T Nation

New to T-Nation and Powerlifting


Hey guys, I'd just like to say I've really enjoyed reading all of your theories and such over the last few months. I'm 16, hover between 165-170 lbs, 5'9. I've been seriously powerlifting for around 6 months now, and my personal bests are 325 deadlift, 285 squat, and a 185x3 for bench. I was just wondering if you had any advice.

Thanks guys.


Don't skip a session unless you really need to.
Stick with programs in the beginning, but find what seems to "work" for you.
Next try some programs that may be radically different from the one you just did.
Also remember to learn different variations of lifts.
Listen to your body. Keep lifting.
Make plans to improve your weaknesses and try to think outside of the box, but don't try anything too grand or too many things at once.
Try to learn some about nutrition.


Be consistent, and have fun.


Focus on what works; if you want to train for powerlifting then train the squat, bench and deadlift. Do not look to anything else to increase your total (at least until you get to an advanced level of performance) - sure, add some DB rows or other accessories in if you want to work on them for their own sake, but the main lifts should develop themselves for now.

Secondly, aim for progress as frequently as possible. This doesn't mean you should go for a max single every session, but keep the weights moving up and start competing to really test yourself.
Finally, ensure that your diet is adequate for your goals. Never underachieve due to not eating enough, but also remember that powerlifters don't have to be fat.
Keep learning and lifting with enough effort and you will be pleased with the progress made. Good luck.


I second bdocksaints75. Be consistent and HAVE FUN!


Thanks a lot guys, do you guys think I should try out Smolov jr. for a squatting program?


No. The real Smolov is best for squats, but I wouldn't use it until you can lift 300lbs comfortably, as a minimum.


Oh, one extra point that has really helped me: stay tight. Whatever the lift, the tighter you keep you back/core/grip etc. the more efficiently you will be able to lift.


Okay, yeah I'd like to work up to a 1000 total by the end of the year. I'm thinking that a 385 dead, 365 squat, and a 225 bench are realistic goals though.


yeah man, just find a proven program and train hard. no matter what you do as a beginner you will see at least SOME results. Also focus on getting into habits that will help you in the long run (consistency, eat smart, train hard, recover well)


I was talking to a powerlifter in my gym the other day, he offered to write me up a bench press program so I'll be benching 3x a week and hopefully at the 12th week get my new PR of 225.


Good luck man stick to er.


Thanks man!


Nutrition is extremely important, eat the right foods and a lot of them


Hey man, please be careful... having the title of powerlifter doesn't mean much, titles don't mean much, records don't mean much... not anymore, any dude can have a record these days... i'm a numerous time National Champion and one time I won it because my buddy who beat me was a junior and i was open, so i got 1st place... i really only talk about accomplishments when I need to impress a beginner enough to listen to me instead of going with what some d bag gym hero is telling him to do.

Here are the rules of powerlifting.

1- decide what you want your end goals to be.
--> this is brutally important... if you set all your energy on squatting 405 and tell yourself that shits heavy and you'll be satisfied when you get there guess how much you'll squat? Set you end goals so big it scares you... look at the records, watch videos, decide what you want first and foremost. That no one has said this frightens me a bit. Mine are 750-500-800 ... I think I can do that in another 10 years of practice.

2- decide to be an athlete.
--> this is another big deal... Most ppl you see in the gym are there for their own reasons, and it's usually insecurity and vanity to be honest... and there's no problem with training for either... but when you go in the gym, you're an athlete.. the gym is your field, you bring your uniform into the gym (belt, wraps, etc) and you PRACTICE.

That's the big thing, you need to PRACTICE. it's not all about getting stronger, powerlifting is a SKILL and it's extremely complex, and there's a lot to think about.

3- decide what you want your lifting to tell people.
--> are you lifting purely for numbers and pride? or are you lifting to do it the right way? the right way being perfect form and keeping control of your injuries. When the regular gym goer watches a heavy crappy lift they think it's cool.... when a high level lifter watches a heavy crappy lift they get emberassed for the lifter.

now... there's a million different styles of squatting... serious... do you want to squat wide? narrow? flat shoes? olympic style? There's a lot.

4- Be very very careful who you listen to.
--> don't go crazy on the internet looking for research... remember, there's a reason people write those articles... a lot of them are sales pitches, or guys trying to build a name for themselves and just want it published... T-Nation is good and always will be, watch out for other sites tho.

The other thing, is everyone... and I mean everyone... including me... is a effing expert and has supreme confidince in their own style and will literally be offended that you don't immediately drop to you knees, suck them off and stick your thumb where the sun doesn't shine, just for them deigning to give you advice that you never even asked for. The more insistent someone is that you listen to them.... The more i personally don't listen. All the strong guys i know are so tired of guys bugging them for advice they don't give a shit anymore, or are so annoyed by guys listening to their perfect advice and completely discarding it... i've been on both sides of that one,.. and I've been the one discarding precious information.

5- Find your WHY and it better make you cry
--> I don't care why you want to be strong... everyone has a reason... you need to find yours. For me, it's squatting 600 pounds... It's like a demon burning inside me that I've got to get out. Sometimes when I'm driving I'll imagine hitting it, right down to the details... I've seen it 1000x's of times, and every time I hit it, and feel the relief of hitting my goal i can feel the tears coming. It used to be all I wanted, but I upposed my goal and i'm sure if I would have said 700 is hard that I'd have squatted 600 already.

You'll notice i haven't said shit about training programs - here's one word: sheiko.

unless you want to wear gear, start with sheiko, it's the outline used by the greatest russian powerlifting coach Boris Sheiko and is tried, tested and true and is perfect for powerlifters.

I will say if the program has you doing high reps on main moves it's not a powerlifting program that's going to help your form right now. Too many reps and form falls apart, and if anyone tells you that form can't be perfect so don't worry is an idiot that didn't try hard enough on form. I've got a ways to go, but I watch higher level lifters than me, and their form is pefect.... it has to be to lift really big instead of hitting 315 and calling it a day.

Other than that, here's a few things:

Warm up before every training session upper or lower like this:

Seriously, just do it, you'll avoid a lot on injuries by doing this everyday.

Other than that, video your lifts as often as possible, post your lifts on here for feedback.

facebook Tom Kean, he's one of the best lifters in Canada and he's close to you... drive as far as you have to, and train with him, train with the best to start at least if you want to be serious. I drove 2 hours every weekend to train with a National level strongman when I competed in that, and I would never have gone as far as I did without him.

Good luck man


Wow, thank you very much for all your advice. Form comes first, always. If I'm having a bad day I'm not gonna throw on what I can usually squat, I'll lighten the load and work on speed sets, form, etc. The powerlifter I talk to is legitimate. He used to compete in Boston and Maine, but I think he's just cut it back to Maine. He's extremely concerned about proper form and not just trying to lift just to move the weight. The program he wrote me up was separated into 3 phases. Weeks 1-4 are light weeks, 4 sets of 5-7 reps to correct and work on form. Weeks 5-8 are basically the same thing but with one heavy day a week, there's 4 sets of 4-5 reps. Weeks 9-10 include 2 days with 4 sets of 4-5 reps, and 1 day of 4 sets of 1-2 reps. I'll rest on week 11 and week 12 should provide a new max.


sounds like a good guy to me man, have fun!


personally i started getting into powerlifting about two years ago, after almost a decade of lifting and many years of destroying my body on the rugby field.

i would say the best piece of advice i could give you would be to focus on skills: learn every nuance of your body and how it relates to each different lift (not just the big 3) and just get really really good at each one. the strength will come easy for you right now anyway, and you wont hit a brick wall when your strength far outpaces your technique (and then take a year to relearn everything).

also, senor bertrand, fantastic advice all over the place right now. are you another beast out of ottawa/dynamo fitness?


I'm out of Ottawa, and just trying to help out while I can.