T Nation

How to Get Started in PL'ing?


I was thinking this would be a sticky but I couldn't find a relevant thread so here goes. I have read a lot around here about lifting with goals. Personally I don't want to go the bodybuilding route right now. So, power lifting seems to be a way to compete and train with goals in mind.

Questions for those with more knowledge than I:

1) How does one start getting into power lifting? I am assuming I need to find a gym that has a program.

2) I live near Olympia, WA. Anybody know of any programs in the area?

3) I'm at 190-195 weight right now with est. 265/315/335 bench/DL/squat. I feel I have way more potential but are these number ok enough to get started?

Thanks for any links or info....


You don't need to lift at a powerlifting gym, although it would be nice. The gym should at least be heavy lifter friendly.
Those numbers aren't going to win you anything, but as long as long as you can do 45/45/45 you can lift in a powerlifting meet.


I can't be of much help but I would like to comment on number three. You should probably get your squat and dead way higher. I have a weak bench, maxing somewhere around 230, but my squat and deadlift are near/higher than yours (if you posted a max) while I'm 30-40lbs lighter. This is far from a put-down, so don't take it as that. I just thought it would be good to see a comparison, especially to someone who is more bodybuilder than powerlifter. (Speaking of which, looks like we're in the opposite shoes judging by your avatar, care to trade bodies...or heads at least? Haha)


I'm thinking about it a little myself, too, and I'm interested to see what people have to say.

I only just started this year, though, so it feels a little presumptuous ... do you think two or three years would be enough time to prepare? (Given that qualifying totals seem to be much lower for the Juniors division, I'd like to try while I'm still eligible.)

Current numbers 130-133 weight, 105/240/165 bench/DL/squat (for reps; not sure about maxes). I know these aren't much but do you think I could get somewhere in a few years from this point?


i'd love to hear how the other powerlifters on this website go their start. Op: my numbers are fairly similar to yours, so I'm wondering the same thing you are. Any advice is appreciated!


brownab: yeah I know my numbers are not yet competition worthy. This is about where I am at after 6 months of hitting it regularly and training mostly in the higher rep ranges 6-12 (Ive lost 30 pounds in that time period). What did you mean by 45/45/45?

nz6stringaxe: I appreciate the input and the compliment. Pounds matter, the ones on the bar and the body. Ive got about another 10 - 15 pounds of fat to cut, while you have killer definition even without a hint of tan. I know my squat and deadlift are way low but I haven't trained those even a fraction of how much I have benched since high school on. 6 months ago those numbers were prob 195/195/175 for being out of the game so long. Are you thinking about doing a show or just recreational right now?

AlisaV: Where did you find the division info? I'm having a hard time finding anything not linked to school leagues.


USAPL website:


45/45/45 means that you only need to be able to lift the bar. Powerlifting is a small close-knit community so nobody is going to discourage you from lifting just because your total is low. Waiting until you think you can win before you enter a meet is a waste of experience.


Hell yes. I started lifting in Dec 07. I was 6'3" and weighed 150lbs. Last week I lifted in a meet at 220 (I had to cut 17lbs) Had I not bombed on bench I would have totaled around 1200 raw and as a junior. I have a meet in November that I want to total 1350 at. If I succeed (unless I get hurt I probably will, it took me a third that time to add the last 150) I will have come within 30lbs of the qualifying total for an EQUIPPED lifter in my class in less than two years of lifting. You can make some crazy progress as a beginner if your willing to work your ass off.


The best way to start is to do just that. If you go to the USAPL website: www.usapowerlifting.com you can find the state chairman, Paula Houston I think who might be able to hook you up with someone. If not feel free to pm me, I know a few other lifters in Washington and can hopefully get you in contact with them too.



Strange. I'm currently in the exact same mindframe OP.

I've only been lifting seriously for about 4-5 months and my numbers are still pathetically low(so low I won't even post them on a faceless internet site) but after gaining some size I'm really thinking about moving into powerlifting. Training with meets and totals as goals could drive me much further than training for physique as I already did


First, powerliftingwatch.com can give you great information on powerlifting friendly gyms, meets in your area, the differences between the various federations, etc.

Second, I think it is ridiculous to say anything about the OP's strength. This sport is about one thing, self-improvement. Whether you want to wait awhile to compete or compete relatively soon it doesn't matter. The goal is to keep improving your total. I've been lifting for just over a year and in my first official USAPL meet (a couple of weeks ago) I went up against the reigning IPF 90KG world champion. He was nice enough to drop down to the 82.5 kilo division with me and a few other guys. Anyway I got slaughtered, but that didn't matter a bit. I hit personal bests in each lift . . .

I would really encourage you to dedicate yourself to a training approach that focus on the squat, bench, and deadlift so you can have plenty of time to focus on your technique. I am personally partial to Sheiko, the article Sheiko Shakes up Powerlifting provides a good introduction to the training style and gives a great 13 week program that many people have had a lot of success with. Another great training style is Korte. This will give you a brief introduction: deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/korte.htm A little searching will yield additional information on this style. If you can get around some good lifters and get help with your technique I think it would be extremely helpful. If you can't get help in person then get access to a video camera so you can post online for other lifters to critique. I would recommend posting in the Feedback from Meat thread in the over 35 forum. He is one of the most knowledgeable people on here and is extremely willing to help.

All the best on your journey.


My suggestion? Buy Mark Rippetoe's "Starting Strength" and "Practical Programming" books. Those books are the ONLY source of training info you'll ever need, ever. Anything else is just a bonus... and possibly bogus... And then get a gym membership... Or better yet, build a home gym the best power rack you can have.

Other awesome books to buy:

-Westside book of methods
-Any of Christian Thibaudeau's books
-Any of Tudor Bompa's books
-Power to the People
-Science and Practice of strength training
-Any of Yuri Verkhoshansky's books (not quite sure if he had more than one...)

I've read one of the russian translated books before... Big mistake. I forgot the title, but it really sucked. I think it was the "Training of a weightlifter" or something similar...

Some equipments that are not really necessary, but would be awesome to have:

-Nearly all products from elitefts.com
-Olympic weightlifting platform (a great way to drop the bar when deadlifting)

Great websites to visit:
-T-Nation (Duh!)
-google.com (greatest ever!!!!!)
-is there anything better than the three?


perhaps it's my computer, but the link didn't seem to work mrodock. can you repost it? I'd love to take a look at that program intro


I got PPST simply 'cos I had some cash to spare at the time. My first port of call for anything weight training related


And you are wise enough to buy the right books. I admire you for that...

...Oh, and there's actually a site that has those as e-books for FREE. The Ripster just got ripped off...


Naw Mr. Taco, it was my posting. The period at the end messed it all up. Here it is www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/korte.htm

One thing about Korte is several people have claimed the peaking/taper is awkward. I suppose a person could do the last 3 weeks of Sheiko #32 or something: http://www.elitefts.com/sheiko/


Like Malinda said, get in touch with the state chairs for the federation(s) you are interested and start digging around. I know there is a Gold's in Spokane where Priscilla Ribic used to train. I think there are still a few PL's around there. Not real familiar with WA geography so this may or may not be helpful.

The bottom line is the answer to the question, "How do I get started in Powerlifting?" Is, "Do a meet."

It may sound trite but I know of no lifter I have ever had contact with that didn't meet people and gain some traction in the PL community which helped them on this journey.

Nobody will even notice what you lift the first time out. They will notice you had the sack to show up and that you did your best that day.

There are lots of resources out there for training. If you PM me, I would be happy to help you out a little.


DUDE WHAT IS IT!!?!?? I've been wanting those books for a long time but never got around to buying them. POST THE LINK!!!!!


google "mark rippetoe scribd".

You are very welcome sir.