After world’s a few weeks ago, I’ve been getting flooded with questions lately on powerlifting in general. How to start? How to train? How to pick a meet? What equipment to buy? Why I switched to power from bikini? I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on getting started here.
Before I dive in, I have to say, here’s what I love about it: Anyone can do it. Yup. Can you (learn to) squat, bench and deadlift? Then you can compete no matter what level, age, or weight class you fall in. Now I’m not saying that being a lean bikini girl is a bad thing, but once you enter the world of lifting for strength instead of aesthetics, your relationship with your body will change dramatically (in a positive way). Never have I felt more comfortable, healthy and confident in my own skin. But I digress, we aren’t talking about me LOL, I really just want to share some helpful tips on how to get started in powerlifting:
- Learn proper technique from the get-go: it’s tempting to try and copy things you see people do on social media or YouTube, but I highly recommend asking a trained eye (like a coach) for advice and direction as you learn. You’ll want to start with good training habits and avoid injuries down the road.
- Research different styles: just like skinning a cat, when it comes to powerlifting, there is more than one way to train. I’m not saying one is superior to another, just make sure you see what’s out there before you jump into a training style that you might not enjoy. If you are just starting out and choose not to work with a coach, I recommend starting out with a simple program and working with the basics (standard squat, bench, deadlift with targeted accessories) with small changes every 1-2 weeks. But if you can, I recommend hiring a coach to guide you through a well-planned training program.
- Get in a powerlifting friendly gym: Unless you work out at home, your standard commercial gym may not welcome you (sorry, but true). I know many gyms that simply do not allow heavy deadlifts, grunting and chalk flying around. Do yourself a favor and pick a gym that not only will welcome you but will possess the quality equipment you need. A good bench, bar, plates, squat rack, etc. will go a long way in your training.
- Consider buying a few things: I don’t think it’s necessary to go out and spend a ton of money on shoes, etc., but as you excel you may want to think about investing in flat shoes (possibly lifters for squatting in, flat sticky shoes for deadlifting), tall socks (for deadlifting), a good belt, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, chalk, and a singlet for when you do your first meet. Check your federations rules before you purchase these things to see if they are approved.
- Record all your heavy lifts: Using my phone, I actually record all my sets to review technique and look for any power leaks. Even if you think it feels OK, you may not be aware that your technique changes over time. And if you are one of my clients, I review your main lifts weekly and provide feedback on how to improve. Again, if you are in a powerlifting friendly space this is the norm and everyone knows it’s not just to post on your Instagram. Lol.
- Read up on federations and learn the rules: squat below parallel, pause the bar on your chest, how your feet should be when you bench, etc read everything you need to know to make sure you get three white lights on your lifts. Also check to see what groups you will compete in (age, gender, weight class, etc).
- Go watch a meet: this is the easiest way to check out the community and see how a meet works.
- Pick a meet: give yourself plenty of time, but choose a local meet to work towards. Literally just google meets in your state to find one. If you have questions, email your state chairperson and they will definitely respond. This will give you a goal and something to work towards.
- Hire a coach: any of the Fitbliss fitness coaches are available for online training plans. If you are interested, fill out a coaching app and we will get in touch with you to discuss your training needs.
- Just start. LIKE NOW: Seriously, if you keep waiting until you feel “ready” you might be waiting a looooooong time. Excuses will always pop up and no one ever feels 100% “ready”. Do yourself a favor – just pick up a bar and start training.
Hopefully that answered a few questions! Feel free to reach out to me for more info. And good luck!