How Strong Should You Be Before Competing in a Powerlifting Meet?

What is the minimum strength you need in order to sign up to compete in powerlifting?

When talking with lifters who are interested in competing in powerlifting, the question of “am I strong enough to compete in powerlifting?” often comes up. 

The short answer:

You should be exactly as strong as you are right now, so go sign up for your first meet. 

The longer answer: 

Assuming you have a basic level of competence in the big 3 lifts, then you should sign up for an “open” meet. These are powerlifting competitions where there is no minimum standard required to sign up. Typically, meets that are run at a state, national or world level require what’s called a “qualifying total”, but open meets do not possess this criteria. 

If you’re worried about being competitive, then you should get over yourself and just sign up for your first meet. There’s almost always going to be someone stronger than you and delaying starting with competing does NOT mean that everyone else’s training is on pause, they will likely continue to get stronger while you delay your powerlifting debut. 

Does this mean you shouldn’t aspire to be competitive and be as strong as YOU can be? 

Of course not. 

However, I do think you should reframe how you think about your first meet. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of doing poorly at a meet… ever, then you probably shouldn’t even start competing because failing is inevitable. There WILL be a bad training session somewhere in there… There WILL be a bad meet somewhere in there. 

Treat your first powerlifting meet with an abundance mindset but framing it as “the first of many” instead of getting trapped  the scarcity mindset.

This first meet serves as a runway for your entire powerlifting career. Learn the process of competing, go have some fun and maybe even hit some PRs or even a Qualifying Total which would take you to a more competitive stage against more qualified competitors 🙂

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