Powerlifting - The Ugly Sister Of Weightlifting

By James Monahan

Powerlifting is a strength sport, which is divided into three events, i.e., squat, bench press and deadlift. The maximum weights lifted in all three events end up to be the powerlifting score in a competition.

This strength sport is nicknamed the ugly sister of weightlifting.

One obvious difference between weightlifting and powerlifting is the fact that weightlifting is an Olympic sport while powerlifting is still fighting it out to enter the Olympics.

Additionally, a strong difference is that weightlifting events such as snatch and the clean and jerk rely on speed strength and technique to lift the most weight. Not much of strength but of technique that is weightlifting.

Powerlifting on the other hand relies on limit strength making use of the whole body to lift and support the heaviest weight humanly possible. Ability to control the barbell with the most weight is necessary in powerlifting competitions.

Thus, it is in powerlifting, which is where the strongest athlete is determined. This is because of his ability of lifting, supporting and controlling the heaviest barbell.

The three events of involved in this competition are squat, bench press and deadlift


In this first event in a powerlifting competition, the athlete stands with barbell with weights on each end. Grabs the barbell from behind and puts the barbell on top of his back behind the neck.

The athlete then moves to the racks, squats until thighs are lower than parallel to the floor. He will then stands up and return the weight to the rack.

Bench press

On the second powerlifting event, the athlete lies in a bench. The barbell with weights on each end is placed on a stand connected to the bench. The athlete will then pick up the barbell while lying down on the bench; a liftman will assist the athlete in releasing the barbell from the stand.

The athlete will then rest the barbell in his chest and press the barbell up extending his arm fully. Then he will return the barbell to the stand without the aid of the liftman. Control is necessary to avoid jerking the barbell, which can cause injury.


The third and final event of a powerlifting competition, the barbell that is loaded with weights on each side is on the floor. The athlete squats down to lift the barbell until his back and legs are straight, the shoulder pulled back with chest proud.

Then the athlete will put back the barbell of the floor in a controlled manner.

In a powerlifting competition, there are disqualification rules that may apply.

This, however, is depending on the federation hosting the competition. Different federations, different rules and they also have different interpretations of the rules.

The best way for the athlete is to secure the rules of the federation hosting the competition to avoid committing mistakes during the competition that will mean his disqualification.

It is always best practice in competing for sporting events that you understand and apply the rules imposed by the hosts. You or your manager should secure the necessary information to get ahead of the competitors.

Practice as much as you can and induce special care as you practice and even when you are in the actual competition. This is necessary to ensure you will be able to show your strength and compete well in this sport.

Physical and mental preparation is necessary especially in a strength sport like powerlifting.

James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of PowerliftingSite.com and writes expert
articles about powerlifting.

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