T Nation

Powerlifting: A Two Event Sport?


I'm probably opening up a can of worms with this, but it has been on my mind a lot lately, so I wanted to throw it out there and see what people think:

Do you think that, due to the judging difficulties and controversy surrounding the squat, that powerlifting will suffer the same fate as Olympic weightlifting and become a two-lift sport? Do you think this could happen? Do you think it should happen? And do you think that this would help or hurt powerlifting's chances at becoming an Olympic sport?

This is not an attempt to endorse one thing or another; I am just geninuely curious and want to see what the thinking is of others in this sport.


Powerlifting is the squat.


x2 on the above

I see no reason to throw out the squat. Sure, judging may be difficult in some instances, but the same can be said for the bench. Pausing, where the lifter touches, whether or not it is locked out, etc. I don't think the squat will be banned or powerlifting will become an olympic sport any time soon.


You should watch the movie Power Unlimited. It goes into the Push-Pull vs Powerlifting debate.
And to quote Kirk Karwoski:

"I wouldn't tell somebody that they weren't a powerlifter because they only bench pressed, or they only bench pressed and deadlifted, but, what the hell is wrong with squatting? What are you, afraid? I thought powerlifters were supposed to be big, tough guys. Strap your cock on, leave your pussy at home, put a bar on your back and bend your knees!"

It just wouldn't work out man.


I agree with the rest of the group that the SQUAT is the king of all lifts. However, if it were able to get into the Olympics, I believe the Squat would cause some judging problems. And to simplify things, they just may say, only the Bench and DL due to the ease of judging.

But, I am for the Squat and you just gotta live with the judges decision during your lift and pray for the white lights.

Overall I think PL should be an Olympic Sport, but it would have to really scrutinize and make consistent the way the Squat is judged and easy for the contenders to understand.


I have seen that movie and I kind of have to disagree with Kirk; I think to call yourself a powerlifter you have to do all three. To me it's a three lift sport. I mean, it's your total that matters, right? To do just one is like just running but still calling yourself a triathlete.

Just my opinion.




If people just shut their fucking yaps and let the judges call it, there wouldn't be any controversies. There have been squat judging contrversies since the 70s. The only difference these days is the echo chamber effect of internet forums and the Monday morning quarterbacking of judging form youtube posts. As for push-pulls, they are fun meets to lift in and much easier to organize (making them ideal for small comps). However, they are not powerlifting meets- they are push-pulls


That's exactly what Kirk meant. I was saying that you have to do all three lifts. I also agree with you guys.


the way i look at it, push pulls and bench-press only, deadlift-only meets are good for individual acheivements. im doin a dead-only just to see if i can break the nat'l record. but powerlifting is powerlifting. and powerlifting is the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

anyways, somone out there in eliete fts or somewhere is working ahead to hitting a 1500 squat soon :slightly_smiling:


There's no controversy regarding the squat. The rules are very clear and are easy to judge.

There's feds with terrible judging, but they are a very small minnority of what is powerlifting as world wide.


You can set a national record with a 420 deadlift at a 200+ bw?


Huh? I thought he squatted 400+ with belts only? Shouldn't that translate to a 500 pound deadlift?... Unless, I quarter squatted it. HAH!!

Anyway, about the topic, I don't think it is a great idea to eliminate the squat in powerlifting. Having a big squat for me is "elite powerlifter 101". The squat is pretty much what defines powerlifting. The bench press has become a "gym idiot's lift" just like the curl mainly because of its (surprising) popularity. The squat on the other hand is what separates powerlifters from any other gym goer. It's something that alot of people are afraid to do, and yet, is so popular. The deadlift on the other hand is way too unknown...

Squatting huge numbers is what will make powerlifting a mainstream sport.


powerlifting will never be mainstream

I'd bet that 95% of the population will never attend a PLing meet;60% have never even heard of it ; and of those that HAVE heard of it , less than 10% can name a key contributer (Simmons/Tate/ect) to the sport or explain the rules of a meet .


That's because people are ignorant... They have yet to be mystified by the true powers of the sport. If we could have more and more experts who could educate people about the benefits of powerlifting, then maybe it could become mainstream. Take a look at the success of Joe DeFranco's "westside for skinny bastards" routine. How many of the people who have succeeded with it do you think have "spread the word" with other athletic enthusiasts? If we convince athletes that being trained as a powerlifter can raise their vertical jumps, then they might consider participating in the sport. POWERLIFTING MUST BE COMMERCIALIZED!!!

If we could just advertise how a powerlifter trained a 5'6 inch dude to be able to dunk, then trust me, there would be ALOT of teens who would be intrigued...

The first thing to do is to remove the superheavyweight competitions from being broadcasted on TV. People have been stereotypical about the Iron Game mainly because of those bodybuilding retards. They think everyone who lifts weights has the purpose of looking like a freak, when in fact, lots of athletes have been trying to improve their athletic prowesses to new heights through powerlifting...

It's the media and bodybuilder's faults. It's much easier to blame it on them because... let's face it, no powerlifter wants to blame a fellow powerlifter.

It's all about image baby. If kids see Lebron James squatting, they'd squat too.


Powerlifting will never be mainstream when most of it is done geared.

Also deadlifting is the king of lifts for powerlifting.

Its total body strength even more so than squat, and its so easily judged, when your pulling a weight up there is little you can do to "cheat".

Suits, odd technique, nothing can really make it significantly easier.

Theres a reason some guys bench 1000 and deadlift 800.



Squatting, benching, and deadlifting =/= powerlifting

squatting, benching, and deadlifting in a powerlifting competition = powerlifting

Powerlifting has no problem getting people to participate without media coverage. The internet makes it easier for a sport to stay underground and still maintain enough exposure for its participants to know whats going on in the sport across the globe. Staying underground allows the sport to avoid the opinions and influence of those outside of the sport who have no interest in it beyond being armchair quarterbacks (squatters?). Powerlifting is for lifters and should stay that way, football, soccer, baseball, etc are for the spectators.


I DEFINITELY disagree with this.

I'm sure everyone has come across someone who's just naturally gifted in the deadlift. Be it long arms, short legs or whatever. They just seem to be able to pull big weights really soon into their training career.

Contrast that with squatting, it's REALLY unusual to see someone squat big without years of experience.

There's a reason the squat is the first lift, and there's a reason there's so many bench only and push/pull events. Squats are a hard and they take balls. If a deadlift's too heavy you just drop it, but with a near max squat you seriously need to man up.

Powerlifting is not powerlifting without the squat.




Very, very true. The squat is the true art of the powerlifting comp, and for 90% of people will be the lift that takes the longest to perfect.

I love the deadlift, but a squat pb is something else. A deadlift pb feels like you've beaten gravity.. a squat pb feels likle your beaten death!