What is powerlifting and how and why to do it

Andrey Streltsov

What is powerlifting

Powerlifting is a strength sport that consists of three exercises: the squat lift, the bench press, and the deadlift. Otherwise, it is called power triathlon.

The goal of the athlete is to take the maximum weight in each exercise and summarize the results. The resulting number is the main indicator that the powerlifter analyzes. It also counts in competition.

Powerlifting should not be confused with weightlifting and bodybuilding. They have different goals, training programs and methods.

Weightlifters compete in two lifts, the clean and jerk and the snatch, at high speed. Bodybuilders, on the other hand, strive to develop all muscle groups as much as possible and achieve reference body proportions.

Not only special exercises help them in this, but also diets. And the results are evaluated by a panel of judges or a jury that gives points.

Why do powerlifting

People usually start powerlifting to:

  • Vary strength exercises. For example, if you have been training in the gym for several years and you are tired of the usual complexes.
  • Gain muscle mass . It is difficult to find a thin powerlifter: the emphasis on strength training ensures muscle growth.
  • Pump the strength of the legs, back, pectoral muscles and arms. The three main exercises in powerlifting are aimed specifically at them.
  • Develop self-discipline. Everything here is like in any other sport: if you want to achieve results, you need regularity in training.

Who Shouldn’t Powerlift

Powerlifting is the most loyal sport: people aged 12 to 80 can do it. However, before training, it is necessary to undergo a medical examination and identify contraindications in order to avoid injury.

It is especially important to visit a doctor before starting classes for people:

  • with diseases of the cardiovascular system;
  • with disorders in the work of the musculoskeletal system;
  • in the presence of hernias and protrusions;
  • with severe visual impairment (glaucoma, astigmatism, etc.).

What type of powerlifting should you start with?

There are two types of powerlifting: unequipped and equipped. The first is also called classical triathlon.

An athlete engaged in raw powerlifting is allowed to use shoes for squatting (weightlifters), shoes for pulling (wrestling), a belt, wristlets, knee pads, tights and leggings.

In equipment powerlifting, different clothes are provided for each exercise. For the squat – a special jumpsuit, T-shirt, hard bandages on the knees and a belt. For the bench – bench shirt, tights, belt, wristbands. For traction – overalls and a T-shirt, a belt and, if desired, knee bandages.

Special equipment allows the athlete to maximize their potential and lift more weight. The principle of operation for all attributes is the same: they tighten the muscular frame, exerting strong pressure on the skin and muscles. Due to this, for the same person, when performing an exercise, the difference in working weight can be 50–70 kg.

Beginning athletes should choose classical triathlon, because it is easier and classes do not bring much discomfort. The fact is that special equipment is very tight. And before putting it on, you need to prepare the body for heavy loads and learn how to perform exercises with high quality.

How to prepare for exercise

To begin with, it is worth getting advice from a trainer who is well versed in human anatomy and physiology. He will help you choose an individual program and put the beginner in the correct technique for performing exercises. A coach is especially needed if a person is going to do triathlon professionally. Also, it will not be superfluous to visit some good section or powerlifting school.

Before starting a workout, be sure to do a warm-up: rotation in the joints, stretching , jumping, squatting and push-ups without weight. When the muscles are sufficiently warmed up, you can proceed to the main part of the workout.

How to do powerlifting exercises

It is usually recommended to perform exercises in the following sequence: squats, bench press, deadlift.
You should not strive for any specific indicators of weight that can be lifted. Everything here depends on the individual training plan.

But if we talk about averages, then the minimum weight for both men and women is 10 kg. For beginners, it should not exceed your own.

Back Squats

This is a universal exercise that works out several muscle groups at once: back , buttocks and quadriceps.

Video: moscowsila / YouTube

After removing the bar from the racks, you need to step back and take the starting position for the squat: legs wider than shoulders, socks to the sides. Set the neck so that it lies not on the shoulder blades, but on the neck. Place your hands much wider than your shoulders. Straighten your back and squeeze your shoulder blades.

Keeping your back straight, lower yourself into a squat so that your thigh line is parallel to the floor. Remember the position of the head: it should not be thrown back or tilted forward.

Then slowly rise up while maintaining pressure on your heels. Don’t bring your knees together. The amplitude of movement should be smooth – this will help to work out the muscles better.

Common mistakes:

  • transfer of the center of gravity from the heel to the toe;
  • excessive reduction of the knees;
  • flexion or hyperextension of the spinal column;
  • tilting the head back or, conversely, performing the exercise with a strongly lowered head.

Bench Press

The bench press is aimed at working out the pectoral muscles, deltas, biceps and triceps.

Video: moscowsila / YouTube

Lie down on a barbell bench. Place your hands on the projectile wider than your shoulders. Remove the projectile by slightly raising the pelvis. Bring it forward and lower it as low as possible. Squeeze your shoulder blades, lower your shoulders, and then your pelvis onto the bench. The feet should be as close to the pelvis as possible – that is, the angle at the knee should be less than 90 °.

This technique allows you to stabilize the entire body and achieve more efficient work of the muscles involved in the exercise. The more the back bends, the shorter the bar path will be and the less physical costs.

Common mistakes:

  • incomplete bench press performance, when the barbell is not brought to the chest or is not squeezed out to the end;
  • separation of the pelvis from the bench;
  • incorrect position of the body on the bench. For example, when the legs are far away from the pelvis or the hands are too close.

Rod pull

Video: moscowsila / YouTube

There are two types of deadlift – classic and sumo. You can start with anyone.

1. Classic pull. Grab the bar shoulder-width apart, put your feet already hands, feet parallel to each other. Take your shoulder blades and shoulders back a little. The movement begins with the legs: the quadriceps and buttocks are tense, the arms pull the bar. When the bar has passed 20-30% of the amplitude, you should start moving with your back, fully straighten in the lower back and fix in the final position.

2. Sumo deadlift. It is preferred by most athletes, because the position of the legs in it is more stable. Spread your legs wider than your shoulders – the taller you are, the wider they should be. Take the pelvis back, keep your back and head straight. Turn your feet at a 45° angle.

Place the bar near your feet, do a deep squat and take the projectile with a narrow grip. Rise up due to the muscles of the legs, straighten the legs, body and bring the shoulder blades together. The arms should remain straight and should not be raised. Then lower the bar.

Common rookie mistakes:

  • back rounding;
  • a strong tilt of the head forward;
  • performing the exercise in jerks.

What other exercises should be included in training

Beginners and professional athletes can diversify their workouts with auxiliary exercises for additional muscle pumping. For example:

1. Push-ups: 10 reps x 2 sets. They will help to further strengthen the muscles of the chest, shoulders and arms, improve posture. If the exercise is not yet given to you, perform it from the bench.

2. Stepping onto the platform: 10 reps on each leg, 2 sets. The exercise will help to work out all the main muscle groups of the legs.

3. Forward lunges: 8 reps per leg, 2 sets. Needed to improve coordination and development of the gluteal muscles.

4. Glute Bridge : 15 reps, 2 sets. Exercise is also great for strengthening the gluteal muscles.

How often should you practice

Between workouts, you should pause at least 72 hours – that is, you should visit the gym two days later on the third. As a result, there will be two workouts one week, and three the next.

Exercises on the legs, arms and back must be alternated with each other. For example, in one workout you do a squat and a deadlift, and in another you do a deadlift and bench press .

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