When taking to the platform, whether it be the first time, or it be your 1000th time, attempt selection is always one of the most important things to prepare for. And simply is a true form of art in the industry.
Yet, we still see so many letting their ego dictate what they believe they should be able to lift and either a) bomb out or b) gas out before the final event.
Here is my guide to selecting numbers.
KNOW YOUR 1RM
You should not go into the day unprepared, 2-3 weeks out you should have a mock test/run through of each lift to powerlifting comp standards at around 95-100% of your three lifts. Get a gauge of where you are at and then plan attempts around those numbers.
Your openers are to get you into the meet, put up a total and give you the confidence you need to attack the next lift. Treat it as a final warm up.
Again, no matter how many times you have competed in the past, OPEN CONSERVATIVELY!!! Nerves will guarantee to kick in before you lift and if you open too heavy and freak out then you are less likely to hit your opener.
You should never miss an opener, my general rule is around 87-90% of your 1RM, something you could comfortably hit for 2-3 reps on a bad day.
Now here is where a lot of people will aim for a PR and probably push it too far too early. This is the lift to add kilos to your total. We know, “big totals win comps”, (Ryan Mayfield, 2017), and that comes from smart selections. Don’t miss your second attempt in a pursuit of ego lifting.
93-97% of you 1RM should be used.
Here is the time to go hard and put up a big number! As a coach, I like to go in with a few options prepared based on how the lifters second attempt moves. I will always ask how it felt in my lifters opinion, then based on my perception of the lift make a decision. Again, my general rough guide is between 99%-105%
Some more things to think about…
Conserving energy to perform at your best is of utmost importance. Opening too high and then having to take small jumps to the big lifts will fatigue you in the warm up room and not leave you with much by your third attempt/end of the day.
Plan your day! Have a plan for the day, worst and best case scenarios, options for each lift so that you are able to adapt and be prepared should something go wrong.
Train like you would compete. Your jumps in a comp should be very similar to how you warm up in training, relative to the lifter. If you are used to taking big jumps in training, you will be able to handle bigger jumps in comp. Again, relative to the lifter!
Comp day should be fun, and the aim should always be to go 9/9, it shouldn’t be stressful and not having a plan is a quick way to take the fun out of competition. The best advice I can give is in the above writing, but the second best is to find a coach you trust and let them give you an unbiased opinion. Happy Lifting!