View Full Version : How did you get into powerlifting?

11-11-2008, 11:48 AM
What made you decide one day you were going to powerlift? Thought this would be interesting for everyone to share.

11-11-2008, 12:04 PM
I'm still not sure if I'm actually going to pursue powerlifting or strongman yet. I'm still undecided.

I basically got into strength training about 2 1/2 years ago when I read the book called "the new rules of lifting", which bascially changed the way I thought about weightlifting. After reading that book, and joining a few forums I started reading more and more into the concept of training for strength as opposed to training for looks.

It just now seems so much more rewarding to hit new PR's, rather then to have a good physique. I like to be big and all, but I don't care much for the whole 'ripped' look that bodybuilders are going for. I'd much rather be able to deadlift a s***load of weight and be huge, rather then just look all ripped when I take my shirt off.

Mark Rippetoe's writings REALLY got me into training for strength too. After reading stuff on his Q&A forum, and after reading stuff on this forum, I found that I really like the attitude that powerlifters have. It's like, "smash f***ing weights, or get the f*** out of my gym!!!! Then we'll go have a beer later while we look at chicks' asses."

I have been training by myself for all this time now, and the only people that I can really talk about this stuff with is people on the internet. I will be training at ironsport starting probably this weekend too (I'll be checking it out today), and that will probably get me even more motivated, because I'll actually have other people at my gym that are training for stuff other then looking pretty in the mirror.

So, I just kinda got into it, but I'm not really a powerlifter yet though.

11-11-2008, 12:05 PM
I made the decision to start powerlifting earlier this year. My main reasons were:

- I've always loved lifting heavy weights and chasing bigger numbers
- I stopped playing basketball competitively for a number of reasons, and I still needed that competitive fire and purpose for training
- I saw a Chuck Vogelpohl tribute vid on YouTube and I knew that that's what I wanted to do
- EliteFts.com. Reading articles and logs on that website really got me hooked, the amount of valuable info on there is amazing.

11-11-2008, 12:12 PM
I started lifting to get bigger, but I always thought it made sense to be strong. I had heard of powerlifting, where they lift to get stronger. It just seemed right to me. I mean, the BBers were strong no doubt, but they weren't putting up record numbers compared to PLers.

Don't know it just seemed to be what I gravitated to from the get go. Once I learned there was a difference to being 'big' vs being 'strong' I naturally went towards 'strong.'

I found that I really like the attitude that powerlifters have. It's like, "smash f***ing weights, or get the f*** out of my gym!!!! Then we'll go have a beer later while we look at chicks' asses."

Lol, what else is there in life, really?

11-11-2008, 12:27 PM
I started lifting weights when I was in college 20+ years ago. I was pretty much the typical tall skinny guy and wanted to gain some muscle. Lifting weights has been something I have done pretty consistently through the years. But about 10 months ago, I started questioning why I did it. I decided/realized that it was because I wanted to be strong, the strongest I can be anyway, and with that realization I decided to get serious about it. I found a group of powerlifters to train with and I'm now very much hooked.

11-11-2008, 01:21 PM
When I was in college I played football and when I was home the gym I trained at had some powerlifters that trained there. They helped me out a lot with technique, coaching and spotting. In return I'd help them with their suits and shirts and hold boards etc. Once I was done playing ball I knew I still had the itch to compete and started thinking about those guys and what a cool group it was. So I decided to give powerlifting a shot and now I'm hooked.

Sometimes the best people you meet are the scary ones in the back with the ink and chalk.

11-11-2008, 01:32 PM
This is a great topic! I think everybody has an interesting story. In my case, I didn't chose powerlifting, powerlifting chose me. See my criticalbench interview from two years ago at:


It's been an amazing journey of personal growth and self discovery. I'll be competing next at Mike Wolfe's charity bench meet on December 6. And who knows what 2009 has in store?

Travis Bell
11-11-2008, 01:45 PM
I got into powerlifting because I craved competition. Always have. I was bodybuilding at the time and loved it, but just realized certain limitations within the sport that I'd have to decide how I was going to respond to them. I chose to get into powerlifting. Basically I just started shooting from the hip in the gym. My lifts went up, hit my first 315lb bench at around 180lbs but the best thing I did was hit a powerlifting meet within about 4 months of deciding I wanted to be a powerlifter. For about a year I struggled with the bench shirts on my own and eventually went to Westside. By the time I got to Westside I was ranked I think 2nd as a Junior 198er nationally (USAPL) and had several state records. However, I was really losing my patience with the sport because all the meets were no fun to go to. After comming to Westside, Lou showed me how to use double ply shirts and I took to them like a child to a sandbox. Loved them from my first one. Kept working at it, training, learning and always doing whatever Lou said I should and now I'm here!

Prior to powerlifting I was a pro armwrestler which was a nice enough sport, but very antagonistic towards each other. I didn't really like it and it didn't have the greatest effect on me. Powerlifting filled my desire for competition and I found I had a natural affinity for it. Finally! Something I was good at naturally LOL. Its great pushing myself day in and day out and hanging around some of the strongest guys in the world.

11-11-2008, 03:11 PM
I started lifting in sixth grade and eventually took on a six-day/week BB program that carried me throughout my entire twenties. At one point, I was really thinking about competing in a bodybuilding show, but never ended up doing it. For almost 20 years, my motivation was to get ripped/lean. About 2 years ago, I was messing around on the net and came upon some numbers for state records that got my interest. Lifting for about 20 years consistently and not really knowing much about powerlifting (shows what type of gyms I lifted at) I began to search out more information. The more I read, the more I began adopting PL style training into my routine. At this point, I also began to buy weights and equipment to do some of my training at home. I decided that I would enter a meet (WNPF) after 8 months. The meet was about a five hour drive. I booked the hotel and paid the fees months before it so I couldn't talk myself out of it (or lose a lot of $). The meet was an awesome experience (lots of unexpected events but a ton of learning). After that, I came full circle and completely changed my training to focus on PL.

Cyrus Ford
11-11-2008, 03:56 PM
I started lifting in middle school with the concrete weights with the plastic wrapped around it. I wanted to play football, but I was small so I started hitting the weights. By 9th grade I could bench 200lbs at 115. That was a big deal back then for me. By the time I left high school I maxed out at 260. I went into the military shortly after high school, and I would lift off and on but nothing serious. Then I started back full blast in 1997, but I did not start to compete until 2003. I was about to quit because I was lifting against guys in shirts and they were making huge gains compared to my raw lifts--I was winning though. Then as I was about to quit I found out about NASA in 2006 and I have been lifting there ever sense. After I reach my goals this year and next year I plan to take some time off from competing to give me a chance to focus on some other things in life. I want to start working with my oldest son to get him started in lifting weights.

Lones Green
11-11-2008, 04:59 PM
Travis as a 198...LOL!

i took a lifting class as a sophmore in high school, due to quite a bit of pent up anger. the coach who taught the class had a bit of a strength background, he was 60 years old or so and could bench 315 very easily, which i thought was amazing. he taught me how to bench, squat, deadlift, and do some olympic lifts and gave me a program to follow. i started lifting twice a day just because i liked it so much. not the smartest program ever, but it was what i did.

i went from 230ish pounds my sophmore year to 300 pounds my senior year.

i naturally took to the leg press machine, squatting, etc. i learned to squat long before i got into gear, hence why i have problems sitting BACK in the gear today.

i got into not necessarily bodybuilding, but training for mass, and enjoyed getting stronger and setting PR's moreso than going through the tedious movements to get bigger arms.

one day i looked at myself and said, i am 6'3, have big legs, long limbs, and a gut. i couldn't go the bodybuilding route even if i did enjoy it, so my training eventually evolved into pure strength training, and i started westside barbell training by myself. eventually i went to powerlifting meets, and enjoyed them. i found some very strong guys 3 hours away, and i've made the trip there almost every other week since to squat. i'm still not the ideal size for powerlifting, but its my passion!

11-11-2008, 06:35 PM
I started lifting my senior year i college just for kicks. Over the years, I just kept trying different styles of programs, most from the magazies I read. About 3 years ago I was cruising the Internet ad stumbled onto DeFranco's website which got me over to EliteFTS and others. I started screwing around with the routines and really fell into it. At that point, I realized that Crunch Fitness wasn't where it was at and found a powerlifting gym a few blocks from my house. I started training Westside style and then tried Sheiko and found that its more prescribed format fit better with me. I will say that I know a number of people who got into powerlifting due to EliteFTS which is why I try and support them and other compaies who support powerlifting. I think it is really important to support those who have helped build this sport and continue to sponsor it.

11-11-2008, 06:55 PM
Fitness has always been a priority for me as a firefighter. My training has changed several times in the last ten years. I started with more of a body building type split, this was nice, but I never really got stronger. Since 50% of firefighter line of duty deaths are due to heart attacks caused by the strains placed on the body while fighting a fire, I slowly moved to training almost exclusively with kettlebells and various things that focused more on stamina and cardio than anything. Two and half years ago, after a couple of rather unpleasant events I realized that my raw strength sucked. I met Dave Tate and Jim Wendler and began reading stuff from them every chance I got. I started into PL'ing shortly after. I did take a year off of training completely while I went to Paramedic school, but have been back at it since June. I met Travis Bell in the winter of '07. Talking to him and reading more has really helped me to improve my form, and my lifts are going up. While I began PL'ing just because I felt it would make me better at my job, I am now really getting into it, and beginning to think about doing a meet next summer. We'll see.

Travis Bell
11-11-2008, 06:58 PM
beginning to think about doing a meet next summer. We'll see.

BOOYA!! My man Hill doing a meet. That'd be AWESOME

Ben Moore
11-11-2008, 07:48 PM
My coach in Junior High football got a team together to compete a few times. Instantly hooked.

11-12-2008, 05:33 AM
I was an on again off again lifter, with no goals or focus in mind. Then one day I stepped on the scale and clocked in at 360 lbs, it took me a over 18 months, but I lost 130 lbs. I powerlift as a way to keep me in the gym. I recently competed in my first meet, none of my lifts were record setters or notable, but I got on the platform and competed, capping off a long road and begining a new path.