Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Singapore Powerlifting Alliance Championships 2019 - What's a Powerlifting Meet Like??

The boy took part in Singapore Powerlifting Alliance {SPA} Championships 2019 - his first ever powerlifting meet! It was my first experience at a powerlifting meet too!

Since we had to leave home around 7.30am, I went for a very early 5am morning training at the club gym because I didn't know what time we'd be home, and I'd probably be too tired to train in the afternoon too.

We reached around 8am but registration only started around 8.30am. After that there was a lot of waiting around until about 9.30am when the meet started so I took the time to do my own foam rolling and stretching since we brought along a roller and mat hahaha

The boy introduced me to his personal trainer/ coach, Clinton, and his gym mates from Elevate Barbell Club, that was founded by powerlifting enthusiasts turned competitive atheletes. They specialise in powerlifting weight training so programming is pretty different from what I do with Superman {my personal trainer}.

Since it was my first time at a powerlifting meet, I was pretty confused with the format but thankfully, Hayley gave me a crash course hehe. Yunie and her were there to help Clinton support and take care of the other Elevate gym athletes taking part in the meet.

Apparently different powerlifting meets are run differently, although the format is mostly the same. I'd just be talking in general how SPA Championships 2019 is like in this post. Just blogging to note this down in my memory, and also if anyone is thinking of joining a powerlifting meet for the first time, I hope it will be useful (*^▽^*)

First, you have the weigh-ins

SPA Championships 2019 was done over 2 days - Sat 3 Aug {males} and Sun 4 Aug {females}. Weigh-ins are 24hrs prior to the start of your flight. Soooo, if you're competing on Saturday, then weigh-ins are on Friday and if you are competing on Sunday, then weigh-ins are on Saturday. If you do not make weight, you can still compete but will not be eligible for any prizes. Also, you can weigh-in as often as you like up to 30 mins before your flight commences, although some other meets only allow one weigh-in.

Note: A group of powerlifting competitors is called a flight. Usually, a flight consists of 10-15 competitors. Flight "A" will normally consist of lifters in one body weight category. Flight "B" the next higher body weight category, and so on.

Weigh-ins are done in a private area and lifters are weighed only in their underwear {briefs for men, sports bra/bra and panties for ladies}. 

During the weigh-ins, lifters also have to declare a first attempt for all 3 lifts i.e. the opening weight the lifter will lift for squats, bench press and deadlift.

Since the boy competed on Saturday, he had his weigh-in on Friday at Strength Yard {another powerlifting gym}. He had already tested and decided his first attempt weights on Tuesday with Clinton. 

Then, you have your warm-ups and flights on the actual day.

I reckon preparing your body to be in peak form before each lift is pretty tricky at a powerlifting meet, so thank goodness the boy had Clinton and the Elevate team there to support, be his "handlers" and strategise his game plan. If you were an individual lifter without any handlers there, I'm sure it would be quite mentally challenging, on top of being physically challenged.

By right, I should talk about warm-ups first as that's what you do before competing, but to fully understand how warm-ups are done at a powerlifting meet, you should probably know the order of competition.

Competing at a powerlifting meet consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. The lifts are done in that order too.

In the boy's morning session, there were 2 flights - Flight A and Flight B. Where there are multiple Flights, all lifters in Flight A will complete all 3 attempts of a lift, before Flight B takes the stage i.e. Flight A will squat their 3 attempts from lightest to heaviest, rotating through the order until every lifter has had 3 attempts, then Flight B will go.

After each attempt, the lifter has a minute to submit their next attempt, or the decision will be made for them {at least 2.5kg heavier I think}. A lifter will not be allowed to attempt a weight lower than the attempted in the previous round i.e. if you chose to squat 100kg in your first attempt, you have to go higher than that, and cannot go lower than 100kg in the next attempt.

For each attempt round, you might not go in the same lifting order as that is determined by the lifter's choice of weight per attempt because the bar must be loaded progressively during a round on the principle of "a raising bar". For example, in the first attempt round you might go 4th in your Flight, but for the second attempt you might go 9th if you are going to attempt to lift heavier than 8 other people in your Flight.

Having said that, each lifter probably won't jump weight too drastically from how you would, so you probably won't move in the lifting order too much.

However, this lifting order is important as it you need to know when you are lifting to time your warm-ups and rest properly.

To know how to time your warm-up takes experience, and that's why it's important to have good handlers with you at the competition. You don't want to warm up too early and cool off before your lift, and you also don't want to not warm up enough or warm up too late so that you'll be too close to your lift and not recover in time.

Not only can the handlers help to time your warm-up, they can check your form/ technique, advise on weights to use as well as help you load your warm-up weights so that you don't lose extra energy. Every extra bit counts during a meet, yeah?

At SPA Championships 2019's competition site, there was a warm-up area that was separated from the contest platform. At the warm-up area there was only enough space for 3 lifters to warm-up with weights at the same time. You can't "chope" one rack/bar/platform to use throughout your whole warm-up session, and have to work it in with other lifters at the meet.

So not only do you have to time your warm-up according to your lifting order, you have to time it so that you can actually do so with others using the same equipment. In addition to all this, since the boy is in Flight B, which is after Flight A, he has to factor in the pace of lifting for that group of competitors too since he is only competing after them. 

Tricky, huh?

This is really just the basic of how a powerlifting meet is like. I can't even go into details on how to plan your weight attempts to try to win your opponents {if you're aiming for a medal} or calculate the total to determine the placings as that's too complicated for me to understand at the moment heh. 

Anyway, the whole meet for the boy lasted around 6hrs. Fwah!!! Pretty long but I managed to keep myself busy watching some others lift, helping the boy to take pics/vids of him and his gym mates, and walking around the small Aperia mall sometimes haha.

Stayed out of the way from the boy so that he can focus more on the competition.

At the end of it all, he managed to come back with a medal for all his efforts and despite some injuries! ( ᐛ )و So proud of him!!

It was an enjoyable and enriching experience for him, and definitely an eye-opener for me!

Will share more on how he did for SPA Championships 2019 in the next post. Meanwhile you can check out his squats, bench press and deadlift attempts on my YouTube channel. 

P.S. If I get any points wrong or if there's anything else to add on to this post, feel free to leave me a comment!


No comments: