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Old 09-14-2012, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default 3,2,1,0 Powerlifting Meet Countdown

3, 2, 1, 0 Meet Countdown - Competition Preparation | Breaking Muscle

Chris Duffin

In preparing for a powerlifting meet I have seen lots of overthinking, overworking, and overstressing when it comes to people figuring out how to setup their training cycle to perform the best on competition day. Even those who are not powerlifters should get something from the following article by seeing an extremely simple, yet extremely effective method for maximizing performance for a specific day. Although the system in this article is incredibly simple to put into place, it also happens to work like a charm every time. I call it the 3, 2, 1, 0 Meet Countdown.

The first piece of the countdown has the athlete focus on dialing in what they are going to attempt at a meet. They are forced to define those numbers (or close to them) in advance of the meet. It is important for a lifter to have these numbers defined so they are not second guessing their attempts on competition day. This allows them to focus on their performance. There is enough pressure on the day of the meet, so anything you can solidify beforehand has a positive effect. This is accomplished by the following progression:

3 weeks out – Lifter attempts the planned 3rd attempt at the meet / max attempt
2 weeks out – Lifter works up to planned 2nd attempt at the meet
1 week out – Lifter works up to planned 1st attempt (opener) at the meet
0 weeks out – Week of meet, lifter makes zero attempts until day of meet

The second piece of the countdown manages the workout volume leading into the meet. Combined with the overload and then deload in maximal attempts listed above, we begin the “realization” phase. The realization phase is when you deload in a manner that your central nervous system (CNS) and muscles recover at a greater rate than the fatigue induced by further increased workload. It is important this is timed correctly so you don’t also begin to lose the training response from your workouts that has developed your strength levels. When applied properly the realization phase allows you to realize your full potential strength without also being overcome by CNS and muscle fatigue.

The second piece to the countdown is again mind-numbingly simple and easy to implement. In a typical training session I let my athletes do no more than three assistance exercises per training session following their core lift (a recent article by Nick Horton articulates this fairly well, albeit he does three total per session where we do a core lift followed by three assistance).

3 weeks out – Lifter continues using 3 assistance exercises after core lift
2 weeks out – Lifter drops to 2 assistance exercises after core lift
1 weeks out – Lifter drops to 1 assistance exercises after core lift
0 weeks out – Week of the meet, the lifter does zero assistance exercises and only light stretching

And there you have it, the 3, 2, 1, 0 Meet Countdown.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:52 AM   #2
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Bumping and making a sticky.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:43 PM   #3
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Keep in mind Duffin is a mad man lol!

Still pretty close to what we do though, with the big exception is that we dont take 3rd attempt type numbers in the gym very often.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:08 PM   #4
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is that we dont take 3rd attempt type numbers in the gym very often.
I agree with this. It's nothing I would personally do. I would maybe hit my old meet PR.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:49 AM   #5
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So for the 3 weeks are we just working up to a heavy single then moving on to assistance work, or working up to a heavy single then backing off and hitting maybe a 3x3 or something? Sorry for the newb questions
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:39 AM   #6
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Definitely follow the progression, but never come close to my 3rd attempt in the gym. It is weird but I am always hitting numbers I would never hit in the gym at a meet so I never try to come close to a third attempt.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:44 AM   #7
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So for the 3 weeks are we just working up to a heavy single then moving on to assistance work, or working up to a heavy single then backing off and hitting maybe a 3x3 or something? Sorry for the newb questions
You are basically just working up to the single rep. You are staying sharp and peaking while dropping volume.

This can be intimidating, but it works well. I only used daily singles for 2-3 years and it worked like a charm.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:56 AM   #8
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Definitely follow the progression, but never come close to my 3rd attempt in the gym. It is weird but I am always hitting numbers I would never hit in the gym at a meet so I never try to come close to a third attempt.
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You are basically just working up to the single rep. You are staying sharp and peaking while dropping volume.

This can be intimidating, but it works well. I only used daily singles for 2-3 years and it worked like a charm.
Thanks guys that's what I shall do then! And yeah Shorts, no way in hell I would try to hit a 3rd attempt in the gym, that's pure madness hahaha !!!
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:38 PM   #9
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So would I be out of line then to plan on my current 1rm as my 2nd lift? Thus forcing a PR attempt for my third. I have about 8 weeks until my first meet, trying to get my head around this.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:00 PM   #10
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So would I be out of line then to plan on my current 1rm as my 2nd lift? Thus forcing a PR attempt for my third. I have about 8 weeks until my first meet, trying to get my head around this.

If it's your first meet, I would suggest choosing numbers that give you a good chance of going 9/9. Technically every lift is a PB because you've never done it in a meet before. Go through the meet, enjoy yourself and if you feel strong enough, go for a small PB on thirds.
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