When you DL 800+ lbs, your meet strategy is based around that. Here are three examples:
Thoughts on Choosing Meet Attempts
By Coach Jim Ford 12/14.2001
There are many theories on strategy for contest attempts and I will try to discuss a few. A lot of the things that help to determine your strategy have to do with your goals, short term and long term. Perhaps you are seeking a Personal Record; an individual title; a team point finish; or maybe just to see where you are after completing some cycles. Or just want to add to your competitive experience. I personally think you should go into a meet learning to adapt to stressful conditions always trying to learn something new about yourself. This challenging yourself can be either in the technical aspects of your lifting or the cycles that that prepared you for this day. In formulating strategy, you must be honest with yourself and know your limitations and what you're capable of performing that day. Evan better, having a trustworthy, competent coach to assist you. Coaching assistance is an asset to lifters at all levels. It does no good to be trying what your emotions want you to do if it's unrealistic. Additionally, just because you had a good cycle and think that indicates you should be able to handle something easily, don't take it for granted. You are trying for your best lifts THAT DAY. A good strategy is to realistically be able to know your capabilities and assess your strengths on meet day and take appropriate jumps. Therefore, not missing attempts. In short, don't choose with your emotions guiding what your "really want to do". You or your coach should accurately choose numbers that help you get 8 or 9 completions. More often than not, this will place you higher consistently. This is smart lifting.
It is a good idea to have a set of priorities. For instance, your first should be to NOT BOMB OUT. Doing so shows poor judgement, improper planning and an un-organized finish to a good training cycle. You wasted your time, not only on meet day, but the preceding months of preparation. Stupidity pure and simple; and lack of experience. I come down hard here on this issue because in working with Teens and even more experienced JR. 's you see it quite often. This is because they don't make attempts for the right reasons. They gamble on high-risk attempts. Your looking for successfully completed attempts. This is better general strategy than high-risk gambled attempts. Choosing with your ego, due to what a competitor opens with for example. The smart ones only make this mistake once. Others tend to repeat this amateur style strategy. They would really benefit from a coach who picks their numbers. Everyone needs a GOOD coach. If you have one, listen to him. There are several examples out there for a general guide on how to pick opening numbers. Like, "take something you can easily do 3-5 reps with" or maybe, something "you can do an easy single with, RAW". Whatever you choose to help you decide, just remember that the first attempt is to break the ice, get your feet wet and "KEEP YOU IN THE MEET. If there is any question about accomplishing it, then it is to high. I love it when my friend Alex Gallant sees a lifter in the warm-up room not getting low enough on squats. When he say's "Lower", they say '"I can get deeper when I get more weight on the bar". Alex goes ballistic! If you can't get low enough with a weight to hit "Convincingly deep" warm-ups, more weight will not make it easier. Take weight off! Try to warm-up early and if weights were heavier than usual, consider lowering your opening attempts. Unless you're just a "head case" who overly worries about everything, re-submit numbers that will get you started right. Once again, a competent coach can help here. You may not be a smart meet lifter, that's OK. Just get a smart coach to aid you. Not some guy from the gym who will tell you what will please you but one who knows the rules and one who can be a real benefit in strategy. Have your coach lower your openers, if need be. He will be your eyes and ears and diffuse problems that interfere with your getting into focus and staying there. So, getting proper warm-up time and picking, then completing your openers is a critical hurdle in your meet strategy. Furthermore, I like to emphasize in IPF competitions that your first attempt should be made with authority. For you and the judges.
Your second and third attempts are where you think about placement. Maybe the old rule of second attempt being medium hard will apply to picking number two. One that is hard, but you feel confident in making. If pressed for specific amounts, well maybe 97% -100% of your current max is the range many experienced lifters take on # 2 Squat & #2 Bench attempt.. The Dead Lift is another story, but more about that later. So, this 2nd attempt should be hard, but one you feel you can accomplish, strength wise and with good passing form. For Squat & Bench Press, # 3 should be for a Personal Record and or placing strategy; particularly if your Dead is not exceptional and you need good numbers at the subs. If you are this type lifter, you will need to try and complete all three squats and Benches to build a solid sub-total and win the meet. So, pick wisely & prudently. This is your primary strategy. You will be fresh on the squat; it's the first lift. So it's reasonable to assume fatigue is not a factor. With proper picks, you can complete 3/3. The bench, is different muscles, and if adequate time was spent on conditioning & practice getting from squat gear to BP shirt keeps your transition time down, you should also be able to go 3/3 on the BP. The Dead Lift, regardless of your super physical conditioning, is a mental lift. Any way you come into it, you will be tired. Having a good idea what you want to successfully pull on DL # 2 is something you should have determined before the meet.
A good general strategy is to build a good lead at the Subs and wait to see what you need to pull for the win. If you're not an exceptional Dead Lifter, this strategy won't work, but there are still a lot of things lefts to accomplish for either type lifter, in order to walk off with the win.
The Dead Lift is really where the meet gets decided. You will begin to get a contrast in strategies here also. Let me layout a few factors that lead me to that statement. If you are going against a big pull'er, you will need to have been successful with your sub-total strategy as outlined earlier. You can bet he is just waiting to pull what he needs to for the win. However, here we have the fatigue factor. All are very tired and a strong competitive mind must overcome this fatigue. You must be able to dig deep and maximize your remaining strength. Mental & physical. Once again, being a smart lifter here can be your strategy and can make all the difference. A smart lifter knows how to expend his remaining energy reserves. First attempt should be a very heavy last warm-up. I will receive some disagreement on the following strategy, but never the less, I believe you should plan on just two pulls. Of course your final placing can affect and necessitate a third attempt, but you should try to get it all done in two pulls. The first, as stated earlier, is to keep you in the meet, with no bomb-out and get you ready for a really big pull. On # 2 you should try to win the meet or secure your placement. Perhaps even a Record lift. Circumstance can mandate you take a third, but even the best conditioned lifter will be less than 100%. by the third. With proper strategy, you may not need a third. Three attempts may even deprive you of a higher total. Let me explain. Say you complete the third, would you have gotten more without the wasted energy from number two? Say you took 600 then 630 then 660. No doubt 630 took strength from and already tired lifter. Perhaps by skipping it, you could rest and complete 660 or more on that final attempt; Or take it on number two, then pass the third if need be. If it looked like you would need something in the 660 range, you would have a much better shot at it. Perhaps even abit more. Once again, all the strategy in the world won't help you make up ground on a lifter who has 100 pounds on you. But it will get you a potentially higher pull. Quite often, close battles do come down to the third pull, but unlike the squat and Bench Press; you're much more tired by final pulls. So, lift smart and conserve your energy for a maximum pull.
Perhaps the best of all strategies are:
1st attempts are to keep you in the meet and avoid bomb-outs.
Maximize all three attempts and complete all Squats & benches by not wasting attempts. You want 6/6.
You or your coach must correctly assess your abilities on MEET DAY. This strategy will help your overall total. Condition yourself to make three good attempts here and don't let pride or ego influence the attempts you take.
Combine a solid Sub-total with not WASTING any energy on the Deadlift and save it all for ONE BIG PULL. Preferably on the 2nd attempt; or pass that to rest for a big one on # 3. Maybe you won't need it after all. Take a third if you happen to feel good that day.
Try to learn something every time you enter a meet. The best lifters are smart lifters.