20 Gym Etiquette Rules Everyone Needs To Know

Gym Etiquette Rules Everyone Needs To Know

Gym etiquette. It is a must-have for all gym-goers. Whether you workout anywhere from 24-Hour Fitness to your local CrossFit or an Old-School Powerlifting Gym, these are the things you need to know. Simply follow these basic gym etiquette rules, or risk getting kicked out and losing your gym membership. Or worse, becoming the local gym idiot! 

If you disagree with any of these gym etiquette rules or have some to add, comment below! 

Also, if you have any funny gym fail stories to tell, please leave them here.


What is Gym Etiquette?

Gym etiquette is how you conduct yourself in a gym style environment. Whether others are around or not, it is important you conduct yourself in a respectful manner. For this to occur, gyms have their own set of gym rules. However, there is more to it than just following the rules set in place for you to keep your membership.

In the following, we will go over all the proper gym etiquette you need in order to avoid becoming the local gym idiot.

Note: Every gym has their own set of rules and guidelines to follow. So make sure to check in with them to avoid the Lunk Alarm or any unnecessary fees.


Top 5 Gym Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #1: Pay your dues!

This is by far Gym Etiquette Rule #1! Both financially and respectfully, you need to pay your dues. Nobody likes a cheapskate or a cocky amateur that think they know it all. Nobody cares how many magazines you’ve read, celebrities you’ve met, or videos you’ve watched. Stay up to date on your fees and learn from those with more experience, even if they are younger than you.

Overall, just don’t be an A$$! Be kind, humble and respectful to everyone at all training levels. Make sure to encourage others and make friends.

Remember, there is ALWAYS someone bigger, stronger, and better looking than you. Failure to comply to this standard Gym Etiquette Rule #1 can easily result in the termination of your gym membership! Or you getting physically thrown out of the gym by 1+ angry gym members!

Gym Etiquette Rule #2: RE-RACK YOUR WEIGHTS!!!

The most disrespectful, discourteous, and infuriating thing you can do in a gym is leave your weights out, or put them away wrong. Whether it be dumbbells, plates, kettlebells, or other gym equipment, put everything back the way it is supposed to be. Even if that is not how you found it!

We are pretty sure your mom doesn’t follow you around at the gym, so you are gonna have to take some responsibility and clean up after yourself. Otherwise, you will lose the respect of everyone around you and become the real gym idiot that everyone hates!

Gym Etiquette Rule #3: ALWAYS ask, don’t just assume.

When you assume things you simply make an “a$$” our of “u” and “me”. If anyone is nearby, or could possibly be using something, always ask before you take it. Even if you need to wait a minute to see if anyone comes back to it.

Taking things is just rude, even if you “didn’t know”. If you ask, you always know.

Remember, everyone shares everything at the gym, the same as it is in kindergarten. If you want something, then check around before taking it. Then there are no unnecessary arguments or angry looks.

Gym Etiquette Rule #4: Don’t hog the equipment.

When it comes to using the equipment, get in and get out. Don’t sit there on a machine or bench scrolling through Instagram for 5 minutes between every set. People are always waiting from a distance.

Be courteous of other people’s time, and follow social media on your own time. And if you have 5+ sets to do, you better not just be standing around at the squat rack talking to your gym bros. Always be working, or getting ready for the next set.

If you are doing a superset, be quick about it and never use more than 2-3 machines or stations at once, unless the gym is empty. Everyone has stuff to do too.

Gym Etiquette Rule #5: Respect personal space!

Look, but don’t touch. Big arms, ripped abs, and huge legs are all admirable. However, just because we like when people notice, doesn’t mean that you have the right to come up and touch what we have built.

If you want to feel, ASK! No acceptions! Whether you are young and hot or old and creepy, stay out of our personal space unless invited in.


Top 10 Gym Etiquette Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #6: Don’t smell.

Whether you smell good or bad, the gym is not the place to give it away. You should come in not smelling like anything, good or bad. Bad smells only get worse, and good smells are too fragrant for others around you not to be distracted. It is fine if you start to stink after you have been sweating for a while but come in fresh, not freaky.

Also, if you smell like you just came out of a hotbox of smoke in your car, people are going to hate you. Whether you think you don’t smell like smoke or not, you do, and everyone knows it. It is your right to do as you wish, however, everyone at the gym is sharing air. If you ruin their air, you can expect a lot of dirty looks and even a canceled gym membership.

Gym Etiquette Rule #7: NO SINGING!

It is not Karaoke night! And we don’t care if it is your favorite song. Save your croaky voice for passing the time in traffic. When you’re in the gym, focus on your work.

P.S. If you can sing while working out, then you are not really working very hard. Just sayin’.

Gym Etiquette Rule #8: Scream as much as you want, but have a reason!

Being loud when getting psyched up and working hard is fine. However, if you do it for no reason, then you are just being a gym idiot.

To keep it simple, if you are doing something cool, then you are fine. If not, then stay quiet.

Gym Etiquette Rule #9: Wipe down your equipment. No excuses.

This is a mojor health risk if you forget, so don’t! Besides, “I forgot” is not a reasonable excuse for anyone old enough to workout in a gym.

Whether you sweat a lot or not, it is your courteous duty that you wipe down your equipment EVERY SINGLE TIME after you are finished using it. DON’T FORGET!

Gym Etiquette Rule #10: Don’t hit on other members!

The gym is a great place to hook up…before and after your workout though! It is NEVER a good idea to interrupt someone else’s workout. Especially if you are interested in more than a friendship!

Interact, but do not interrupt. If there is a connection, talk after. If not, they’re not interested. It is a HUGE turn off to interrupt someone’s workout. So be patient and take action when it is the appropriate time.


Top 20 Rules

Gym Etiquette Rule #11: Ask before you give help!

First, it is not social hour at your local country club, so keep your pointless talk to yourself. If you can’t say what you are going to say in under a minute, then save it for later. People go to the gym to better themselves and are all on a time crunch. Be respectful of their time and save the chat about the weather for the inevitable awkward silences in your life. 

Secondly, NEVER walk up to someone to give them tips about how they “should” be doing things. That is extremely disrespectful, as it shows you think they have no idea what they are doing. If you have a suggestion, then ask if they would like to hear it. Don’t just start spewing out advice that they may not even want. Usually if they want advice, they’ll ask.

Gym Etiquette Rule #12: Wear appropriate gym attire!

It is not a strip club (male or female). So fully cover up all inappropriate areas. Ladies, side boob and see-through are too much, but a reasonable sports bra and short shorts are fine. Men, a speedo is for the pool, and your package is not made to be scrunched up into spandex.

Also, it’s not the 70s. Be comfortable, but not distracting. Taking your shirt off is fine, but don’t be loud about it. Public Indecency is a crime.

Of course, don’t track in dirt and mud from outside. If your shoes are dirty, take them off before you walk around.

Gym Etiquette Rule #13: No lockerroom nudity!

Cover yourself up in the locker room (and on the floor, obviously). There is always that one old guy in the locker room that is way too confident in his own skin, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Just don’t be that guy or gal! Keep it covered, and keep it appropriate.

Also, remember it is not social hour in there either.

Gym Etiquette Rule #14: No PDA (Public Display of Affection)!

We know that couples that workout together, stay together. However, the gym is not the place to show off your everlasting love and affection for each other. Nobody wants to see, hear, or have to workout around your makeout sessions every 2 minutes. So, stay on task, so you can get home sooner, and do what you need to do there.

Gym Etiquette Rule #15: Don’t stand in the way!

Whether you are in the walkway, at the water fountain or in front of the dumbbell rack, don’t be in the way. Make sure there is always plenty of space for people to move around you and get to what they need.

This also includes standing between benches, in or near squat racks or machines, and walking slow. Keep out of the way and no one will mind.

Gym Etiquette Rule #16: Glance, but don’t stare.

We get it. We’re hot, but that doesn’t mean we want everyone staring. Don’t be the creepy guy or gal that stares down every hotty in the gym. Everyone likes to be noticed for their hard work but don’t overdo it. Admire, and compliment if necessary, then look away.

Gym Etiquette Rule #17: Don’t laugh at anyone that is trying!

It is always okay to laugh with someone, but it is NEVER okay to laugh at someone, when at the gym. Yes, gym fails and gym fail stories are popular and funny. However, most of those people just don’t know what they are doing. So think of how you would want someone to help you if you were them. Then go from there.

Gym Etiquette Rule #18: Don’t be a gym idiot!

Don’t use bands, chains, or other equipment you don’t understand unless you know what you are doing! If you want to know why read these funny gym fail stories. If you need help, just ask.

Also, if you need a spotter, then get one. You shouldn’t make others around you concerned for your safety to where they feel the need to keep an eye on you like a child.

It is okay to ask for help, but not okay to put yourself and others at risk. Be smart, and be safe. 

If you need a help on how to get started, get one of our strength programs or learn more about the Mathias Method Strength System!

Gym Etiquette Rule #19: Don’t keep asking for free advice.

If you need a personal trainer, then get one! And pay them. You shouldn’t go around bothering other people’s workouts for every little thing. You need to figure some things out on your own and if you need a lot of help, then pay someone to help you.

It is okay to ask for tips, but not for every exercise that you do. Even in the gym, nothing is really free. Respect other people’s time and value.

Gym Etiquette Rule #20: No sleeping, eating or lounging!

The gym floor is not a lounge, so don’t use it as one. If your gym doesn’t have a place to sit and hang out, then there is probably a reason. As in, they don’t want you to hang out there forever.

Eat, sleep and wait in your car, not on the unused machines or benches. You are just going to be in the way. 


Important Reminders

It is also important to mention that things like curling in the squat rack or just using equipment for the wrong purpose are obvious no no’s. Just don’t do it.

Things like how you lift and the music you listen too are not on this list, because those things generally do not affect others.

Overall, these are the basic gym etiquette rules everyone needs to follow. However, make sure to check in with your gym’s rules so that you never get the Lunk Alarm set off on you, or have to pay fines for things you didn’t know.

Remember, if you disagree with any of these, or have some to add, comment below!

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Think For Yourself and Be A Self-Starter To Your Dreams

Think For Yourself

If you want to be successful, you must learn to think for yourself and be a self-starter.  No one is going to hand you your success. So you have to go out and take it. That means making your own decisions and creating your own path to success.


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This is an excerpt from my Book “Motivated Mindset“. 

Don’t let your lack of motivation hold you back from achieving your goals!

Find your motivation and change your life forever!

Get your copy here! 


Make Your Own Decisions

Too often these days I see so many people afraid of making a decision, because they feel once one decision is made, that the other option is lost. This is not true.

By making a decision you begin to learn what it is that you really want. If you made the wrong decision, then you will have learned from it and are better informed to make the decision again, the next time around. And yes there is always another opportunity.

You can’t just expect the answers to come to you, or to be made by others. If you do, then you will learn nothing. Every mistake is just a learning opportunity for you to grow from. So be confident in yourself and make a decision, even if that decision is “wrong” in the eyes of others. It is your decision to make, so make it yourself and stick to it.

Be A Self-Starter

Be a self-starter to your dreams! Part of thinking for yourself is being a self-starter!

You shouldn’t have to be told how to do everything in life. If you want something to happen, then you have to make it happen.

So many of us procrastinate and hold ourselves back because of it. If we would just get things done ahead of time, then we could push on to other things and start creating a life of success.

If something needs to get done, then just DO IT! Don’t wait to be asked or invited. Start it yourself.

Everything from taking out the trash, to making major life decisions is placed on the shoulders of the one who first takes notice. So keep your eyes open, think ahead, and do whatever needs to be done first.

Start before you need to start and keep pushing along your Journey to Greatness!


Create Your Motivated Mindset Today!

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Steroids and PEDs in Strength Sports + My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Steroids and PEDs

First, Anabolic Steroids are one of many Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) used throughout sports and competition today. It is believed that they are almost required for Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Competitions and are known as “part of the sport” in powerlifting. Then, of course, there is always something about steroids occurring in the Olympics and sports such as Professional Baseball, Football, and most physical sports and competition. This article will go over my thoughts on the use of drugs, steroids, PEDs and even supplements for both professional athletes and normal gym bros. 

Know that no drugs or supplements are necessary to make the Mathias Method Strength System or any of our Strength Programs effective.

Note: Anabolic Steroids and most PEDs are illegal in the United States without a doctor’s perscription.


What are PEDs?

PEDs, or Performance Enhancing Drugs, are drugs used to help increase performance in any given sport. The most common PEDs are:

  • Anabolic Steroids – Used to increase strength, muscle growth, and recovery. The effects mimic those of increased Testosterone, but tenfold.
  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – Increases growth throughout the body, but mainly used for increasing muscle mass.
  • Testosterone – Used to increase the effects of natural testosterone to build muscle, increase strength, and burn body fat.
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) – Used by men to increase free testosterone if their bodies don’t make enough naturally.
  • Erythropoietin (EPO) – Used by endurance athletes increase oxygen uptake by increasing red blood cell count.
  • Stimulants – Anything that greatly increases performance to where your performance will noticeably decrease without it.

There are always more being created and used, but these are the most common in use today.

If I forgot some, or you know of any others, tell me about it in the comments below and I will add them to the list.


Steroids in Strength Sports

Before we get too deep into this though, let’s get one thing straight…Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Strongman, and even professional arm wrestling, are in fact “sports”. They may not seem as athletic as Football or Olympic style sports, but they are still competition among athletes.

These sports that rely heavily on a competitor’s strength to win are known as Strength Sports. If you disagree, let me know in the comments below.

With that being said, anything that relies heavily on an athlete’s strength or muscle mass is likely going to have some steroid or PED use. This is because there are so many athletes that are trying to be the best, and to be the best, means to do whatever it takes. Even if it means taking drugs to defeat the competition. The question is, is it cheating?

In the 2008 documentary, Bigger, Stronger, Faster by Chris Bell, which dives deep into the world of steroid use in all forms of competition, Chris asks:

“Is it really cheating, if everyone is doing it?”

I will get into my answer in a minute, but let me know what you think in the comments below. 

The thing is, not everyone is doing it. Many professionals choose to stay drug free. However, how many of them are known as the best? And should would they even be held in higher reguards if they defeated those taking PEDs? Everyone has their own opinion on this, but I want to know yours.


How I Feel About Steroids, PEDs, and Supplement Use

I understand why people use them, but they are not for me.

For Others

My feelings towards others using anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs are of understanding. I do not always agree with the reasons of why people take drugs to better themselves, but I understand the mindset of being the best.

First off, if you are just a regular gym bro that wants to look good by taking a bunch of supplements and drugs, then you are just being lazy. If you do not have a legitimate reason of why you are putting your health at risk just to look good for others, then you are simply being dumb. Sadly, this is about 90%+ of the people that use anabolic steroids today, as stated in Bigger, Stronger, Faster.

However, if you are an elite athlete that is working towards being the “Best In The World” at whatever sport you are competing in, then I understand your mindset. I understand the “do whatever it takes to be the best” mindset, and I respect those people. Again, I do not agree with it, but I do understand why and do not judge because of it.

Steroids Limit You

Still, one quote that always comes to mind whenever I think of people using steroids was said by Dave Tate of EliteFTS. He said, “If you need to take steroids in high school to get to college, then you will never make it to the NFL. And if you need to take steroids in college to get to the NFL, then you won’t last.” So, it is only after you have become elite on your own that steroids and other drugs can even help you to become world class.

This means you need to accomplish something on your own before you can even earn the right to take steroids or PEDs to become the best at something. If you take them too soon, then you are simply limiting yourself, because you can never go back. If you take them even once, you will likely never reach that same strength level again without them again.

So be wise and accomplish something first!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

If You’re Thinking About Taking PEDs

If you ever were thinking of taking steroids or PEDs, you absolutely MUST consult with your doctor first. There is nothing in the law that says you can’t talk about them. So, just like any other drug, you need to talk to a doctor first so that your health can be monitored.

There is A LOT people don’t know about steroids without first-hand experience, and unfortunately, some of those people learned with their lives. So don’t be that person. Be smart and just ask so you understand all the risks and know what to do if something goes wrong. Who knows, they may even write you a prescription!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

For me

My thoughts on the use of Anabolic Steroids and PEDs is simple…I understand why people use them, but they are not for me. In fact, it is the same feeling I have towards the use of most supplements. I do not want them, nor do I feel that I need them to reach my goals

I did not get into Powerlifting to become the greatest powerlifter ever because to do that I would need to dedicate my life to the sport and do whatever it takes to be the best. That includes the use of performance enhancing drugs and that is a line I am not willing to cross.

I got into Powerlifting with my own goals in mind, but there are other things I life I want to do more. Powerlifting is just a passion for me, but not the reason I get up in the morning. So I do it for fun and love helping others join the sport as well. 

Another reason is, being natural is cool to me. I’ve always loved to see what people can do without the use of any “assistance” in the form of drugs or “this great new supplement at GNC”. Natural RAW Powerlifting is cool to me. That is why I like so that is what I pursue.

So to put it clearly, on the subject of Anabolic Steroids and PEDs, I never have and never will use them, but I do not judge those that do.

Leave your comments on the subject below!

My Complete Supplement List

  • 100% Whey Protein Powder – I get the cheap stuff and only use it for creamer in my coffee with almond milk or at night when I need a chocolate fix. So basically, I like the taste, but don’t use it as a meal.
  • Multivitamin – I eat a balanced diet, but I still think it’s a good idea to have a base of vitamins and minerals.
  • Fish Oil – I take it on and off for my heart health. 
  • Creatine – I had half a serving by accident one time, and got mad when I found it was in the protein powder I bought. It is not a PED by any means, but just not what I wanted without knowing it.
  • Coffee – Who doesn’t love coffee?!

That’s it! I have never had anything else to my knowledge and never want too. I am not against other supplements, they are just not for me.

Author – Ryan J. Mathias

Powerlifting Meet Openers and Attempt Selection Strategy

The Best Powerlifting Meet Openers and Attempt Selection Strategy To Win

Are you struggling to choose your attempts for your next or first powerlifting meet? Or do you just want to know the best way to max out in the gym? Then read on my strong friends and get ready for a new PR plan! This article is all about how to choose the best Powerlifting Meet Openers and Attempt Strategy to win!

USPA Powerlifting Openers and Attempt Selection

How To Choose Your Lifts Wisely

Recently I was able to attend a small charity powerlifting meet held at Ironworks Gym. At this meet, there were some strong lifters, as well as those just testing their strength just for fun. It was a great powerlifting meet and everyone had a lot of fun, but I noticed that very few of the lifters knew how to choose their openers and attempts.

They would complete their first lift and then take suggestions from anyone around as to what they should attempt next. Very few of them had a plan and as stated by Legendary Powerlifter and Coach Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell…

“If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail.”

– Louie Simmons, Westside Barbell

Get a plan for success in your next Powerlifting Meet with our proven Powerlifting Programs!

So, this article on how to choose the best openers and attempts is for those of you that need a plan for success in your next Powerlifting Meet. My Powerlifting Team of Strength Warriors and I have all used it to make sure we never bomb out of a meet and always hit a PR by the end.

So, get ready to take notes and let’s begin…

Article Overview:


What is Powerlifting?

“Powerlifting is a sport in which the goal is to become as strong as possible in your chosen division for all three lifts.”

First, powerlifting is a strength sport in which the goal is to become as strong as possible in your weight class and division for all three lifts; the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift.

In powerlifting, you get three attempts to lift the most weight for each lift. The heaviest completed weight for each lift is added to your accumulative total for that day. However, to complete a lift you not only have to lift the weight but must do so with proper technique

Every Powerlifting Federation has its own set of rules and regulations on how to perform each lift. So check your Federation Rules before you start training in order to practice the proper technique.

Learn proper lifting technique for the: 

The Goal of Powerlifting:

“…you cannot win a powerlifting competition just by simply being strong.”

Next, the goal in powerlifting is to obtain the highest total [weight lifted] that you can. So, you cannot be weak in any of the three lifts. You must be at least proficient in all three lifts so that you can have the greatest chance of obtaining a competitive total against other lifters in your division.

With that being said, you cannot win a powerlifting competition just by simply being strong. You must have a strategy that makes you stronger than other competitors. That is why attempt selection is so important for all lifters. You have to be smart and strong to win.

“You must have a strategy that makes you stronger than other competitors.”

The Goal of the Lifter:

Finally, though winning is nice, the goal of any lifter should be to lift the most weight they can on competition day. To lift the most weight, and get the highest score you can, you must complete each lift. The more lifts you miss, the more weight you leave on the platform.

Beginners should always aim to go 9 for 9, or completing all 3 attempts in each of the 3 lifts. This will help beginners stay conservative in their attempt selection and give the highest chance for obtaining a high total.

More advanced lifters should also aim to go 9 for 9, but getting at least 6 for 9 is still okay. This is because as an advanced competitor you are going to have hard competition, whether that is against others or yourself. So advanced lifters need to aim high on their third attempts and push their limitations. These are the lifts that will define the elite from the competitive.

What is more important for advanced lifters is too beat the competition. Sometimes you will win, and sometimes you will lose, but that is competition. You have to compete and test your boundaries. So do what you can, but go for glory and don’t hold back!

To put it simply, if they go for 225 kilos (496 lbs), you better go for 227.5 kilos (501 lbs)!

Have A Smart Attempt Selection Strategy

Your strength levels will determine how much you can lift on that given day, but your attempt selection is crucial in obtaining the highest total.

Remember, once you have chosen your attempt, you cannot go back down in weight, so you must stay smart. If you do an attempt that is easy, yet jump too high on the next attempt and cannot do that weight, there will be pounds/kilos left on the platform that could have been added to your total.

So your strategy should be to stay reasonable on your first two attempts before going for absolute maximums on your final attempt.

1 Rep Maximum vs Projected Maximum:

Before we get into the percentages of each attempt, let’s go over the differences between a maximum and a projected maximum. The difference between a 1 rep maximum or personal record (PR) and a projected maximum is simple.

  • 1 Rep Maximum = The max weight you have done recently, using proper competition style form.
  • Projected Maximum = Your best estimation of the most you can do based on training and your experiences. Usually, about 5-10% more than your true max when you started a proper 12-Week Powerlifting Program.

However, for a maximum to count though, it must be performed under the same rules and regulations as the competition you will be in. For example, you may have a standard bench press PR of 300lbs but in competition, you must pause on your chest. This pause can take away from your gym lift maximum bench press because it has longer time under tension and you must press from a static position. With this in mind, it is a better estimate for you to use your pause bench press PR while keeping your hips down and following all the rules of competition as your maximum.

Also, you should practice the competition style lift often in your training, so that you build strength with that technique. It is still important to overload with a standard bench press technique, but always be practicing your sport as if you are in competition as well.

Projected Maximum

Most powerlifting programs base all training percentages on your current true maximum. From a proper 12-Week Powerlifting Program you can expect about a 5-10% increase. For example, if you start with a squat program with a 500-pound max, you can estimate a 525-550lb projected maximum after 12 weeks. This estimation is used only on competition day for choosing your three attempts.

The projected maximum should only be used by advanced lifters with years of experience and multiple competitions under their belt. Advanced lifters know their limitations and are much better at estimating their gains from the training they have done over the course of multiple years.

Beginners and moderately experienced lifters should not use this because their gains may still be somewhat inconsistent. This may lead too over projecting your abilities which can lead to missed lifts in competition.

Be Honest

Another thing to consider is that just because you lifted a particular weight one day in the gym while you were feeling good, does not mean you will be able to reach that same weight on competition day. The goal should always be to hit new PR’s during a competition, but there are numerous variables that can affect whether it is a good or bad day for any of the lifts you are doing.

Overall, when selecting weight attempts, just be honest with yourself and think reasonably towards your abilities. It is better to estimate too low and surprise yourself in competition rather than aim too high and miss lifts, possibly losing you the competition.

“…just because you lifted a particular weight one day in the gym while you were feeling good, that does not mean you will be able to reach that same weight on competition day.”

Powerlifting Meet Attempt Selection

Powerlifting Meet Attempt Selection Strategy: Openers (1st Attempts)

First, know that attempt selection is different for a beginner versus an elite lifter. For example, your opener will vary greatly depending on your powerlifting competition experience. However, every lifter should always choose a weight that they have a high probability of completing for each attempt.

For beginners, your first attempt should be a weight that you can do for 2-3 reps, even on a bad day. This is about 90-95% of your true 1 rep maximum.

For elite powerlifters or those with experience, the first attempt should be something that you know you can do. This is also about 90-95%, but of your projected maximum. Consider it a final warm-up lift before you attempt your 100% max on the second attempt.

Powerlifting Meet Attempt Selection Strategy: Second Attempts

Next, your second attempt depends on how your first attempt felt. If it was easy, take a reasonably large jump of 5-7%. If it was hard, to take a small jump of just 3-5% or less than 10 kilos.

This attempt should be around a 3-7% jump to reach 95-100% of your maximum. If you are a beginner, be conservative and wait to hit the big weight on your third attempt. You still NEED to hit this weight, so don’t jump too high yet.

For more experienced lifters, your second attempt should be your projected maximum for the day. The reason you need to go for this weight on your second attempt is so that you have two attempts at it if needed. If you get red lighted or even just fail the lift for some reason, you can go for it again on your third attempt. 

This weight is around or just over 100% of your maximum. It is the weight that simply must be done in your mind. It is why you showed up that day. So go out there and get it!

Powerlifting Meet Attempt Selection Strategy: Third Attempts

Finally, your third attempt dependents on your second attempt. No matter how the second attempt went, the next weight you choose should be something you know you can do.

For beginners, this is usually between 100-105% of your current 1 Rep Maximum. 

Again, it needs to be a weight you know you can do. Usually, it is a weight you have done before. Of course, we all want to hit a new PR, but it is more important you get the lift, rather than set a PR in your first powerlifting meet.

Just make sure that the jump to the third attempt is less than the jump taken between the first and second attempts. This will help you avoid missing your third attempt, as your body is more likely able to handle a smaller weight jump.

By taking a bigger jump up in weight compared to your third attempt you risk overstressing your body with too great of a stimulus that it may not be prepared for. Decrease your jumps from each warm up and attempts will better prepare your body for the weight to come.

For Advanced Powerlifters

For elite lifters, this should be just around or above your absolute projected maximum. Often this is 100-110% of your old 1 Rep Max and should be a PR lift.

This is the all-out lift that makes champions. So, go out and surprise yourself!

 

Powerlifting Max Mindset:

In the sport of powerlifting, you must have a strong and competitive mindset to succeed. You must believe in yourself more than anyone else. You must have full confidence in every attempt that you do. If there is any doubt in your mind then you have already failed the lift.

It takes extreme focus and determination to push your body to the limit as you move with perfect form.

Knowing this, it is difficult for a competitor to select their attempts while in competition. You may know best what your body is capable of, but you must stay confident in your abilities. This is often detrimental for lifters that choose their attempts because they often overshoot their abilities while being confident. So it is recommended that you have someone choose your attempts for you.

This can be anyone. They do not have to know your abilities or even what powerlifting is about. They simply must know your goals for the day and have a plan set in place that you have already given to them prior.

The day all depends on each lift as it is completed but if you give them some options to choose from or consult with them between lifts it will allow you to stay more focused on the lift rather than the weight.

Overall, just never go into a competition alone. Always bring back up. I mean, someone has to hold the camera…right?

“You must believe in yourself more than anyone else.”

Mathias Method Strength Family

Summary of How To Pick Openers and Attempts:

For Beginners:

  • Try to go 9 for 9! Don’t miss any lifts!
  • Open with about 90% of a max weight you have done before (with competition technique) or something you can triple on your worst day.
  • Base your second attempt on how your opener felt. If it was hard, only bump it up a little. If it was easy, go for about 95% or a weight you can double.
  • Base your third and final attempt on how your second attempt felt. If it was hard, only move up a little. If it was easy, choose a weight you are highly confident you can do. Remember, it’s not about a PR. It’s about what you can lift that day.
  • Of course, always redo any attempts you miss whether they be due to technical errors or failed lifts.

For Advanced Powerlifters:

  • Also, try to go 9 for 9! Do what you can that day and only truly push your final attempts.
  • Open with your final warm-up weight to your second attempt. This is usually 90-95% of your projected maximum.
  • Base your second attempt on how your opener felt. If it was hard, only bump it up a little. If it was easy, go for the weight you came to do. This should be 100% of your projected maximum.
  • Base your third and final attempt on how your second attempt felt. If it was hard, only move up a little. If it was easy, go for a PR and show the world what you are made of!
  • Always redo any failed lifts.
  • For missed lifts due to technical errors, use your honest judgment as to whether you can correct it or not before moving up in weight.

Powerlifting Meet Attempt Selection Strategy: Conclusion

Overall, powerlifting is a great sport for anyone that wants to get stronger and test their abilities. Powerlifting will make you better at any sport you do. It takes focus, hard work, dedication, self-confidence, and a very strong mindset to compete in.

I recommend everyone that strength trains compete at least once because it will force you to have good technique and give you a goal to strive towards in your strength journey. Just remember to make a plan for choosing your attempts and never go in it alone.

Always have some support and make some new friends at every meet. It will all help you grow as a person and may motivate you to continue your growth.

So make a plan, stay focused, and execute it with perfection. You are now more informed and better prepared to estimate your best weights at your next powerlifting meet. So go dominate and keep getting stronger my friends!

Strength to you, 

Ryan J. Mathias

Owner and Creator of MathiasMethod.com

More Articles!

Diet and Exercise Made Simple

Diet and Exercise Made Simple

We all know diet and exercise are important. However, it doesn’t have to be hard! So many people make it out to be much harder than it really is. If you just do a little planning and put in the effort, your health and weight loss goals can be accomplished. 


Which is more important…diet OR exercise?

We all want to know! What is it?! What is more important for getting leaner, stronger, and for me to reach my health and fitness goals fastest? Do I need to focus more on diet OR exercise?

Answer: Neither!

Neither diet nor exercise trump the other. They are BOTH important if you want to reach your strength, health and fitness goals! They both work together to help create a healthy body. If you do one or the other well with little regard towards the other, you will not get near the results as if you worked both together. 

“Your diet helps to amplify the effects of exercise…”

Have you ever heard something like, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet”? Well, though exercise is highly valuable, and burns a ton of calories, it’s too easy for us to eat more calories than we can burn off. Also, if you have a bad diet, you likely will not have the energy to exercise enough to maintain a healthy body.


Have A Good Diet

Your diet helps to amplify the effects of exercise and gives you the energy to perform at your best. So, in order to perform your best, YOU NEED A GOOD DIET!

That doesn’t mean you should be stuck eating bland foods like chicken and broccoli every day, but you should put more thought into it than “oh look, ice cream has 2g of protein in it!”.

Your calories and their sources matter. Have a reasonable amount of fats, carbs, and protein if you want to perform your best and get the most out of your workouts.

DO NOT make one nutrient out to be “bad” and another the only thing you concern yourself with. Find an equal balance that fits your lifestyle and stick to it with little variation.


Do Real Exercise

“If you want to create change, you have to do things that are harder than walking your dog.”

If you don’t exercise you aren’t going to change much of anything. You can’t diet your way to a 6-pack while just sitting around or going through everyday activities. You need some amount of exercise no matter how clean your diet is.

Exercise not only burns calories, but it also creates numerous changes in your body, including hormonal, that changes how your diet affects you. If you want to look like you are fit and workout, then guess what? You’re gonna have to exercise, and exercise enough to create change.

WALKING DOES NOT COUNT!

Walking Is NOT Exercise!

If you want to create change, you have to do things that are harder than walking your dog! Even if you walk your dog uphill, that is still not considered exercise.

Do some strength training, go for a run, do calisthenics at home, cycle, or anything you enjoy. Do it multiple times per week and put in some strong effort so you can get some great results. This will amplify your results as your diet and exercise routine work together to create the most amount of change within your body. 


Make Progress Every Day

“You can do 1 push-up or squat today, 2 tomorrow, 3 the next day and so on.”

Your diet and exercise routine doesn’t have to be complex. Let it be simple.

Let go of the excuses, we all can make them, and get started today. Right now is the time to make a change. Tomorrow is too late!

Get up and do SOMETHING! Anything! Just move and work towards becoming stronger!

Start easy and progress forward by doing just a little more each day. You can do 1 push-up or squat today, 2 tomorrow, 3 the next day and so on.

You can run for 1 minute today, 2 tomorrow, 3 the next day and so on.

The Daily 30 is also a great choice and it was made specifically for beginners!

Whatever you do, continue to improve daily. Doing the same thing over and over will give you little results, plus it’s boring. Do something every day and work towards your goals!


Make Small Diet and Exercise Changes

“Most of us overeat at night due to under-eating throughout the day.”

When it comes to diet and exercise, keep it simple! Start with a simple diet change, like taking a multivitamin or drinking an extra glass of water every morning. Then you can move onto adding in a healthy snack during the day. Such as some fruit, vegetables or some nuts.

YES, I did say “add in” a meal before I said to take anything away. This is because most of us overeat at night due to under-eating throughout the day. If you add in a healthy snack/meal during the day when you need the energy, you will tend to eat less as night, which will make a big difference in itself!

For exercise, start with doing some push-ups, planks, squats, jogging, the Daily 30 or something! You MUST EXERCISE if you want to create change! This tends to be the hardest part for everyone, but it is extremely important! Diet and exercise go together.

Take it slow, but make a change! Your world starts to change the moment you start changing it! So let’s get to it!

Your world starts to change the moment you start changing it!”

Keep getting stronger my friends!

Strength to you,

Ryan J. Mathias

Owner and Creator of MathiasMethod.com

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