What are basics of powerlifting?

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Answered by: Brian, An Expert in the Starting Weight Training Category
Probably like yourself, when I started powerlifting I had no clue about weight lifting. But when I got myself into a powerlifting routine, the results were insane. I was burning up my body fat and gaining immense strength at the same time. It didn’t seem possible, but it was.

Powerlifting is honestly a great way to stay healthy and keep fit. The routines are simple and the workouts are quick and easy. The basics of powerlifting is easy to grasp, by the time you know it you will be an expert in powerlifting.

• The basics of powerlifting

The roots of powerlifting can be dated back all the way to ancient Greek. Legend has it that Milo of Croton, who was a wrestler, trained for the Olympic games by carrying a calf every day. As the calf grew bigger and heavier day by day, Milo grew stronger with each day. This basically sums up powerlifting in a bundle. Start small and build up day by day to ridiculous results.

Powerlifting is basically the art of lifting to maximize one’s strength in three compound exercises; bench press, squats and deadlift. Within each exercise you should expect to always increase your lifting weight and get stronger. Although the main objective in powerlifting is to increase your strength, powerlifting has a great potential to burn calories. Unlike bodybuilding, powerlifting consists mainly of compound exercises. These compound exercises work various muscles at a time. This then helps create a higher metabolism burning tons of calories as you work out.

The most basic and efficient routine I have found is called the 5 x 5 workout. It was started by Reg Park, a powerlifter best known for being Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mentor. His routine became the basis of the stronglifts 5 x 5 routine. It’s a very simple workout that consists of 5 exercises, 5 sets of 5 reps. Simple right.

• 5 x 5 Stronglifts workout routine

The 5 x 5 workout consists of bench press, deadlifts, squats, overhead press and barbell row. You do 3 exercise per workout and alternate between 2 different groups every workout. You’ll also want to do this workout alternate days to give your muscles some recovery.

If you’re a beginner like I was, start with the recommended weights. If you’re a seasoned warrior then start with 50% of you max rep. Before you get started, it’s always good to verse yourself with the various lifting forms for each exercise. The personal trainer in your gym can be a great help too, don’t ever be shy to ask for help. We all need it.


Squat 5x 5 (20kg)

Bench press 5 x 5 (20kg)

Barbell row 5 x 5 (30kg)


Squat 5 x 5 (22.5 kg)

Overhead press 5 x 5 (20kg)

Deadlift 5 x 1 (40 kg)

This is basically the only 2 workouts in this routine, you just have to increase your weights by 2.5 kg every workout for each exercise. Except for deadlift, where you increase 5kg every workout. By alternating these workouts every other day, you’ll be able to squat 50kg by the end of the month. That’s more than most people who lift.

Overtime you’ll plateau, which just means at that point you won’t be able to increase your weight by 2.5kg or even at all. This is normal, all lifters face this. At this point you’re no longer a beginner and I would recommend starting a more advanced workout.

The 5x 5 workouts take about 30 -45 mins in the gym, it’s really simple and easy to do. You have no excuse, just get up, and go to the gym and lift.

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