T Nation

How Did YOU Get Into Strongman or Powerlifting?


This is just a thread I thought I'd start up for all of you competitors out there to share how you started your journey in strongman competitions, powerlifting or other strength sports. I myself do not compete but am interested to hear how you guys got into it.


The day before a meet a couple upperclassmen pressured me into competing as a late entry. I got dominated by the other 165ers but losing drove me to try to get better.


what was your total?


It's really embarrassing, but I totaled 790 for 8th out of 12 in my class, even with two bombouts. I'm looking through the results, and the best lifter for the women totaled 940 at 167 which dominated me. The best lifter for the lightweights totaled 925 at 123 which was also embarrassing, and the 132 winner had an 850 total. Also, 6 of the 9 148 lbers had better totals.

I probably should have gone 148 as I weighed in at a thoroughly bloated 158 after a night of carb loading. I still would have gotten dominated though.


I'm not vain enough to lift solely to look better.

I'm too stupid to work out because its healthy.

Give me quantifiable goals to achieve, and something to compete in... look out.

Its really the only way I can stay motivated. I don't compete a lot, but knowing I'm training FOR something makes all the difference.


good shit man


I started lifting at my local YMCA for middle school track. I was 14 at the time, and lucky for me there was a group of 5 or 6 guys who trained together and competed there. One, who sorrta got everyone else into it, was in his early 30's at the time and had formerly trained with Rychlak. He came up to me one day and basically asked if I wanted to lift with them. I suppose they saw that I was serious and ambitious. A few of the others were 18ish, and a few were in the mid 20's. I was the youngest.

Anyway, we basically lifted together for 2-3 years and I competed 6 times with them at various local powerlifting meets. My first meet was a push/pull and I was 15. I was probably a 181 (I forget if I was a 165 or 181) and I went 225/440. My next meet was a full power meet, and I forget what I did. My third meet I was 16 and recall that I did 450/275/475 at a bw of about 175. My last meet was when I was 17, and after that the group of guy who I lifted with sorrta drifted apart. People moved, went off to school, etc. I wish I still had a group like that to lift with. The group of guys I lifted with was pretty good. We had several guys benching 400+ raw and 500+ in shirts. I think the best benches I saw from anyone was 550 and 575, at bw's around 230.


To first poster: If you want to do a pl meet or a strongman meet, just do it. It does not matter what you lift. You get a starting point, and can improve it later on.


My town has starting holding an strongman annual comp. First year i watched, second year i entered weighing 210lbs the lightest in the field the heaviest was over 330lbs and i can last, bombing completely on two of 5 events. I'm signed up this year with the goal of at least posting in every event and not worrying about overall placing.






what towns that?


Started lifting with a friend just out of high school. At college, just lifted like an idiot. A guy on this forum pointed me towards westside stuff and I started to do that.

Finally, about 2yrs ago (junior year college), got in a group with 1-4 other guys and did my first PL meet in May of 2008. Bombed out due to bench but did OK in the other lifts.

Dependent upon when I leave for the military, I may be looking into another 1-2 meets and a strongman comp. I think I would be better suited to Strongman giving my limbs and other strengths.


I got into powerlifting by reading Louie Simmons' articles on the internet. Seriously. I was not an athlete growing up. I could run pretty fast. But I attribtute that to the survival instincts of white boy in rough neighborhood versus athletic ability :wink:

By my late 20s, a lifestyle of boozing and sitting on my ass had transformed me from a skinny, weak guy with a six pack to skinny, weak guy with a beer gut. So, I started working out.

I felt kind of like a punk seeing guys benching 3 or 4 plates where I could barely bench 185. So I went looking for answers. I went to the biggest, strongest guys in the gym and asked them how they trained and how they got so damn strong.

As a whole, they were not much help. A few had some ideas about training and technique- but many did not- they just came into the gym benched a set of 8 at 135, 225, and 315; hit the pec deck, flirted with the girls and went home. They did this once or twice a week, just as they had done for the last 10 or 20 years.

I took my quest to internet. I learned about all sorts of ways to train lifts. In fact, I learned what lifts were actually supposed to look like (like that you were supposed to get your hips down past your knees when you squat- shit like that). I came across a lot of short, succinct articles by Louie Simmons.

The articles were practical, easy to understand, and required no in-depth knowledge of sports science or anatomy to follow. The training philsophy sounded fun- maxing out every week aand using all sorts of unusual-looking lifts. Also, the lifters Louie wrote about in his articles sounded like fucking monsters- Mike Ruggeria, Chuck Vogelpohl, Rob Fusner, etc.- so I figured this guy was on to something. At the time, I had no interest in powerlifting. I just wanted to train hard and get stronger.

I read everything by this Louie Simmons guy I could get my hands on. After "training westside" for almost a year, I had changed radically. My shoulders and back had become wide and muscular, my gut had fallen off- I got leaner and still gained 30 pounds! I was good for 405-335-455 raw and beltless.

FWIW, I did this all drug-free. A guy I trained with sometimes, had just done his first meet and he kind of talked me into giving it a whirl. So I ponied up a few hundred bucks for a belt, a suit, a shirt, and some wraps and did a meet. The meet was pretty fun. It was one of these WNPF meets with lots of kids, old people, and about 4 guys that might actually be mistaken for strenght athletes if you saw them in public.

I met a dude there that competed at a national level and he invited me to come train with him at the powerlifitng gym he trained at. I have been training there for like 4 years now.

I met Louie Simmons at meet last year. The four strongest lifters at his gym- Greg Panora, AJ Robert, Matt Smith, and Luke Edwards- were lifting that. I was kind of a cool experience. I mean- those fours guys all outtotal me by 300 lbs or more- but still it was cool.


I was invited to a powerlifting gym by a guy I met on the internet, and now I'm going to a meet this saturday.


it all started 7th grade when i moved to a new town and made a friend with a child whoes parents both bodybuild, being that he was fit from lifting with his parents and took karate he beat me when we wrestled even though i was about a foot taller and a good 50-70 pounds heavier. I started out with some curls, then some bench. The summer i went to camp before high school i started doing box squats and then freshman year i learned cleans but still mostly benched and did high box squats hehe, then that summer i started learning sqwuats, cleans rows etc... then i found T-Nation!!!!!!! and i fell in love with deadslifting and that was sohpmore year.

my sisters boyfriend got me into T-Nation and i learned the ways of the warrior, i was long past dominating my friend in wrestling now and i had a passion for watching strongmen on the tv. since i didnt have access to that i got into powerlifitng through this website and compete last year in august up in maine, and had a terrible total but my training is much smarter, im improving technique on the squat, my bench is the same from closing my grip in to ease up on the shoulders but im closing in on 300 steadily and my deadlift is set for 500 before the end of the summer and thats my story. SOmeday i hope for a 700-800 pull, 350 pause bench, and 405-450 squat, all attainable i think if i stay healthy and gain some muscle and im 6'5'' and 240 right now


If ya pull 700 I'd be amazed if you don't squat high 4's at least!!

Squats can take a bit of time to come, but once you get a bit more seasoned and your mid section thickens up they'll take off.


hehe squats are my achilles heel! never had a comfterable stance really, but im doing the progression thing with box squats starting at 135 for 5x5 and adding weight each week at first more, then gradual using a new form and hammering the abs which seems to be if i dont do that my squat form sucks so hopefully ill get up to 350 or so by the end of the year but yeh i also just love deadlifting


i got into powerlifting because I wanted to put more weight on the squat bar, and our gym is mostly UPA and APF powerlifters. I seen josh McMillan, dirk deboer. and clint ewald, all national powerlifters compete, so i asked if they would help me, and for their help and doing a lil help for them like runing the mono lift or holding a 2 board, i became an addict. my first meet is in the USAPL in july 25.


Started lifting with the powerlifting team at my university, did a few meets and got too busy to pursue it. Kept lifting, stopped competing. Did the strongman comp that one of the frats holds for a few years.

The last year I did it I was hanging out with a pretty big, strong guy that trained at the university gym. He hooked up with some real strongmen and eventually invited me along. Now I train strongman events every week in a guy's garage.

Strongman lifts are a ton of fun.