MEET WEEK! And A Bit About Openers.

Well, it's here; it's meet week!

I've now tested and decided on all of my opening lifts.
I just completed my last heavy training day this past Friday.
I have no idea what I currently weigh or what I'm going to weigh-in at in a week's time.
I'm just trying to enjoy the last of my prep, be reasonable with my diet, and keep things as normal as possible to preserve my performance come meet day. 

I've been doing really well with homecooked lunches and dinners for the past few weeks, and as I always preach, cooking your own meals is a great step to limiting calories. I've felt really awesome in my training as well for the past few weeks, and I'm definitely feeling ready for the meet. It's crazy to be saying that, though, because right before this nice little stride I've hit I felt completely and utterly UNPREPARED for competition. While it was definitely nerve wracking to be ~5 weeks away from a meet and feeling fat and weak, I wasn't too worried, because I see this pattern with every meet prep I've done:

10-12 weeks out I've got no concerns in the world
6-8 weeks out I start to get a little more series about things but still unconcerned
4-5 weeks out I start to feel extremely stressed and unprepared
1-3 weeks out a switch flips and I feel very ready for the platform

Every. Time.

The only thing that was messing with me in the 1-3 weeks prior to the meet during this prep was picking my openers, and most specifically, it was picking my squat opener...

There are a lot of things to be considered when choosing an opening attempt:

1. You want the weight to be safe enough to prevent against failing all three attempts. 
As I've probably explained before, if you fail all three attempts for any of the lifts you are disqualified from the competition. Additionally, if you fail an attempt, you cannot go down in weight. You can only keep the weight the same or increase it. So, if you pick an opening attempt that's too ambitious (which should never happen, because openers are NOT for PRs), and you fail the rep, then you have no choice other than to try it again or make it even heavier... Chances are, if you fail your opener, you are going to fail all three attempts and then be disqualified. 
Most often, in regards to this point, people will give advice like: "pick a weight you can triple on any given day," "pick your 5rm," "pick easy, daily weight," "pick a weight you haven't fail for a single in 6+ months," etc. 

2. But, even though you want a safe weight, you also want to get some numbers on the board.
Let's say you choose an extremely safe weight for your opening attempt (#200 lbs, for example), and you have a successful rep. Then you jump right into trying to PR on your 2nd attempt (#260 lbs, for example), but you fail it. You try again for your 3rd attempt and fail again. Well, now you only have your opening weight counting towards your total, and if it was TOO safe, that number is going to be TOO small; smaller than you were likely capable of putting up. Furthermore, that is a HUGE jump to make between attempts... Going from super safe weight directly to a PR is probably going to be a bigger jump than you want to make, which brings me to the final point.

3. You want to choose an opener that's high enough to allow for bigger attempts for your 2nd and 3rd.
Generally you warm up prior to your opening attempt, and then all three attempts are completed without going back into the warm up area. This means that you will lift your 1st and 2nd attempts without anything in between other than standing around waiting to get on the platform again. The same is true for your 2nd a 3rd lifts. So, you want to keep in mind the size of the jump your body is used to making in warm ups and regular training. If you are wanting to PR at #315 pounds, then starting at #200 is probably not going to work...

So, with ALLLLLL that in mind, here are my opening weights:
S: #231.5 lbs / 105 kg
B: #165.3 lbs / 75 kg
D: #281.1 lbs / 127.5 kg

-- Sorry, I know the videos are small. (I didn't want them to be too big!) But if you click on the "YouTube" button it will take you to YouTube to see it fullsize. --

Here are my preliminary plans for 2nd and 3rd:
S: -> #255/260 -> #265/270
B: -> #175 -> #180/185
D: -> #300/305 -> #315/320

The exact numbers will depend a lot on their conversion to kilograms and how the prior attempt feels. In the past I've almost always gone with the lower end of my options, but this year I'm going to try to be a little more confident in myself and ambitious with my picks.