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When should I begin my taper prior to a powerlifting competition?

Tapering is very important to athletic competition, peaking at exactly the right time is as much art, as it is science. For powerlifting and other power and strength sports, there is no exact formula for planning a taper. When to begin a taper is dictated by many factors including: current training status, nutrition status, hydration status, age, and how close you are to your goal lifts. Some athletes take longer to recover and reach maximal performance than others. Generally speaking the more fit, better hydrated and nutritionally fed a person is, the less time it takes to taper and peak. Age is also certainly a factor; as we age more recovery time is needed to reach maximum performance. When performing a taper, you should gradually wind down activity and stick to light workouts that speed recovery and help get your body ready for the competition. At a very minimum, heavy training and lifting should cease 72 hours before a meet and should be replaced with light workouts like cycling on a bike, and general light warm ups to maximize range of motion and prepare the body for the competition ahead. If you need to make a particular weight class, most experts recommend that you cut the weight gradually and have reached your weight class limit at least a week, preferably two weeks before the meet. Crash dieting to cut weight to make a meet will leave you weak and prone to injury and infection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.