This edition of Breaking Bro Science is inspired by Chance Mitchell. Specifically this one: Chance Mitchell In his post he commented on something which I have also dealt with. Which I will affectionately term the weight class trap. This is the mentality that many young powerlifters hold: staying in a class until you win.
While this is clearly an amiable target for any aspiring powerlifter it also immediately assigns you to mediocrity. Let me provide a different example. Let’s say you are an aspiring 100m sprinter you are reasonably competitive and you have been training for around 2 years. But you have a side hobby of marathon running. In order to do both you have to maintain a relatively light body weight of around 160 pounds (20 pounds less than average) at 6″ (average sprinter height). Clearly, you’ll be carrying a decent amount of muscle, but you are reducing your ability to succeed significantly. Before you have even started the race you are at a disadvantage. More than likely you have significantly lower body fat (Higher chance of injury) and due to the lower body weight probably less muscle which is crucial in sprinting success. Additionally, he would probably suck at marathon because he is way too heavy. You can’t have the best of both worlds, well you can but specialization is always superior.
Drawing from that example, powerlifting is very similar. Most world champions may be on the absolute limit of their weight class as I mentioned in a previous article. But, they are also mainly supremely advanced in their lifting careers. If you are like me and on the 2nd year of your powerlifting journey, it is more important to consider the macro perspective. Being 6″6 and 200 pounds is not going to allow me to be my strongest. So in the short term, I have to sacrifice some of my competitiveness to move up to 231 and probably 262 in the future. Powerlifting is a marathon and not a sprint, more than likely it will take you several years to reach your absolute peak in the sport. So the main takeaway is, don’t sacrifice your growth because of an arbitrary obsession with your weight class. Unless you are consistently dominating the class and improving your lifts, you can afford to move up! So start stuffing your face, and remember strength has no limit!