Frequently Asked Questions

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift. It involves the athlete attempting a maximal weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. Powerlifting evolved from a sport known as “odd lifts”, which followed the same three-attempt format but used a wider variety of events, akin to strongman competition. Eventually odd lifts became standardized to the current three.

In competition, lifts may be performed equipped or un-equipped (typically referred to as ‘raw’ lifting or ‘classic’ in the IPF specifically). Equipment in this context refers to a supportive bench shirt or squat/deadlift suit or briefs. Weight belts, knee sleeves, wrist wraps and special footwear may also be used, but are not considered when distinguishing equipped from un-equipped lifting.

How and where do I train for Powerlifting?

How and where do I train for Powerlifting?

This is like asking… How high is the sky? There are too many possible answers. In general, your training will center around the big three lifts, the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift, and supplemental exercises that will assist them. Look for exercises that use multiple muscle groups and joints. Like close grip benches rather than tricep extensions. Squats rather than leg extensions. Rows rather than bicep curls. Specific training can be customized through various programs and having the assistance and guidance of an experienced Coach and mentor will definitely be key to your specific goals. Find a gym that is Powerlifting friendly. We have many facilities that welcome and encourage Powerlifting!

Do I need any special equipment to compete?

There is specific equipment that will help support your lifts and aid in training: Belt, Wrist Wraps, Knee Sleeves, Squat Shoes, Deadlift Shoes or Deadlift Slippers and a Singlet. Those considering equipped lifting will require knee wraps or sleeves, squat/deadlift suit and a bench shirt. It can be an expensive initial investment but well worth the cost as you're investing in you and your training. First time competitors can certainly avail of borrowing what is required from friends and training partners as long as the equipment is IPF approved for competition. Inner Strength Products carry a fantastic assortment of IPF approved Powerlifting gear. They can be found here:

How much weight should I be lifting to enter my first meet?

If you can lift the bar itself, you are ready! That might be a simplification, but any lifter with more than one contest under his belt will tell you that the first contest is more about learning how the meets flow, how it is to lift without mirrors, with judges telling you what to do, and judging yours lifts. There is no way to get that experience in training. Don’t worry about how much you are lifting, because NO ONE else will be. We’ve all been there. After a few contests, you will be able to relax and think about the weights. Not the first time!