On Friday, I'll be lifting at the GPA Worlds in Sydney! A large contingent of the strongest powerlifters in the world are competing at this event and as a newbie, it is a ridiculous privilege to be a part of it. I can't wait. The competition also marks the end of my second dedicated powerlifting training cycle. The first training cycle prepared me for the qualifiers which were held in Brisbane earlier this year. That training period was the first time I had lifted exclusively and so I made a lot of good steady gains. This training cycle I've been following a Texas Method program and the progress has been a little less obvious or linear. The main difference at the back end of this cycle compared with the first, is that I feel pretty fucking exhausted. My body and my head feel like I need a break. Last week, my coach and I started to think about rest and recovery before competition and I’ve been lucky enough to get some personal insight from a couple of amazing lifters.
Canberra based powerlifter, Megan Hinchley last competed in Wollongong at the IPF meet in October where she achieved a 120kg squat, a 60kg bench and a 120kg deadlift. She weighed in at a tiny 50.7kg in the 52kg weight class and took out the best female lifter for the day in a very competitive field.
Billa Hamilton last competed at Pro Raw 6 weighing 68.5kg in the under 70s where she squatted 155kg, benched 100kg and deadlifted 175kg for a ridiculous total of 430kg!
And Kalo Lowe, who is also lifting this week at GPA Worlds. Kalo took out ALL of the GPA World Records in her raw masters division when she competed earlier this year. Her lifts of a squat at 122.5kg, a bench of 85kg and deadlift of 152.5kg earned her an enviable total of 360kg in the 67.5kg division.
TBC spoke asked them about their pre comp experiences and how they’ve generally felt at the end of training cycles.
MH - At the end of the training cycle you should be ready to test your max lifts, whether in competition or in the gym. I find I get quite tired and 'over it' in the weeks leading up to the end of the training cycle. It’s the de-load week just before competition that I start to feel physically and mentally on top of my game. Training can be hard. De-load week is what I look forward to most after a long training cycle. It gets me ready to really test myself.
BH – Hopefully you should feel strong and confident, knowing that you have followed your eating plan and hit your benchmarks throughout your program. Although, having an injury leading into a comp can be very mentally testing and draining. This is where having a good support team of friends, family, coach or partner are important as they re-enforce their confidence in you and keep you focused.
KL - I don't know how I should feel but I felt like I was at my limit.
TBC – Is there anything that you address mentally or physically in the "rest or taper" period pre comp?
MH - I try and not think too much of my lifting. I use it as a mental break. In the 2 days that I train in the week leading up to the comp, I do my opening attempts and my warm-ups. I put my plan together for comp day during the de- load week and I tell myself repeatedly that I can lift the weights I have chosen. Confidence is key!
BH - If your needing to drop weight to make a weight category then you're constantly thinking about 'weigh in day'!!! You’re adjusting your eating plan further in that last week, water loading and dropping water. Training sessions are modified to allow enough rest before comp day. Using light/moderate weight to go through the motions of each lift and the timing. Plus a massage or dry needling at the being of the week and at the end of the week to keep everything loose and relaxed.
KL - During the taper period, I rest, eat well, drink lots of water and be happy. Closer to day I get excited and visualise being strong and ready!
The Barbelle Club is looking forward to featuring full length articles with Megan, Billa and Kalo in the near future. We're also really looking forward to watching Kalo and some other amazing lifters perform this weekend. If you are in Sydney, you should really get along to Olympic Park. You are guaranteed to see some phenomenal lifting. You can find the details here.
Thank you to Jimmy Emms and Damian Rohrlach for the use of your amazing photos.