By Myprotein Writer Alex Pinnow
Powerlifting is a weight lifting competition sport compromising of:
– The squat
– The deadlift
– The bench press
Three attempts for each discipline, for a total of nine lifts, and a total which combines your best successful attempt in each lift. This is just like any other day in the gym, right?
Wrong – that is the beauty of powerlifting. Nothing compares to the concentration, passion and emotion experienced in completing those three lifts in competition.
People actively compete in powerlifting from the age of 13 (or younger starting this year in the United States) to well into the latter part of life, sometimes aged 70+ believe it or not!
We, as powerlifters, do our best to match the “game day” format whilst training. When the time comes and you’re up on that platform for the first time, the mix of emotions being experienced cannot be replicated anywhere else.
For those 9 attempts the only thing you want to be concerned with is the weight on the bar and the confidence that you will complete your next attempt.
In my opinion, although slightly bias, powerlifting is great and everyone should compete… Why not give it a go?
To accompany the three main lifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift) there are three aspects to consider when taking up powerlifting as a sport!
1) Powerlifting Techniques
Arguably, it should be stressed that the most important aspect of powerlifting is technique – it is crucial to constantly practice using correct form.
Once you believe you are using correct form, the possibility to make great strides in the sport will present itself.
An example is shown in the image below – deadlifting alone targets an incredible amount of muscles, therefore it’s absolutely crucial to use correct form to not only increase strength but more importantly prevent serious injury.
The saying “practice makes perfect” is not necessarily applicable when referring to your technique. Rather, “practice makes permanent,” stemming on the basis that, if you practice with terrible technique repeatedly, you will falter when the weight gets heavy – definitely the last thing you want to happen!
2) Powerlifting Preparation
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Although you would like to centralize all of your focus on the great days of training, you can’t. It would be impossible to perform at one hundred percent all of the time.
As a powerlifting athlete you must recognize the great days of training, but also embrace the days of struggle, as with any other sport.
It’s all about fighting through those rough patches and keeping your goal in mind while looking at the big picture!
Powerlifting is about constantly putting forth the effort during training and competition to move the most amount of weight possible while complying with the rules and regulations of your respective powerlifting federation.
Mental preparation is incredibly important when considering competing for the first time. Nerves will obviously take over a great mindset, but it is critical that you stay focused and have a plan to go out and execute as best as you possibly can to increase concentration for training.
3) Powerlifting Training
After you become well acquainted with proper technique, you want to start training hard in order to put up some big numbers…
A beautiful aspect of powerlifting is that there isn’t just one way to become stronger. The possibilities are endless to do so.
You probably have a list in your head of at least one strength oriented program that exists out there, for example:
– The Bulgarian Method
– Westside Barbell conjugate system
– Juggernaut Method
– The Cube
– 5/3/1, etc.
These types of quality programs are widely available and have produced numerous high level powerlifters and strength athletes.
A plan is crucial; you can’t just walk into a training session and wing it. You must either have a plan, program, or some idea of what you want to focus on and train each day. This is one of the most interesting aspects of powerlifting.
People can prescribe “the perfect plan” that is guaranteed to work for you, but you have to make a choice. You have to choose a plan that you know you can stick to and be consistent with.
Assuming that you apply a maximum amount of effort, the results are bound to come and if they don’t, the answer is simple: change what you are doing. Find what works best for you.
Take home message
If you have your own special way to get to the top of your game imagine the knowledge and tips/techniques that everyone else in the powerlifting community has used to gain success. It isn’t a secret that the best way to get stronger and more knowledgeable is to train with people who are stronger and have more experience than you do.
Take the opportunity to communicate with powerlifters as they are some of the most knowledgeable and friendly people when it comes to getting stronger.
The expansive age and experience range coupled with the seemingly small decisions you make in powerlifting also carry over to the “real world” where the pressure to perform is always on, which is why there is no reason not to broaden your horizons. So get out there and find your local powerlifting gym or some guys to train with because everyone wants to lift heavy weight!