Learn to Powerlift: Basic Guide

Learn to Powerlift: Basic Guide

Welcome to the world of powerlifting, where strength, technique, and determination converge to push the limits of human performance. Whether you're a newcomer intrigued by the allure of lifting heavy weights or someone seeking to refine your skills and take your strength to new heights, you've come to the right place.

From understanding the three primary lifts to mastering proper form.

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a strength sport focused on three main lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Competitors aim to lift the heaviest weights possible in these lifts within specific weight classes and age divisions. It requires physical strength, mental focus, and adherence to strict technique standards. Powerlifting offers a challenging yet rewarding journey of personal growth and achievement in strength and fitness.

What is the Squat and how to do it properly?

The squat is a fundamental strength exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. It involves lowering the body into a seated position while keeping the back straight and then returning to a standing position.

Here's how to perform a squat properly:

  1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged. You can place your hands on your hips or extend them straight out in front of you for balance.

  2. Descending Phase: Initiate the movement by bending your knees and hips simultaneously, as if you're sitting back into a chair. Keep your weight on your heels and lower your body down, maintaining a straight back and keeping your chest lifted. Aim to lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or as low as comfortable without compromising form.

  3. Bottom Position: At the bottom of the squat, your knees should be in line with or slightly behind your toes, and your back should remain flat. Avoid rounding your back or allowing your knees to cave inward.

  4. Ascending Phase: Push through your heels and drive your hips forward as you return to the starting position. Keep your chest up and maintain control of the movement as you stand up. Fully extend your hips and knees at the top of the movement, but avoid locking out your knees.

  5. Breathing: Inhale as you lower into the squat, and exhale as you drive through your heels to stand up. Maintaining proper breathing throughout the movement can help stabilize your core and improve performance.

  6. Common Mistakes to Avoid: Avoid leaning too far forward, allowing your knees to collapse inward, or rounding your back. Keep your weight evenly distributed on your feet and maintain tension throughout your body.

  7. Variations: There are many variations of the squat, including the front squat, overhead squat, and goblet squat, each targeting different muscle groups and offering unique benefits. Experiment with different squat variations to find what works best for your body and fitness goals.

Remember to start with lighter weights or bodyweight squats if you're new to the exercise, and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable and confident with your form. If you're unsure about your technique, consider working with a qualified fitness professional to ensure proper form and safety.

What is the Bench Press and how to do it properly?

The bench press is a classic strength training exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It involves lying on a flat bench and pressing a barbell or dumbbells upward from the chest to arm's length.

Here's how to perform a bench press properly:

  1. Setup: Lie flat on a bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Position your eyes directly under the barbell and grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your palms facing away from you (overhand grip).

  2. Lowering Phase (Eccentric): Unrack the barbell and hold it directly above your chest with your arms fully extended. Inhale deeply and lower the barbell in a controlled manner toward your chest, keeping your elbows tucked close to your body and your wrists straight. Aim to lower the barbell until it lightly touches your chest or hovers just above it.

  3. Pressing Phase (Concentric): Once the barbell reaches your chest, exhale forcefully and push the weight upward by extending your elbows and pressing through your palms. Keep your back, shoulders, and glutes firmly planted on the bench and maintain a slight arch in your lower back. Fully extend your arms at the top of the movement without locking out your elbows.

  4. Breathing: Inhale as you lower the barbell toward your chest, and exhale as you press the weight back up. Consistent breathing helps stabilize your core and maintain control throughout the movement.

  5. Grip and Wrist Position: Maintain a firm grip on the barbell throughout the exercise, ensuring that your wrists stay straight to prevent strain or injury. Avoid letting the barbell drift too far forward or backward in your hands.

  6. Bar Path: Focus on maintaining a smooth and straight bar path throughout the movement, lowering and pressing the barbell directly above your chest. Avoid allowing the barbell to drift toward your face or stomach.

  7. Spotter: If possible, have a spotter stand behind the bench to assist you in case you need help lifting the weight or if you reach failure during a set. A spotter can provide guidance and ensure your safety while bench pressing heavy weights.

  8. Variations: There are various bench press variations, including the incline bench press, decline bench press, and dumbbell bench press, each targeting different angles of the chest and shoulders. Experiment with different variations to add variety to your training and stimulate muscle growth.

Start with a weight that allows you to perform the exercise with proper form and gradually increase the weight as you become stronger. If you're new to bench pressing or unsure about your technique, consider seeking guidance from a qualified fitness professional to ensure safe and effective execution.

What is the Deadlift and how to do it properly?

The deadlift is a fundamental compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and grip muscles. It involves lifting a barbell or weight from the ground to a standing position.

Here's how to perform a conventional deadlift properly:

  1. Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, and the barbell positioned over the middle of your feet. Bend at the hips and knees to grip the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing you) just outside your knees. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.

  2. Starting Position: Lower your hips and straighten your back, keeping your chest up and shoulders back. Your shins should be almost touching the barbell, and your weight should be distributed evenly through your feet.

  3. Lifting Phase: Take a deep breath, brace your core, and drive through your heels to lift the barbell off the ground. Keep the barbell close to your body as you stand up, extending your hips and knees simultaneously. Maintain a straight back and avoid rounding your spine throughout the movement.

  4. Lockout: Once you've fully extended your hips and knees, stand tall with your shoulders pulled back and your chest up. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement to ensure full hip extension. The barbell should be held at arm's length, with your arms fully extended and your shoulders pulled back.

  5. Lowering Phase: To lower the barbell back to the ground, hinge at the hips and slowly lower the weight in a controlled manner while maintaining a straight back. Keep the barbell close to your body as it descends, and avoid letting it drift away from you.

  6. Breathing: Inhale as you lower the barbell to the ground, and exhale forcefully as you lift the weight. Consistent breathing helps stabilize your core and maintain proper form throughout the movement.

  7. Grip: Maintain a secure grip on the barbell throughout the exercise, ensuring that your hands are positioned evenly and your grip is firm. Consider using lifting straps or chalk if you struggle with grip strength, especially when lifting heavy weights.

  8. Variations: There are several deadlift variations, including the sumo deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and trap bar deadlift, each targeting different muscle groups and offering unique benefits. Experiment with different variations to find the one that best suits your goals and preferences.

As with any exercise, start with lighter weights to master the technique before progressing to heavier loads. If you're new to deadlifting or unsure about your form, consider seeking guidance from a qualified fitness professional to ensure safe and effective execution.

Recommended Powerlifting Gear

Now that you're aware on the basics of powerlifting, When it comes to powerlifting gear, there's one name that stands above the rest: SBD. Below are a list of gear we recommend for the beginner powerlifter or the seasoned lifter looking to upgrade.

1. Lifting Belt 

Recommended lifting belt

SBD's 13mm lever belt stands out for its quality construction and innovative design. Featuring a patented gliding lever, this belt offers the adjustability of a prong belt combined with the ease and tightness of a lever belt. The sturdy 13mm thickness provides unparalleled support for your lower back during heavy lifts, ensuring optimal stability and reducing the risk of injury.

2. Knee Sleeves

Recommended Knee Sleeves

Made from high-grade 7mm neoprene, SBD Knee Sleeves are engineered to minimize the risk of knee injuries while maximizing performance. Trusted by strength athletes around the globe, these knee sleeves offer superior support and compression, making them ideal for heavy training sessions. Whether you're squatting, lunging, or performing any other leg exercise, SBD Knee Sleeves provide the stability and warmth your knees need to perform at their best.

3. Lifting Straps

Recommended Lifting Straps

SBD Figure 8 Lifting Straps are a game-changer for lifters looking to push their limits without worrying about grip strength. Featuring a patent-pending design with strong aramid fibre, these lifting straps reduce strain on the biceps and forearms while providing a secure grip on the barbell.

4. Elbow Sleeves

Recommended Elbow Sleeves

For optimal elbow support and compression without sacrificing range of motion, look no further than SBD Elbow Sleeves. This design ensures maximal support for the elbow joint while allowing for natural movement during pressing exercises. Made with premium materials, these elbow sleeves provide the protection and comfort you need to train with confidence and intensity.

SBD ELBOW SLEEVES (PAIR)

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