5 Things You MUST Do When Training For Competition

By: Brian Carroll

1. Be patient. Don’t push and peak too early just because you feel great. This could be the start of your end in this training cycle. Sometimes athletes feel GREAT after a very productive offseason and want to IMMEDIATELY jump the gun and go heavy as hell right away because they feel ‘ready’. This is a trap that many fall into and end up peaking 5 weeks out from the meet. Always err on the side of caution in training.

2. Have a plan (and a back-up). This piggy-backs on number 1. Having a plan will help you see the big picture instead of going ‘big’ whenever you feel like it and having a back-up plan will sometimes save you from throwing in the towel! You will know your limits each day and when they day comes to push heavy; you are all locked in and ready. This is part of building momentum that I’m always talking about.

3. Eliminate distractions that are unnecessary. Anything that will unnecessarily pull your attention away – i.e. getting into trouble with the law, having too many girlfriends, partying too hard, trying to play multiple sports just ‘because’. I get it – we have responsibilities outside of the gym but at the same time, if you are going to invest all this time, money and effort into something, you might want to take it seriously.

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4. Be ready to feel terrible some days when pushing hard toward a meet. As I talk about in 10/20/Life, weeks 5, 6, 7 will likely feel the worst and as if you are almost barely treading water if not regressing. This is the norm if you are pushing hard enough. If at 2 weeks out you feel ‘fresh’ or ‘great’ you may have not trained as hard as you should have and depending on the outcome of the meet, make sure to adjust accordingly.

5. Visualize yourself doing your goal numbers. That’s exactly what I do. See yourself picking up the weight – whether a squat, bench, dead – whatever and ‘feel’ it and imagine yourself successfully doing it. Play out all possible scenarios in your head and see yourself doing what your goal is. How you will feel before, during and after. Think of every case scenario as you envision this happening and never talk yourself out of a lift in a meet unless you are facing serious injury.

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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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