Starting powerlifting?

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by q.Hung, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. q.Hung

    q.Hung More than 500 posts

    I decided to go to the powerlifting meet at the end of next year (2020).
    I have nearly zero experience with the 3 lifts.
    So how should i start training pwl? Is Reload good choice for me? Is practicing twice per week for each lift enough?
    I'm quite confuse right now. Thanks for your help.
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    q.Hung likes this.
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    The most important thing is that you practice the lifts in a safe manner and work on your technique. Programs can follow after that.

    q.Hung likes this.
  4. william bad butt

    william bad butt More than 300 posts

    Do you know how to perform the lifts?
    q.Hung likes this.
  5. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    Congrats on a great choice for a sport!

    Based on your training you have a very good base to start building the powerlifts, strong midsection and good body awareness etc.

    I would pick some tried and true barbell or powerlifting program and do it by the book. It works. It doesn't have to be optimal at this point - no program is. Two times a week a lift is a lot of training. Some people do one lift a week. Some do even everything on just one or two days a week and are successful.

    It is paramount for both safety and performance to develop good form on the powerlifts. Get some coaching if you can. Record yourself lifting. Seek help from advanced lifters.

    Regarding the sport I recommend you contact the national association of the international powerlifting federation, join a club and sign the antidoping agreement as early as you can next year. The agreement needs to be done three months prior to your first competition.
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  6. q.Hung

    q.Hung More than 500 posts

    only the deadlift. last time i bench and squat weekly was 2 years ago i think?

    now that is new, never heard of that :eek:
  7. william bad butt

    william bad butt More than 300 posts

    Best case would be to get some hands on instruction on how to squat and bench. Strongfirst has options I think. If you cant do that, 2nd best option is video coaching.

    Pick a simple linear progression program (3 sets of 5 for example), and get to work. Something like Starting Strength or Stronglifts offer beginner programs. Stronglifts is free, online, I think. But in summart, Squat, bench, deadlift, 3x5, 2-3 days per week. Slowly add weight. Two or even 3 days per week will work great. Eat well. Lots of protein. Increase your food intake (you will likely gain weight, are you ok with that?) Sleep very well, 8 hr. Temporarily minimize/eliminate other training (like kbell lifting or running) [this is just temporary, you will eventually add it back].

    You will make incredible progress for months (maybe 1 year). After that, things start becoming a little more complicated. Let me know if you need help.


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  8. apa

    apa Triple-Digit Post Count

  9. More than 500 posts

    Westside Powerlifting Training Method

    The Westside Method is the only training method that is specifically devoted to developing technique and strength in the sport of Powerlifting.

    The foundation of the Westside Powerlifting Training Method is built on the the training principles of Olympic Lifters. The Competition Lifts are performed primarily as a means of developing and perfecting technique.

    Auxiliary Exercises are employed to increase Limit Strength with Max Effort Training. Auxiliary Exercise that are similar in nature to each lift are incorporated as a means of increasing in the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift.

    The Olympic Lifts are true Power Movements. That is one of the reason Olympic Movement are incorporated in collegiate and a pro athletes programs.
    Westside incorporates power into their program with Speed/Power Training Days. Loads of 48 - 62% are employed. Speed/Power, metaphorically speaking, is the grease that help you slide through your sticking point.

    The Repetition Method (Bodybuilding/Hypertrophy) is incorporated, as well. This evokes two effects. It increase recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles.

    The circulatory system delivers nutrient to the muscle and eliminated metabolites; takes out the garbage, so to speak.

    The Repetition Method also increase muscle mass.

    Developing Technique

    The majority of Powerlfiting Training Program utilized the Powerlifts as a means of increasing Limit Strength in each lift.

    That method will increase Limit Strength. However, it comes at the expense of developing poor technique.

    When using taxing load in a Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift, technique is altered due to muscle fatigue. As muscle fatigue set technique falls apart.

    Optimal Technique Training

    Technique Training need to be performed when you are fresh. It should the the first exercise in your program or trained on a day set aside specifically for technique.

    Technique is optimized with load of 85% of 1 Repetition Max for sets of singles, sometimes doubles. Technique Training sets is terminated once muscle fatigue set in.

    Additional training with lighter load, 60 - 80%, assist in Technique Development.

    Box Squat Training

    The Westside Box Squat Training Method was developed by George Frenn and Joe DeMarco (circa 1970). Frenn's 853 lb Squat at 242 lbs in a wrestling singlet was 50 more than any other 242 lb lifter's Squat in 1972.

    Frenn Box Squatting Method enabled his recording breaking Squat.

    Other members of the Original Westside Barbell Club produced some incredible Squats with the with Box Squat.

    Conditioned Legs Break Squat Records - George Frenn (1972)
    The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban: Conditioned Legs Break Squat Records - George Frenn (1972)

    The Reason For Box Squats

    One of the reason for Box Squat is you learn to sit back; engaging the largest strongest muscle in the body.

    Simmons' Westside Box Squat Protocol

    Simmons Box Squat Method is used for Speed/Power Training, as well as some technique development. Moderate loads are used.

    A pause is employed in sitting back on the box. Doing so, kill the stretch reflex. You then explode up with the moderate load. This develops and increasing Starting Strength out of the hole in a Squat; Isometric Explosive Strength (Special Strength Training/Verkhoshansky)

    Dave Tate Video Demonstration and Instruction

    Tate does a great job of demonstrating the Box Squatting Protocol with...

    Box Squat with Dave Tate

    Box Squat with Dave Tate - Part 2

    Frenn/DeMarco's Original Westside Box Squatting

    This method employed a Low and High Box Squat, working to heavy loads.

    This method was once referred to as "The Rocking Box Squat". The concentric part of the Box Squat was performed by rocking forward prior to driving the weight up, similar to getting up off a sofa.

    In conjunction with rocking forward, your heals were lifted off the floor. Just prior to driving the weight up, you slammed you heal into the floor.

    I've employed this method. It require some getting use to it and coordinating the movement. This method dramatically increase the load you diver up in a Box Squat.

    The Original Westside method falls into Explosive Training; movement is generated prior to driving the weight up (Special Strength Training/Verkhoshansky).

    It's like getting a running start in a race.

    My Training

    I employ Max Effort, Speed/Power Training and the Repetition Method in my program. However, I used a modified version of The Westside Method; Post Activation Potenitaiton Training. Another topic for another time.

    Dr Michael Zouordos' Research

    Zourdos' (Powerlifter) research found that great Limit Strength is achieved when a training program incorporates: Hypertrophy, Power and Limit Strength, like Westside Conjugate Training Method Protocol does, into the same training program.

    Technique is Everything" Dr Tom McLaghlin (Exercise Biomechanics)

    The more you practice, under that right condition, the better your technique is.

    Periodization Training

    This method amounts to "Plan your work, work your plan."

    A specific number of week are devised for progressive loading, increasing the weight each week. Let say a 6 week training program.

    The objective is push it the the limit in Week 6. Think of Week 6 as you top set in an exercise where strength is developed.

    Week 7 then becomes Week 1 of a new training cycle. Lighter, easier loads are use. This promotes Super Compensation. It allows your muscle to recover and become stronger.

    Periodization Training is vital for long term progress.

    Reload and Deload

    These are overly simplistic terms in regard to Periodization Training. One of the main issue with the Deload and Reload short sited fixes is that they promote a short term positive effect, if that.

    They do no elicit a long term positive training effect for Super Compensation, getting stronger.

    Starting Strength

    Starting Strength is built on the Powerlifts. The foundation Starting Strength is build on Bill Starr's (Strength Coach/Olympic Lifter/Powerlifter) book, The Stronger Shall Survive, published in 1976.

    Starting Strength is a secondary source that usually (not always) provide some good training information.

    Information Overload

    The information that I have provided has probably added to your confusion.

    As with anything new, there is a learning curve. As Einstein basically stated about learning, "Research is what I am doing, when I don't know what I doing".

    The first time I was presented with this information and the training methods, it was confusing for me, as well.

    Kenny Croxdale[/Quote][/QUOTE]
  10. william bad butt

    william bad butt More than 300 posts


    Nice write up. Your 1st paragraph:

    Why did you use the word "Only"... There are other training philosophies that can work. Such as the American/Western or Russian/Eastern training philosophies.
  11. More than 500 posts

    Good question. Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer.

    American/Western or Russian/Eastern training philosophies

    I'm not sure what this means?

    Are you talking about the Sheiko Program, the USPA Powerlifting Certification, USAPL Certification, etc?

    Technique Development

    One of the main issue with many programs is the emphasis on using the Competition Lifts (Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift) as training exercises. This method develops strength and and promotes poor technique development.

    Kenny Croxdale
  12. william bad butt

    william bad butt More than 300 posts

    Yes. I just mean that there are many very successful powerlifters out there that do not use Westside. Programs that focus on practicing the technique and building strength. Brian Carroll, for example (who I have been working under and who has been helping me out this last year) is a very strong equipped lifter. This is an understatement. I believe he is trying to break a 1200 lb squat at under 275 lb body weight. Numerous raw and equipped lifters find success using his methods, which is basically a simple American style pendulum periodization scheme with the main lifts, and using the rest of the week to focus on "weak points" to build strength (I'm oversimplifying his methods).

    I am not stating that Westside doesnt work. And it is quite possible that Westside may even be the best way. However, there are surely other proven methods. Westside cannot possibly be the "only training method...".
  13. More than 500 posts

    Using The Powerlifts for Training

    To reiterate, using the Powerlifts for Training Exercise to develop strength will increase strength.

    However, research and anecdotal data have demonstrated technique is alter once muscle fatigue set it.

    Powerlifters are the only athletes that I know of with this training mentality.

    Pole Vaulters don't vault for non-stop sets of 5 plus reps. Quarter Back and Baseball Pitcher don't throw a non-stop set of 5 plus reps.

    Olympic Lifter don't perform high repetition sets of Snatches or Clean and Jerks for reps.

    Using the Powerlifts for Training Exercises amount to using a crescent wrench to drive a nail instead of a hammer. It works but it is not the most effective tool/method for the job.

    Other Method

    I have stated that the "Other Method" will increase strength but again, it come at the expense of altering and reinforcing poor technique.

    To ensure technique is developed, once an once muscle fatigue set in, STOP; if you want to ensure technique is maintained and developed.

    If you want to increase Limit Strength, grind it out. no matter how ugly it is.

    The Westside Training Concepts

    What you need to look at is the Training Concepts.

    The use of Auxiliary Exercises with exercise that are similar in nature to the Competition Lift as means of increasing strength.

    Implementing Speed/Power Training to assist with getting through the sticking point.

    The Repetition Method for increasing muscle mass and recovery.

    Conjugate Training

    Zourdos' research came to the same conclusion. Combining Hypertrophy, Power and Limit
    Strength into a training program cycles provides a synergistic effect which increases strength.

    Post Activation Potentiation Training, PAP

    I employ the Westside Training Concepts into my program with PAP.

    The take home message is to first understand the training concepts of how something works. Once you understand the concepts, you are capable of applying them to your training as you like.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
  14. Bill Been

    Bill Been More than 500 posts

    As has been stated by others, you need a simple linear progression of Squat, Bench, and Deadlift. I believe alternating the Press and the Bench is beneficial for spreading the upper body stress around and keeping the shoulders healthy and happy. This will run for a long, long time and once it stops working, modifications can be made to continue to progress with the primary lifts while (possibly) introducing variants of them to keep increasing stress while managing fatigue. You’re a long way from needing to employ Westside methodology and once you get there, you’ll likely be familiar with alternatives to Westside.

    One of the Linear Progression schemes mentioned uses 5 sets of 5. This is WAY more session stress than is required to create an adaptive response in a beginner, and it too often results in very premature stalls.
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  15. Maine-ah KB

    Maine-ah KB Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    So im curios what you mean by PAP. according to the quick google search i just did it can be summed up in an overly simplified manner as "Do something heavy, do something fast" as a pair. is that correct? so like Heavy squats paired with a jump? I'm just curios Thanks
  16. More than 500 posts

    Post Activation Potentiation Training, PAP

    Your "Heavy Squat paired with a jump" is correct.

    Yes, it is pairing a heavy movement with a fast one (Power and/or Speed Movement). Essentially, you are Super Setting a Limit Strength Movement with a Power and/or Speed Movement.

    Types of PAP Methods

    1) Contrast PAP Training: Pairing the same Heavy Movement with the same Power and/or Speed Movement.


    Heavy Squat (with a load of let's say 70% plus of your 1 Repetition Max) with a Power Squat with a load of 48 - 62% of your 1 Repetition Max.

    2) Complex Training PAP: Pairing a Heavy Movement that is similar in nature to the Power and/or Speed Movement. Complex Training is the PAP Method that I prefer.


    Heavy Partial Rack Good Morning with Kettlebell Swings.

    3) French Contrast PAP Training

    This method incorporate multiple exercises.

    Source: How to Jump Higher using French Contrast and Potentiation Clusters - SimpliFaster
    • Heavy partial range lift or isometric for 1-3 reps
    • Rest 20 seconds
    • Force oriented plyometric exercise, such as a depth jump
    • Rest 20 seconds
    • Speed-strength oriented lift for low to medium reps, 2-5 typically
    • Rest 20 seconds
    • Speed-oriented plyometric exercise of higher repetition range
    • Rest 2-5 minutes and repeat
    I have employed French Contrast Training in my program; Super Setting a Limit Strength Movement with a Power Movement and then a Speed Movement.

    Rest Periods Between Super Sets

    The above example of French Contrast Training uses 20 second rest periods between each exercise. I am not a proponent of that.

    The short rest period essentially turn this method into Circuit Training; great for conditioning but less effective for producing Power Output.

    For maximal force to be produced in each movement, full recovery requires longer rest periods.

    A great example of this is...

    SupraMaximal Intensity Training, SMIT

    This is High Intensity Interval Cardio Training with long rest periods.

    An example of SMIT is Dr Jamie Timmons Method.

    Three 20 second sprints are performed. Each 20 second sprint is followed with low intensity movement (Active Recovery) .

    A low intensity movement would be walking after a hard running sprint or riding a bike and pedaling easy after an all out bike sprint.

    The longer rest period allows for more complete recovery, ensuring greater force production during each sprint.

    Training Effect Elicited With PAP
    Source: Building Strength and Power With Complex Training - World Class Bodybuilding Forum

    "Acute Enhancement of Power Performance from Heavy Loaded Squats" reveals that "performing a heavy half-squat prior to a loaded countermovement jump testing can enhance jumping performance."

    ...a "Power and/or strength movement will be increased, i.e., greater than if the two different movements were not performed consecutively."

    The Limit Strength Heavy Loaded Exercise

    "High-load weight training increase motorneuron excitability and reflex potentiation, ..."
    Source: Building Strength and Power With Complex Training - World Class Bodybuilding Forum

    The Limit Strength Heavy Loaded Exercise needs to be heavy enough to trigger this response.
    However, it cannot be too heavy.

    If it is too heavy, it dampens and kills the following it Power and/or Speed Movement; less force is produce in the Power and/or Speed Movement.

    I've been there and done that; my ego overriding common sense.

    Based on my experience, using loads of 70% plus of your 1 Repetition Max in the Limit Strength Movement is needed. My top end loads are in the 90% plus range.

    However, I "Autoregulate". If the load begin to feel too taxing, I back off. If the load, feel pretty easy, I increase it.

    Post PAP Set Training

    Once I finish my PAP, I rest a little and then increase my Limit Strength Heavy Load Sets with more weight and sets to ensure my 1 Repetition Maximal Strength is trained.


    After performing my PAP Super Sets of Heavy Partial Good Morning with Heavy Kettlebell Swing, I then continue and finish off with Heavier Partial Good Mornings or sometimes some Isometric Deadlifts.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
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  17. Maine-ah KB

    Maine-ah KB Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Wow thank you so much for your in-depth answer and additional resources! It will take sometime for me to read up on it, but I'm interested in combining Heavy strength work and speed/powerwork. Much appreciated
  18. More than 500 posts

    Cliff Note

    Actually, my response is more like Cliff Notes. My issue is that I have a tendency to overload other with information.

    I once worked for two different people at different place in the same industry.

    One instructed me to "Use and economy of word" in my presentations.

    The other individual told me to, "Be Funny, Be Informative or Be Quite".

    I try do that in my post.

    Understanding Concepts

    A great example of that is, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

    Once you understand the concept of how to catch a fish or write a training program, modifying it to your need or your preference is easy.

    Conjugate Training

    Once you understand the concepts of how to manipulate Hypertrophy, Limit Strength and Power into a program, you can designed it, as you like.

    Post Activation Potentiation Training, the Westside Training Method and French Contras Training employ basically the same principles in a slightly different approach.

    Let's say PAP is chocolate ice cream, Westside is vanilla ice cream, the French Contrast Training is strawberry. All are ice cream with a different flavor.

    Your exercise choices with PAP are like adding nuts to your chocolate ice cream; the same analogy with Westside and French Contrast Training.

    French Contrast Training

    As I mentioned, once I mastered PAP, I inadvertently performed French Contrast Training (before I knew what it was).

    As I have posted, PAP increased my Deadlift 50 lbs in a little over year.

    The following year, I performed French Contrast Training. My Deadlift dropped down 5 lbs, back to where I began.

    The program wasn't at fault, I was.

    Baking A Cake

    It was like the time I baked a cake. I had all the right ingredients but used the wrong amount.

    The recipe called for one cup of oil. I added two for some unknown reason.

    Basically, I did the same with the French Contrast Training Program that I used.

    Getting It Right

    After year of going backward, I rewrote my French Contrast Training Program. I gained back the 50 lb that I'd lost on my Deadlift and added 20 lb more.

    Take Home Message

    The biggest issue that I have in working with others is when something doesn't work, they blame the program.

    The majority of the time, the fault lies with them, as it did with me.

    If you put something together wrong, it's your/my fault!

    Part of the learning process involves getting thing wrong and eliminating what does not work and finding out what does work.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
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  19. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Kenny provides great information, and nicely referenced to sources. I don't want to take anything away from that. However...

    I just want to re-iterate what the OP and anyone else referencing this thread for the same reason needs to know to begin powerlifting:

    It can be VERY SIMPLE for a very long time (many months or even a year or more) before you have to get complicated with anything to continue making progress.
    william bad butt likes this.
  20. Zack

    Zack Triple-Digit Post Count Elite Certified Instructor

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