Tip: Step Up and Compete

Studies show how competition allows you to achieve things you couldn't have otherwise. Check this out.


Whether it's a strongman competition, powerlifting meet, or a bodybuilding show, you should step up and compete.

Investigations into the benefits of competition are as old as psychology itself. In a classic 1898 paper, Norman Triplett of Indiana University observed from race data that cyclists recorded faster times when competing against others than alone against the clock.

There are numerous lifting studies too, like the 2003 study by Matthew Rhea and his colleagues at Arizona State University. Given one chance to lift the maximum weight possible in front of an audience, both male and female amateurs bench-pressed more, by an average of 2kg (4.4 pounds), when competing against another person than when lifting by themselves.

There's something inexplicably compelling about the nature of competition. Perhaps that's because, as some scholars argue, competitiveness is a biological trait that evolved right along with the basic need for survival.

A Clear and Defined Goal

You'll get several significant benefits to stepping up and competing. The biggest one is, regardless of the specific competition, you have an absolute, clearly defined goal. Competition will give you the motivation and focus to push beyond perceived limits.

It ensures that regardless of who you're up against, you'll want to arrive on the day and perform to your absolute best. To achieve this, from the moment you enter to the competition day there will be the constant pursuit of improvement and readiness. And you'll likely seek new training methods, techniques, environments, and mentors to push your performance and develop as a lifter.

Finally, the great thing about competition is that regardless of the result you will have the experiences and memories that will last forever.

Michael Warren won the UK Personal Trainer of the Year award (2014). He is the owner of Michael Warren Performance Education, and has trained a number of professional athletes and teams. Follow Michael Warren on Twitter