Training for and competing in powerlifting is about so much more than what it appears to be on the surface. Sure, there are big weights, goofy singlets, and a few loud grunts, but since I’ve began competing, I’ve learned what the sport is really about: a community that gathers together lifters of all levels of strength who all have one common goal, no matter if it’s their first meet or if they’ve been competing for years. All are trying to answer the question, “What am I capable of next?”
The Unapologetically Powerful Virtual Powerlifting Meet
In 2015, Jen Sinkler and I hosted the first #UPowerful meet. The goal was to bring as many people that were interested in seeing what they were capable of as possible and it was so much fun that naturally, we couldn’t wait to bring it back again.
Last winter we had lifters from all over the globe posting their lifts with the hashtag #UPowerful so, if you’re new to this virtual meet, know that you already have team ready to cheer you on. Because we wanted to make the experience even more fun and valuable for you, we’ve added a new component: upon registering for the virtual meet, you will be granted immediate access to the (free!) Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse, in which you will learn everything you need to know about how to squat, bench, and deadlift, as well as the ins and outs of competition.
Just like a live powerlifting meet, this contest is open to lifters of all strength levels, so if you’re interested in strength, fun, and community, you’re going to want to register.
Upon sign up for the Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse, here’s what you’re in for, come meet week: 9 attempts. 5 days. 3 lifts. And 2 winners of two prize packs.
Are you ready to see what you’re capable of? Let’s do it!
The Unapologetically Powerful Virtual Powerlifting Meet will take place Monday, March 20th through Friday, March 24th. Upon completion of the Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse, you will have five days to submit your best attempt for all three lifts.
What Is Powerlifting?
Powerlifting is a strength sport where a participant’s maximal strength is tested on what’s commonly known as “the big three”: the back squat, bench press, and deadlift. (Interesting fact: the barbell curl was an event in some of the earliest competitions…and there’s a small part of me that has an interest in bringing it back.)
Competing in powerlifting happens at the cumulation of several weeks (or months or years!) of training and on meet day, each lifter gets nine attempts (three per lift) to achieve their personal bests. Because each lifter is testing their max strength, the very most amount of pounds they can squat, bench, and deadlift, training for powerlifting is purposeful: each training cycle is broken down into training blocks, weeks, and days, each with a purpose of gradually increasing the number of pounds on the bar. This process is known as “peaking,” and a great program will increase the lifters muscle size and strength while managing fatigue, to ensure top performance come meet day.
That being said, progress during training isn’t just measured by the number of pounds on the bar. Bettering lifting technique, increasing range of motion, and improving work capacity (your body’s total work output) are all ways you can move forward without beating up your body by trying to add pounds every week.
The Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse will inform you how to perform each lift safely, with great form and in line with meet standards, and educate you on competition specifics, such as picking your attempts. When it’s time to compete the week of November 21st, you’ll be all set to lift well and most importantly, have fun!
Better Every Day
Becoming a better powerlifter is about more than getting stronger; it’s about honing a particular skill set. Each training session is the opportunity to practice and improve movement efficiency, range of motion, lift more weight, or even completing the same or more amount of work in less time. Let’s take a moment to demonstrate the big three, as well as break down the meet standard for each lift:
- You must complete the lift without assistance from a spotter. (But I recommend having one—or two!—just in case, or squatting with the safety bars.)
- Your hip crease must break parallel with the top of the knee in the bottom position. (If you can’t squat to competition depth yet, don’t force it! Everyone is invited to submit attempts, even if it’s not to depth.)
- Your must finish the attempt with your knees and hips locked out.
Hands down, other than failing the lift altogether, the number one reason a lifter misses a back squat attempt is because they didn’t achieve proper depth. Squatting to below parallel is hard! If you’re not there yet, by the end of the Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse you will know exactly what you need to do to get you there.
- You must complete the lift without assistance from a spotter. (But again, a spotter or safety bars are recommended!)
- You must use a barbell, but it is allowed to be unloaded.
- You must bring the bar down to touch your chest before pressing upward.
- You must finish the lift with both elbows fully locked out before racking the bar.
I love to bench press; to me, this lift is a huge opportunity for growth. It is arguably the most technical of the three powerlifts, so it is also the one that requires the most practice. More practice means more time spent under the bar honing technique, building strength, and more time working on accessory lifts to shore up any weak points. We’re going to dive deep into the bench press in the Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse, and by the time we’re through, you are going to have a much more than solid grasp of this lift.
- You must use a barbell and execute the lift with your feet in either a sumo or conventional deadlift stance.
- You must fully lock out the hips before setting the bar back down on the floor.
Of the three powerlifts, the deadlift is the simplest to perform; all you have to do is stand up with it. I say that with a caveat because the deadlift is very often (but not always) the lift where the competitor is able to move the most weight. Simple, but not easy. Because you have the potential to move a lot of weight, you will want to take measures with your set-up for the lift to prevent injury and train not only the movement itself often, but include smaller exercises, too—especially core exercises—to ensure you have the total-body strength to safely set new personal records.
In the Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse, I’m going to break this lift down for you so together, we can build you a deadlift as big as a Cadillac.
You are going to learn how to build your best, strongest lifts and we are going to have the best time doing it.
Did someone say prizes? We love giving away prizes! We are thrilled to partner with GRRRL Clothing, Iron Strong Jewelry, Stupid Easy Paleo, and Girls Who Powerlift to award our winners very cool gym gear and beautiful, handmade jewelry. And the prizes go to(!):
Strongest Lifter, determined by Wilks scoring, an algorithm that accounts for gender, bodyweight, and pounds lifted to level the playing field.
Most Active Lifter, awarded to the most active participant in the meet, determined by the total number of social media postings the week of the meet.
Rules For Participation
I want to be crystal clear: this contest is open to lifters of all strength levels, and it’s meant to be fun! That being said, you might not feel prepped to test your strength just yet. No worries, that’s what the Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse is for. Once you join the team you will be on the receiving end of everything you need to know to participate: lessons that will shore up your squat, bench, and deadlift form, information on how to safely progress your lifts starting now, and advice on how to pick weights for your attempts come meet week.
While there will be standards set for the virtual meet itself, only lifters signed up for the free Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse will be eligible to participate and win prizes the week of the meet, March 20th through March 24th.
There are many wonderful things about training for and competing in the sport of powerlifting, and I hope this experience gives you a taste of them. It’s an individual sport, but that emphasis on individuality won’t prevent you from belonging to a community of people who are interested in the same thing you are: getting stronger while having a ball doing so. (Evidence: Search the #UPowerful hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There’s a whole tribe out there, waiting for you to join the fun.)
Speaking of waiting…what are you waiting for? Register for the Unapologetically Powerful Ecourse and Virtual Meet now!