My First Powerlifting Competition by Pam

Last October, coach James suggested starting a weekly Powerlifting Club, with a view to entering the East Midlands Championships at the end of January, run by the Great Britain Powerlifting Federation. This meant focusing on three lifts in particular: squat, bench and deadlift.  I had a good deadlift and a reasonable bench, but my squat was poor.  That is not a case of false modesty – if only.  I struggled to reach parallel with an empty bar.  Throughout November and December, I did squat practice five days a week, alongside regular CrossFit classes.  I always used a box, and got used to hitting parallel.  I did mobility work in ten minute intervals throughout my working day. 

We started work again after the Christmas break, and I was able to squat below parallel at 40kg. Then something clicked, I suddenly understood what a squat felt like in my body, with my weight back and my chest up.  One week I got up to 50kg. We had a practice competition two weeks before the main event and I got up to a 60kg back squat. I failed every single one of my bench presses, and added 15kg to my deadlift, getting it up to 142.5kg. Coach Lee gave me a two-week training programme to take me to the competition, and said I should stay off CrossFit classes. That was the hardest stage of the whole process. I felt lonely training by myself, and the constant focus on three lifts was getting dull. 

In the week leading up to the competition, more and more people from the box got involved. Members loaned me kit, others talked through the strategies they had used in previous competitions. People came over and gave me practice drills for each of the lifts. They started working out car shares and travel times to come and support me.

On the day of the competition, the box came into its own. People just appeared, and did what was needed. Selma and Rich filmed every lift so I could see in between each one what I needed to work on. Claire and James worked through each of my warm ups, and helped me finalise lift weights. Jo and Bryony gave cuddles, calm, coffee and chips on an as-needs basis. Damien was on standby to replace me if it all went pear-shaped with the squat – he is virtually my body double with his beard shaved off. 

I was apprehensive (terrified) before my first squat.  My opening weight was about 30kg lighter than everyone else’s opening weight, but it went well and I got up to a new PB of 80kg with my third and final lift. I then relaxed, and got to a respectable 57.5kg with my bench.  My deadlift warm-up went well, so I opened at 130kg and got up to 142.5kg for my third lift. This was good enough to close the gap, and gave me third place overall in my weight category. It is true that I worked extremely hard for this competition, and it is also true that I wouldn’t have done as well as I did without the support and encouragement of my wonderful CrossFit Cambridgeshire family.  It has been a great experience, and the positive feedback I have received for my win has been extraordinary, but I am really looking forward to working out with others again, and returning to the variety of CrossFit.

Check out a few images and video clips of the days events on our Instagram page

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