs.
  • You have to wear shoes that are flat and cover your entire foot.
  • You have to wear a belt that is 10 cm (3.9 inches) wide or less, and made of leather or nylon.
  • You have to follow the commands of the referees, who are three officials who judge your lift.
  • You have to perform the lift within one minute of receiving the signal to start.
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Movement Standards

The movement standards are the standards that apply to the execution of the lift, from the beginning to the end. The movement standards are:

  • You have to start the lift with the barbell resting on the floor and your feet flat on the platform.
  • You have to grip the barbell with both hands, either with an overhand grip or a mixed grip (one hand over, one hand under).
  • You have to lift the barbell in one continuous motion, without resting or bouncing it on the floor.
  • You have to keep your arms straight and locked throughout the lift, without bending or jerking them.
  • You have to keep the barbell close to your body and your chest up throughout the lift, without dropping or lowering it.
  • You have to finish the lift with your knees and hips locked and your shoulders back, in a standing position.
  • You have to hold the barbell at the top until you receive the signal to lower it.
  • You have to lower the barbell to the floor in a controlled manner, without dropping or throwing it.

Judging

The judging is the process of evaluating your lift and determining whether it is valid or invalid. The judging is done by the referees, who are three officials who watch your lift from different angles. The judging is based on the following criteria:

  • The referees use a system of lights to indicate their decision: white for a good lift, red for a bad lift, and yellow for a warning or a technical fault.
  • The referees use a majority vote to determine the final verdict: two or more white lights for a good lift, two or more red lights for a bad lift, and a combination of white, red, and yellow lights for a disputed lift.
  • The referees can give you a bad lift for various reasons, such as: not following the commands, not locking out your knees or hips, not keeping your arms straight, not keeping the barbell close to your body, not holding the barbell at the top, not lowering the barbell in a controlled manner, or using illegal equipment or assistance.

Preparation and Strategy for Your First Meet

If you are interested in participating in a deadlift competition, you need to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the event. You also need to have a strategy that will help you perform your best and achieve your goals. Here are some steps and tips that will help you get ready for your first meet:

14 Steps to Prepare for Your First Meet

  • Step 1: Choose a Meet 
    • Find a meet that suits your level, location, and schedule. You can use online platforms like [Powerlifting Watch] or [Open Powerlifting] to search for upcoming meets in your area.
  • Step 2: Register for the Meet 
    • Register for the meet as soon as possible, as some meets have limited spots and fill up quickly. You can register online or by mail, depending on the meet. You will have to pay an entry fee and provide your personal information, such as your name, age, weight, and federation membership.
  • Step 3: Join a Federation 
    • Join a powerlifting federation that organizes or sanctions the meet that you want to compete in. You can choose from various federations, such as [USAPL], [USPA], [RPS], or [APF], depending on your preference and availability. You will have to pay a membership fee and follow the rules and regulations of the federation.
  • Step 4: Plan Your Training 
    • Plan your training program for the weeks or months leading up to the meet. You can use online templates or hire a coach to design a program that fits your needs and goals. You should focus on improving your strength, technique, and conditioning for the deadlift. You should also include accessory exercises, mobility work, and recovery methods in your program. You should train at least three times a week, and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your workouts as you approach the meet.
  • Step 5: Test Your Max 
    • Test your one-rep max (1RM) for the deadlift at least four weeks before the meet. You can use online calculators or formulas to estimate your 1RM based on your previous lifts, or you can perform a max-out session in the gym. You should warm up properly and use a spotter or a safety rack for your max attempt.
  • Step 6: Choose Your Attempts 
    • Choose your attempts for the meet based on your 1RM and your confidence level. You can use online tools or spreadsheets to plan your attempts, or you can consult with a coach or a friend. You should choose three attempts for the meet: an opener, a second attempt, and a third attempt. Your opener should be a weight that you can lift easily and comfortably, around 90% of your 1RM. Your second attempt should be a weight that you can lift with some effort, around 95% of your 1RM. Your third attempt should be a weight that you can lift with maximal effort, around 100% or more of your 1RM.
  • Step 7: Cut or Maintain Your Weight 
    • Cut or maintain your weight for the meet depending on your body weight and your weight class. You can use online calculators or scales to monitor your weight and your body fat percentage. You should aim to be within 2-3 kg (4-6 lbs) of your weight class limit at least two weeks before the meet. You can use various methods to cut or maintain your weight, such as diet, hydration, supplementation, or sauna. You should avoid drastic or unhealthy weight cuts, as they can affect your performance and your health. You should also rehydrate and refuel properly after the weigh-in, which is usually 24 hours before the meet.
  • Step 8: Pack Your Bag 
    • Pack your bag for the meet at least a day before the event. You should pack all the essential equipment that you need for the meet, such as your singlet, belt, shoes, socks, chalk, and water bottle. You should also pack some extra items that you may need, such as your ID, registration form, membership card, cash, snacks, towels, headphones, and a camera. You should check the rules and regulations of the meet and the federation to make sure that your equipment is legal and approved. You should also label your equipment with your name and contact information in case you lose or misplace them.
  • Step 9: Arrive Early 
    • Arrive early to the meet venue at least an hour before the start of the event. You should check in with the organizers, weigh in, and get your rack height and opening attempt. You should also familiarize yourself with the layout of the venue, the equipment, and the schedule of the meet.
  • Step 10: Warm Up 
    • Warm up properly before your first attempt. You should start with some general warm-up exercises, such as jogging, skipping, or jumping jacks, to raise your body temperature and blood flow. You should then move on to some specific warm-up exercises, such as mobility drills, dynamic stretches, or activation exercises, to prepare your joints and muscles for the lift. You should then perform some warm-up sets with the barbell, starting with an empty bar and gradually increasing the weight until you reach your opener. You should rest between each set and avoid fatigue and exhaustion. You should time your warm-up sets so that you finish them about 10 minutes before your first attempt.
  • Step 11: Perform Your Attempts 
    • Perform your attempts according to the order and the commands of the referees. You should listen to the announcer and wait for your name and number to be called. You should then approach the bar and get into position. You should wait for the referee’s signal to start the lift, which is usually a downward motion of the arm or a verbal command of “down”. You should then perform the lift according to the movement standards and hold the bar at the top until you receive the referee’s signal to lower the bar, which is usually an upward motion of the arm or a verbal command of “up”. You should then lower the bar to the floor in a controlled manner and wait for the referee’s decision, which is indicated by the lights or the flags. You should then return to your seat and rest until your next attempt.
  • Step 12: Adjust Your Attempts 
    • Adjust your attempts based on your performance and your goals. You can increase, decrease, or repeat your attempts depending on the outcome of your previous attempts. You should use a strategy that maximizes your total and your Wilks score, while also considering your personal records and your expectations. You should also be realistic and flexible with your attempts, and avoid ego and emotion. You should submit your next attempt to the scorekeeper within one minute of completing your previous attempt. You can also change your next attempt once before the start of the round, but not after.
  • Step 13: Celebrate Your Achievements 
    • Celebrate your achievements after completing your final attempt. You should congratulate yourself and your fellow lifters for your efforts and your results. You should also thank the organizers, the referees, the spotters, the loaders, and the volunteers for their work and their support. You should also collect your prizes and awards if you have any.
  • Step 14: Learn from Your Experience 
    • Learn from your experience after the meet. You should reflect on your performance and your progress, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. You should also seek and receive feedback from yourself and others, and analyze your mistakes and your successes. You should then use the lessons and the insights that you have gained to improve your future lifts and meets.
Related:  Deadlift Posture Benefits: Enhancing Form and Strength

15 Tips for Powerlifting Meet Success

powerlifting meet success
  • Tip 1: Have Fun 
    • Have fun and enjoy the meet. You should treat the meet as a celebration of your strength and your skill, and not as a stressful or a scary event. You should also have a positive and a friendly attitude, and interact and socialize with other lifters and spectators.
  • Tip 2: Be Prepared 
    • Be prepared and organized for the meet. You should have a checklist of all the things that you need to do and bring for the meet, and follow it accordingly. You should also have a backup plan in case something goes wrong, such as a missed lift, a broken equipment, or a delayed schedule.
  • Tip 3: Be Flexible 
    • Be flexible and adaptable to the meet. You should expect some changes and surprises in the meet, such as a different barbell, a different platform, a different referee, or a different lifter. You should also be ready to adjust your attempts, your warm-ups, or your strategy according to the situation.
  • Tip 4: Be Confident 
    • Be confident and believe in yourself for the meet. You should trust your training and your preparation, and know that you are capable of performing well. You should also use positive self-talk and affirmations, and visualize yourself succeeding in the meet. You should also avoid negative thoughts and doubts, and focus on the present.
  • Tip 5: Be Smart 
    • Be smart and use a strategy that works for you for the meet. You should plan your attempts, your warm-ups, and your rest periods carefully, and follow them accordingly. You should also listen to your body and your intuition, and make adjustments as needed. You should also avoid unnecessary risks and mistakes.
  • Tip 6: Be Safe
    • Be safe and avoid injuries and accidents for the meet. You should use proper form and technique for the lift, and avoid lifting beyond your capabilities. You should also use appropriate equipment and assistance, such as a belt, a spotter, or a safety rack. You should also warm up properly and cool down properly.
  • Tip 7: Be Hydrated 
    • Be hydrated and drink enough water for the meet. You should drink at least 2 liters (0.5 gallons) of water per day, and more on the day of the meet. You should also avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks, as they can dehydrate you and affect your performance.
  • Tip 8: Be Nourished
    • Be nourished and eat enough food for the meet. You should eat a balanced diet that consists of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. You should also eat a large meal the night before the meet, and a small meal a few hours before the meet. You should also snack on healthy foods during the meet, such as fruits, nuts, or bars.
  • Tip 9: Be Rested 
    • Be rested and sleep enough for the meet. You should sleep at least 8 hours per night, and more on the night before the meet. You should also avoid staying up late, watching TV, or using your phone, as they can disrupt your sleep quality and affect your performance.
  • Tip 10: Be Supported 
    • Be supported and bring someone with you for the meet. You should bring a friend, a family member, a coach, or a teammate, who can help you with your equipment, your attempts, your warm-ups, and your feedback. You should also cheer for them and appreciate their help and their presence.
  • Tip 11: Be Focused 
    • Be focused and concentrate on your lift for the meet. You should block out distractions and irrelevant thoughts, and focus on the present moment. You should also use cues and triggers to enhance your focus, such as music, mantras, or chants. You should also breathe deeply and relax your muscles before the lift.
  • Tip 12: Be Aggressive 
    • Be aggressive and lift with intensity and power for the meet. You should approach the bar with a fierce and confident attitude, and lift the weight with maximal effort and speed. You should also use your primal instinct and your emotions to fuel your lift, such as anger, excitement, or joy.
  • Tip 13: Be Positive 
    • Be positive and have a good attitude for the meet. You should have realistic and attainable goals, and celebrate your achievements and progress. You should also have a growth mindset, and view your failures and frustrations as opportunities for learning and improvement. You should also avoid comparing yourself to others, and focus on your own performance.
  • Tip 14: Be Respectful 
    • Be respectful and follow the etiquette and the rules for the meet. You should respect the organizers, the referees, the spotters, the loaders, and the volunteers, and thank them for their work and their support. You should also respect your fellow lifters, and congratulate them for their efforts and their results.
  • Tip 15: Be Grateful 
    • Be grateful and appreciate the opportunity and the experience for the meet. You should be grateful for your strength and your skill, and for the chance to showcase them. You should also be grateful for your health and your well-being, and for the ability to lift and to compete.
Related:  Deadlift Recovery: Best Practices and Techniques

FAQs on Deadlift Competitions

Here are some frequently asked questions about deadlift competitions and their answers:

How can I find a deadlift competition near me?

You can use online platforms like [Powerlifting Watch] or [Open Powerlifting] to search for upcoming meets in your area. You can also check the websites or the social media pages of local powerlifting federations, gyms, or clubs, and look for announcements or flyers.

How can I train for a deadlift competition?

You can use online templates or hire a coach to design a training program that fits your needs and goals. You should focus on improving your strength, technique, and conditioning for the deadlift. You should also include accessory exercises, mobility work, and recovery methods in your program. You should train at least three times a week, and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your workouts as you approach the meet.

How can I choose a weight class for a deadlift competition?

You can choose a weight class that suits your body weight and your preference. You can use online calculators or scales to monitor your weight and your body fat percentage. You should aim to be within 2-3 kg (4-6 lbs) of your weight class limit at least two weeks before the meet. You can also use various methods to cut or maintain your weight, such as diet, hydration, supplementation, or sauna. You should avoid drastic or unhealthy weight cuts, as they can affect your performance and your health.

How can I improve my deadlift technique for a deadlift competition?

You can improve your deadlift technique by practicing it regularly and consistently, and by following the movement standards and the rules of the meet. You can also use online videos or articles, or hire a coach or a friend, to analyze your form and your technique, and provide you with feedback and tips. You should also experiment with different variations and styles of the deadlift, such as conventional, sumo, or trap bar, and find the one that works best for you.

Conclusion

Deadlift Competitions

Deadlift competitions are a great way to test your strength, challenge yourself, and compete with others. They are also a great way to improve your fitness, health, and happiness. They are open to anyone who wants to participate, regardless of age, gender, or experience level.

In this article, we have told you everything you need to know about deadlift competitions. We have covered the following topics:

  • Understanding deadlift competitions and their various classes
  • Key aspects of deadlift competitions, such as barbell weight range, prizes and awards, cost of participation, and essential equipment
  • Rules and standards for powerlifting deadlifts, including movement standards and judging
  • Preparation and strategy for your first meet, including 14 steps to prepare and 15 tips for success
  • FAQs on deadlift competitions

We hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned something new and useful. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to share them with us. We would love to hear from you.

Happy deadlifting! 😊