Articles  >  Weightlifting Competition
Dos and Don'ts of Meet Day: Weightlifting Competition Preparation
Mike Gray
July 24 2012

These are the do’s and don’ts of what to do and not do on meet day that I have either watched or experienced myself over the years. 
1.       Do make weight. Be prepared for this and buy a good scale or get there early enough to check the one they are using. Be polite and don’t cut in front of people who are actually weighing in. Just ask whoever is manning the room for a “courtesy weigh”.
2.       Do make your opener.  If you’re best ever snatch is 100k opening with 99k is a risky endeavor. Personally I like 5k under my current best but your coach should know best.
3.       Do not take, eat or drink something you don’t normally ingest. If you have been eating carb free or very clean to make weight this is not the time to have a slice or 2 of pizza after you make weight to celebrate. If you have never had an energy drink this is also not the time to try it.  Everything you take in before you lift is something you know works for you and you have used it with success.
4.       Do lift with your singlet on at least one time before your meet. Lifting in a singlet is an odd feeling for some. Practice lifting with it on a couple of times before your meet. Most programs have you pull openers or close to a week or so out, wear it then and get used to it.
5.       Do thank the meet director, loaders, coach, friends and family that showed up. You ever load a barbell for 8 hours? You ever count attempts for somebody and have to run back and forth from the platform to a card table 15 times? You ever sit around for 6 hours waiting to watch one person lift? Get my point?
6.       Do not spike the barbell after you finish. You aren’t the first person to lift in a meet. Follow it down and act like you have been there before. Glaring at the judges is also pretty lame.
7.       Do have a plan. What I mean by this is have a plan for after your 1st attempt. Also remember that everyone has a plan before they get punched in the face. Please see #2 about this.
8.       Do have a Snickers for in between the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. I can’t tell you why it works but I swear to everything it does.
9.       Do not start your warm up 2 hours out. You are wasting energy. I see this all the time with guys literally warming up for 90 minutes and they are in their 20’s. Trust me guys you are burning a ton of energy that would be better used on the platform. Same guys that show up with headphones on with their “I am going to run through a wall music” blaring. Save it. Use it when you really need it. For the love of everything RELAX until you don’t have to relax.
10.   Do bring a bag of chalk. It happens by the time I get around to lift chalk is sometimes scarce. I always bring a fresh block in a Ziploc bag and sometimes end up using it.
11.   Do bring a back up MP3 player if music is important to you. I love to listen to music while I relax before lifting and while I am warming up. There is nothing worse than pulling out your iPod and seeing it dead. Warming up with an Iphone sticking out of your singlet is just awful.
12.   Do not hoard plates in the warm up room.  It’s not cool. Sure if they have your name on them and you hauled them then that’s one thing but if they are provided by the meet then guess what everyone gets to use them.
13.   Do bring the following items:  
Foam roller: If you use one bring your own. I don’t want your sweaty ass on mine.
Water: 2x what you think you will need.
Food: Try and stick to the same stuff you have been eating the week before.
Caffeine: If that’s your thing bring it and if it’s not then odds are I don’t like you as a person.
Bandages: Nobody plans on ripping their shins open.
Shoelaces: It has never happened to me but it would suck if it did.
Camera or something to capture video: Just be cool when you ask them to tape you.
Sombra or Biofreeze: Why not? Make sure you wash your hands after and neither works as a deoderant.
Attitude: Competitive and ready to win.
This is important and you have to be of legal drinking age but 2 Tecate’s in a can are the best beers you will ever drink after you have finished a meet. Once again no scientific evidence, just take my word for it.
14.    Do watch videos of great lifters the week prior. It works.
15.   Do not be this guy “this is crap my openers went up way easier last night!!” or “I lifted more on Thursday than I did today!!” (meet being on Saturday). You might want to look back at your program because I am sure that it wasn’t planned that way.
16.   Do know the total you are chasing if it’s a qualifying meet. If you need a certain total please be sure you are looking at the right total and not the total from last year etc… They change and sometimes by quite a bit.
17.   Do thank anyone that has the displeasure of living with you or working with you after it’s over. Odds are you weren’t that fun of a person to be around and felt that unloading the dishwasher may be taxing to your system. (Em,  folding clothes is bad for my knees though) Also thank your training partner even if he got deathly ill the last week and couldn’t compete. Once again Brad that really sucks.
18.    Do not neglect your hands the last week. Take care of them and they will take care of you on game day.
19.   Do be the guy that helps out after you lift. Especially if you have teammates etc going after you. Those bars don’t load themselves.
20.   Do remember what you are there for. To lift big weights on meet day. Getting trashed the night before, showing up late, and not taking it seriously are just a sign that you don’t take it seriously enough to give it your very best.
These are just a handful of things that I could come up with that like I said earlier I have either learned or watched over the years. I want to say congrats to Morgan Murphy for a great meet even though he ignored rule #2 but came back and killed the rest of it and to Jim Malone who came out and had an incredible showing for his first meet.
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Scott L
July 24 2012
Great article. Even though I don't lift competitively, I can appreciate these tips. I think it can apply to everyday gym behavior for a lot of people.
Jim Malone
July 24 2012
Great list! and in reference to #5, a very sincere THANK YOU to you Mike, for being so generous with time & advice on meet day to an "old man" lifting in his first meet (and for having an extra Tecate!), and to Murph for checking attempts and keeping track of my attempt order, you help was huge! And also to Greg for his advice, support and for having one of the most informative websites out there. Looking forward to American Masters, and hopefully Nationals.
Matt Fried
July 24 2012
Awesome article. Very helpful bring-along list. Thanks! PS I like coffee a lot.
Steven Pan
July 24 2012
Another one that Mike has told me that is a good rule to go by: "Two is one and one is none." Having a spare of anything you might need is a good idea in the case that one of them goes to shit.
Greg Everett
July 25 2012
No wonder my two legs feel so weak. They're only one leg.
Greg Everett
July 25 2012
#21. Don't pack your lifting shoes, singlet or anything else you need for the meet in luggage you're going to check in.
Mike Gray
July 25 2012
#22. If your coach has to travel (especially across the country) and you bomb out becuase you broke rule #2 then have a credit card ready and be prepared to drink and pay for it until they are done.
July 25 2012
Do feel free to use commas where applicable.
Greg Everett
July 25 2012
Erika -

Commas just slow you down. Keep up.
July 26 2012
Erika -

You're observation of grammer is very empressive
July 27 2012
Addendum to 6: Unless you're John North. But you're not. So don't.
Matt Foreman
July 28 2012
Beautiful post, 100% spot-on with everything except for one tiny insignificant detail (the part about "2 Tecate’s in a can are the best beers you will ever drink after you have finished a meet" I can't agree, but I respect the opinion). My favorites are:

1 (especially at a national meet because you don't get to move up and compete in the next weight class if you don't make weight, you just wasted half a year of training and hundreds of dollars in travel)
3 (this can get challenging when you're traveling to unfamiliar places, some advance planning and a few phone calls before you make the trip can help things a lot)
5 (big time)
6 (for everybody)
19 (big time)
20 (uber big time)

But I like them all, good stuff.
June 28 2014
I don't compete, although i might like to one day, however i look after my hands cos i'm a vain female, but i'm unsure what you mean with #18 unless its what i already do..
Also #8 i get the feeling there's a joke in there somewhere but i ain''t got a clue what it is.. (knickers.. snatch) ... sorry maybe it's just my naivety or my my English mind! :)
Michael Frazier
August 11 2015
Thanks for all the time you have spent building a massive library of articles. I have so much shit bookmarked in my web browser going back to 2011 and they never get old, because I still ask myself the same questions. Answers I am giving others, I ask myself, and I always refer back to these articles.