Why Do Powerlifters Scream Before a Lift at a Meet? Ego Thing?

I’ve been a part of the powerlifting community for a little while. I’ve seen a bunch of powerlifting meets live online and I’ve seen three in person since I’ve competed in three.

What you see some lifters do is that they scream or do loud grunts before a lift at a powerlifting meet. I’m sure some of you seen lifters do this before they lift and you probably know what I’m talking about.

To me, I think it’s an ego thing for sure but that’s just my opinion. It’s just them saying, “Hey look at me, I’m about to do a big lift and you better be watching”.

Some of you are gonna defend them by saying it’s a ritual kind of thing and just them trying to get into the zone but I don’t think so. Thoughts???

Because if you scream during the lift, there is a chance you’ll pass out.


Why does it matter? Its a meet and not a gym setting… if that what a lifter does to put themselves in the zone so be it.

Only gym bros do that or newbs … So what does that mean when I let out a grunt or sub vocalize during a heavy lift? Considering I train alone in my own gym in the my garage gym? ( that rhetorical in nature)


Arousal ( giggle ) is a bell curve.

Some people’s optimal arousal is in a calm state. Some people’s is at a distressed state. Some others at stressed.

The yelling is often a way to amp up to a desired arousal level. Ray Williams one of the nicest dudes you’ll meet gets pretty amped up. Ed Coan was very calm and collected on the outside but on the inside he was ready to destroy things.

It doesn’t matter what you think about it, some people might be doing it for attention but others aren’t. I cuss myself out before a big lift or yell cues at myself while setting up, It’s not for attention it’s just for me to get my mind right.

I used to squat with a dude that would say “don’t be scared, don’t be scared” before every big squat. I assure you he didn’t give a fuck about someone paying him any attention.


On the flip side, people that scream after the lift are releasing endorphins. Dave Hoff said the reason he pushes people is because his fight or flight is triggered after a heavy lift. Dude used to puke non-stop before his big lifts at meets so it’s highly plausible.

When you tackle a weight that can kill you or leave you seriously injured you’ve got to release somehow. Some people it’s yelling, others is throwing old men across the room ( lol Hoff ), and others it’s gasping for air to prevent from passing out ( me )


I’ve had a few moments during a conditioning workout that my neighbors have caught me saying “F**k you: it’s one more set” to myself.

If anything, I’d prefer they NOT see that, haha.


Oh man, the things I’ll say to myself are pretty bad lol

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Pretty much this…it runs the gambit . From guys whom are amp up all to hell to guys who are all joking and calm as hell until their foot hits the platform and they flip the switch. You also have guys who just sit there with the 1000 yard stare the entire time.


That’s a good post. Thanks.

Before I do a big deadlift, I would usually say things like “Come on, you can do this” out loud to myself but I don’t make loud screaming noises or anything crazy. My gym doesn’t allow screaming anyways. haha…

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Like @corstijeir said it’s just about getting their sympathetic nervous system to the optimal arousal level. Maybe an ego thing for some but why do you care?

Everyone is different. I’m the 1000 yard stare type. No celebration, no external amping, everything is silent self talk.


I’ve never been a powerlifter and I’ve never been much of a vocalizer, but I can get down with people getting amped up for a big lift or a hard set. I just take a few big breaths and flash some silent jazz hands before a big deadlift, but that’s just me.

My old lifting partner was a yeller and I really enjoyed lifting with him. I’m not sure the rest of the gym did, but nobody seemed to care enough to complain. He brought a lot of energy to the room, for sure.

If you don’t like someone doing something, you can always ask them to stop.


See… your doing the same thing but in a different way.


I couldn’t resist posting this…


That’s exactly the point I’m trying to get at with this post. haha… rock on!

Sometimes I scream before a lift because I think about the fact that what I’m about to do might lead to me pooping my pants in front of 100+ people, and that’s spooky.


You mean that’s dooky.


When I scream its usually because the ammonia hit me too hard

But I dont see an issue - its the lifter getting in the zone.

Maybe in a commercial gym - but you’re in a powerlifting meet. Why WOULDNT you be watching the guy about to do a big lift on a platform?

This says a lot about your mindset tho. Maybe focus more on your training and not worrying about what other lifters are doing as an “ego thing”


I don’t scream, but I do let out a big



It’s to scare the weights. If you scare them enough to jump then they will be much lighter