T Nation

Should PL Be Mainstream or Underground?


I would love to see powerlifting become a mainstream sport. There will be more recognition, more sponsorship, more money, increase chance to get in the Olympics and be back on tv again.


More "steroid scandals", more posers, more people doing curls in your squat rack, more bullshit to put up with.


Powerlifting or Bench comps?


If it were to become more popular it would need to lose the gear.


But people love to see freaks. They would support it just to see those 800lb bench presses


I don't think the sport would have to get rid of the gear. However it would have to be regulated and have a uniform standard. Like only single ply with all suits meeting the same standard especially the shirts. The gear does not take away from the sport if that was the case Football which has most of the lineman looking Bionic with so much gear would not be on TV.

The problem is that over the long haul it's not that exciting to watch I don't think a live telecast would work but like bodybuilding a tape cut to show the main event and speed would go over well. Hell if pool/table tennis etc can be shown on TV Powerlifting should be able to make a comeback

But to be honest I kinda enjoy most people not having a clue what I'm doing in the gym.


Why would you start a discussion when there is no chance you will come back to "discuss"?

Isnt this a Type2B kinda question anyway?

To the question- While I love the sport, unless you are participating, have some good friends participating, or there are some freaks lifting, it is boring as all hell to watch. The most we could hope for is just small clips jumping back and forth between lifters or attempts. This is something youtube already provides, and I think broadcasting it for the masses could just not be done without looking sloppy as hell.

Besides, it makes us more mysterioius because no one else knows what the hell it is we do. It is the "Darkside" after all...


I can't say that it matters to me. I really think mainstream sports suck. I think the Olympics suck for the most part. They came to my town 13 years ago and I never went to a single event.

I don't see any benefit from sponsorship dollars. Once the sponsors get involved, they will run the show, not the lifters. For now, the sport is perfect. If you lift locally, it is pretty cheap to compete. I get to do a few well-run meets every year. Nobody is getting rich off the sport, but a meet promoter that manages his costs well can break even or a little better.

Sports should be personal activities not consumer products. We don't need more spectators in this world. In fact, the world would be a better place if folks went and played their own games instead of letting the pros do it for them.


I'll admit that it would be cool if it was in the Olympics, but that hasn't stopped Olympic lifting from remaining mostly underground.

I like the "cultish" aspect since it brings lifters together. Throw too much money at it and the barriers start going up. For the most part, lifters encourage each other to do their best. Hell I've heard of a lifter giving a competitor his wraps during a World Championship and the guy went out to set a squat world record and won the weight class. The guy that lend the wraps then finished one or two spots off the podium. But money in there, the the winner ends up bombing most likely.


I don't think this will happen because powerlifting companies are major sponsors of meets throughout the USA. Lifters love getting free giveaways at selected meets. Also, several meet directors need companies to help lower their own meet expenses.


If there was ever a large push to make it an Olympic sport it would have to.


My fear of the sport ever becoming mainstream is an epidemic of bad coaching, and a lot of young kids with promising athletic futures ending up with herniated discs/knee and shoulder injuries forcing the sport underground again.




They have forbade prosthetics from use in sprinting. There are already numerous regulations in Oly weightlifting regarding attire and supportive "gear". Apparel in other sports is already highly regulated, where the possibility of apparel giving competitors an unfair advantage. Take swimming for example--there are brands of suits which have been banned from competition from allegations of lower friction co-efficients, greater buoyancy, etc. Nike and Speedo were each lobbying to ban the other from competition, so there would be only one acceptable suit (I do not know all the details...). The same complications would arise if powerlifting was ever introduced.

Also, this is all highly hypothetical because the likelihood of powerlifting being introduced is low, because globally, especially in Asia, weightlifting is more popular.


mma or strongman has not been around as long as powerlifting , or Oly weightlftng for that matter, but it's getting more TV coverage and prize money than either of those 2.
prob is pwrlfng and Oly are too narrow, only 3 contested lifts (2 for oly), mere seconds and its over, just not much to look at on TV.
but that still doesn't explain why we don't get highlight clips like pool. bowling, or other niche sports.
deep down powerlifters want to be left alone in their dusty dark dungeons.
it'll take a show-man type persona to come along with excellent business smarts



I hate it when someone proclaims themselves as a "sports fan" , when what they really are is a TV fan .
main stream sports are a business.....nothing more , nothing less


and I like PLing the way it is .


Agreed. You can say the same for strongman too. It's been on TV for a long time now and yet remains underground/cultish. I too would love to see PL in the Olympics, and I don't think it will change the sport at all at the local or regional level.

I would imagine some standardization for gear, but not too much. I get it what people have been saying, but take a look at ice hockey. The pads goalies where block significantly more of the net then they did in the 1970's.

Drugs. Are we saying there are no drugs in powerlifting now?


agreed, my only bitch is the constant bashing and arguing could fucking stop. Otherwise I like it just fine the way it is.



i wouldnt watch geared lifters at the Olympics.

i dont think anyone else would either except other geared lifters.

its also a very slow and boring sport to watch

at least Oly lifts are like 3 lifts in one so theres more suspense.

i dont think bodybuilding competitions are entertaining either. Strongman is probably the most mainstream sport because its the most enjoyable to a general audience, they just see big guys pulling trucks, throwing kegs, deadlifting Oak trees...whatever. Oly lifting is also more of an acquired taste but as i said, far more entertaining than either PLing or BBing where everyone knows the true soul of the sport is in the training itself.