By, Justin Purcell
The sport of Powerlifting is a test of power in usually three disciplines, bench press, dead lift, and squat. Sometimes you will find bicep curls thrown into the mix, but it’s not the most commonly seen. Powerlifting is the bodies overall attempt at a one rep max. The weights that both amateur and professional power lifters move are a complete tribute to how amazing the human body is.
It seems like everyone is always concerned with bench press, and how that event is proof of overall strength. Think about it, how many times has someone approached you and asked you how much you deadlift? The bench press is celebrated across the planet, but the discipline, technique, and ability to press extreme amounts of weights deserves praise. With lifters benching over 1000lbs you have to respect the ability to even hold that poundage without you joints vanishing. Bench Press definitely sees its fair amount of injuries. A lot of lifters use a false/fake/suicide grip to place the weight more evenly across their hand/wrist, but it opens up the chance that a bar might slip. It happens, and it’s frightening. Safety measure are always in place, but let’s face it, catching 400+ pounds at the blink of an eye is next to impossible.
Deadlifting is an absolute show of overall strength, and bars have been re-developed to accommodate the power that lifers have today. Unofficial world records have the deadlift edging close to 1300lbs and I’m sure we’ll see that number climb as we continue to evolve. Deadlifting requires an immense amount of form combined with strength, and the knowledge of your body and its leverage to be efficient. Athletes can rip weight off the ground, but not too many understand the sheer mechanics involved to do it properly. If executed correctly you’ll rarely succumb to injury, but how many people do you know that have hurt their back while pulling. Some body types are more natural at deadlifting, if you have long arms and short legs you’re genetically superior, and you can see this demonstrated when you watch a 150lb man deadlift 600lbs. It’s amazing to see the techniques to move heavy weight!
Squatting, the ultimate test of form, technique, power and bravery. I say bravery because blacking out during a squat, getting pinned on the bottom, falling backwards, or forwards, and every other way you can imagine are just small amount of examples that can ruin your day. I believe the squat is probably the biggest problem for most athletes. Form and technique are more commonly terrible than flawless. From people loading a bar for ego and barely moving it an inch, to the guys leaning so far forward their ligaments and tendons in their knees are being annihilated. Egos don’t belong in gyms, egos break us in more ways than one. Squatting has been perfected by a lot of great athletes. I watched a clip of a man squatting 1040lbs this past weekend and it looked easy. He the world record, and then his own record on his third attempt.
Years ago being in the 1000lb club (total weight combined with bench, deadlift, and squat) was considered beast or meat head status, the 2000lb club has seen its membership grow to immense amounts of athletes, and now it seems like a 3000lb club is on the horizon. It’s incredible, and frightening, but outstanding all the same, the body is a machine, and we’re evolving constantly as the popularity of the sport grows. Tons of federations, and divisions allow lifters of any age, and weight to compete and test themselves. How much can you lift? Try integrating some lower rep ranges in your gym lifts to set small goals for yourself. Maybe you’re a natural.