Make a power play
Whether you want to get bigger and stronger or lose some of that extra padding around your middle, it’s time to perfect your power lifting
Get into powerlifting to build a bigger and stronger body with our big-move masterclass
If you’re reading this magazine there’s a strong chance that you’ve dipped your toe into the sport of powerlifting, even if it’s by accident. When we talk about powerlifting we’re focusing on the three moves that you perform in powerlifting competitions: the squat, deadlift and bench press. Your best effort in each lift is added together to form your total score. It’s hard to say what constitutes an impressive total because that’s heavily dependent on your weight and training experience, but one thing’s for sure – the total achieved by MF expert Tom Hamilton at the World Drug Free Powerlifting Federation world championships in November was impressive. His score of 665 (242.5kg squat, 270kg deadlift and 152.5kg bench) in the 82.5kg class earned him first place and the right to call himself a world champ. Fresh from victory, he shares his advice about how to conquer the big three – and get bigger and stronger than ever.
WHY ARE THE THREE POWERLIFTING MOVES USEFUL AS A FOUNDATION TO A TRAINING PROGRAMME?
“They involve a large majority of muscles in the body and can allow for the most weight to be lifted,” says Hamilton, who also works as head of programming at W10 Performance. “This makes them a good choice as foundational exercises within a programme because they can help to increase total workout volume, which is vital for building strength and muscle.”
WHY DO YOU LIKE POWERLIFTING?
“I really enjoy the progressive aspect – it’s a continuous journey that provides an objective-based mode of progression,” says Hamilton. “That’s compared with training solely for aesthetics, which is largely subjective. Trying to improve in the three lifts helps to keep me motivated and I get clear results that tell me if what I’m doing is actually working. I also like the discipline it requires to progress.”
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE BEGIN TO INCORPORATE POWERLIFTING INTO THEIR TRAINING?
“The first step would be to make sure you perform the three lifts at least once a week. As a starting point, performing some form of testing to gauge your current level would be ideal. For a general rule, test your five-rep max in the three lifts and then plug these numbers into a rep calculator to find out your projected maxes. A beginner testing a 5RM will find this increases quickly compared with someone who is at an intermediate level.”