T Nation

Military and Powerlifting


I am currently a college student who loves powerlifting (as obvious from my avatar.) I have been considering joining the military for years. I am considering joining some type of ROTC next semester to pay for school. My question is directed to any powerlifters/lifters in the military or even people who know military lifters.

How does being in the military affect powerlifting? Obviously it will be off my mind during basic, but after I get settled in, is it possible to resume?


We have a lot of lifters who are Air Force students competing in CO - they have a great team.

Of course, I'm sure someone will say that Air Force isn't really military...


Yeah I have seen a few AF teams, also. I think physically I could handle it, but I am more concerned with time issues, as I will be entering an officer.


An old friend of mine was a PL in the USMC. His Mos was to train dogs. It was one of those situations where he competed for the USMC, so they accommodated him. The same went for another classmate who used to box for the USMC. He was a mortar maggot, but would be pulled out of the field to train.

I wasn't competitive in the army, so I had to stay in the field.


I'm in the Army, I personally haven't seen any power lifting teams. However the Army is succesfull when it comes to powerlifting.

Check out this link http://army.scout.com/2/699733.html

There are also competitions like this link at Spangahlem AFB in Germany.

However there is one downside to powerlifting in the military. Even though you are a powerlifter. When you are on active duty you still have to do cardio to pass your PT test. You also have to meet a certain height/weight requirement. If not you could be flagged and not get promoted.


Thanks for all the info so far! Danjo, do you know if they have a team in the Marines? This is the branch I plan on entering.


It all depends man.

I'm not a powerlifter, I'm an athlete who trains similar to a powerlifter (want to play football again when I get out of the Marines)

In my shop we run 3+ miles, twice a week. So that kind of affects my Lower Body days. Other than that, you can do it.


Oh yeah, there is not an All Marine Powerlifting team. I know that some bases have Powerlifting Teams and meets. I know Camp Pendleton does


Awesome. Thanks a lot!


Hooah! Great link.

When I was in I used to be off the scales height/weight so they would break out the tape measure. Never any problems with promotions. I thought they were going to send me home when I went to PLDC, but that's when I was first tape measured.

It was also a long time ago. Has things changed?


The biggest thing for me so far has been the difficulty in balancing leg training and distance running for performance- haven't been able to figure it out yet.

ROTC is a time sink but it pays off in the end.


They have something against guys that are short and thick? What's the deal with that?


They still do break out the tape measure. As long as you pass the tape you're fine.

It's still kinda the same PLDC is now WLC (Warrior Leader Course). Back then if you failed tape they sent you home. Now they keep you at WLC and put you on special pops (basically extra pt). It works people have lost up 20 lbs in 4 weeks.

However if you don't pass the tape at the end you graduate with a marginal which is not good. Pretty much kiss your carreer in the Army good bye. As far as making E-7 goes anway.


I retired from the Air Force in 2005 after 20 years and the only problem I had was weight wise. At 6'4" I would shoot up way past my max, but never had a problem getting a waiver as long as I kept my body fat down and kept lifting. Its usually pretty easy to find people on or around a base that are into strength sports!


Not at all. As long as you can pass tape and the PT test you're fine. The way the tape test works in the Army, they tape your neck and then your waist above the belly button. They run it though a formula and if it's below a certain percentage you're fine.

The bigger your neck and smaller you waist the lower your percentage is gonna be.

For example if you have a guy with a 37 inch but like a 14 inch neck he'll fail tape. But if you have a guy with a 19 inch neck and a 40 inch waist he'll pass. It's stupid how it works, but that is the Army for ya.


What SPW1022 says is correct. Every base has a gym and some kinda league set up. Some of the smaller bases probably don't but you can always set one up. Just find some like minded people and go up your chain of command.



with regards to officer-specific MOS/warfare qual in the navy/marine corps, that choice pretty much determines your ENTIRE LIFE- where you are stationed, what our job is, your hours, etc.... i assume you're not previously enlisted, so you should now know that the corps will post you wherever, whenever, and it is your duty to do your job subject to the needs of the navy/marine corps etc. powerlifting is a hobby and a personal issue. time management will be key for you to keep doing both well.

you must pass the PRT as a marine. if you have a severe running problem, you will fix it.

most bases have good gyms and some form of PL team, or if you pursue comissioning through the naval academy, they have a powerlifting team. of course, that is quite a big switch, since you're already at college. PM me for more on admissions to USNA, which commissions for the USN and USMC.

all the best!


I totally understand that the corps will be the most important thing in my life; I was just asking the advice of others who might have a similiar experience if competitive powerlifting was doable.

Also, I am 100% confident that I will pass the PRT with flying colors. Though I am a powerlifter, I am not bulky. I am actually a natural runner, so the things that concern me most are not physical, but time management. Thanks for the advice!


It's the PFT not the PRT in the Corps, lol

You can do it man, just might take a little more time.

The biggest thing will be on what MOS you end up getting. If you're a Grunt, you will be in the field alot, in the field= No Lifting while in the field. So shit like that. I'm not an O but I am not sure how much lifting will be feasible when going through TBS. ROTC will get you out of OCS but you still will have to go through 6 months of what I am sure is some pretty intense shit at TBS.


Thanks to everyone who posted! I'm pretty jacked to get this ball rolling.