When I officially started lifting weights on the regular in June of this year, I was able to squat 100lbs, bench press 60lbs, and deadlift 100lbs, each for 3 sets of five reps the first time I tried to. Sometime in July I decided I wanted to compete in a powerlifting meet close to home, and I set my sights on one in January 2017. I decided my goal opening weights simply needed to be double what I was able to lift for reps the very first time I tried. That would mean 200lbs for the squat, 120lbs, for the bench press, and 200lbs for the deadlift. These seemed like distant but attainable goals to me, and I felt like surely I could hit those in the roughly six months between starting and the meet.
Now it’s late August, and I just hit 200lbs 3 x 5 squats and 210lb 1 x 5 deadlifts a couple days ago. My bench press has progressed to 100lbs for a 3 x 5, though I had to reeeeeeally grind out the last rep of it (hilariously growling video below). I think by the end of September, however, I will have progressed to 120lbs for reps as well. That entire workout was a PR for all three lifts, and boy did it kick my ass. Needless to say, I need some new goals!
I keep having life curveballs thrown my way that threaten to derail my training by consuming what little free time I have to workout, and since I am a realist I don’t want to set any huge goals knowing what I have ahead of me. That said, I do still want a strong set of opening numbers. I know enough not to compare myself with anyone else, and I also know that I’m not going to be competitive for my weightclass anytime soon. In fact, I’d probably have to drop a class if I wanted to have more than a snowball’s chance in Hades at actually breaking any kind of record. Nope, instead I simply want to establish my first competition total to become a bona fide powerlifter!
Since my training to date has more or less been following the Starting Strength method where I go up 5-10lbs per lift (especially on the squat and deadlift; working up the bench a bit slower) each workout, I could actually calculate roughly what I’d be lifting for reps should my workouts and actual progress remain steady. Instead, though, I’m going to aim low both to be realistic considering the outside challenges I’m facing and also to not stress myself out mentally trying to reach a ginormous number in a relatively short period of time. After all, eventually the n00b gains will wear off, and I’ll be forced to refocus all facets in order to continue to move up in the lifts.
So, as of now, my goal openers will be:
- 275lb/125kg squat
- 135lb/62kg bench
- 300lb/136kg dead
You’ll notice that except for the squat, the weights in kilos aren’t exact translations to the numbers I’ve listed in pounds. We own pound plates, but competitions are typically in kilos from what I’ve found. From what I’ve read on the USAPL and USPA websites, the competitions will round up or down in 2.5kg increments (or thereabouts), so what I actually lift on competition day will be based on how they translate the numbers. For sake of ease I’ve made them all round numbers, and I’m only focusing on the pounds for now since that’s what I have to work with.
Here lately I’ve had to take more days off in between workouts because of job-related schedule conflicts, but I’m hopeful I can stay on track to continue making gains steadily even if the actual workout schedule is more scattered than I’d like it to be. Thinking about all that makes me wish I’d found a love of exercise and lifting at a much younger age – it’s hard as hell to balance two jobs, a kiddo, a hubby, pets, bills, and life in general with workouts and competition goals in my mid-30s. I don’t know how folks with loads of kids find time to do it at any age! 😜
So, I’ll be back at it tonight when the hubby gets home from work. I’m thinking today will be a technique and volume day vs. going up on the weight load. Depends on how much energy I have by then!
>>(:::) Meg (:::)<<