How to Train the Squat For Both Powerlifting And Weightlifting: Part 1 – Introduction
Powerlifters are not only interested in their strength, but they also want to improve their overall performance. They strive for greater strength, size and speed while maintaining good health. Therefore it is essential that they train with maximal intensity during all phases of training (see Table 1).
Table 1: Training Phases of Powerlifters
Phase Duration Intensity/Duration Volume Volume/Intensity Strength Training 3-6 weeks 5-8 reps 10-20 sets 3-4 times per week Speed Training 2 months 4-5 reps 8-12 sets 2 days per week Power Development 12 months 6+ reps 15+ sets 3 days per week Total Body Maintenance 12 Months 6+ Reps 20+ Sets 3 Days Per Week
The main goal of the lifter is to develop maximum strength and power. However, there are other goals such as developing great technique, increasing muscle mass or improving general fitness. These goals may vary from one individual to another depending on the type of sport he/she plays and the level of competition at which he/she competes.
There are many different types of training programs available for powerlifters; however, most of them focus primarily on strength development. One of the most common types of training used by powerlifters is High Intensity Training (HIT). HIT involves using low repetitions (typically 1-5 reps) with heavy loads (65-90% of 1 rep maximum). The number of sets per exercise depends on the phase of training.
During the first phase, the emphasis is on developing strength and technique so 3-5 sets are performed with 2-3 minutes rest between sets. As training advances and the lifters become more experienced, progressively heavier loads are used and the number of repetitions is reduced to increase the intensity. The goal is to lift as much weight as possible while maintaining good form. Powerlifters typically train each exercise in a superset fashion with little or no rest in between exercises. This allows lifters to perform more work in a shorter period of time.
There are many different types of powerlifting workouts that incorporate different training methods. The two most common types of powerlifting workouts involve:
A. Multiple sets of low repetitions (1-3 reps) with heavy weight (80-100% of 1 rep maximum).
B. Single sets of an exercise with a high number of repetitions (8-12) with a lighter weight (60-80% of 1 rep maximum).
Both these training methods appear to be effective in improving power. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and it is important for each lifter to determine which method is more suitable for his/her needs.
Multiple sets are more tiring and require more effort by the lifter, as each set must be performed with proper technique. Proper technique is more easily lost as fatigue sets in. By using proper lifting technique and maintaining correct positioning, the lifter is less likely to experience injury.
The advantage of single sets is that it allows the lifter to perform more work in a short period of time. This may lead to greater increases in power and strength when compared with multiple sets.
Both training methods are beneficial and it is up to each lifter to decide which method to follow. For those wishing to increase their power without increasing the risk of injury, a multiple-set workout may be more suitable. For those wishing to increase strength and power without worrying about technique, a single set may be the best method.
There are many variations of these types of programs. A program may place greater emphasis on speed, strength, endurance or power. A program may consist of 3-6 sets with 1-5 repetitions per set and 1-3 minutes rest between sets. A typical powerlifting program consists of multiple sets of low repetitions (1-3 reps) with heavy weight (80-100% of 1 rep maximum).
Many organizations have set standards for each lift that their lifters must achieve before being allowed to compete in competition. These organizations range from the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF), World Association of Powerlifting (WAPL), American Powerlifting Federation (APF), United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF) and the World Powerlifting Congress (WPC). The standards are as follows:
A. Squat: The lifter must bend down and rest his/her elbows on the knees while holding the bar. The referee will then instruct the lifter to stand up. The referee will then measure how far the lifter has squatted, from the top of the knees to the floor.
Maximum depth is measured from the top of the knees to the floor.
B. Bench Press: The lifter will lie back on a bench with the feet on the floor and the bar over the chest. The lifter will then lower the bar until it nearly touches the chest and then the referee will instruct the lifter to press it up. When the bar is pressed up, the arms, shoulders, and torso must remain stationary and any movement will result in disqualification.
C. Deadlift: The lifter will stand behind the bar and lift it off the floor until the knees are locked. The arms, torso, and legs must remain motionless and any movement will result in disqualification. The bar may stop momentarily but the lifter must continue to move with continuous motion until the bar is lifted completely off the floor.
D. Weight: The maximum weight for each lifter is the sum of his/her bodyweight in pounds and a number depending on what type of class they are in.
E. Classes: The classes are divided up by weight and gender.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Powerlifting versus weightlifting for athletic performance by MS Chris Moore – Strength and Conditioning Journal, 2007 – search.proquest.com
The epidemiology of injuries across the weight-training sports by JWL Keogh, PW Winwood – Sports medicine, 2017 – Springer
Injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters: a systematic review by U Aasa, I Svartholm, F Andersson… – British journal of sports …, 2017 – bjsm.bmj.com
Weight lifting and training by J Garhammer – Biomechanics of sport, 1989 – books.google.com
Comparison of Olympic vs. traditional power lifting training programs in football players by JR Hoffman, J Cooper, M Wendell… – The Journal of Strength & …, 2004 – researchgate.net
Knee biomechanics of the dynamic squat exercise by RF Escamilla – Medicine & science in sports & exercise, 2001 – institutocefisa.com.br
High-and low-bar squatting techniques during weight-training. by PER Wretenberg, YI Feng… – Medicine and science in …, 1996 – europepmc.org