Getting Started With Powerlifting: A Beginner’s Guide


Want to get started right away? Skip to our free guide, here.

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a sport centered around showcasing strength. It consists of three foundational lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Athletes compete to lift the maximum weight across these categories. Each lifter is allowed three attempts at each lift, with their best effort being noted. These top lifts are then summed up to produce the lifter’s “total.” The athlete with the highest total emerges as the victor.

Do I Need to Compete to Be a Powerlifter?

No, competing isn’t a prerequisite to being a powerlifter. You can train in the three primary lifts even without competing. Starting your journey is simple – all you require is a barbell, a bench, and some weights. Over time, as you grow more confident with the lifts, you may choose to test your strength in a competition setting.

How to Start Powerlifting

To initiate your powerlifting journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the basic rules. Powerlifting comprises three movements: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Each athlete is granted three attempts at each lift, progressively increasing the weight to achieve their maximum effort. The highest successful lift for each category is then used to calculate the “total.”

For a beginner, the equipment requirement is minimal. A singlet is generally the only necessity for your initial competition. As you advance, you can explore different categories and federations that might require specific equipment.

If you’re not fortunate enough to have a coach, there’s no shortage of online training programs tailored for meet preparation. It’s advisable to dedicate 8 to 12 weeks for meet preparation to ensure peak performance on the day of the competition.

For a comprehensive guide to powerlifting, especially for beginners, consider downloading the Macros Inc Guide to Getting Started in Powerlifting. This guide can provide an in-depth look into the nuances of the sport.

How to start powerlifting: a beginner's guide

Fill out the form to download our free guide to Powerlifting and get started today!

Finding a Competition

Once you’ve settled on a training regimen, the next step is locating a competition. Ideally, opt for a local competition to eliminate travel-related stress. In the U.S., the leading federations are the USPA and USAPL – a good starting point for novice lifters.

Ensuring Success at Your First Meet

Each powerlifting federation has its unique set of rules. Familiarize yourself with these to ensure you meet competition standards. Some universally accepted guidelines include:

  • Squat: Must reach a depth where the knee crease is below the hip joint.
  • Bench Press: Requires a pause on the chest.
  • Lift Commands: Every lift has specific commands issued by the chief referee that must be followed.

For a more immersive understanding, consider watching powerlifting meets on platforms like YouTube to grasp the event’s flow.

Is There a Strength Requirement to Compete?

Absolutely not! Local powerlifting meets are known for their supportive ambiance. Many attendees will be eager to assist and ensure you have a memorable first meet. It’s vital to remember that every champion began as a novice. Every first competition is a stepping stone for growth.

So, if you’re intrigued, head to the gym, perfect those squats, benches, and deadlifts, and look out for a local meet and get started on your powerlifting journey today!

Try Our Nutrition Coaching, For Free!


Be the next success story. Over 25,000 have trusted Macros Inc to transform their health.

Start your 14-day risk-free journey and let's achieve your goals together!

Check out our verified client reviews