Posted On February 14, 2022

Is Powerlifting a Healthy Activity? Yes, but with caveats.

Many want to know whether lifting heavy weights in powerlifting training is healthy for them. Having lifted weights for over a half century, I strongly endorse the idea that powerlifting training can be very healthy for both men and women. This applies whether they want to compete or just use the training to be in good physical condition.

I use myself as an example of what consistent long-term training with heavy weights can do for someone. Im 81, have been lifting weights since 1955 and at present am in outstanding physical condition.for someone age 45. I strongly recommend that anyone who wants to build a nearly bulletproof body do so by training consistently with powerlifting routines.

Some of the key reasons that powerlifting training is good for almost anyone is that if all three power lifts (squat, bench press and deadlift) are trained, you build strength in your entire body. This whole-body conditioning is very important for long term fitness. Too many fitness programs over develop one part of the body and ignore other parts. This leads to muscle imbalances and likelihood of injuries.

There are some important qualifications that should be noted before a beginner starts power training.

  1. You must get in condition gradually to do heavier lifting. It is essential that anyone beginning power training do so gradually and build their overall strength over several months and even years. There are no short cuts. Someone just starting weight training should spend a minimum of three months doing overall body conditioning before beginning training to build strength. If you have been lifting weights for six months or more, unless you have a limiting medical condition, it is probably OK to do power training.
  2. Rapid strength gains will occur in the early stages of training but will taper off over time. Dramatic strength gains occur rapidly in the first few months of power training. These gains will slow down as each person gets closer to their personal biological potential. Advanced lifters will make gains very slowly as they will be functioning near their biological potential.

One of the main questions people ask me is whether they will get big by doing powerlifting training. Just about everyone becomes very athletic looking, and they can become extremely strong, but most people (me included) tend to develop a look like basketball or baseball players.

Women ask if they will become big and the answer is almost always no. The vast majority of women do not have enough testosterone to build large muscles. Women tend to develop a very athletic look, much like Olympic figure skaters.

If you decide to try powerlifting training, be aware that powerlifting is a bit more demanding than simple fitness lifting.

Lifting heavier weights with good technique is extremely important. Excellent technique is necessary for optimal mechanical advantage when moving a weight. It is also necessary to prevent injuries when lifting.

Most people doing fitness lifting in gyms have very poor lifting technique. My observation is that most people struggle to do a close approximation of each lift and never work on improving. If you intend to do heavier lifting, sloppy form will drastically limit how far you can progress and may get you injured.

Building total body strength can protect you from routine casual injuries that happen in life. You will be much less likely to be hurt lifting, pulling, or carrying something. You will also have stronger bones from lifting weights and be less likely to experience fractures.

When answering the general question as to whether powerlifting is a healthy activity, there are two other issues that I believe are critical to include:

  1. Powerlifting is a healthy activity only when NO performance enhancing drugs are used. Anyone considering doing strength training for their health should completely reject the idea of using any PEDs. These substances will produce some short-term results, but at the cost of both your long-term health and becoming dependent on them forever. If you use steroids to get strong, you will lose your strength quickly when you stop using them. You can also do significant damage to your bodys hormonal balance when using drugs.
  2. Strength training is healthy when done as part of a healthy lifestyle. Building body strength and fitness is both fun and rewarding when done as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Eating properly, sleeping well, keeping your body fat low are all parts of being a strong, fit, and healthy person.

Bottom line, as I write this article, Im 81 years old, 510 and 175 lbs, and still compete in powerlifting. You can see pictures of me on this site. I do not take any prescription medications and feel as if Im about 45 years old. I hope you can live to be as old as I and feel as great as I do 24/7/365!

If you want to check out powerlifting training, click on the link here.

Powerlifting Over 50

Written by Richard

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