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As the sport of powerlifting continues to experience growth in popularity, many people are making the choice to begin training. Being a beginner in a sport is difficult when the sport is as esoteric and balkanized as powerlifting is. Your ability to properly analyze the information you’re receiving through the internet and social media often dictates how successful you will be as a lifter.
Making the proper choices regarding training philosophy, which method or methodologies you will follow, where you will train, and who you will train with will make or break you as a lifter.
That statement is both figurative and literal, not only can poor choices keep you in the dark and hold you back, improper training choices can cause severe injury and financial loss. Below, you will find information that will save you time and money as a beginner lifter.
Probably the most important initial decision will be where to train. You want to find a gym that can properly accommodate powerlifters, preferably has a broad selection of specialty bars and equipment, and is affordable for you. Trying to become a powerlifter at a 24 hour fitness gym will create difficulties you can avoid by finding a powerlifting focused gym.
Luckily, with the increased interest in powerlifting, strongman, and Crossfit there is an increased amount of strength sports focused gyms. Also, depending on the training methodology you follow, specific bars and equipment may be called for to fully utilize the methodology.
The culture of the gym is also important. If you are trying to be a 350 lbs human squatting 1000 lbs it is probably not a good idea to train at the gym with the silver sneakers class. If you have to drive an hour or two to get to a good gym, make the sacrifice and do it.
The culture of the gym talk leads to the next choice you will make, choosing the right training partners. Birds of a feather flock together, so finding motivated individuals that share similar strength goals is important. If possible, try to find a training group that is willing to allow you to train with them.
Having instant access to the advice and guidance of experienced lifters will give you an advantage as a beginner lifter in both training knowledge and gains. Having a group of new lifters training together is better than training alone, however the benefit of being able to fall into a structured training group is most optimal.
Additionally, try to find a group that follows a similar training methodology that you do. This will give you an accelerated learning experience and better understanding of your chosen methodology, and it will also prevent any programming issues occurring due to differences in philosophy. The value of good training partners cannot be overstated, you become what you’re around.
In today’s powerlifting marketplace, there are countless numbers of coaches following a variety of methodologies providing coaching and programming to lifters. A new lifter can become an easy target for frauds and snake oil salesmen. We recommend only using coaches that have proper experience and training lineage established if you choose that route.
A coach is only as good as the people they’ve learned from, the places they’ve trained or coached, and the information they derive their training philosophy from. Don’t equate cost with effectiveness, some of the best coaches in the world can be affordable, while some of the biggest frauds can be expensive. Additionally, don’t fall victim to social media propaganda. Marketing proficiency does not indicate coaching proficiency.
The above information should give you the advice you need to make the right choices when beginning your powerlifting training. As stated above, making these choices correctly will directly impact your success or failure in the sport.
Training yourself to be the absolute strongest you can be to lift the heaviest weights you can lift is a difficult task by itself, trying to do so at a shitty gym with a few dumbass training partners following a program written by the bench only guy at the gym who benched 405 back in college will only make it more difficult. Make the right choices, and you’ll consistently make gains in strength while saving your time, your money, and your health.
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