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Thread: Aspiring Powerlifter

  1. #1
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    Default Aspiring Powerlifter

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    Mark, I need some guidance. Im 43 years old and have a burning desire to compete in the sport of powerlifting. Is it common for someone to compete for the first time in the masters division? Don't get me wrong, I'm no powerlifting stud. I have much work to do. I'm weighing around 210, my bench is 300( torn pec five years ago... never the same as before), squat 435, deadlift 450. That's lifting recreational. I guess what I'm asking you is, am I wasting my time and would I be making a fool out of myself. I want to know if I'm out of my league before I actually take this on. In case your wondering I'm fully aware of the toll on the body, I live sore as it is.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Sorry, I don't either coach or recommend powerlifting.

  3. #3
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    Well Masters is just the age group not the skill level. But as far as it being a waste of time is up to you and how you approach the situation. Like any endeavor if you are going to approach it by fully diving in and dedicating yourself to the sport and learning its rules and how each lift is judged and so on, and most importantly enjoy the experience, then you will not be wasting your time at all. Being out of your league? its possible but hey that's life right? You're not entering raw nationals so don't freak out about it too much. Pick a local meet and go for it and have fun!

  4. #4
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    I didn't start competing until I was 62 in 2012. This was after getting coached at one seminars held in Costa Mesa. After stef fixed my deadlift form, I managed a 425 gym lift. So I began to speculate about competing. After getting some advice from hamburgerfan I looked at the winners in my age (62) and weight class (275) and thought "Well Hell, I can beat that." So I dove in and lift unequipped in the USPA/IPL Raw division.

    So far I have competed in 6 meets. I happen to occupy a very narrow niche. As the venerable Gordon Santee once remarked, "All my competition is injured or dead." Same for me. You, being younger and a lower weight class, will have more competition than I do.

    But it's been a great boost to my training, even though I am finding my top weights falling a little over time. That's the one drawback at my age. I may have peaked late and now have to accept the inevitable decline in strength. But I'll be damned to let those weights drop without one Helluva fight. Supine acceptance is just not in the Hurling DNA. Then again, I suspect my squat and deadlift form may have drifted and I need some coaching. Next year for sure.

    OTOH, competing has gotten me 6 gold medals. I have a CA state record in the untested divisions and one in the drug tested divisions implemented just this year by the USPA. As a result of the second drug tested record, I qualified for both the untested nationals in Las Vegas and the tested nationals in Georgia. I elected to compete in the tested nationals because I wanted to support the program. I lifted a record total there too since it was the first one held. I even managed to compete in the IPL Worlds early on. Hell, I never imagined I'd win a gold in anything I competed in, let alone at the Worlds.

    You might surprise yourself. Give it a try.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2014
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    I competed for the first time at 53, weighing in a bit less than you and would have been very happy to hit those numbers. Still would.

    I outlifted people younger and bigger than me and was out lifted by guys older and skinnier. No one cared...and no one else remembers now.

    Give it a go. Competition may bring out your best, or it will expose some weaknesses. Whatever happens, the environment will be supportive and encouraging and gives you a reason to keep improving.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2010
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    Olympia, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rap1973 View Post
    Mark, I need some guidance. Im 43 years old and have a burning desire to compete in the sport of powerlifting. Is it common for someone to compete for the first time in the masters division? Don't get me wrong, I'm no powerlifting stud. I have much work to do. I'm weighing around 210, my bench is 300( torn pec five years ago... never the same as before), squat 435, deadlift 450. That's lifting recreational. I guess what I'm asking you is, am I wasting my time and would I be making a fool out of myself. I want to know if I'm out of my league before I actually take this on. In case your wondering I'm fully aware of the toll on the body, I live sore as it is.
    Thanks.
    What's more important to you: 1) stepping on to the platform in competition as a means to drive your training, or 2) winning the competition?

  7. #7
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    Mar 2015
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    Sandy, Utah
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    Compete. The worst thing that happens is you have fun and set a total to build from. You will probably set some prs and make a few friends.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2016
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    Wichita Falls, Tx.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lex_Anderson View Post
    Well Masters is just the age group not the skill level. But as far as it being a waste of time is up to you and how you approach the situation. Like any endeavor if you are going to approach it by fully diving in and dedicating yourself to the sport and learning its rules and how each lift is judged and so on, and most importantly enjoy the experience, then you will not be wasting your time at all. Being out of your league? its possible but hey that's life right? You're not entering raw nationals so don't freak out about it too much. Pick a local meet and go for it and have fun!
    Thanks for the input, much appreciated.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rap1973 View Post
    Mark, I need some guidance. Im 43 years old and have a burning desire to compete in the sport of powerlifting
    Really no need to overthink this right? Just do it. Personally I'm happy you don't have a burning desire to blow up the state of New York, combine bacon with everything, or do Crossfit. That's a different story

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    FWIW, a New, Rather Long Impromptu Review of the 2016 Starting Strength Fall Classic:

    Last month I competed in my first ever lifting competition on my 41st b-day, the Fall Classic at The Mecca (Rippita Falls Athletic Museum). It was a long drive for me (5 hours each way/same day), and I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but ultimately I had a great time.

    I was surprised by how much of an "endurance workout" a strength meet is. (When's the last time your first warmup set and your last work set were 6 hours apart?) Lots of time for prone resting with headphones, socializing between attempts, reading all the cool nostagia on Rip's walls, rifling through his office drawers for old eighties porn mags... Just kidding. I didn't do any socializing. I was too busy trying to figure out whether I should be resting or eating or warming up or taking a shit. I think next time I'll have the timing of the lifting order down and get to actually relax some. (And rub out a WFAC-jack for good measure). I never did find those mags. But there is a classic poster in the men's locker room of Kathy Smith in her prime...

    http://www.mpomerle.com/Auto/Pictures/Kathy_Smith2.jpg

    Never found out what was in the women's locker room. Flat Rip?

    As far as the lifts go, my modest goals were to hit a combined 1000# across the squat/press/dead in the M82.5 kg weight class based on recent training projections. I figured a 400/200/400 was a realistic goal with some wiggle room in either direction. Exceeded my expectations in the squat (415) and especially the deadlift (440), though my press underperformed a bit (185), due to losing an attempt due to form (the press judging was a tad stricter and seemingly arbitrary than expected). Rip--who was announcing the meet--even had to step in at one point and verbally shame the judges into maintaining some semblance of consistency.

    *On a side note, I will admit to finding it a tad irritating that a rather vocal team coach who I didn't recognize (but who I did later discover bore a rather striking resemblence to Matt Reynolds) was not-so-subtly influencing the judging of his lifters by bellowing out things like "GREAT LIFT!" from the sidelines on nearly every attempt, leading to many a questionable 3-white-light gimme from the judges. He eventually got embarrased on a 3-red-light FAIL that he had preemptively awarded with a "NICE WORK!", leaving Rip no choice but to finally call him out from the mic.
    "Oops."

    "Shutt... uuuupp."

    It was all in good fun, though, which added to the flavor of the experience.

    Back to me--because really this is all about me--I placed just under mid-pack across the various categories (open/masters/weight class) based on the compiled national results (80th/20th/14th, respectively), though I did end up one weight class higher by meet day than I had originally projected (M90 kg). Which was fine, heavier was definitely stronger. LOVE the fact that they use a weigh-OUT rather than a weigh-IN, to help thwart all the recockulous dehydration schemes that mainstream powerlifters seem to have gravitated to. As Campitelli put it in the Meet Results, "We like it when weight classes actually mean what they say they do." However, I still probably ate myself right into a higher weight class on the day of the meet with all the Clif Bars I tore through.

    Ultimately, if you feel any desire at all to compete, you should take the plunge. You're really only competing against yourself. Unless you're one of the "Mastodons" (as Rip calls them), no one will care about what you lifted that day. And unless you shart your drawers on the squat or projectile vomit on the deadlift, no one will point and laugh. (Just DO NOT approach the platform until the bar is loaded or risk facing Miked Rip's wrath). It's all just to push yourself. It's certainly a great venue for PRs and an excellent reason to stay motivated on a long training block.

    I would especially recommend competing if you are within range of any of the various Starting Stength meet locations. (Or even if you're not; one older woman who I briefly chatted up had flown in all the way to Wichita Falls--who knew they even had an airstrip--maybe she parachuted in--from St. Louis! (She told me the Chicago meet had sold out). She mentioned having kids who also live in Texas.

    I asked her, "Oh, really? How old are your kids?"

    "60."

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