We appreciate that the amount of information thrown at you when you first start powerlifting may be overwhelming. We’ve therefore written some information about some of powerlifting’s key principles so you may come back to it in your own time. There’s a lot here, organised in a suggested reading order, along with links to external resources. Thanks to ex-webmaster Steve for putting a lot of this together. If you find the information on this page useful, we think you’d probably also gain a lot from joining the club.
Powerlifting is by no means the most technical sport out there, but is also not mindless. As a bare minimum, one should strive to have sufficiently good technique so as to not injure themselves while training. Beyond this, further weight may be lifted may be unlocked through constant work refining of technique, alongside neurological strength gains and physical hypertrophic gains.
People usually start off with a ‘cookie cutter’ program, of which we recommend several good options we’ve tried ourselves. These however can’t work forever, as one becomes a more intermediate lifter. We go on to outline the key training variables behind a good program, and how one could write and structure their own programs for more specific goals as they become more advanced. Also check out our pages on finding your maximum recoverable volume and addressing weak points.
Gains are famously ‘made in the kitchen’. Here we describe how precisely this works, and what variables one has at their disposal to control here. We like to think about this as a pyramid - some variables are more important than others. There’s no point worrying about your vitamin levels if you’re not eating enough to satisfactorily recover.
Muscle tissue is damaged through training, and can only repair and adapt to be stronger when provided sufficient ability to recover. Nutrition plays a key role in recovery, but is not the only factor. Sleep and stress are both known to have important effects on the body’s regenerative processes. There are also several other less extensively researched interventions that may aid or hinder recovery.
The bar to entry is relatively low in powerlifting. You can start out with just a gym membership, and your usual gym clothes. As you progress, you’ll probably want to acquire several bits of kit to help increase tightness and reduce energy leaks, ensuring your force is being transferred into the bar as effeicently as possible.
Competing for the first time sounds an intimidating endeavour, but it shouldn’t be. Here we outline how to prepare for a competition in the weeks and days leading up to it, as well as things to keep in mind and bring on the day itself.