Stumbling to the Platform I: Beginner Powerlifter


Why am I calling this blog series ‘Stumbling to the Platform’?

Well….because that’s pretty much what it feels like! I’m a beginner powerlifter, and I started prep 11 weeks out from my first meet ever.

I saw the post about the Raleigh Ruckus USPA Powerlifting event almost exactly 12 weeks before the event.

Large font across the post said ‘5 Spots Remain!’

I took a deep breath, and clicked ‘register’.

Competing in a powerlifting meet has been on my mind and on my wish list for quite some time. But I didn’t actively pursue it because I didn’t think I was strong enough (although, I’m certain every beginner feels this way in powerlifting…and many other things!).

I kept thinking:


When I can lift this number, I’ll compete.

When I have a coach, I’ll compete.

When I know everything, I’ll compete.


I think we all know what happens when we say things like, “I’ll do it when…




Did I have the numbers I thought I needed when I registered? No.

Did I have a knowledgeable powerlifting coach when I registered? Also no.

Did I even have a program to follow, or any approved equipment? No again.


But I knew that once I registered, I would figure things out along the way. I saw this as a learning opportunity. A chance to see what this sport is all about, push myself more than I normally would, and see what happens.


I found a program (MAPS Powerlift, created by Ben Pollack and the guys at Mind Pump).

I started researching equipment and recruited my fiancé to be my handler at the event.


I don’t have a coach. I’m Googling my way through this. Some days I wonder what the heck I think I’m doing. Other days I’m so excited that I can’t wait for the meet.


I started MAPS Powerlift 10 weeks out from my meet (on Saturday, January 5).  I finished up the Phase I intro weeks, and got my numbers to calculate my one rep max. These 1RM numbers are used to determine the weights I will use for the remainder of the program.


So here’s where I ended up at the end of Phase I:

Bench: 95×8

Working 1RM: 119 pounds


Squat: 175×8

Working 1RM: 219 pounds


Overhead press: 60×8

Working 1RM: 75 pounds


Deadlift: 205×8

Working 1RM: 256 pounds


Not where I want to be, but we have to start somewhere! I’m working on ignoring my ego and just letting myself experience and enjoy the process of myself getting stronger, rather than constantly comparing my numbers to everyone else. Looking forward to seeing where this program takes me, and where I go after my meet experience!


Now we’re on to Phase II, which is 6 weeks long and focused on building strength.


Anyone else competing in their first meet? Leave a comment below!

Or if you’re a seasoned competitor that wants to share you best tips and advice, drop it below and I’ll be sure to share out 🙂

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