Are Powerlifters Natural

| by Truth Seeker |

More and more fitness enthusiasts are encouraged to train like powerlifters in order to become big and strong. Famous authors of strength literature such as Mark Rippetoe and Pavel Tsatsouline have made barbell lifting popular among the youth, but they have also spread a lot of misconceptions because, just like everybody else, they’ve decided to remain politically correct and are refusing to cover the drug part of the game.

Popular training gurus often critique bodybuilding and claim that the mainstream training methods promoted by IFBB pros are inferior for natural bodybuilders. While this may be true, in some cases, the very same men promote routines prepared by professional powerlifting coaches and former champions such as Kirk Karwoski, Ed Coan and more. All of the mentioned individuals were on steroids during their competitive careers.

Many young boys and girls are left with the impression that for some peculiar reason heavy lifting can produce amazing muscle gains without the help of anabolic steroids or other muscle enhancing drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth. The use and abuse of drugs in powerlifting is as common as it is in bodybuilding. One can obviously get bigger by lifting heavy weights but nowhere near the level of the guys on the covers of strength books. Not even close.

Powerlifters, just like pro bodybuilders, are using a ton of gear (anabolic steroids, growth hormone, diuretics, insulin…etc) to get strong and ready for a contest. It is safe to say that the number of steroid-free elite powerlifters is zero.

The main factor is once again the male hormone testosterone. By definition, men produce 20 times more testosterone than women. The differences between males and females, as far as strength and size are concerned, are apparent. You don’t need a million dollar study to see them. Guess, what? Steroids boost your testosterone levels into the orbit.

We live in an era when even table tennis players are using banned substances. If anything bodybuilding, powerlifting, and weightlifting are some of the sports which benefit the most from anabolic steroids. If we take away the drug factor, all records will be cut by 20-50%. The most apparent drops will find themselves in the strength&muscle department.

There are examples of former powerlifters, such as Matt Kroczaleski, who have successfully converted from professional powerlifting to professional bodybuilding. The two sports are similar enough to allow a transition.

In his prime, the weightlifting legend Kirk Karwoski had physical stats similar to an IFBB pro – his weight was about 280lbs (127kg), body fat – 8%, and the size of his upper arms – 21 inches. All of that muscle was packed on a relatively short 5’8” frame. Essentially, those are the stats of a professional bodybuilder. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Yet there is a new generation of aspiring natural lifters who continue to chase a pipe dream. They believe that the natural limits will one day be broken if you just lift heavy enough. Lifting heavy weights is effective, but not that effective.

Another deception which gives hope to the naive naturals are the misleading articles written by the so-called powerbuilders. Powerbuilders are lifters who compete in both – powerlifting and bodybuilding or at least use the three lifts as the core of their bodybuilding routines. One of the guys to blame for this misconception is Michael O’Hearn who claims to be a natural bodybuilder. First, he is not a natural bodybuilder. Second, powerbuilding is not as effective as its supporters proclaim it to be.

The popular powerlifter and coach Louie Simmons from Westside Barbell has said in many of his interviews that he’s been on anabolic steroids for decades. According to him, the only way to get as strong as physically possible is to use drugs. Virtually all of his serious athletes take performance-enhancing drugs to break records.

To summarize:

  • elite powerlifters carry as much muscle mass as professional bodybuilders

  • elite powerlifters are extremely strong and compete against the best in the world

  • lifetime professional coaches such as Louie Simmons talk about steroids openly

  • there are athletes like Matt Kroczaleski who show that converting from elite powerlifting to IFBB level of bodybuilding can be done fast

The old quote “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck!” holds true once again.

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  1. Chris

    I’ve met a lot of scrawny but super strong people in my life that had nothing to do with bodybuilding or powerlifting. They were naturally stronger than others. So it might very well be the case if such an individual prepares 20+ years for a 600-800lbs deadlift that it is possible. Then we also have genetically gifted individuals who are so tall and big that they have to have everything custom made. They can naturally lift what you and I can lift together. They do not need gear to work their way up to a 600-800lbs deadlift. I think you are the typical case of a cynical individual who thinks that everyone who is stronger and/or bigger or more toned than him must be on something. I’m not naive as I know that a great majority of bodybuilders and powerlifters do drugs to improve but to say that you are confident that there are ZERO natural elite lifters is a very strong claim.

  2. Robin

    I am an elite world champion and have not ever used PEDS so to say there are ZERO elite powerlifters is a false assumption. It is also misleading by insinuating that these up and coming kids must take peds to be competitive at the elite level. This is dangerously presumptive and I hope that kids don’t read your article and in doing so feel they have no option but to take peds and suffer great health problems and even possibly die from not knowing what the hell they’re doing.

  3. Paul

    This is bullshit. Don’t write about topics you know nothing about. I lifted competitively for 12 years and prided myself on bring lifetime drug free. There are MANY more like me

  4. Tim

    Juicers all age prematurely. The evidence is in. Also look at the destroyed joints of retired power lifters and bodybuilders from years of drug use over loading their frame with massive weights. Larry Wheels will be a statistic soon enough. He just doesn’t know it yet.

  5. André

    Its so much fun to read the comments saying that you are presumptive, bro. Let them lie, the price will not be paid by us

  6. AJ T.

    100 percent true. Well, except for Karwoski’s height, that ‘roided dwarf isn’t any taller than 5’6″.

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