Over the past few years, there has been a renaissance of sorts with respect to barbell sports. People all across the country are finding a new hobby in powerlifting, weightlifting, and even CrossFit. Although many do it simply for the challenge of picking up heavy stuff, people are now showing up in droves to test their might in competitions. This wonderful phenomenon has led to the growth of a supportive and engaging strength-centered community which makes competing even more rewarding. As we show up as a spectator or volunteer at local meets, the desire to compete grows even further. Unfortunately, we can’t expect our bodies to hold up to the demands of competing every weekend. So just how often is too often when it comes to competing? As with everything, the answer depends on the individual. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you decide the optimal frequency for yourself.

 

Beginner vs. Advanced

One thing you need to keep in mind is the different dose response that you’ll get out of competing based on your training age. Most people haven’t yet tapped into their full potential strength wise when they start competing. Stepping onto the platform and attempting a 1RM actually won’t be as taxing to the central nervous system compared to what is experienced by a veteran lifter. Think of the difference between a back squat 1RM of 225 pounds versus 600 pounds. Although they both represent a relatively heavy attempt, a veteran lifter who squats that 600 pounds is going to take a huge hit CNS wise compared to the beginner who squats the lighter weight. Because of this, novices can get away with competing more often than advanced lifters.

Another consideration that needs to be made is the aspect of practice when it comes to competing. Someone who is new to competing would benefit from more frequency in order to become more comfortable with the competition environment. All of the nuances of meet day from commands, to warm-up strategy, and even nutrition are hard to replicate in the gym. The best way to get comfortable with those skills is to immerse yourself in that environment more often. After a handful of meets, it will feel like second nature. Therefore, meet day veterans don’t need that stimulus as often given their past experiences.

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