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Thread: Meet taper for weightlifting

  1. #1
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    Default Meet taper for weightlifting

    Hello Rip,

    there have been several threads about meet tapers for powerlifting competitions and your advice has been to keep the taper phase rather short. Since I am going to have my first weightlifting meet in September I was wondering about three things:

    1) Is tapering for weightlifters any different than tapering for powerlifters because of the more explosive nature of the competition lifts?

    2) I have basically been following a Texas method style program on M-W-F with the two lifts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the beginning I had to decrease the intensity of the olympic lifts quite a bit in order to still recover from training and hit all the planned PRs. I have begun hitting PRs in the competition lifts three weeks ago and they are progressing in 2.5 kg increments at the moment. Is there any point in time before the meet where you would scale back a bit on the strength lifts in order to get accustomed to heavier weights in the clean & jerk and snatch?

    3) In your experience, how much does an average, intermediate level weightlifter on this type of program gain from the taper? A conservative estimate would really help me to determine a proper opening weight once the time comes.

    On a side note, your advice helped me a lot with my cleans (and snatches as well). For the most part, jumping back is not a problem anymore.

  2. #2
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    In your situation, I would not taper at all. Just skip your Friday strength workout and go to the meet. You've been hitting PRs from the strength-driven program anyway -- just go to the meet and hit two more.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    In your situation, I would not taper at all. Just skip your Friday strength workout and go to the meet. You've been hitting PRs from the strength-driven program anyway -- just go to the meet and hit two more.
    Would this advice change if the goal was to maximize success in that particular meet vs. longer down the road? I ask this because depending on my progress in the coming weeks I might have a small chance to qualify for nationals via this meet in September, which has been a mid-term goal of mine.

    I still appreciate the perspective of maximizing training success vs. first-meet success for a weightlifting novice like me. When PRs keep coming, there is no reason to interrupt good, slow, steady progress. But I am not yet sure that I can keep hitting personal bests for the coming two months (if so, then I am in pretty good shape anyways) and theoretically scaling back on the training volume a bit should help with two lifts performance short-term (but not long-term). So I am trying to balance the pros and cons here.

    Thanks again for the advice.

  4. #4
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    If you are still making linear progress with the program you're using, what you are essentially proposing is that a taper of some sort would make that progress happen faster in proximity to the meet. My approach is to let the dropped strength work the week of the meet serve as the taper, and let that be all of it. Something is working well now, so don't change anything unless you feel like altering the program that is working.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    If you are still making linear progress with the program you're using, what you are essentially proposing is that a taper of some sort would make that progress happen faster in proximity to the meet. My approach is to let the dropped strength work the week of the meet serve as the taper, and let that be all of it.
    I will do as you suggested then and decrease Monday squat/halting deadlift volume by a bit, otherwise do my normal work-outs and drop the Friday session. Thank you for the advice!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven-miller View Post
    I will do as you suggested then and decrease Monday squat/halting deadlift volume by a bit, otherwise do my normal work-outs and drop the Friday session.
    The week of the meet.

  7. #7
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    I agree. If things are going well, don't mess with it, especially for your first meet. Just skip your Friday workout.

    There are some other things that I would recommend in terms of programming with your snatch and clean and jerk, since it is your first meet.

    Have a good idea of what your openers are going to be two weeks before the meet. Do NOT rely on a taper to help you hit your OPENERS for your first meet.

    Two weeks before the meet:
    If you normally lift in pounds, go ahead and figure out what your openers, ideal subsequent attempts and warmups are in kilos.
    Start using the same jumps in your training for warmups as you will at the meet. So, don't jump from 80 to 85 kg if you are going to go 82 to 85 at the meet.
    Start timing yourself in between reps using the same rest periods you will use at the meet. So, don't wait 5 minutes between reps if you are doing a warmup rep every 3 attempts at the meet.
    Start giving yourself an imaginary down signal on each rep. Plenty of lifters get anxious at their first meet and get a no lift simply because they don't wait for the down signal.
    A week or so before the meet, do a mock meet where you have someone ref for you to give you a down signal and tell you if the lift was good. Use the exact warmups and timing that you will at the meet. If you do not make your openers at this mock meet, then you might want to change your openers.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    The week of the meet.
    That is what I meant and what will be done.

    @TBone: Thanks a lot for that advice. I will put it into use for sure!

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