So on my Instagram story I posed this question and I’d like to give my answer, which is…….it all depends. Just what you wanted to hear! In this specific example, Abbee still has another week of heavy training with a planned top single next week of 185lbs., so before making any strategic decisions I need to see that first. But even so, I never go into a meet with an athlete having a locked in 3rd attempt, as we just don’t know how things are going to go that day until we are in the moment. So how do I choose the 3rd attempt? Here’s a breakdown of the 5 main factors that go into my decision making:
1.) First and foremost, have I went through a meet prep with this athlete before? The reason this is so important is every person peaks a bit differently. I have some athletes who get huge jumps in their total from estimated 1RMs in training versus what they can do on the platform, and then others that tend to perform about the same. And in Abbee’s case, this is her first meet, so I just don’t know yet how she will respond. So with her, I will approach her game day planning with the assumption that she will probably hit just a tad more than what her training estimates have been and be more on the conservative sides of things for her 3rd attempt calls.
2.) Even with that said, I will not make a call on what someone’s 3rd attempt will be until after their 2nd attempt. For most, I have set 1st and 2nd attempts, as these are numbers that we know they can hit with very little doubt, and probably will not need to adjust these unless something goes wrong. So for their 3rd attempt, I will have low/middle/high attempt options, and based on how their 2nd attempt moves, this will gauge which option we will go with. To get these numbers, I use the attempt selection sheet I created that is free to everyone in my Freebies section, so make sure to download that if you are interested! But there are still other variables that need to be factored in as well.
3.) On bench and deadlift in particular, I will use the prior lifts performance to gauge what I believe they will be capable of. If an athlete just destroyed their squats I can make a reasonable assumption they’ve just got it that day and can make some slightly more aggressive calls on the following lifts, and vice versa. This doesn’t always translate, but it is definitely something to take into account.
4.) If someone is vying for placing, this will be a big determinant on what we take on their third attempts, specifically with the deadlift. In Abbee’s case, she has a very good chance of winning best overall female lifter at the USAPL Missouri State Championships, so we need to build the best total possible. While I know she may not love this answer, more than likely I will have her go conservative on squat and bench press so that we are 6/6 going into deadlifts. From there we can gauge her placing and make the necessary calls on the 2nd and 3rd attempt deadlifts to put her in the best position to win.
5.) Lastly, 3rd attempt selection will be dictated on if an athlete hits their prior attempts on all lifts. I generally take a more conservative approach on squats with everyone, as I want to be 3/3 after squats due to the ability to be more flexible now on bench and deadlifts. But even more importantly because the athlete is heading into bench amped up and super confident. So if someone hits all 3 squats, I am much more likely to take a little risk on bench or deadlifts because we already have built a solid foundation. But if someone misses their 3rd attempt on squat, or maybe missed an earlier attempt so that now we had to take their planned 2nd on their 3rd, things can go downhill real quick if we then go too aggressive on bench press and miss our 3rd there as well. Always remember the goal is to build a total, so we have to take the best approach to do that.
So the answer to the question of what is Abbee’s 3rd attempt? I still need to see next week’s training, but most likely we will have low/middle/high options of 181/187/192, and will decide the best attempt selection based off of how her 2nd attempt bench press goes, how squats go, and how her competition has performed up until that point.