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Mini-Challenge 2: Prepare for Battle

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The time has come again Warriors, it's time to test our strength on the platform. All the workouts we put our bodies through, sometimes fun, sometimes painful, and sometimes monotonous, have all led up to this, showing what you've got and how you've progressed in those maximal displays of strength and power. Go dust off your armor, sharpen your blades, and prepare to grip it and rip it.

Every 4 months, the Warriors come out to play and hold our virtual lifting competitions, which the whole forum is welcome to come participate in. It's time for the first one of 2015, The Virtuous Valentine Lifting Leviathan. This mini-challenge is about getting ready to lift those heaviest of heavy loads.

Preparing your armor.

Before you go into battle, you need to know what it is you're up against. What you'll need to defend against and what type of armor to wear. If you plan on competing in any federation sanctioned powerlifting competition, you'll need to be a bit stricter about what you wear. During the virtual competition, you will not be forced to wear a singlet but in real competitions, these are a requirement.

Here is a list of the equipment that you can use in order to still be considered eligible for a "raw" lift.

You also want to know exactly what it means to successfully complete one of your lifts. These also become a bit stricter than your usual day at the gym, and it's also one of the biggest reasons we harp on you hitting at least parallel in your squats. Each of the three big lifts are described here and success requirements for each lift are laid out on pages 9 & 10.

Your Challenge: Familiarize yourself with the rules of powerlifting meets, especially when it comes to what ranges of motion you need to hit and where you need to pause in the lifts in order for them to count. +1 Wisdom for those who do.

Preparing your weapons.

Now that you know what you're up against, it's time we gave ourselves some weapons. The virtual lifting meet and sanctioned meets follow the same format: you get 3 attempts to lift as much as possible in Squat, then Bench, then Deadlift. 3 attempts, that's it. So, we need to know exactly what we want to try to hit on each of those attempts.

The first step is knowing what your theoretical 1 Rep Max (1RM) is for each of the three lifts. The easiest way to do this is to find a rep max for a lighter weight (say for 4 reps, but no way you'd get 5), and use a calculator like one of these: EXRX.net or T Nation(slightly nsfw). You can now use this number to plan out your three attempts.

First Lift / Your Opener:
Let's get one thing straight, you're not going to put up great numbers if you don't hit your opener. This lift should be heavy enough to inspire confidence in you but light enough that you could roll out of bed with a hangover and hit it. What could you hit for a double or triple? Think somewhere around the 90-92% range.

Second Lift:
This is not where you go big. This is where you hit a lift that you are 100% convinced that you can make that will raise your total score. This should be a hard lift, but not so hard that you risk losing it. Think somewhere in the range of 94-98% of your 1RM.

Third Lift:
Here's where we go big. Time to try for a new personal best. How did the last lift feel? Good? Go for your 1RM + 5lbs. Great? Go for your 1RM + 10-15lbs. Cake? Throw a gorram plate on there. Here's the thing, you still want to hit this lift. You don't want to try and fail, so if the day is feeling crappy, it's also completely acceptable and smart to take a bit off your final planned attempt if you're just not in the groove. Make the last attempt, be happy you increased your score, and move on to the next lift.

My current 1RM for squats is around 475; I plan on looking for 485 at the end of the day. My attempts will look something like this:
1st: (475) @ 92% = 435
2nd: (475) @ 97% = 460
3rd: (475) @ 102% = 485

Reading material:

Your Challenge: Plan out your three attempts for each lift. +1 Wisdom to those who do.

Prepare Your Body

Part of participating in a competition is making sure you are going in fresh so that you are at 100%. Lifting heavy weights takes a toll on the body and it needs to be prepared for that stress. The further along you are in your lifting journey, the larger the toll. As you become more adapt at lifting consistently, your body will become accustomed to certain levels of stress. That said, prepping for a competition is nothing like your regular "heavy" days.

For you novices, the workout before the competition should be a light day. Reduce your working loads by 20-30% and just get the reps in, keep the movement patterns ingrained and get the blood flowing. Avoid anything that requires work set level effort. This will give your body more time to recover before the competition and make sure it is ready to exert 100% effort rather than maybe 90-95%.

For you intermediates, in addition to the light workout before the competition, the two before that should also be light or medium. If you are on a weekly periodization program like the Texas Method, this is especially true. You have learned to put such effort into the lifts and take your body to such a level of exertion that it takes more than just 1 light workout for your body to fully recover. While a light day is 30% lighter than working sets, a medium day may only be 15% lighter. This allows you to still get work in and maintain strength, but does not put as high of a recovery toll on the body.

Personally, I like to do a light workout at 3 sets of 5 reps for each lift at around 50% 1RM 3-5 days before the competition, then take the rest off, focusing on getting really good sleep and food intake and making sure I'm at 100% for those lifts.

Your challenge: Take it easy, rest up, and prepare yourself as best you can to put in an all out effort on the day you put in your entry. +1 Constitution to those who do.

This mini is inspired by (ok, ok, pretty much completely plagiarized from) the two Seth did back in early 2013 (we've been mods that long? wow). I had meant to make it 2 mini challenges again, but I've been crazy busy and have not had the time to write them up, so you get this one.

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I tested my actual 1 Rep Max for each lift a few weeks ago, so the above formula appears to work here for me.



1st: (245 lbs) @ 92% = 225 lbs (102.2 kg)

2nd: (245 lbs) @ 97% = 235 lbs (106.7 kg)

3rd: (245 lbs) @ 102% = 250 lbs (113.5 kg)


Bench Press

1st: (200 lbs) @ 92% = 185 lbs (84 kg)

2nd: (200 lbs) @ 97% = 195 lbs (88.5 kg)

3rd: (200 lbs) @ 102% = 205 lbs (93.1 kg)



1st: (325 lbs) @ 92% = 300 lbs (136.2 kg)

2nd: (325 lbs) @ 97% = 315 lbs (143 kg)

3rd: (325 lbs) @ 102% = 330 lbs (149.8 kg)

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My current maxes are 475/305/555. I would like to hit 485/310/565. My planned attempts will thusly be:



1st: (475) @ 92% = 435
2nd: (475) @ 97% = 460
3rd: (475) @ 102% = 485



1st: (305) @ 92% = 285
2nd: (305) @ 97% = 295
3rd: (305) @ 102% = 310



1st: (555) @ 89% = 495
2nd: (555) @ 96% = 535
3rd: (555) @ 102% = 565


I run out of gas way quicker on DLs, so my openers and lead up to the third attempt are easier than on the other lifts. The only PR here would be bench, but the hitting that squat and DL will give me confidence leading up to my competition in a few months to hit PRs across the board.

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I don't know if I can participate as I'm not in agreement with rule #14 in the technical rules posted. My wife celebrates my good lifts by taking a riding crop and calling me "big stud", where as I just hulk out and smash her.


As long as it's not in front of media or judges, that's fine if both of you are ok with it.

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You can't decrease weight, each attempt has to be the same or higher than previous. If you're that confident, I'd go:

305/310 (glorified warm up)


325/330 judged based on 2nd feel

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


thanks,  you can probably see my +1 wisdom power up from over there.

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In advance of the meet,i tested my 1 RMs today, two of which were PRs. My goal will be to lock those in by the second attempt, then go for a 5-10# PR depending on how I'm feeling.

Squat: 305# (92.5%), 325# (100%), 330/335# (101.5/103%)

Bench Press: 200# (92.5%), 215# (100%), 220/225#, (102/104.7%)

Deadlift: 325# (92.5%), 340# (100.0%), 345/350# (101.5/103%)

I failed an attempt at a 225# bench press today. But come the day I do my meet lifts, if 215# goves me no trouble, I'm going for it.

On DL, I narrowly failed to lock out an attempt at 365#. I'm confident in 350#.

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Tested my three lifts.


1st: (110) @ 92% = 100
2nd: (110) @ 97% = 105
3rd: (110) @ 102% = 115
1st: (135) @ 92% = 125
2nd: (135) @ 97% = 130
3rd: (135) @ 102% = 140
1st: (60) @ 92% = 55
2nd: (60) @ 97% = 60
3rd: (60) @ 102% = 65
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Im struggling with this mini. Having just come back from a week of recovery, I'm not entirely sure what to base my %'s off.

I've just taken a deload for my return to the gym after giving myself a second week of recovery for an injury. My current working weights don't represent my potential. But 2 weeks off means I don't know what my potential is anymore.

I've got this week to think about it I guess.

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Okay, finally got myself in a place where I think I can make a decent prediction of my capabilities.


Squat 1RM 140kg (based on previous 1RM)

92%   : 129 kg

97%   : 136 kg

102% : 143 kg


Bench 1RM 107.5kg (based on previous 1RM)

92%   : 99 kg

97%   : 104 kg

102% : 109.5 kg


Deadlift 1RM 141kg (based on calculated 1RM)

92%   : 130 kg

97%   : 137 kg

102% : 144 kg


I'll be doing my lifts on Monday the 16th as its basically the only day I have off between now and the end of the competition.

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So, that didn't go as expected...

On warming up squat and bench, the weight just felt super light, so I changed up my targets and ended up setting significant PR's.

Then my deadlifts felt super heavy and I could only manage my opener... I think there might be something wrong with my deadlift.

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