You say your bench has gone south? You want to put on more weight? Has the offense pulled everybody and run a sweep through you? If that’s your problem lad, then you’ve come to the right place. Powerlifting is a sport built around the three basic lifts the squat, the bench, and the deadlift.
The Meets: basically you get three attempts at each lift. You can go up in weight for the attempt or you can stay at the same weight. You can never go down in weight.
The first lift in a meet is the squat, it is followed by the bench and then the deadlift. The Classes: Powerlifting is by weight class and in teens by age group. The age groups are 14/15 , 16/17 and 18/19 yrs. Your weight classes are 114, 123, 132, 148, 165, 181, 198, 220, 242, 275, super heavyweight
Squat: the hands are placed as close to the shoulders as possible. The bar is centered 3 to 4 inches below the base of the neck. Raise the elbows to support the bar. Feet should be 3 to 4 inches wider than shoulder width. Toes should be pointed out at a 30 degree angle. Your head should be straight ahead with eyes looking up. If you drop the head there is danger you will lose the weight. The referee will give the signal to squat. The lifter will begin by thrusting the hips back. He now begins a controlled decent where the hip joint is below the top of the knee. He now begins his drive out of the hole. Once he is fully erect with knees straight, he is given the signal to rack. He must make an attempt to rack the bar.
Bench: the lifter assumes a flat position on the bench. Feet should be flat on the floor and the back should be in a moderate arch. The lifters butt and shoulders will be on the bench. The lifter should now grasp the bar about 2 inches wider than shoulder width. With the assistance of a spotter the bar is handed off to the lifter. The bar is now lowered in a controlled manner to just below the sternum. There is a slight pause and the lifter is given the command to press. (the rules here differ from federation to federation. You will always have a rules briefing at your meets) once you have locked out the bench ,you will be given the command to rack. To have a good lift. The shoulders and butt must not come off the bench. Your feet cannot shift position, however you can raise and lower the toes or the heels.
Deadlift: there is a saying that “the meet begins with the bar on the floor.” The loaded bar is on the floor. The lifter approaches the bar with about an inch distance to the shins. An alternate grip is used. Feet should be 2 inches inside the shoulders: arms should be close to the sides of your legs. Keep head straight ahead. Keep back straight as possible. Drop at the knees while flattening the back. Pull the bar in a continuous motion. The final movement would be locking the knees. The lifter does not want to lock the knees at the start of the lift or the back will arch over. The lifter will finish in an erect position. After a slight pause the bar is moved to the floor in a controlled manner. You can not drop the bar or you will be disqualified.
Squat Suit: most organizations permit high school lifting in shorts. For the serious powerlifter, a squat suit is a must. Basically the suit is for support coming out of the hole and will add to your squat total as much as 20 lbs. Two good choices are the Super Suit by Marathon (1-800-321-5064), and the Z Suit by Inzer (1-800-222-6897). A good suit is tight from the waist down. Most lifters switch to a loser suit for the bench and deadlift. You can use a suit one size larger, or a wrestling singlet for these lifts. Staying in the squat suit through the meet is not a good idea.
Powerbelt: a power belt is a must and provides support during the lifts. There are numerous sources that can be found in the magazine, Powerlifting USA. Some lifters switch to the thinner belt for the bench and deadlift. They come in colors, double or single prong, or with a lever.
Knee Wraps: these again will add to your squat total and provide support coming out of the bottom of the lift. A good wrap is the double gold line from marathon. Wraps wear out and lose their elasticity over time. So a new pair of wraps for a big meet is a good idea.
Wrist Wraps: These are used by some lifters in all the lifts. These basically give the wrist more support and are legal.
Bench Shirt: The Inzer shirt is used by a lot of lifters today. You must take measurements of chest, arms, shoulders and phone them in and they will fit a shirt to your build. When you get it, I’m sure I’ll get an e-mail saying that it doesn’t fit. Wrong!!! It will fit, It must be carefully rolled on, and you will need help.
Shoes: often overlooked, but important. Generally you want a flat shoe with good support. Wearing a pair of worn out basketball shoes is not a good idea.
POWERMAG: Yep there’s a mag out there. it’s run by Jake Jones. You can subscribe 1- 00-268-2248, or online at www.powermagonline.com. PowerMag has a listing of meets around the country for the next year. It is the one thing that has held the sport together over the yrs. There are excellent articles on training, nutrition, etc.
Organizations: there are numerous organizations which sanction meets. And can give you who to contact for meets in your area. Through them you can also get info on bench, deadlift meets, etc. For info motor over to http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/powerinfo.htm
Teen Meets: yep they’ve got them. several states have active teen programs and state championships, one which comes to mind is Wisconsin. Several organizations run high school Nat’s in March/April and Teen Nationals in July each year. If you’re in college there’s the collegiate nationals.
TRAINING FOR A MEET: essentially what the lifters do is a strength building cycle, called a power Cycle. Over a 8 or 10 or 12 week period you increase weight and decrease reps. the plan is to be at your maximum strength on the day of the meet. I have cycles for the lifts on excel programs and given a current max can pop out a routine.