And why powerlifting is so great for your fitness
Over the past two weekends our powerlifting team competed at TWO meets!
Maybe you’re wondering what this mean to you?
Well, it’s a great chance for us to talk about general health and fitness. We know there’s an overwhelming amount of information on the Internet about the best way to get fit. You want to feel strong an confident in your body. You want to be able to keep up with your friends when you go hiking, or whatever you’re into.
But it’s hard to get a straight answer about the best way to do that, right?
That’s what we love about Powerlifting—it’s an efficient, full-body workout that will get you really strong. It also welcomes all body types and is a super inclusive and positive experience.
Wait, what’s Powerlifting, again?
Powerlifting is a sport where you test your max strength in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. You get 3 tries at each lift, and you only lift for 1 rep per try.
Competitors are divided into weight classes and age brackets. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places are awarded to the highest lifts in each age bracket and weight class.
They also award “best lifter” for the entire meet after running everyone’s numbers through a formula (called the Wilks Coefficient) that lets you compare strength across ages, weight classes, and sexes.
But is it actually fun watching people lift weights?
It actually is!
The coolest thing about Powerlifting meets, in our opinion, is how positive and mutually supportive it is.
Very few lifters are directly competing against other—and it will only matter to the most advanced competitors, anyway.
Everyone else is there to do their best, try to set new personal records, and get cheered for. Everyone cheers for everyone else. And the harder the lift (no matter how heavy or light it is), the louder the cheers get.
Everyone just wants to see you succeed at doing something that’s challenging for you.
Are you surrounded by huge, scary dudes?
Actually, no. There are usually a few, but most of the competitors look like ordinary people. Besides, most of the big guys are really nice—they’re not like the asshats that leer at you at regular gyms.
Powerlifting is really diverse—you’ll see a full range of age, body type, gender.
One of the coolest things is that you often can’t tell who’s the strongest just by looking at them. We’ve seen tiny women lift a crazy amount of weight, and big guys lift a lot less than you’d think. Muscle size doesn’t always equate to usable strength.
How strong do I have to be to compete?
If you can pick up a barbell—that’s 45lbs.—you’re strong enough to compete.
The objection we hear most often from members is something like “I’ll just wait until I’m really good to start competing.”
But that’s backwards thinking. The sooner you start competing, the better. It gives your workouts purpose, and it gives you an exciting way to measure your progress. Like we said in the last section—no one cares how much you lift, they just want to watch you succeed at a challenge.
Won’t it make me bulky?
Only if you want it to.
Trust me, no one gets bulky by accident—people that look that way have put a LOT of hard work into it. And a lot of big eating, too.
Believe it or not, overall strength has a lot less to do with the size of your muscles than you might think. It has much more to do with how efficiently your nervous system controls your muscles, the strength of your connective tissues (tendons and ligaments), and your lifting technique.
Is it safe to lift so heavy?
We understand your question though. Doing any sport at high intensity with bad technique is a recipe for injury. That’s why it’s important to find good coaching.
Not to mention that people lifting really heavy weights sometimes look like their head about to explode. You may have seen videos of people doing some pretty gross or scary stuff during a lift—passing out, barfing, or even getting a bloody nose.
Here’s the thing though.
That’s usually only a risk when you’re lifting at a very high level of experience. You can enjoy the sport for years and years without getting anywhere near that level of intensity.
(As for the barfing, just don’t eat a big meal before deadlifting).
Congratulations again to Christina, Crystal, Dereth, Jenny, and Nora! We’re really proud of each of you and really excited to watch you continue to grow as Powerlifters.
Powerlifting is one of the best ways to make big improvements in your overall health and fitness, and training for competition is a great way to give purpose and structure to your workouts.
Best of all, it offers a diverse, inclusive, and positive community to support you in your goals.
Try a free class to see if it’s a good fit for you! Our bootcamp members all get unlimited access to our Power Hour classes where they can train along with (or join!) our Powerlifting team!
Try a free bootcamp class, on us!
Take control of your health and fitness in Portland’s premier body-positive gym! Kickstart your transformation with a free class to find out if we're a great fit. We think you'll love it here.
You have Successfully Subscribed!
When you’re not a gym person, joining a gym is overwhelming. You’re bombarded by all kinds of new vocabulary, and a lot of the coaches and older members have forgotten what it was like when they were starting out. The last thing you need is a bunch of new jargon...read more
Going to a new gym can be scary, right? You think to yourself about how everyone there will be all fit and strong. You picture yourself out of breath, flushed, and sweating profusely. You picture yourself barely keeping up with the class and holding everyone up. And...read more
Turns out cats make great role models for lifting weights (and fitness in general). They have their rest and nutrition dialed in, and when they move, it’s with high intensity and total commitment. Read on for lots of great lessons your cat can teach you about lifting....read more
If you’re going big with your goals, chances are good you’re going to have to break some bad habits in the process. But there’s a problem. You have those bad habits for a reason. You depend on them to meet some kind of emotional need. And without finding new ways to...read more
Relying on discipline or willpower alone will usually fail. To achieve your goals, you need to want it more than any of your competing desires. To build that determination, get really clear about how and why your goals will improve your life. Using willpower is...read more
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my own personal development is that I can’t expect my future self will be willing to do anything I’m not willing to do today. We all tend to assume that in the future, we’ll have more willpower, more courage, and more grit...read more
"Body-positive" is a hotly-debated term these days! I'm glad that the body-positivity movement is seeing a heyday, but this also means that not everyone using the term it agrees on what it means. Let's fix that. For me, being body-positive means loving my body as it...read more
About this paleo breakfast porridge: it's easy, it's filling, and it's tasty as hell. Oh yeah, and it's waaaaaay better tasting than regular oatmeal or porridge because the flax meal gives it a warm, nutty flavor. This recipe is also vegan, gluten-free, and paleo. It...read more
This is why BMI is BULLSHIT. Your BMI (body mass index) is just a ratio of your height and weight. Your BMI doesn't indicate your body composition (see photo)...nor does it show your health/ dedication/ work ethic/ value (not pictured, because none of these things can...read more