5 Tips to Get Started in Functional Powerlifting

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Whereas bodybuilding once ruled the roost, powerlifting is now taking the number one spot when it comes to popular gym activities. Rather than looking to improve the way their bodies look, people nowadays are instead training for form and function. This is part of the reason why powerlifting has become so hugely popular over the last decade or so.

Strongman contests and competitions are far from new as they’ve been practiced for decades upon decades, centuries in fact. But it is thanks to the popularity of these strongman contests, that powerlifting has taken off so much. Powerlifting is all about form and technique, rather than just brute strength like many people tend to believe.

It is notoriously difficult and physically demanding, which is why only a select few individuals will ever make a success from it. If you’re thinking of getting into powerlifting yourself, we’ll be taking a look at a few helpful tips, plus a specially-designed workout program for you to try at home once you’ve mastered the art and basic techniques.

So, without any further hesitation, let’s begin by taking a look at a few handy tips.

Tips to Get Started in Powerlifting

Practice before you train

Deadlift - Powerlifting

The big three lifts when it comes to Powerlifting are:

  1. Squats,
  2. Bench press,
  3. Deadlifts

Each one of these exercises are far from easy to master.

Sure, at first glance they may be simple. But, all it takes is one wrong step, one misplaced hand or leg, or one mistake and you could potentially seriously injure yourself.

Before you begin training for powerlifting, you should first practice the various exercises. Focus on getting your form and technique absolutely perfect.

If you try bench pressing with a stupid amount of weight, without actually doing the exercise correctly, you not only won’t benefit, but you will probably injure yourself as a result.

Form and technique are the keys to success. So, forget about heavy weights and focus instead of mastering both of the above, even if you use nothing but the bar to begin with.

Start as soon as you can

Deadlift - Powerlifting

Many powerlifting workouts will be extremely physically demanding. As a result, up and coming powerlifters will put off competing for as long as possible to give themselves the best chances of succeeding (by getting more training and practice in).

Whilst a smart strategy to some degree, the problem is that many people will wait years upon years before their first competition. This means that even though they may have great form and strength, nerves, a lack of experience, and perhaps even a lack of competing in front of a crowd can prove overwhelming, causing them to place very poorly, and perhaps even causing them to decide to quit altogether as a result.

The best way of getting a feel for what to expect is to compete frequently and use the experience to help you.

Focus on the main three lifts


A lot of people tend to overcomplicate things. They try to cram too many exercises and too much training into each session, when in reality, simplicity is often the key.

If you know you need to practise squats, bench presses, and deadlifts, make sure you focus on those three lifts. Of course, you should still perform other exercises, but make sure you make the big three lifts your primary focus.

Train in the correct gym

Gyms come in all shapes and sizes. As a result, you need to find the right gym that not only feels right for you, but that is also practical enough in regards to your training. If, for example, you’re trying to get as big and strong as possible, training in a gym, which only has dumbbells going up to 30kgs (66 lbs) is going to be pointless.

Don’t, however, think that you need to train in some underground hardcore lifting dungeon… full of rusty equipment, huge beastly men, and insanely heavy weights. If you thrive in that type of environment, that’s great. But, if you don’t find a gym with the right equipment and the right atmosphere, that you do work best in.

Look after your hands

Squat - powerlifting

The heavier and more frequently you train, the more you’ll notice your hands taking a bit of a battering, with calluses beginning to form. Never leave these calluses as they are. If you do, you run the risk of tearing them during a heavy lift. Instead, you should wear them down with specially designed callus stones.

On top of that, to enhance grip strength and soak up excess moisture, use chalk, or liquid chalk, before gripping the bar. That will keep your hands in great shape, and improve your grip in the process.

Powerlifting Workout Program

Barbell bench press5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell bent over row4 sets of 6 reps
Barbell squats5 sets of 6 reps
Standing barbell military press4 sets of 6 reps
Barbell deadlifts5 sets of 5 reps
Triceps kickbacks5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell curls4 sets of 8 reps
Triceps dips4 sets of 10 reps

Here’s an article I wrote about getting rid of gyno.

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