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Can powerlifting make you lean? [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jul 16, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Can powerlifting make you lean

Can powerlifting make you lean?

Powerlifting will not make you lean. Your lifestyle and diet will. Watch out for your nutrition first and add exercises second to get lean. 

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What is your why 

Before we go into the details of whether powerlifting will make you lean, let me ask you a couple of questions: 
  • Why do you want to get lean? 
  • Why do you want to powerlift
  • What when you do? 
  • What happens if you don’t?
These questions are important to determine whether you will be successful or not. Research shows that people who reflect on and write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Get out your notepad and write down your goals. Many people go about their lives like this: 
  • What do I want 
  • How do I get it 
  • Why do I want it 
With this approach, you are setting yourself up for frustration and confusion. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. It highly depends on who you are with, where you are and what you do. If you focus on what you want you will run in a hundred directions and arrive nowhere. Your resources will be spread thin and time scattered between multiple activities. 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 
This way you will focus on what is essential to your success and happiness. Your actions and thoughts will become more connected. This will make you more successful and less stressed. If you want to know how this works on a psychological level read Daniel Kahneman's thinking fast and slow. Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle will change your life. 


The sport of powerlifting aims to establish the biggest total out of three lifts. These lifts are the bench press, squat, and deadlift. For each lift, you will get three attempts to establish the highest weight. The best attempt for each lift gets summed up into your total. 
Usually, your total consists to 20% out of the bench press and 40% for the squat and deadlift each. A big difference to lifting in the gym is that in powerlifting your lift gets judged by three referees. These judges sit at different angles from you to see whether the lift has been performed according to the rules of the federation you compete in. 
Being lean on powerlifting does not give you any extra advantage. Looking pretty and shredded does not matter in powerflitng. The only advantage you can get out of being lean is that you go to a weight class down and maximize muscle for your height to compete better. 

Powerlifting programs to consider

How to get lean 

If you want to get lean your aim is to move your body fat percentage below 10%. This usually results in having a shredded physique. Abs are made in the kitchen and usually not in the gym. 

Can powerlifting make you lean

No, powerlifting itself will not make you lean. Your body will if you feed it right. Powerlifting creates a bias towards being strong and packing on muscle. Being lean is irrelevant. 

Topics: Lift stronger, Fitness, Strength, Powerlifting, Diet