Watching IPF worlds recently I realised something interesting, all of the dominant forces in each weight class, were usually not only the heaviest in each class but also the leanest.
This image of the lightweight men from the winning team USA serves to illustrate my point. All of these guys could easily be 6 weeks out from a physique show. Even heavier lifters like Wierzbicki and Eli Burks in the 93 and 105 classes are probably under 15% bodyfat.
Another interesting realization, every single weight class winner was within 0.5kg of the weight limit of their class with the exception of Dennis Cornelius who was 1kg below the limit, however, his continual success in the sport is also anomalous. But, the point I am making is that for the most part, the winners of each class are the ones that maximise their weight within the class that they compete in.
JP Cauchi a young Australian lifter is famous for his dramatic weight cuts, realistically he should have been competing in the 74kg class but for the last few years, he has been a dominant force in the 66kg class. By cutting his weight and keeping his body fat really low, he allowed himself to accumulate greater success. Cutting weight is a controversial topic, however, when used correctly it can be one of the greatest determinants of success.
If a lifter can train at 100KG for the entire year and compete at 93KG they will more than likely able to profit more from their training. Everyone knows that training in a deficit or maintenance makes gaining more muscle and strength difficult. If you can manipulate your calorific intake to allow you to be in a surplus for the majority of your training and only cut calories towards your competition phase, staying injury free and gaining strength will be much easier.
Filling out a weight class and being low body fat is the ultimate way to benefit from this technique. Being 92.5KG at 10% body fat will allow you to carry more muscle than someone who is 93KG at 15% body fat all else being equal. So that leads to an important question. Is this the end of the fat powerlifter stereotype?
I think so. At least, for the most part, I don’t know of many monsters that are 120kg and lean that don’t A ,do steroids or B, play football. So I don’t think we will see many heavyweights or super heavyweights looking stage ready at IPF worlds, but, I think we will continue to see a transition into shredded powerlifting in the other weight classes. I for one think this is a great thing, people will start to recognize the aesthetic benefits of strength training and it will likely boost the popularity of the sport! So go get shredded and remember strength has no limit!