What is powerlifting? It is a strength sport that tests three major lifts: typically squat, flat bench, and deadlift. Some organizations use the military press in place of the bench. You get three chances at each lift to see what your maximum weight you can do.
While doing all three lifts is the norm for a meet. However, there are also special meets where contestants go just for one lift. Julius Maddox is an excellent example of this; he is chasing the 800lb raw bench press lift.
In comparison, there are different classes also, Raw, with basically no gear beyond maybe belt and wrist straps to geared up with either a bench shirt or squat/deadlift suit that helps the lifter move the weight. Both have a place to let competitors push the limits of what they can do in this sport.
For someone starting on this journey, a technique in each movement is more important than the amount of weight moved. Good form and technique will take you to the next level. At the same time, ego lifting will lead to injuries and a short career, often quite quickly.
Fat or scrawny, from zero experience to playing around in the gym. Powerlifting can be for anyone. In competitions, they go by weight classes and often by age. So there is plenty of records a person can chase.
One of the great things about powerlifting is the minimum amount of equipment that is needed. Barbell, weight, and then a squat rack with a bench. Some rubber mats for when you deadlift. That’s it, and if you’re starting, you don’t even need that much weight; as you get stronger, continue to buy more.
I think that when starting to lift, getting a coach to help you with your technique can go a long way. There is only so much you can learn on your own from reading books and watching YouTube videos. However, someone watching you can help correct the movements, which should lead to fewer injuries.
The Next Step
It would be great if a powerlifting gym near you or even one that has all the equipment. However, in the world we currently live in, many don’t even know if the local gym will stay open. Many global gyms are set up for the average person, not people wanting to push their limits.
The initial cost to set up your is not that high; often, what would cost you years membership to a gym, you can buy everything you need. Finding a friend to work out and spot you is excellent, though at the lower weights is not needed as you start to train. As you go up in weight, finding someone of like-mindedness to train with will help you push your boundaries.
Having a friend or coach can help you push your boundaries past what you usually can do safely. However, not having a second person should not hold you back. There is plenty of equipment nowadays that can help you train by yourself.
Rack Mono lift attachment is an excellent example of this.
No matter where you start, do not be discouraged from becoming as strong as you can; it will take time, newbie gains can come quickly, getting to the top can take years. Enjoy the challenge of progression and take your time; the fewer injuries you have, the fewer setbacks you will have on your journey.
Continue to challenge yourself. There is plenty of programs that can get you started. Here is a couple; a simple search can show you many more.
Barbell Logic has plenty of free resources and coaching available. I know several men that highly recommend them.
Stonglifts 5×5 has a ton of information, a good beginner program, and an app.
Weights, programs, read, watch videos, ask questions on forums, grab a couch. There is no reason for you not to start challenging yourself with many different ways to get going and progress.
Getting PRs (personal records) is an incredible feeling. Wanting to take it to the next level in powerlifting is to enter a competition. Not only will it let you see how you compare to others in your size and weight category, but it will also give you a tangible goal to see what you are capable of in the arena of competition.
There is something about competition, the energy of like-minded people to help push your limits.
There are several powerlifting organizations, raw, geared, natural, enhanced; there is something for everyone. Do a quick search to see what powerlifting organizations are available. Pick one and reach out, see what is local to you. Sign up and start training for it; you will be glad you did.
Starting off to get strong, already have a base, and want to push yourself more, powerlifting is an excellent place to get the basics down. You can push yourself in this arena, and it can help you in other sports as well. Strongman, CrossFit, Weight lifting, and even Bodybuilding all start with the movements from powerlifting. So don’t think you are stuck on one path.
Questions or Thoughts? Leave them in the comments.
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