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Can powerlifting get you big [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

May 29, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Can powerlifting get you big

Can powerlifting get you big?

Powerlifting can help to get you bigger but will not be the main factor. The main factor is how much you eat. The more you eat the bigger you will become. 
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What is your why 

Before we go I to the details of whether powerlifting can get you big, let me ask you a couple of questions: 
  • Why do you want to get big 
  • Why do you want to powerlift 
  • What when you do 
  • What happens if you don’t 
These questions matter for your life. Take them seriously and answer them with intent. Research shows that people who reflect with intent and write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Many people go about their lives like this: 
  • What do I want 
  • How do I get it 
  • Why do I want it 
Almost everyone knows what they want. Fewer take care of a plan of how to get it. Almost no one reflects on why they want the things they want. If you put the focus on what you want you will run in hundreds of directions and arrive nowhere. Your resources will be spread thin and your time will be scattered around too many tasks. Why you want changes hundreds of times a day based on whom you are with, where you are and what you do. Don’t make this your guiding star. Something interesting happens when you flip these questions on their head: 
  • Why do you want something 
  • How do you get it 
  • What needs to be done 
With this way of thinking your innermost desires will take center stage. Your thoughts and actions will become more connected and focused. This will make success more likely. If you want to know how this works on a psychological level read Daniel Kahneman's book thinking fast and slow. Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle will change your life. 


Powerlifting aims to build the highest possible total. This total consists of three barbell lifts, the bench press, squat, and deadlift. For each lift, you get three attempts to establish the best result for it. The highest weights established for each lift will get summed into your total. 
Another major difference between being in the gym and lifting on a platform is that you get judged. There are three referees observing your lifts. They decide whether the bench press, squat, and deadlift have been performed according to the rules of the federation you compete in. You need two out of the three judges to approve your lifts for them to be counted.
Usually, the bench press contributes 20% of your total while the squat and deadlift add 40% each.
The bigger you are the easier it becomes to lift heavy. Therefore powerlifting creates a bias towards getting bigger and building a lifestyle around it. It does not actively get you big. Diet, genes, and hormones are the main drivers when you want to put on size.

Powerlifting programs to consider

How to get big 

The three main drivers to get big are 
  • Your genes 
  • Your diet 
  • Your hormones 
Your genes determine how big you can potentially grow and how easy it will be for you to put on mass. They will set the playing field for you. It is up to you how much you make of what nature gives you. 
Your diet is what you can influence the easiest for getting big. The more you eat, the bigger you get. Whether that is a desirable outcome is a different question. Bodybuilders and obese people have two things in common. They eat a lot and they are big. What they eat and how they keep track of it is very different. Therefore they also look very different.
The last point is hormones. The more testosterone you have the easier it will be to put on muscle mass. There are natural and artificial ways to increase your testosterone levels. The more you have the more impact your training and diet choices will have.

Can powerlifting get you big 

Powerlifting does not get you big, your body does. This is what many people get wrong about exercise. Exercise will not make you grow and shrink, your body will. You have to look at it holistically to get the desired results. In this approach, frequency, consistency and diet are more important than exercise selection. Diet will always be more relevant to getting big than any for. If exercise. 

Further reading

Topics: Lift stronger, Fitness, Strength, Powerlifting