routine for competitive powerlifters as
they would for football players, basketball players, and other
athletes. The sport of power lifting is lifting weights. And,
athletes in other sports need not be focused on the elements of
competitive powerlifting. However, all athletes can learn something
from the basics of powerlifting.
Off-season training should focus on increasing muscle strength and
endurance by performing relatively high repetitions (8-20). In fact,
a powerlifter's off-season strength training does not need to
differ from that of other athletes. Athletes in other sports can use
the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift for strength training- but for
powerlifters, these are the specific skills of the sport that need
to be mastered.
Many powerlifters don't believe that one or two work sets of
Squats, Bench Presses, or Deadlifts are all that is needed to get
stronger. The quality of a set is more important than the quantity
of sets. If your intensity is high, you don't need to do more than
one or two sets per exercise. In fact, if your intensity is truly
high, you literally will not be able to do more than one or two
sets. You can work out hard, but not long and hard. Hard and long
are mutually exclusive in strength training. They are mutually
exclusive in powerlifting as well.
In addition to the competitive lifts, many powerlifters make the
mistake of performing too many additional exercises and, therefore,
too many additional sets. The additional exercises are commonly
referred to as assistance exercises. This practice often results in
over training. Keep in mind; the true purpose of assistance
exercises is to build overall strength.
During the off-season, a powerlifter does not need to use
repetition ranges that are any different from athletes in any other
sport. Based on a 6-second repetition (2-seconds up, and 4-seconds
down), a general guideline would be to perform 10-20 repetitions for
the lower-body exercises and 8-15 repetitions for the upper-body
Strength training is very stressful to the body. The body must be
given and adequate amount of time to recover and to adapt to the
stress and hence get stronger. A powerlifter should perform at
least two of the three competitive lifts during a workout. This will
help to maximize recovery between workouts. A full-body workout can
also be performed once a week to maximize recovery between workouts.
For most powerlifters, two workouts per week are more than
adequate. Contrary to popular belief, your muscles will not lose
size and strength if more than 48 hours or even 96 hours elapses
Pre-Contest Training Before a contest, powerlifters must practice the Squat, Bench
Press, and Deadlift in the same manner as these lifts will be
performed in the contest. This means that the number of repetitions
must be decreased and the amount of weight must be increased.
However, there is no reason to reduce the number of repetitions
during off-season training. Lifting heavy weights for low
repetitions takes a toll on the body that should be avoided during
off-season training. As the number of repetitions decreases, the
margin for error in technique decreases and the potential for injury
increases. Unfortunately, many powerlifters use low repetition
ranges- even during their off-season training- and this often
results in injury, over training, and lack of progression.
To excel in any sport, the specific skills of the sport must be
practiced to perfection. In powerlifting, this means practicing the
lifting of heavy weights for low repetitions in the Squat, Bench
Press, and Deadlift. Skill practice should not be confused with
what is necessary to build muscle- hard, brief, and infrequent
training. The tips provide the means to build the muscle and it's
the muscle that moves the weight on the powerlifting platform.