How to start powerlifting
This is a question I have been getting a lot recently, from friends and people interested in getting into the sport. Powerlifting is a sport that almost everyone can access. If you have previous training experience it is really easy to engage. This article is going to serve as a step by step guide to help you go from an average gym bro to a full blown powerlifter.
- Buy flat shoes
This is quite literally the most important part of becoming a powerlifter. Flat shoes are the only piece of equipment that you 100% need. Personally, I find it literally impossible to deadlift in shoes fit even a slight heel. Even if you later transition to heeled shoes for squatting it is certainly beneficial to improve your form by squatting the most natural way possible. Converse are a great option: http://www.converse.com/us
- Find a doppelganger
Again, this is a crucial element of finding success in the sport especially if you are an uncommon height or shape. Personally, I watched a ton of youtube videos from a variety of channels and gained a lot of knowledge, but eventually, I ended up finding that my height made me more like a strongman. An even better way to do this is to watch the live streams of the USAPL meets they can be found at bodybuilding.com/usapl
- Be a Sponge
Absorb knowledge. This is the thing that helped me the most. You have to realize that there are a million different ways to get strong, there is no ideal program, there is no optimal way to eat but, by reading and listening to everything you can get your hands on, you can create your own perspectives and create an approach that works for you. A great ebook http://store.jtsstrength.com/products/gorilla-warfare its $37 but Blaine Sumner shares his experiences and some great programming, definitely worth it in my opinion.
- Program, Program, Program
This one kind of goes without saying, but, It is the easiest part to mess up. Primarily, consistency is the most important part of this. Initially, it really doesn’t matter what program you run, whether that is starting strength, 5/3/1 or just as simple as push pull legs. You have to be consistent, go to the gym at the same time every day, the same amount of days every week and push yourself. This is the foundation, the key is to continue the linear progress for as long as you can and just focus on improving form and movement patterns. Clearly, once you reach the intermediate level you need to mix it up to continue to progress, but for the most part, this will take some time.
- Stuff your face
This can be the difficult part, I wouldn’t suggest starting powerlifting in a caloric deficit. It is difficult to build muscle and get stronger while restricting your body. I think even from a confidence standpoint it is important to fuel yourself so you are continuing to progress optimally. I recommend avoiding eating takeout or fast food as much as possible, powerlifting is a performance activity so eat like an athlete.
Get in your bed and stay there! Seriously! But, for real 7 hours, that is the minimum. In my opinion splitting that over the day is fine too. If you have a big workout though ensure that you’re getting enough sleep. This is a deal breaker, be responsible and get the sleep because you will need it. I am not saying don’t go out, just make plans around your routine to make sure you can still progress optimally. Powerlifting is one of the sports in which you have to focus on the things you can control, so eating and sleeping are important components of any powerlifters success.
- Get a belt
A belt is the second most important thing to purchase for powerlifting. It is definitely non-essential, but, it helps 1,000,000%! Initially, I would suggest just picking up a relatively basic prong belt as this will provide you with the most longevity as you change body composition and preferences.Lifting large has a great option: http://www.liftinglarge.com/Economy-1-Prong-Powerlifting-Belt-10mm it’s also IPF approved so that will come in handy later.
- Find a federation
At this point, I would assume you’ll be between 3-6 Months into your journey. You will have began to understand the ups and downs of powerlifting and hopefully you will be thinking about doing your first meet. A crucial part of doing your first competition is finding a federation to compete in. Personally, I compete in GBPF and USAPL the Great Britain and the United States subsidiaries of the International Powerlifting Federation. I think it is important to compete in a subsidiary federation so there is something to work towards in the long term. I have never competed in the IPF but that is definitely a goal for me. I would highly recommend the USAPL/IPF it is one of the only drug tested federations and the management of the meets is second to none. Learn more here: http://www.usapowerlifting.com/
- Grab a mate
In case you don’t know, a mate is British slang for a friend. But, find one, it can be a gym buddy, a coach or a family member. All you need is someone you can trust that has a basic understanding of powerlifting and will encourage you to push your limits in a competition.
- Sign Up for your first meet
This is the easy part, you’ve started your training and now you’re ready to compete. Give yourself 6-10 weeks to prepare most peak/taper cycles are between these time lengths. Signup and get ready!
- Complete your journey
Your first meet is the end of your time as a beginner IMO. After you’ve completed your first meet you have perspective and you are ready to continue your journey. Powerlifting is a lifelong commitment, once you start it is pretty difficult to stop but there is unlimited opportunity for progression. The College Strength website will be live on JULY 1st so go there for more information about powerlifting and starting your journey. Remember Strength has no Limit!