What I've Learned in Powerlifting (So Far)

Blogs are coming along slower than I'd like. With the upcoming United Barbell Open weightlifting meet, when I have free time that I'd normall be using to write, I'm organizing entries, contacting athletes, and talking with coaches.

Every new athletic of performance endeavor, I learn something new. I've been around athletics a long time, and I find it super exciting that I'll never learn it all because there really is so much out there. Here are some new learnings from my currently brief stint in powerlifting:

1) How to really GRIND out a weight
     You can't really grind out a snatch or a jerk. I supposed you can grind through the stand up of a clean, but for the most part, all the Olympic lifts require speed and finesse. As such, one never really learns how to truly grind your way through something tough. Even in squats, I see many competitive Oly lifters hit their sticking point, pause, then bail. It's a different sort of mentality and stimulus that lets a person drive through the tough part of a lift.

2) The importance of smart jumps
     This I knew, but it was really driven home during bench press training. This isn't just about over shooting a max attempt, but also about priming your system to handle the weight. Powerlifting has a serious central nervous system component to it, and as you get closer to a max weight, it's important for smart progressions.

3) Importance of being tight before the weight is on you
     I find that for me and my wonky shoulders in the bench press, this is particularly important. If I don't get tension in my body before the bar is lifted out to me, there is no regaining the proper form and my shoulder will scream through the entire rep. With that in mind, what could be happening in my back, hips, and knees when I don't get tight in the squat or deadlift?

4) Time under tention = exhaustion
     Again with the difference between powerlifting and weightlifting. After the clean, you actually want to take some time, make sure you're ready and mentally prepped to take the jerk. This, again, is about the mentality for something as technical as the Olympic lifts. But with powerlifting, a squat or a bench, you need to just GO once that weight is on you.

5) Hypertrophy is useful
     Very few Olympic lifters I know do any bodybuilding or accessory work to build up a base of support. Sure, there might be some sit ups and reverse hyper activity, but that's pretty much the extent of it. But think about it, the bigger and more solid the foundation, the more you can stack on top. Hence all the back work done on bench day in powerlifting.