Powerlifting is a sport of three lifts, completed in a single meet, with the goal of achieving the highest total in your respective category or weight class. Each lift is given three attempts, and the heaviest successfully lifted weight counts towards your final total. These lifts are the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift, performed in that order.
If you’re planning on training for powerlifting at home, you need all the equipment used at a powerlifting meet a barbell, a variety of plates, barbell collars, a bench for pressing, a squat rack, and a deadlift platform (to save your floor). You’ll also need equipment of your own. Most people opt for a singlet, a powerlifting belt, and knee sleeves.
In a women’s powerlifting competition, your goal as an athlete is to lift the most amount of weight possible under certain competition standards (e.g., squatting deep enough and pausing the bar at the chest during a bench press).
There are different powerlifting federations you can compete in, and some might be more popular than others depending on your area.
How to Program Your Powerlifting Workouts
First, as a new powerlifter (assuming you don’t have a ton of experience with the competition lifts), you’ll want to establish the basic motor skills for squat, bench press, and deadlift which ultimately comes with LOTS of repetition.
Your powerlifting workouts should be primarily composed of SBD (squat, bench, deadlift) at first.
*MAKE SURE in these starting stages that you have the correct form. If you don’t, you’ll have to jump way back down the road to reestablish proper form. Save yourself time and stress by perfecting your form from the very beginning.
You should also keep rep ranges low for the competition lifts.
For gaining absolute strength, it has been studied and proven that 1-5 repetitions per set are ideal for squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.
Follow a linear progression model, and do 3×5 (3 sets of 5) for SBD every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Three times a week can get super strong!
You should take at least two minutes of rest between SBD sets. As the weight gets heavier, your rest time may even be closer to five minutes.
Eventually, you’ll have to change strategies to keep making progress, but a linear progression model should work for a few months given you don’t have much experience lifting weights.
You can also do a few accessories, but I would keep them minimal at first. I think I started out with assisted chin-ups and overhead presses as my two main accessory movements.
Bear in mind that everyone is different, and no one has the same exact needs as far as nutrition is concerned.
Though, there are a few general principles to follow.
- EAT ENOUGH FOOD (including carbs).
- Consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
You can’t grow to your full potential on limited amounts of calories, so eating at maintenance calories or slightly above is recommended.
Also, a good rule of thumb is to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily–the amino acids in protein allow for faster muscle recovery.
Sleep & other lifestyle factors
Good sleep is especially important for women in powerlifting who are looking to maximize their strength gains. Most sources suggest getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Sleep is so important because it releases growth hormones into our bloodstream, allowing for muscle repair.
Another important lifestyle factor to consider is stress.
If you seem to be stressed all the time or work a stressful job, try to find ways to minimize it.
Having high amounts of cortisol (a stress hormone) can actually inhibit protein synthesis. Therefore, stress can be detrimental to your gains over time.