Preparing for Competition

Below is a sick blog that I wrote back in July of last year. It is a sweet piece on competitions. I do have a couple of additions that I want to add first.

Checklist for a National Meet

I am at the USA Weightlifting Junior Nationals with six amazing athletes. Most of these guys and gals are experienced competitors, but I am noticing a lot of rookie lifters making some big mistakes. The mistakes inspired me to write this piece to hopefully prevent any mistakes by my Online Team or any of my readers. Looking back, I wish someone had written a piece like this for me.

Check #1 make sure that you bring the proper forms of identification. Everyone must have his or her USA Weightlifting Cards. You will also need your driver’s license to prove that you are the person on your USAW Card. If you are underage, you will need a birth certificate or passport to prove your identity and your age. Someone always makes this mistake, so make sure that you are prepared.

Check #2 if making a weight class is an issue, make sure that you are checking your weight at least two weeks out first thing in the morning and naked. If you are only 2-3 pounds over, don’t panic. This always drives me crazy! Someone will be 1 pound over, and they are freaking out. I have lost 20 pounds in 3 days. I don’t recommend this, but it is possible. There is much more on the subject below.

Check #3 make sure that you are prepared with solid meet nutrition. This is key in my experience. Constant nutrition is very important for a constant flow of nutrition. Personally I like liquid nutrition because it is easier to get it down and to digest. The key is a balance of mainly protein and carbs with fewer fats. I would suggest bananas and Gatorade to guarantee that your glycogen stores are filled. If you like pre-workout, coffee, or other supplements, make sure that you have everything that you need.

Check #4 make sure that you make a list of all the equipment that you use. Make sure that you have your singlet, belt, shoes, tape, wrist wraps, knees sleeves, ace bandages, or whatever. I would make an inventory list.

I am very proud of my whole team! I have athletes this weekend from the Mash Mafia Online Weightlifting Team, and from the Eat & Lift What You Want. I also have athletes from Mash Mafia Minnesota with Coach Jason Prudhom. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful athletes. Last year in July, I had about 5 Senior National Competitors, 1 Junior National Competitor, and Four Youth National Competitors. Now I have 40+ Senior National Competitors, 7 Junior National Competitors, and over 10 Youth National Competitors. All that I can say is that to God goes all the glory.


Now here is what I wrote in July:

Preparing for Competition

Today on Barbell Life we talked about the different aspects of competition. I am coaching some of my on site and online Mash Mafia Team Members this weekend in Salt Lake City, UT, so I thought it would be a great time to discuss the aspects of National Competitions. It was a great discussion, and important enough that I thought it warranted a blog as well. Specifically we discussed the National Championships, but a lot of this goes for local events as well. If you are an athlete or a rookie coach, I suggest that you read this. This blog will be good for both weightlifters and powerlifters.


First, we discussed the mental aspect of the competition. True champions learn a very important lesson about big meet competitions, which is to “have fun”. That’ right! Remember you are doing a sport that you love, so why not have a good time. The more amped up and nervous you are, the more cortisol the body releases which isn’t good for a long-lasting competition.

When I was crushing world records, I would walk into the warm up room laughing and having a great time. I would talk to all of my competitors because at the end of the day these guy were my friends. As a matter of fact, they are the friends that understand the madness of the Iron Sports, so take advantage of your time with them. Rebecca Gerdon of Team Muscle Driver USA started out as an athlete with the Mash Mafia, and I still assist her at competitions. I know that she is about to have a monster meet when she is dancing. The more she is dancing and smiling, the bigger the weight that she is about to crush.

Remember this one fact when you are at your next competition:

When you are in the warm up room, you are with a big group of friends that mutually love lifting heavy weights!!!! That is the sum of if!

Of course, when it is time to hit your opener on stage, it is time to turn up the volume. Until then, have fun, dance a little, and enjoy the moment. The key to being a great athlete is learning to control your aggression. That goes for weightlifting, powerlifting, football, fighting, and pretty much anything awesome.

Next we talked about the strategy and game plan of competition day. The first important strategy is to plan your warm ups. I use a strategy that I learned from Jessica North, and that is the “rule of 3”. Basically when you are 21 attempts out, you should have the foam rolling, bar work, and basic warm up complete. You should have exactly 7 warm ups left that you will take every 3 attempts on the platform leaving you with 3 attempts before your opener.

Here is an example of someone who is going to open with 140k:

21 attempts out- 50k x 3 reps
18 attempts out- 70k x 3 reps
15 attempts out- 90k x 2 reps
12 attempts out- 110k x 1
9 attempts out- 120k x 1
6 attempts out- 130k x 1
3 attempts out- 135k x 1

Open with 140k

A big mistake that I see made by new athletes is warming up to slow or to fast. Always come into the meet with a game plan, and now you have one. Don’t be the guy that is warming up one hour before everyone else. That’s a sure sign that you are a rookie.

There are numerous strategies that are utilized at the table in respect to jumps. Here are a few that you can utilize:

1. Remember you only have 30 seconds to declare your lifters next attempt after a make or a miss. I have watched several athletes get stuck with a number that they didn’t want because of waiting to long.

2. You have three declarations per attempt, so realize the games that you can play. For example, if your lifter is following himself, you can declare three times stalling the clock for each change. You are allowed to change the attempt as long as the clock is within 30 seconds of expiration.

3. You can declare openers either super high or super low to mess with the other coaches and athletes. Most people declare openers up to 10 kilos low, and them bump them at the last second. This can cause their competitors to be behind in warm ups which causes a lot of mental anguish. This goes both ways, so you should always train under these different variables. You want to be prepared for anything.

Another strategy is to carry a little notepad. I learned this from Glenn Pendlay. You should keep a different page for each athlete. On each athletes page you should have: warm up strategy, openers, 2nd and 3rd attempt strategies, competition PRs, lifetime PRs, and any qualification numbers that they might want to hit. Also keep notes on anything that you might improve on next competition for the athlete like a slower warm up, quicker warm up, or fewer distractions.

On the show we also discussed several ways to cut last second kilo starting with the water cut. The water cut is just a plan to over hydrate, and then under hydrate causing a flushing sensation. A water cut is good for 2 kilos easy if done properly. Here is how it goes:

1. Water Cut

Day 1 1 gallon of distilled water
Day 2 1 and 1/2 gallons of distilled water
Day 3 2 gallons
Day 4 1/2 gallon and cut all sodium
Day 5 This is competition day, so cut all water until after weigh ins.

Remember to eat clean throughout the week, and keep the sodium a minimum!

2. Sweet Tarts: these will cause you to salivate like crazy. Remember not to eat them and just swish around and spit in a cup. Yah I know, Gross!

3. Epsom Salt Bath with Green Rubbing Alcohol! I don’t know exactly how this works, but Rabbit has used it like magic. Simply get the water as hot as possible, add the salts and alcohol, and then get in and wait as long as possible.

4. Hot Tub with Credit Card Scraper! Simply get in a hot tub up to your neck, and every 15 minutes, get out, and scrape the sweat away with a credit card. Once again, Gross!

5. Now my favorite is to turn the hotel bathroom into a steam room. Simply take hot towels and place them over the cracks in the door. Then turn on the shower with as hot as possible water, along with the sink, splash the water on the mirrors and walls, and sit there and sweat. This works like a charm, and you are in the comfort of your own room. This makes it easier to check your weight naked.

Taper Week!!!

Now this is something that we forgot to talk about today, but I wanted to share with you here. I will give Donnie Shankle full credit for this one. Here is what we do to taper:

Snatch max with no misses
Clean & Jerk work up to opener
Back Squat 90% x 1

Bar Work

Snatch work up to opener
Clean & Jerk work up to last warm up
Front Squat 85% x 1

Thursday off

Bar Work


I don’t know about you, but I just gave the kitchen sink away with this one. I hope that you learned a lot. Now I am off to coach my athletes at the National Championships. I am looking for some hardware!!!!

Look guys join our online Mash Mafia Team! We are just a bunch of athletes wanting to reach our own specific goals. Some of these guys and gals are weightlifters, powerlifters, CrossFitters, and some are just trying to get jacked. Go to

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