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How to Get Started with Powerlifting: The Beginner's Guide

By Melania Armento

Published 1 February 2021

First of all, what is powerlifting? Powerlifting is an individual strength sport, a type of resistance training that places the entirety of its focus on strength.

The singular purpose of powerlifting is to get stronger and improve your personal best lift within the three main lifts: the bench press, the squat and the deadlift.

Since powerlifting is so specific and so simple, it is a great way to find and cultivate a passion within the world of exercise and fitness, where you are always trying to beat your best lift, as opposed to typical strength training sessions or cardio.

If you’re ready to jump into the world of powerlifting, you might be wondering just where to start – read on for the exact steps you need to get started in the sport of powerlifting.

How to Start Powerlifting?

There are no weight loss targets to hit, no group classes to attend, and no target of calories to burn in a session.

Powerlifting can support fat loss, if that is a goal of yours, but more importantly it can help you build confidence in a way that has nothing to do with body image at all.

Let’s see how to become a powerlifter!

1. Get Set up with a Program or Coach

Whether you are entirely new to the gym or simply new to the art of powerlifting, the best place to start is to find a training program that supports your goals, a personal coach, or both.

Working in-person with a trainer is the best way to start off strong by learning the correct way to perform your lifts.

They can also help you set realistic and attainable goals and write you a training program that helps you achieve them.

2. Find a Gym

Are you wondering how to get into powerlifting? Well, if you’ve chosen to work with a coach, they might have a powerlifting gym that they work out of or are affiliated with- in which case you’ll be able to skip this step.

But if you’re going the DIY route following an online training program or even working with a trainer online, you will need to find a gym!

And how to find a powerlifting coach? If you’re going to take this sport seriously, a powerlifting gym is your best bet.

While any old big-box gym can theoretically suffice as long as they’ve got squat racks and a setup for your bench press, the excess amount of time you’ll be spending in these areas doesn’t generally work with the structure of the big box gym.

A bonus of finding a powerlifting gym? You’ll be able to score tips, advice and just sit back and watch some of the more knowledgeable lifters do their thing.

How to start a powerlifting gym

3. How to Train Like a Powerlifter? Get Some Gear

Luckily, powerlifting doesn’t require a ton of specific gear, so you aren’t going to be taking a major hit to the wallet in this sport. You will want a good pair of lifting shoes though.

While some lifters opt for powerlifting-specific shoes, you can go with anything that has a flat rubber sole like a pair of Vans or Chuck Taylors.

The idea is to maximize your foot’s surface area with the floor, so running shoes or other cross-trainers aren’t ideal.

As you get stronger, you may find it helpful to invest in a lifting belt or knee sleeves, but you probably won’t need these things right out of the gate.

Want to Train Like a Powerlifter? Master Your Lifts

Since powerlifting is all about the big three (squat, deadlift, bench press), the most important thing for you to do is absolutely master your form and technique for these lifts.

This means you will not only be able to go bigger and get stronger, but you’ll avoid any unnecessary strain or injury.

If you’ve invested in a coach, this is where they’ll come up big in your training. If not, make use of mirrors, other lifters or employees of the gym to help you get your form all ironed out.

Since you are focusing on only three lifts, your training will be mainly these three, plus a few accessory movements that will help build strength and support your main lifts.

How to Find Powerlifting Meets

Find a Meet! Whether or not you are ready to compete yourself, definitely make time to at least attend a local powerlifting meet.

It is a great place to network with other people who love the sport, plus it is a fun, super-charged, motivating experience to watch people lifting heavy weights and setting personal records.

You’ll become more familiar with the way a meet works, how lifters go about their lifts, and how the judges make their decisions.

Powerlifting is a sport that helps many people find a passion in health and fitness, since it doesn’t focus on weight loss, physique or anything but getting stronger in just a few specific lifts.

If you’re ready to get started with powerlifting, follow the steps above and get ready to be your strongest self!

Melania Armento

Melania is a SEO specialist at Virtuagym, one of the leading innovators in the digital health and fitness industry. With 6+ years experience in marketing, she loves fitness, ranking keywords with high monthly search volume, as well as taking advantages of long summer days and warm weather.

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