Powerlifting is a competitive sport where lifters attempt to achieve the highest combined total from 3 exercises; squat, bench press & deadlift. Powerlifting is a very welcoming sport no matter your age, gender, body weight or lifting capability. If you’ve ever considered giving powerlifting a try then here’s a simple 5 step guide to help get you started…
Pick a powerlifting federation
I compete with, and recommend, Powerlifting Australia as they are Australia’s leading, drug-tested federation but there are a few others to choose from including GPC, CAPO & APL. There’s a number of differences between federations such lifting equipment, weight classes and allowed equipment so be sure to factor these into your selection in order to make transitioning from training to competing as smooth as possible.
Pick your first powerlifting competition
Have a look at your federation’s calendar and find a meet that suits your personal calendar. Picking a competition during uni exams is not ideal so be sure to think ahead and pick an appropriate date that gives you time to train and prepare for. Generally 1-3 months is sufficient time for a novice lifter to prepare for their first competition but this depends on their technical proficiency.
Buy powerlifting specific equipment
Generally the only required pieces of powerlifting equipment you must use/wear is a “soft suit” which is worn over a tshirt and underwear, knee high socks for deadlifts and appropriate footwear during all lifts. There’s a range of optional equipment that may be worn such as knee sleeves/wraps, belts & wrist wraps but brands and what is/isn’t allowed varies between powerlifting federations. It’s important to factor in purchasing these items into picking your first competition as well as giving yourself adequate time to get used to them should you buy a new item such as a belt.
Train for your specific powerlifting comps
If you’re new to powerlifting then I highly recommending contacting an experienced powerlifting coach to help you prepare for your first meet. Good coaches can be hard to find so your best bet is a local strength & conditioning gym or if you can’t find a local coach then contact one online. Your coach should be able to plan your training leading up to competition day, assist you to improve your squat, bench press & deadlift competition technique as well as answer any questions about competition day or your specific powerlifting federation rules.
What to expect on powerlifting competition day
The goal at your first meet should be to have as much fun as possible, learn as much as you can during the day and try to keep mistakes to a minimum. Be sure to pack adequate food and drink as competitions can go for anywhere between 4-8 hours. If you used a coach during your training, then they should be able to assist you with warm ups and attempt selections on competition day as smart choices are absolutely vital for optimal performance. It’s important to remember there are a number of differences between training in your usual gym and lifting on a competition platform so be realistic with your expectations and remember you can always do better at your next competition!