Competition Frequency for Powerlifters (Article From Journals of Strength and Conditioning Research)

One of the challenges as a coach and/or as an athlete is to determine when to compete and how many times a year should an individual compete. Qualification total and level of competition is needed to be considered when deciding on when and how many times to compete. Some research has shown that competition performance has improved with regular and continued training.


After reading this article by Pearson et al. it shows that individuals who have longer training blocks between competitions showed greater improvements. The more competition a person goes through the percentage of improvement decrease thus creating a limit to how many they should compete in. But this decrease in improvement percentage from every competition is more pronounced in males compared to females. (I believe this could be because of the differences in hormone levels between male and female.)


This article aimed to inform coaches and athletes and help improve programming to help decide on how many competitions should be done throughout the year. By doing this, it may help maximize performance for powerlifting athletes and other strength-related sports.


Although some factors like days between each competition, previous and lingering injuries, hormone levels, competition levels (local, national or international) and if the athlete competed in equipped meets. My take from this article is that as a powerlifting coach and athlete I need to plan out programming based on how many competitions an athlete should go through and the time between each competition based on training tolerance and other factors. This does differ per person and gender as some individuals can tolerate higher stress before physical and mental fatigue kicks in.


Let me know in the comments below what your take on this is.


Below is a quick overview of the article I found on https://journals.lww.com/


In this article by Pearson et al. they stated that powerlifters improved their big three lifts by 9.2% to 48% with the higher percentage being a 16-week block of specific training and the lower percentage as a shorter 9-week training period. Thus, a longer training block and longer time between competition should help powerlifters improve and develop strength. The purpose of their research is to evaluate the relationship between strength and competition frequency in male and female powerlifting athletes.


Pearson et al. used records from www.powerliftingaustralia.com from Jan 1st 2017 to Dec 31st 2017. The data taken was from male and female competitors in the raw division. These athletes must have competed in 2017 at least once in a raw powerlifting event.


Their results found that men had greater absolute and relative strength compared to women. Competition 1 had greater absolute strength by 5.1% compared to competition 2. Competition 2 was 2.2% higher compared to 3, competition 3 was 3.1% higher compared to 4, and competition 6 was lower than competition 1. While comparing relative strength, the results were similar to absolute strength where competition 1 was higher compared to competition 1 to 6.


They analyzed that athletes who compete in multiple events during a calendar year have shown performance improvement but there are other factors that contribute to the improved performance. A higher frequency of competition participants also suggested to influence performance according to evidence from other sports. It is possible to improve performance with a more frequent exposure to competition.


With the higher frequency of competition, the athlete is exposed to training tapers that is effective to enhance maximal strength by reducing physiological and psychological fatigue.


Find the full article here

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