Powerlifting Competitions – Am I Ready?: Guest Post by Jodie Cook

By Jodie Cook

Last week, some fellow members of MSC Performance and I competed in the BDFPA British Powerlifting Championships, held at Motiv8 in King’s Lynn.

Overall it went pretty well with Deirdre Fenlon winning the 80kg class, me winning the 55.5kg category and Lucia Puricelli winning the junior 58.5kg category (setting some new personal bests on the way).


Here’s a table of the MSC Performance girls’ best lifts and totals:

Squat Bench Deadlift Total Points*
Deirdre Fenlon 147.5kg 65 185 397.5 274.7
Jodie Cook 112.5kg 65 130 307.5 282.3
Lucia Puricelli 100 47.5 122.5 270.0 240.7

*calculated with a Schwartz coefficient.

Here’s a video of my three lifts:

I know there are a lot of strong girls out there, many of whom would be competitive in the BDPFA, especially at a local powerlifting meet. It’s really easy to tell yourself “not yet” or “when I can squat 80kg” or maybe “next year” but you just have to commit to it.  It’s a really friendly environment with everyone willing each other to do well, so I recommend signing up to the next one near you and giving it a go.

What I love about powerlifting competitions:

  1. Being powered by caffeine and sugar
  1. The cheering on by the crowd
  1. Making new powerlifting buddies
  1. The food after (even though you’ve only actually done 9 lifts!)
  1. Having my phone on aeroplane mode – I run a social media agency, but when I’m competing I don’t touch my phone until I’ve done all my lifts. It allows me to completely focus.

What I don’t like so much:

  1. Rules that don’t seem to make sense. I failed my second squat on this rule – “the top of the bar must not sit more than 3cm below the anterior deltoid”. The anterior deltoid is on the front of the shoulder, so how that rule is monitored is anyone’s guess!
  1. The anxiety before weigh-in, including thinking your scales at home might be different from the ones they’re using in the competition, and nervously peering over your huge quads to see the number.
  1. The singlet. It’s not the most flattering of outfits but is essential because it means the judges can see your hip crease (squat), bum coming off bench (bench) and lock out (deadlift). I bought mine from the Strength Shop.

My advice for first-time competitors:

  1. Do a full dress rehearsal, two or three weeks out

Work up to your opening lifts (or more if you like) doing the exact same warm up as you will do on the day. Wear your singlet, socks and belt and ask someone to give you the calls and watch your squat depth. Do the lifts in the right order too – deadlifting after squats and bench press is very different from doing them fresh!

  1. Practise with the calls!

Loads of first-time lifters miss their lifts because of technicalities like not waiting for the calls and putting the bar back too early. At divisional meets the judge will normally go through the rules at the start and you can check out the rulebook if you’re unsure.

  1. Open with a something easy

A rule of thumb for experienced lifters is open on the weight of your three-rep max, do your second lift on your two-rep max and then your final lift should be your true one rep max.  However, on your first meet, in new surroundings, with a crowd watching and call to adhere to, I would start with more like your five-rep max – something you know you could fall out of bed and do without a warm up!

  1. Squat without a mirror in front of you

If you’re used to squatting in front of a mirror, it can be really disconcerting once you can’t see yourself. Your balance might be off, you might not know when you hit depth and you need a focal point. Remember in the competition there will be a judge right in front of you and a crowd watching the meet so you’ll have to stay focused!

If you’re thinking of competing check out the BDPFA site and click “events” in the left hand column. Here are the national qualifying totals in the BDFPA (scroll down to “women’s powerlifting totals – unequipped”) – there is no minimum total for divisional championships so anyone can compete!

I’d love to field any question you have, so tweet me @cookiewhirls or catch me on Instagram.


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