On Saturday, September 28th, 2018 I’ll be competing at the Arnold Classic Europe competition in the Classic Open Powerlifting event.
This will be my first international powerlifting competition, and I’m really excited as it will take place in the nice and warm Barcelona :D.
In this blog post series, I’ll be writing about everything from my nutrition, training to mental preparations, and I’ll also share some progress along the way (together with the final competition recap).
Today, I’ll start off by sharing a bit of background about the competition, as well as my goals for it.
What is Arnold Classic Europe?
Arnold Classic Europe (or otherwise known as the “Arnold Sports Festival” is an annual sports festival in Barcelona that brings together the sports of bodybuilding, strongman, power lifting, and more.
Arnold Schwarzenegger himself usually visits it too :).
The festival usually takes place over the span of a few days and has different competitions, shows and halls full of gym equipment, supplements, top bodybuilders and more.
One of the events at the festival is the “Open Classic Powerlifting” event hosted by the drug-free IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) and EPF (European Powerlifting Federation), which I’ll be competing it.
This is a relatively small event with only about 13-15 male athletes competing over the last 2 years (so it’s much smaller than the European Championships for example), but it is a very competitive event where the athletes are actually stronger on average than at the European Championships.
My goals for the Arnold Classic Europe
The main reason why I’m going to the Arnold Classic Europe this year is to hit the norm for the European Championships (that take place in Lithuania in November), which I just barely missed at my 2018 nationals.
At the nationals, I:
- Squatted 225kg successfully, which was pretty much my max on the day
- Bench pressed 155kg with more left in the tank but just barely missed 160kg as I couldn’t lock it out
- Deadlifted 250k with plenty more in the tank, but missed 277.5kg due to a knee injury (though I did get it over my knees)
With 27 weeks of training, hitting this norm should be a piece of cake, as long as my knee recovers well and no other injuries occur. Regardless of my other goals, hitting the European Championships norm will be the main goal that I’ll optimise my competition attempts around (though I’ll try to hit the norm with my second deadlift attempt if possible).
As a quick refresh, the norm for the European Championships is 657.5kg, which converts into 413 Wilks (Wilks points are used to compare the strength of athletes throughout different weight classes).
In Arnold Classic Europe, lifters don’t really compete within their own weight classes (at least as far as I know), they compete in just one category, so everyone competes against each other through Wilks points, regardless of their weights.
To get an idea of the level of competitors, let’s look at the results from the last year’s Arnold Classic Europe (the Wilks points are in red):
You can see that if I just hit the norm, I’d probably place around 10th/11th place, which would still be fine.
But since I know that I was already very close to hitting the norm during the last nationals and that I’ll get stronger over the next 6 months or so, I might be able to place higher than that, depending on how my training goes and how my competition day goes.
While we’re still relatively far away from the competition and it’s hard to know how strong I’ll be then and I also have no idea what the competition will be like this year, I do like to set some goals for myself just to have something to train for.
So with Arnold Classic Europe, I’ve set 3 goals (conservative, realistic, stretch):
The conservative goal
My minimum goal is to simply hit the norm for the European Championships.
If all else fails and I have a bad day, I feel like this is still a pretty achievable goal.
Hitting the norm will likely mean lifting something along the lines of:
- 230kg squat
- 160kg bench press
- 267.5kg deadlift
These numbers should be relatively easy to hit with 6 months of training, and bench press and deadlift could very well be my second attempts.
Lifting a 230kg squat would be just a 5kg increase, which should be pretty easy to achieve. A 160kg bench press would also be a 5kg increase, though I was already very close to lifting it this time around. Lifting a 267.5kg deadlift shouldn’t be hard either as I’m pretty sure I could have easily lifted it this time around had I not gone for a 10kg higher lift.
These lifts would give me a 657.5kg total and 413 wilks, which could be enough for 10th/11th place (super rough estimation).
The realistic goal
While I do have a conservative goal set just in case, the realistic and stretch goals are much more exciting to me.
The realistic goal is something I’m 99% sure I can hit at the Arnold Classic if the training goes well and I’m injury-free, knowing what I know now (though I’ll be able to adjust this goal within a month or so from the competition).
Right now, I’m guessing it will be realistic for me to lift:
- 235kg squat
- 165kg bench press
- 280kg deadlift
This would give me a 10kg PR on a squat (should be achievable), a 10kg PR on a bench press (will be tight, but I do feel like it’s within reach), and a 30kg PR on my deadlift (I do feel like this should be possible as long as my knee is healthy and I sustain no other injuries).
Hitting this goal would give me a 680kg total and 427 wilks, which would get me around 9th place, which I’d already be really happy with. I do feel like hitting these numbers is a likely outcome for the competition.
The stretch goal
I love setting unrealistic goals for myself to aspire to as they motivate me to give 110% with every workout and every day (which then helps me at least hit the moon if I shoot for the stars).
So naturally, I’m setting a crazy goal for myself that is 99% out of reach, BUT it’s something that I’ll train towards with my workout plan, attitude and mental visualisations. I want to prepare as if I’m trying to hit this goal, and prepare my brain for hitting this goal.
I know setting this kind of a goal will help me push myself extra hard and do things I otherwise might not do (such as work on strengthening my weaknesses, optimising my nutrition, optimising recovery and making the necessary sacrifices to perform optimally).
This goal might also be adjusted closer to the competition as I have a better idea of what I’m capable of, but for now it’s what I’ll use in my visualisations of the competition.
So what would a stretch goal look like for this competition?
On a perfect day, in perfect conditions, where the whole training cycle goes extremely well, I feel like it’s possible for me to hit:
- 240kg squat
- 170kg bench press
- 290-295kg deadlift
I realise this goal might feel crazy to a lot of people (even my coaches), but as I said I do want to train for the best possible outcome, rather than set smaller goals that don’t really excite me or push myself harder.
Hitting this goal would get me to roughly 700-705kg total and 439-442 wilks.
This likely wouldn’t make a huge difference in the end result (at least if the competitors are on a similar level as last year) and I’d still be at the tail end of top 10, BUT there is one crazy possible outcome out of this: Hitting the norm for the World Championships next year.
Now I don’t know if the norm will be the same for next year as it is for this year (this year, the norm is 705kg in my category), but IF the norm is the same and my squat and my bench press go extraordinarily well at the competition, I know I’ll 100% be loading up that deadlift bar to attempt hitting the norm :).
And even if I’m not close to the norm, I’l have 2 more chances for that at the European Championships in November and/or at the nationals next March.
More to come soon!
That’s it in terms of my goals for the Arnold Classic Europe, and I’m really excited to see how my training goes this time around.
I’ll shortly be writing a post about my nutrition plan, and I’ll also write more posts about my training plan, mental training, knee injury rehab and more.
So stay tuned, and enter your name and email in the box below to make sure you don’t miss my next post :).
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