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Alternative to Powerlifting: Conventional DL, Front Squat, Press

So a few of the very strong guys at the powerlifting gym close to me are trying to start something new. They want to start throwing events where the big events are:

Deadlift (Conventional)
Front Squat
Strict Press

Their belief is that these 3 lifts will be a more “true” test of strength than back squat and bench press. John (the one who is running it) really wants to change powerlifting and create a raw event where these are the big lifts.

They are throwing their first big meet in June and I’m personally going to prep for it and see what happens.

They truly believe this can take off because of the plethora of information that is out today about training and lifting.

My questions are:
If this version of powerlifting became “big” how do you think that will change the way people train or view current powerlifting?

What type of records do you think there will be?

How would this change your training if this is something you got interested in?

These are are smart and really strong guys and I think just maybe if they market it right they can get a bit of a run going.

It won’t catch on imo


Hey those are all I’m strong at! Like…ever!


Mark Rippetoe already came up with something like that, it’s called “Strength Lifting”. The only difference is they still have the back squat. Apparently you get weighed after lifting rather than before. I don’t think it’s catching on.

What’s wrong with powerlifting as it is? Aside from some of the politics surrounding certain federations (mostly the IPF) the sport itself seems fine to me.


Im fine with the normal powerlifting, nothing major wrong with it.

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You would also have to judge how the lifts are done. Can you do a Larry Wheels strict press where you turn it into a standing bench press? Can you get momentum with the bar before you initiate the press as well?

Front squat with rack position or crossed arms? A lot of variables that are tough to judge, plus literally nobody cares how much you do on 2/3 of those lifts as far as general strength goes. Bench press and back squat are hallmark which in turn explains the pervasiveness of powerlifting in the fitness world.

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It sounds like they’d enjoy strongman. Lots of deadlifting and pressing, and often lots of front squats in training.


This is a strongman competition.



Your friends have invented strongman.


This is why the clean and press was removed from Olympic weightlifting.

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I think you’d just see current style programs move their main lifts to the above. I’d be interested is how people train the press. I see strongman folks range from doing no benching to only pressing as event training.

Would their be “press only” events? Depending on rules, there would probably be a midish 500s press. Perhaps it might reach 600 if this competition took off.

Front Squat, again based on rules but probably 700s.

Deadlift, we know.

I’d just remove the event training and add a it more volume on the comp lifts.

Good luck to your crew :+1:

Honestly…most of the guys whom are doing power lifting are probably not going to jump on board. Not to mention as @chris_ottawa has already been sorta been done by Ripp and even with his name recognition along with Starting Strength its not really grabbing the lifting community by the balls. Plus as already stated for those interested in what they are selling will most likely just do Strongman.


Bang on. It sounds like some bullshit idea to appeal to people who aren’t good at squatting and benching.


You know what stands out to me while reading this thread?

If these “alternatives” to powerlifting were, instead, “alternatives” to conventional dieting/body recomp strategies, there’d be instant bands of crazed loyal followers, ready to defend the new “alternative” to their dying breath. Instead of the disinterested (rightly so), yeah whatever, who gives a crap posts.

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True, unless this alternative became a new federation, in which case you would see the same zealotry, haha.

Your dryness always makes me laugh

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as Chris mentioned, there’s a reason strict pressing is no longer an Olympic event. Judging is too hard.

Is there a reason the press has to be strict though? Why not just allow leg drive and make the judging easy? To me, adding leg drive into the equation is still just as much a test of strength.

But yea, as pwnisher mentioned, this is essentially strongman. Anyone who would be drawn to what you guys are talking about would probably prefer strongman over the specific suggestions you guys are talking about. I just don’t see this really having a niche to occupy.

it wouldn’t. People who do strongman already consider powerlifting to be a pretty ‘easy’ sport. And we consider our sport to be a MUCH better test of true strength than either powerlifting, or what you guys have come up with for that matter. Strongman tests an athlete over a wider strength spectrum than either powerlifting or this. Loaded carries, stone lifting, cleans, cleans with odd objects, throws, reps vs 1rm, etc. Limiting yourself to 3 events is… well, limiting.



I would love to do strongman but, at least in the UK, it seems a lot less accessible. From both a training and competition standpoint there just seems to be a lot less available here. I have found a federation that does competitions by weight class, but as far as I can see I’d be able to do one comp a year and be competing against about 3 people.

Also very good point. Just have the Jerk portion of the clean and jerk. Less technical, more absolute strength test, same already internationally recognized, olympic judging standard

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Same for me, i would love to do strongman someday, but I’m in a little city in france so that’s out of the question. in the meantime I train more for general strength so yeah I put more emphasis on military press and squat variations

I counter argue with the 2 hands anyhow ruleset.

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I am here to share the light: