After a long, long absence (almost 15 years) from powerlifting competition I had motivation for entering as a master lifter. That motivation was the possibility of breaking an American record, albeit a minor one in the scheme of things. I have never strayed far from training basic movements so it was only really a matter of peaking and I do pretty darn good for myself at my late 40's stage of life. Anyway, I entered this meet and accomplished what I wanted to do and had planned to go after another record I barely missed out on.
But something changed. Someone gave me recent issues of the powerlifiting magazine and I read through them. What a trainwreck the sport has become. Not the pure sport itself but the organizations, the catapult suits, the apparent anything goes attitude. Every other page has 'the best lifter of all time' kind of claims. Guys are 'doing' lifts unheard of a few years ago. Of course, they aren't doing them, the suits are doing a great deal of the lifting for them.
Having been away for some time I remember in our gym some guys would show us a bit of disrespect for wearing bench shirts and suits once in a while. Keep in mind they were nothing like todays suits but as I look back, I have to admit that it was something less than on the level. If I bench 300 pounds and my shirt assists me in benching 320 ( or maybe 400-450 in todays environment) do I bench 300 pounds? Of course I do. MY bench is still the same, the shirt is nothing different than having a couple of guys on each end helping me up with a weight I can't do by myself. Those guys I thought were jealous hacks were right, I was wrong. And the suit assist science was only beginning. Now, like most things that inflate egos, it has gotten way out of hand and I suspect it will only get worse.
Now I do like the raw lifting and only wish I had been brave enough to insist on lifting raw (and giving up some trophies and titles) back in the day. But everybody else was doing it and my ego didn't want me to lift on the level.
I love the raw sport, but the organizational aspects of powerlifiting is a complete turnoff as are the out of hand claims and phony lifting going on. Someone says they bench 600-700 lbs, ok, what does that mean? Does it mean you bench a respectable 450 and you shelled out enough money for a catapult suit? But you still bench 450. Who knows? Its all blurred. Where do you compare to the giants of the past? Are you better than Ted Arcidi, Jim Williams, or Doug Young because you bench 'more' than they did? In truth, you couldn't carry their jocks. One look from one of these true masters and most of these so called 700lb benchers would cower like a little girl. Ok, maybe that's a little rough but I wanted to make a point.
Most of you might say 'who needs you'. So don't compete, get out of the sport'. I am tempted. To come back and find PL in the state it's in has been very troubling. But this isn't powerlifitng it cyber powerlifting. Its a fantasy.
My only hope is that one day all these 'records' are wiped out and forgotten and suits of all kinds are eliminated from the sport. I think that is the only way it will be saved and become legitimate to the outside world. Right now it appears to be spiraling out of control with no end in sight.
I would kind of like to hear the thoughts of people who have been in the sport for some time as well as those who have started in the last 5-10 years.