While everyone is chasing those 20" arms and the shredded 6-pack abs, I'm over here trying to bend bars and crack the sidewalk.
Powerlifting routines get scoffed at by bodybuilders because many say that building strength doesn't build muscle.
I don't know if you've ever looked at elite level powerlifters, but they are massive. In fact, they are much bigger than most bodybuilding counterparts. No, it's not because they are fat... It's because they can front squat 800 pounds.
I'm all for bodybuilding splits and enough volume for three people to build muscle, it's just I feel that people can have much more fun lifting heavy weights than always chasing the pump.
So here are 10 reasons why everyone should try out a powerlifting routine.
Why Powerlifting Workouts Need More Love
#1 - It's a Change of Pace
Beating up your muscles and putting your joints through hell is all fine and dandy, but what if you switch up from benching 155 for 12 reps to 225 for 5 reps?
If you're feeling bored and things feel stale in the gym, try switching up to a powerlifting routine. It will spark motivation and even if you don't like powerlifting, it's a fun change of pace.
Switching things up from high volume lower intensity to a low volume high intensity will shock your nervous system and elicit an anabolic hormonal response.
#2 - Strength Training is Different Than Muscle Building
When you focus on building muscle, you're doing just that. You are breaking down the muscle in the gym and then rebuilding by eating nutritious foods.
Strength training, however, works on your nervous system. Your nervous system then builds back up, making producing power much more efficient.
This is why it's common to hear about overtraining. When you work at near maximal weight consistently, your body needs to recover. This is why I do not recommend working at 90% of your 1 rep max - aim to stay at 70% - 80%.
Another bonus with strength training is you won't be quite as sore. You can get used to the terrible DOMS you get from a solid workout, but what if you were only a little sore?
#3 - Strength Equals Muscle
While building muscle will build strength, it shouldn't be a surprise that building strength also builds muscle... Right?
Just because you are doing heavy triples doesn't mean that your body isn't going to build muscle.
In fact, the hormonal response to some heavy squats will build more lean mass than sitting on machines all day.
Progressively overload how much you are lifting and strive to improve every time you step into the gym.
#4 - You Are Putting Your Efforts Towards a Specific Goal
While many gym-goers have a general goal of "getting in shape" or "getting a 6-pack," there's a problem that arises - you can't specifically measure getting into shape, and you have no real timeframe for getting that 6-pack.
Set yourself some specific goals like "I want to deadlift 525 pounds by November." You've set a timeframe and an exact weight. Going to the gym hoping you lift more isn't going to get you anywhere.
Find a local powerlifting meet coming up and sign up. You will have more motivation than you've ever had, and you have a specific purpose to train. You'll enjoy the increased focus and intensity you bring to the gym.
#5 - Your Competitive Nature Will Come Out
I've never been a "win by any means necessary" until I got into powerlifting. If you are like me, winning is nice, but not really something you focus on.
One huge goal I set for myself when I was first lifting was that I wanted to deadlift 605 pounds. I thought about it every day, watched huge deadlift videos on YouTube, and I had already believed I could do it.
I turned into the competitive machine that I had always steered clear from, taking a "do it or die trying" mentality.
I actually hit that personal record on an off-day after having a bad night and barely sleeping. It was destiny.
Find something that sparks your motivation and go for it. Do you want 315 on bench? How about a 405 squat? Make it a goal and put your rear into gear.
#6 - You'll Get Yoked
Nothing shouts "I lift heavy weight" like a big yoke.
Heavy deadlifts build those massive traps, squats force your body to build more muscle, and bench builds those delts, triceps, and pecs.
Quit with benching 135 with your legs in the air and start packing on some real muscle.
#7 - Your Everyday Life Will Get Easier
Squats, deadlifts, and military presses all simulate everyday movements.
Next time you have to pick something heavy off of the ground, I bet you get into a deadlift stance and move it like it was nothing.
Your core gets stronger, your legs will get massive, and you'll start to skip using a cart through the store.
Your countless shrugs with 40-pound dumbbells and bicep curls won't help when you are faced with a "team lift" sticker like powerlifting does.
#8 - You'll Build Mental Fortitude
Nothing builds a "nut up or shut up" attitude like getting under your personal record squat.
Building confidence in the gym will shut that "you can't do it" voice up in your head.
Building mental fortitude will allow you to go further in your career, lift more weight in the gym, and get that gym bunny you've been checking out.
#9 - You'll Gain Confidence in Other Areas of Your Life
Hitting your personal records and completing goals builds your confidence in other areas of your life.
Next time you are faced with a hard task at work or some other situation that you normally would back away from, you'll take control and make it happen.
#10 - You Can Carry All of the Groceries in One Trip
There's not really much I can add here other than "you don't lift if you can't carry all of your groceries in one trip."
Wrapping It Up
Look, powerlifting isn't for everybody... and I know this.
Looking beyond the training protocol and heavier weights, tackling a powerlifting routine builds character, gives you grit, and is a great change of pace from bodybuilding workouts.