The point where physical meets emotional/mental strength
A decade ago a nice, buffed trainer in Gold’s Gym approached me and asked if I would consider powerlifting. After I determined he wasn’t hitting on me, my next thought was ‘Huh?’ What is powerlifting?”
Naturally curious and one who doesn’t like being left out, I said ‘yes.’
Those questions and my answer launched a journey that changed my life, body, and perspective on what it means to participate in athletics at a regular-guy level. In high school I was on the track team (4 x 400–no podium finishes to say the least) and was cut from the cheerleading squad, which pretty much comprised my athletic profile to date.
The powerlifts are the squat, bench press, and deadlift. We can all do these core lifts with or without much weight. Done properly, each is a full-body exercise requiring driving power from your lower body through your upper body. The lifts provide absolute structure and discipline in your lifting routine and strengthen nearly every skeletal muscle, including legs, back and upper body.
Powerlifts are the foundation of any good strength and conditioning program. Whether you compete or not, powerlifting sets you up for the ultimate test of tapping into and developing physical, emotional, and mental strength. It also naturally improves your body composition—lean and mean!
Powerlifting is fun, rewarding, and empowering. It increased my confidence and opened the door to the possibility if I approached the lifts with excellent coaching and one step at a time, I can do it. My mind never wandered from that belief, both in lifting and most other areas of my life.
About a decade ago while warming up in the Sports Arena in Disneyworld FL, I knew I had a world record on the line. I stepped up to my loaded bar I knew it would incorporate every fiber of my being to execute the move. I had prepared my body and emotions to take control and perform. I wanted it. I set the last piece in place, letting my mind take over and allowing my body do what it knew how to do. In a ‘zone’ moment, I pulled up 308 pounds in my deadlift, which I had started only a few months ago at 65 pounds.
The key is to develop a progressive, safe program with strictly perfect form. Find a qualified, credible coach who can train form while educating you in grip style and position; use of sumo vs. conventional stance; and the most commonly used auxiliary exercises. I found a team to train with, which is also a great option.
With expert guidance your progress will be consistent from the start and you will see steady gains. Every little gain will motivate you to keep training. The benefits of powerlifting cross age boundaries, as kids can begin with body weight and most adults can lift at least the bar.
You can do other sports or activities in tandem, as lifting will not require much time. You can dance, run, box, participate in football or baseball, in conjunction with your lifting. Despite some talk that powerlifting can reduce your effectiveness in your sport, know that every professional or competitive athlete in major sports now lifts weights. And the powerlifts are part of those programs.
Powerlifting contributes to your growth and development, while decreasing risk of injury. After I broke some world records in lifting, I decided to tackle the endurance world in triathlon. My physical and mental strength translated to my success as a ranked triathlete with no injuries in over 16 years of racing.
Being strong is just plain fun. The bragging rights for PR’s (personal records) are an added bonus on social media!
Email me with any questions about powerlifting or setting up an effective training program