Ex Marine tackles a weighty issue

John Armstrong demonstrates the deadlift
John Armstrong demonstrates the deadlift

DEDICATED training is often needed in sports where huge weights are involved.

What’s more, it is a wonderful addition to any gym regime because it transforms the body.

Powerlifting involves very specific strength training, where the aim is not muscle stimulation (so often the main goal in related sports like bodybuilding) but to achieve a maximum lift.

Fast twitching muscle fibres are trained using maximal and sub-maximal weight with low repetition count.

Nutrition for training is planned around the exercises to accommodate the necessary recuperation plus growth of muscles and tendons. The diet primarily involves usage of protein and lots of carbohydrates to fuel the training.

In addition to basic compound movements, powerlifting training includes many supplemental exercises for strengthening specific parts of the body.

Amazing benefits accrue from the training. Overall physical strength increases dramatically and there are weight categories so that a 100lb lifter does not compete against a 500lb lifter. And, incidentally, powerlift training is also an excellent way to alleviate stress and create balance in life.

A powerlifting training programme can usually consist of a four-day per week routine in which each body part is exercised twice. Deadlifts can take place on day one; bench, abs and arms on day two; squats and upper back on day three, and arms, bench and abs on day four. Training can be adjusted to maximize progress.

Care needs to be taken not to jump into a training programme and try to lift hundreds of pounds at the first attempt. Ease into the powerlifting programme and set sensible goals. Power and strength will increase with each day of hard work. So set the mind to what you want to do… and do it!

Remember that powerlifting is about strength not speed. But it requires an attribute seemingly out of favour in our age of instant gratification… discipline. The important thing with powerlifting is to keep plugging on, one day at a time, one week at a time.

The powerlifting sport began in the USA but initially it was something called “odd lifts”. It encompassed a broad range of heavy lifts, some of which are included in the present exercises, like squat, bench press, and deadlift. The sport was eventually accepted in Russia, United Kingdom and in many other countries.

Today there are a number of powerlifting Federations worldwide which function separately and have their own specific versions of the rules.

The important thing is to differentiate powerlifting from similar sports like Olympic weightlifting, bodybuilding and strongman. People very often confuse these sports because, basically, the training for each is to achieve powerful lifts and to increase strength.

Ask about it at your next visit to the Springs gym. They’ll be glad to give you advice and help.