The New Face Of Powerlifting

Create: 11/18/2005 - 16:56
Gibson Powerlifting and APF Outlaws are discussing the same posting about powerlifting not evolving but rather changing into a new sport altogether. The original poster points out that world records in a number of Olympic events have increased up to 4% over the past 25 years. Olympic lifting records have increased an average of 5%. However, powerlifting records have increased much more dramatically:

Squat: Coan (1020) '99 to Lewis (1201) '05 - 18% - 6 YEARS Bench: Mendelson (825) '03 to Rychlak (1005) - 22% - 1 YEAR!!!!!! Total - Coan (2463) '98 to Frank (2805) '04 - 13% - 7 years

The poster sums up his feelings:

I'm not particularly bashing gear, judging has sucked too. Can anyone else think of a sport that measures basic human ability that has bastardized itself so much? ...People talk about 3000lb totals and hydraulics, well, look at the recent numbers and tell me why there's eventually going to be a limit.

Some posters take issue with finding flaws with powerlifting instead of supporting it. But Jay Gibson, Gibson Powerlifting forum owner, welcomes the opinion:

I do wonder if you have a point as to the sport becoming less and less of a legitimate "sport". I don't know where it's going.

An APF poster acknowledges and accepts the changing nature of powerlifting:

The sport has changed. Big deal. Every non-raw fed has "bastardized" itself - the APF, IPF, USPF, whatever - they have all allowed significant inflation of totals for the average lifter and for those at the top. Stop whining about it and go join a raw fed - that is all you can do. You aren't going to change the minds of gear whores. They WANT the sport to be different.

Travis Peel indicts American powerlifting in general:

I think North Americans are losing the science behind training. Minimal training, gear dependency, and changing the rules has weakened powerlifting... Europeans see powerlifting as a sport North Americans see it as hobby and entertainment.

Tommy Fannon offers his opinion:

95% of the people that compete are not super-competitive anyway... they show up to meets to have a good time and they train as a hobby... the longevity (or lackof) of the records is a bit disconcerting.

The original poster responds to Tommy:

I guess I don't understand. One minute everyone is talking about "legends" and acting all serious about the sport and the training, but when someone calls up the integrity of the sport you make it sound like it's beer league softball...You HAVE to maintain some sort of consistency otherwise the endeavor has absolutely no merit.


Tommy! Judging by the amount of time you devote to the sport how can you say that this stuff doesn't matter? Who partakes in something without considering it's integrity. And what about celebrating greatness from the past as well?

The issues being discussed in these threads are central to determining the fate of powerlifting. It feels like we're rapidly reaching a crossroads. The explosion and advancement of gear has particularly altered the face of powerlifting and created a significant internal division in the sport. Is there any hope for a unified powerlifting? Will the future see two distinct powerlifting type sports? Whichever side you're on (or even if you don't have one) it's an important time for powerlifting. ADDED: They're also discussing the post at Monster Muscle


Submitted by Stinn on
It is a very important time, I think we are quite rapidly approaching a major turning point. I think powerlifting is growing rapidly and we are about to see it explode, I just hope what emerges from the smoke is a more unified sport. One where when someone breaks a record everyone doesn't shout either "GEAR!" or "BAD JUDGING!", but rather celebrates the individual.

Submitted by admin on

One where when someone breaks a record everyone doesn't shout either "GEAR!" or "BAD JUDGING!", but rather celebrates the individual.

Now wouldn't that be refreshing. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening any time soon. There is far too much division and both sides on the gear issue are pretty entrenched. Many raw purists aren't suddenly going to accept gear and many geared lifters don't want to go back to 'less' gear or none at all. I just hope the explosion you speak of isn't the sport being blown to pieces.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I have only been involved in powerlifitng for about 4 years now. I don't understand all the problems that all you guys are having with each other. One of the guys I train with says he competes against one person at the meets...himself. If you can't reach your own goals, why are you going to try to lift more than someone else. I think powerlifitng should be recognized as a legitimate sport in the USA. So what if we have a million federations, no one wants to agree on the rules. If you want to play, you have to play by somebody's rules, so pick one. I congratulate each lifter on their personal accomplishments and hope to see them return to surpass them. I am involved at the highest level of lifting around, so I have seen big wieghts go up. I have run a monolift for over 1000lb squats. I've yelled at men 2x my size to get them psyched up for their lift. I've yelled at scared teenagers afraid of the wieght and watched the fear disolve into agression. My powerlifing experience has given me a new family to turn to. Friends in places I never thought possible and a lifestyle I WILL NEVER CALL A HOBBY.

Submitted by admin on
Your post really capture the spirit of powerlifting. Well done. Powerlifting is more than a hobby to most in the game. It's a way of life, a passion. And you see that passion emerge when talking about issues within powerlifting as well. Strong men and women, unafraid and passionate will butt heads. It's unavoidable that conflict emerges. But hopefully there's a way to do that while still putting the advancement of powerlifting first.