Are Powerlifters Really That Strong?

Powerlifting has always been a dick-measuring contest.

Who is going to lift the heaviest barbell?

How can I add more plates to the bar?


Those are the questions troubling the heads of motivated powerlifters.

To achieve the highest levels of human strength, powerlifters train very hard, take a lot of steroids, eat like pigs and use supportive gear.

Powerlifters are strong only when operating in perfect conditions. If you take them out of that artificial world by stopping access to steroids and large quantities of food, the numbers will drop like a rock. When you remove the lifting gear, it gets even scarier. And finally, when you make the heavyweight powerlifters cut the unnecessary fat, the records will fall by hundreds of pounds.

Pin Those Glutes, Baby!

Powerlifters often make fun of bodybuilders for being drug monkeys, but modern powerlifting has been built on steroids just like bodybuilding. The rise of powerlifting numbers and the rise of bodybuilding mass happened simultaneously. The reason is, of course, the birth of anabolic steroids.

Just like bodybuilders, powerlifters frequently visit steroid forums to prepare their drug cycles. The competitors that have to fit in a lower weight class take drugs that do not promote water gain while still offering tremendous strength improvements. This is why in the lower weight classes many powerlifters look like fitness models with super thick physiques.

The heavyweight lifters are also on steroids, but not all of them are lean. Many walk around with 52-inch waistlines.

However, there are also heavyweight champions that could compete in professional bodybuilding shows.

Kirk Karwoski, as natural as Ronnie Coleman

Kirk Karwoski, as natural as Ronnie Coleman

In the image above you can see the famous powerlifter Kirk Karwoski. He weighed 280lbs at 5’8″ @ 11% BF. It shouldn’t take you a lot of time to realize that his physique is impossible to achieve naturally regardless of how heavy you lift.

Belly Benches All Day, Baby!

Powerlifters are willing to bend the rules of their sport to put more weight on the bar. That’s why we get to see fat whales performing ridiculous stunts that are supposedly proper lifting.

One of the most grotesque movements is the belly bench press. The whole idea of doing a belly bench press is to shorten the range motion to lift more weight.

The famous bench shirt also contributes to this phenomenon since it changes the natural bar bath observed during a raw bench press.

However, the shenanigans do not end here. There are more tricks.

Monolifts

monolift-powerlifting-squats

The monolift allows the lifter to squat without walking out the weight. This saves energy and provides an opportunity to use an extra wide stance that would otherwise be impossible to assume.

Squat Suits and Bench Shirts

Powerlifters rely on multiple squat suits and bench shirts to lift more weight. The raw bench press record is about 720 pounds. Meanwhile, some people are benching over 1000lbs with an army of bench shirts underneath.

Reduced Range Of Motion

Wenhua Cui from China @ deeps squats

Wenhua Cui from China @ deeps squats

Most powerlifters squat high. Reaching parallel is a thing of the past, but even if it wasn’t, parallel squats are still not full squats.

Believe it or not, a 900lbs Westside style squatter who uses a monolift, a super wide stance and a few squat suits may not be able to do a clean Olympic high bar squat with 500 pounds.

excessive-bench-press-arch-maryana-naumova

It’s also worth mentioning that powerlifters rely on extreme arching during the bench press. The goal is to reduce the range of motion and lift more.

Water Weight Manipulation

48 hours weigh-ins allow the competitors to fit in a smaller weight class by losing water weight. A good example would be the popular powerlifter/bodybuilder Matt Kroc who has records in the 220lbs class but weighted significantly more when he sat them.

How did he fit in the weight class? He lost 20lbs of water before the weigh-in. Maybe this is fair according to the rules, but in reality, that man was 240lbs, not 220lbs

In conclusion

Powerlifters are very strong, but the sport is losing a lot of style due to cheap self-righteous techniques designed to move more weight at all costs.

One comment

  1. Paul Grunt

    There is equipped and raw powerlifting – your article is about those who use gear. Not right to paint all of us with the same brush. I guarantee I am stronger than you – under imperfect conditions and no gear – and I am only one of many who fit this bill.

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