What is powerlifting mentality

Why powerlifting and not bodybuilding?

I have been a health supplement enthusiast for a long time junkieand powerlifters in the competition area. I see myself as a powerlifter who admits a bodybuilder mentality about wanting to look physically fit and that is the point I want to cover in this article. In other words, the question is why Powerliftingand not Bodybuilding?

Powerlifting and bodybuilding are two closely related forms of weight training. The early bodybuilders of the forties and fifties of the twentieth century focused just as much on improving strength in the most important basic exercises as they were on actually developing the associated muscle groups.

However, the availability of many different exercise machines has led bodybuilders to significantly shift focus away from performance in powerlifting exercises.

Simply put, powerlifting is about maximizing strength on the squat, bench press, and deadlift, with the ultimate goal of setting a personal best for one repetition on each of these exercises. Bodybuilding, on the other hand, is about maximizing the development (mass) of each muscle group in proportion to the rest of the body.

Why choose powerlifting over bodybuilding?

Why should powerlifting be preferred to bodybuilding? Why should you put yourself in one of these boxes? I believe that when you move on to an endeavor, you need a certain level of accomplishment. When I first started training, I was initially interested in the physical changes that became apparent quite quickly.

It is an intoxicating feeling to see how your body changes in front of your eyes within a few months. So originally, weight training brought me a certain fulfillment. However, the visible changes that I experienced initially came slower and slower for me the longer I trained. Within a few years it became clear that my genetic make-up was severely limited by my genetic make-up.

Further progress

In my attempts to make further progress, I began devouring weight training articles that I found in popular bodybuilding magazines. I applied the Weider Principles, tried Mike Mentzer's heavy duty training, and tried numerous star training programs - all to make further progress.

I acquired a fairly in-depth knowledge of diet and the benefits of supplements. I tried the recommended diets for gaining mass, alternating between mass and diet phases. At the age of 25, after a solid 7 years of bodybuilding training, I had developed from an untrained 68 kg body weight to a solid (not hard-defined) 80 kg with a height of 175 cm. I believe some would see this as progress.

Though frustrated by my lack of gain, I trained like a bodybuilder for the years that followed until I was lucky enough to stumble upon some of the articles by author Stuart McRobert. McRobert recommended so-called hardgainers a super hard, but irregular training with a few basic exercises.

I later learned that McRobert was passing on a training concept that originally came from the 1930s and was developed by Joseph C. Hise, a pioneer of weight training, from which the concept of the Breathing squatsComes with heavy weights and high repetitions for fast building of strength and muscle mass.

Instead of doing 10 to 15 sets per muscle group 5 to 6 times a week, which is considered by most to be the only way to build muscle, I began using McRobert's version of Hise's 20-rep breath squat.

I used the following training program:
  • 1 set of 20 rep squats, immediately followed by a set of 20 rep dumbbell covers (for chest and chest expansion)
  • 2 sets of bench presses of 5 to 8 reps and 2 sets of lat pulldowns / chin-ups or barbell rows twice a week
Yes, that's right, a full 2 ​​days of training and 5 days of rest. The key to this plan was the 20 reps squat, which starts with a weight that allows you to do exactly 10 reps and forces yourself to do 20 reps by pausing briefly and deeply on the tenth repetition between reps breathes.

After the 20th repetition, place the weight on the rack and lie down on a flat bench without pausing to do pullovers with dumbbells. After that, I usually more or less collapsed and spent the next ten minutes lying on the floor, panting and puffing.

Believe me, I got the weirdest looks from other gym members, some who thought I needed medical attention. The hardest part of all of this was that I had to try to put eight pounds more on the barbell for every workout session, which I usually managed to do, despite my initial doubts.

As instructed, I also increased my diet and protein intake, which was the most enjoyable part of the program. After my first 6-week training cycle, I was able to do 20 reps of squats at 150 pounds - over 25 pounds more than at the beginning of the program.

During those 6 weeks, I gained almost five pounds in solid muscle mass and learned how to push my body further to its limits than I would have previously thought possible. I saw this as an important breakthrough in my understanding of how to get stronger and bigger. If you need to get stronger and bigger, the best way to do this is by training very hard with basic exercises (squats, bench presses, rows, pull-ups, and deadlifts) while not overworking your body by exercising too often.

Still training

Let's scroll forward about 9 years. I'm 36 years old now, it's 2000 and I'm still training. I'm proud of this because I saw how many people my age who had trained once eventually stopped training and let themselves go a bit (or a lot). I now keep my weight at around 150 pounds, look fit and, depending on whether I am just starting or finishing a diet phase, I am quite slim and defined.

After all these years I have defined my training by a few simple parameters:
  1. I train 3 to 4 days a week
  2. Squats are the basis of my leg training, bench presses are the basis of my chest & shoulder training and barbell rows are the basis of my back training
  3. I keep the reps in the low range of 5 to 8 reps, sometimes doing sets of 3 reps (more weight) for large muscle groups and slightly higher reps for arms and shoulders
  4. Before I start exercising, I do 10 minutes of easy cardio to warm up my body

A note on cardio

A quick aside on cardio, I hate it! Yes, I know it has its value (it's good for the heart and improves circulation), but I think people have been misinformed about its use. Will cardio allow the exerciser to transform their body into a leaner, stronger machine? No, not without an additional training component with weights.

Take a look at the people in the gym who are the leanest and in the best shape. Do you lift weights or do you work out on cardio machines? I believe the problem with cardio is that it is overrated by people looking to reduce their body fat percentage.

These people seem to grind themselves for years blindly believing that if they exercise this way long enough, the body will eventually change. I will no longer ponder this topic (perhaps in another article). I'm just going to say that if you enjoy cardio, love the endorphin rush that comes with it, and like to sweat (that's water and salt that you lose, not body fat), you shouldn't be without it. However, if you want to change your body, weight training should come first before cardio.

Strength, and no competition

Today I am sure that I will not be on a bodybuilding stage, oiling my body and posing in skimpy panties. I can of course understand why someone would want to take part in a bodybuilding competition. It doesn't necessarily have to do with the fact that you think you can win, but can also be related to the fact that it gives you a reason to exercise and diet.

Hell, you even have a reason to do cardio training (sorry, I couldn't help it). Like I said, I knew I wasn't going to be in a bodybuilding competition because while I looked good from the average person's point of view and had some muscle, I lacked the higher level of muscle mass that you need to have any perspective at all to have.

I could blame it for my inadequate genetic makeup or lack of interest in chemical support (steroids) and definitely my lack of will to exercise just to build show muscles. No, at this point I was more interested in exercising in order to get stronger with the basic exercises and even other exercises like curls and lateral raises.

I don't know what made me want to get stronger. Maybe it was because it wasn't easy for me and I just couldn't accept it. Yes, I was more interested in being stronger, whatever that was.

How did I stand there?

Age: 37 years old, body weight: 86-88 kilos, height: 175 cm (on a good day, we shrink as we age) and here are my weights: squats: 154 kilos for one rep, bench press: 127 kilos for one rep , Deadlift: I don't work out a lot, maybe 150 pounds for one rep.

Most people would consider these to be average strength values. I still remember what Stuart McRobert pointed out as good strength values ​​and what should be achievable for most exercisers who weigh 150 pounds and are 175 cm tall - squats: 180 kg, bench press: 135 kg, and deadlift: 230 kg !

Wow, after 19 years of training I still hadn't reached these values ​​(except for body weight and height). It just wasn't fair. I trained regularly without overtraining. I drank my protein shakes every day, sometimes 2 in addition to 3 protein-based meals. In addition to that, I had tried virtually every nutritional supplement that came on the market between 1985 and 2000.

For the convenience of the reader, here is an example of my supplementation starting with the first up to the most recent:
  • L-arginine and L-ornithine capsules (10 grams and 5 grams before going to sleep)
  • Tablets with different dried gland extracts
  • Dried liver tablets (50 per day, nourishes the blood)
  • Fertilized raw eggs mixed with cream (12 per day)
  • Dibencozide
  • Boron (boron) tablets
  • Vitamin B-15
  • Sarsaparilla tinctures, (Thanks Dan Duchaine)
  • Cybergenics Kit
In addition, of course, to multivitamin tablets and fish oil capsules, which I still take on a daily basis.

I need help

I still remember visiting family in New York in May 2000 and training with my childhood friend, Steve, at Golds Gym a few miles from my parents' house. Steve has always been good at squats, and that day I worked out at my usual 150 pounds.

Stephen routinely used over 40 pounds more weight, even though he weighed 5 pounds less than me. That day, he decided to try a max rep with a weight that he had never used before. He loaded the bar with 150 pounds, bandaged his knees, put on his weight lifting belt, carefully took the impressive weight from the rack and took a few steps backwards.

He stabilized himself, went down until his thighs were parallel to the floor, pushed the weight up, then moved back toward the rack. Wow, that was hard, but he managed a clean repetition. A really impressive show of strength and I was really happy for him.

I remember talking to him while we continued to train about how I had long believed that I would rather train alone because after all these years I had thought there was nothing left what else I could have learned about training from someone else.

But that day I told him that I would love to be trained by someone if they could help me get stronger. I was tired of trying to figure it all out for myself. It would be a relief to be the student for a change.


The following month, June 2000, I flipped through a local health magazine called Fun N 'Fit and saw or a very small ad: Huge Iron Gym, the only powerlifting club in Las Vegas, membership fee $ 20 per month. I was vaguely familiar with powerlifting as a sport.

I had browsed through Powerlifting USA magazine a few times, but I had never seen powerlifting as a different training philosophy. I still remember finding it strange that there was such a club in Las Vegas at all, just great! I just had to go see this place.

So at some point I went there and was amazed at what I found. The Huge Iron Gym was one of the shabbiest corners of Las Vegas. The studio itself was tiny and there were 3 weird looking squat racks that I learned there were called mono lifts.

There were also three benches, a pull-down and rowing cable, a dumbbell rack, and some strange looking gadgets I'd never seen before. And of course lots of weights and barbells! What a bastard I loved it! I met Tony the manager there, Scott, his wife Susan and two younger guys named Lance and JR.

I gave the $ 20 to Tony on the spot. I hadn't been there 5 minutes when Scott told me to go to a bench and show him how to do the bench press. I was excited to demonstrate my neat form of training that I had acquired over 19 years of training. I was sure that I would impress him because he didn't know who he was dealing with here.

His comment was as follows:

You expose your elbows. You're not a bodybuilder trying to work out your pecs. If you want to use more weight on the bench press, you will need to learn to keep your elbows further in. You need to push up in a straight line from your chest.

Not only that, you also have to learn to bench press with a hollow back. When you move the bar towards your chest, you have to lower it below the nipples and at the same time strengthen the hollow back by lifting your chest towards the bar without lifting your butt off the bench.


Within 2 minutes, I lost conviction that I knew everything about training and realized that I knew almost nothing about how to train to get really STRONG.

A powerlifter: proud and strong

I'll save the details of my five years of powerlifting for another article. I proudly call myself a powerlifter and correct anyone who mistakenly calls me a bodybuilder. I've learned that while powerlifting and bodybuilding are closely related types of exercise, there is a huge difference between training for strength and training for muscle growth.

It is a late realization for me that after my focus on building and increasing my muscle mass, despite my training with low repetitions and weights that I considered heavy, after my first 5 years of training I was no longer substantially stronger have become.

For example, my maximum bench press performance remained constant at around 130 kilos from 1990 to 2000. During this time, I tried numerous bodybuilding techniques that were claimed to increase strength, without success. In retrospect, it's hard for me to admit that I was only maintaining my strength for over 10 years, but that was exactly what I did.I would probably only have had to invest half of my training time if I had just wanted to maintain my strength from the start.


I am happy to say that I have seen my best strength gains over the past 5 years and that they have significantly exceeded the gains over the previous 19 years. I made new friends and a great personal fulfillment in participating in powerlifting competitions and was able to continuously improve from competition to competition.

These competitions gave me not only fulfillment but also a reason to train (and we don’t wear skimpy panties, but interesting types of powerlifting clothing). Oh yeah, and ironically, as an unexpected side effect of being continually getting stronger and stronger, I carry more muscle than ever with me.

What brought you to powerlifting? The fact that you don't have to be in shape? The addiction to strength? - Discuss it with other users in the forum and tell us your opinion on the topic!

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