Will powerlifting destroy your body?
Always consult a doctor before embarking on strenuous exercise. Powerlifting will not destroy your body, you will. Most of the times body crushing and injuries go back to the carelessness of the athlete and not to the sport. Especially in powerlifting as there is no one else to hurt you in this sport except yourself.
What is your why
Before we go into the details of whether powerlifting will destroy your body, let me ask you a couple of question:
Why do you want to powerlift
Why do you want to get stronger
What happens when you do
What happens if you don’t
These question will make the difference between your success and failure. Research shows that people who intentionally plan and execute on their goals are more likely to achieve them. Sit down and write the answers to these questions down. Many people go about their lives like this:
What do I want
How do I get it
Why do I want it
This way of thinking will set you up for failure. What you want will change hundreds of times a time. Focusing on this will make you run in a hundred directions and arrive nowhere. You will spread your time and resources thin. Something interesting happens when you flip the running order of these questions:
Why do you want something
How do you get it
What needs to be done
With this change, you will change from a consumer to a producer mindset. Your innermost desires will be center stage. Your thoughts and actions will become more connected and focused. This will result in a happier and more productive life. 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 price of being an athlete
The price of being an athlete is some pain. It does not matter whether you are a runner, swimmer, martial artists or yoga practitioner. Any kind of sports that produces notable results will challenge your body and produce some discomfort. No pain, no gain. To effect change you have to push out of your comfort zone. This will at times mean that you get ill or injured.
Powerlifting aims to establish the highest possible total out of three lifts, the bench press, squat, and deadlift. For each lift, you get three attempts to lift the highest possible amount of weight. The best attempt of each lift gets summed up for your total.
The bench press is the most commonly known lift of the three. It usually makes up roughly 20% of your total. The squat usually contributes roughly 40%. Same goes for the deadlift.
Another major difference from lifting in the gym is that there are three judges. These judges will observe your lift and decide whether it was performed according to the rules of your association. You need two out of three judges to approve your lift. If you want to compete, check the rules beforehand and practice the lifts accordingly.
Powerlifting can be strenuous on your wrists. Especially the bench press can create problems in this area. To avoid this it is important that you keep your wrists as straight as possible during the bench press. This also has the be fit that it puts you in the strongest position to bench press more. Another way to protect yourself is wrist straps. If you use them to try to incorporate them only in your heaviest sessions and attempts. Otherwise, you might create a structural weakness and become dependent on them.
Your shoulders can be affected by the bench press and squat. There are powerlifters who have problems with their shoulder rotation after years of training. Especially the ones who lift equipped. The bench shirts and squat suits enable you to overload your body as it gets artificially enhanced. This overload usually shows the most on your weakest parts of your skeletal structure, the joints. A way to protect your shoulders is to incorporate belt squats in your training to take off load form your upper body for training your legs. For the be chasing press you can swap for barbell rows instead of the bench press as this is usually an underutilized movement in programs.
The most famous elbow injury is a tennis elbow. You can get this from overuse of the area. The bench press is the movement that most likely will lead to a tennis elbow when done too often. There is no real way around this by changing the movement. If this occurs, stop be chasing pressing until you recover. Voltarol usually helps in recovery.
The knees can be affected by poor squat form. Under heavy loads usually one of your knees starts to slightly shift as most legs are balanced. This means that one side of your body is stronger than the other. The source of these asymmetric strength developments is usually mobility problems in the ankles and hips. The best way to fix this risk is to work on your ankle and hip mobility. Once you have the mobility put in some technique work at 60% of your one rep max. A for perfect form with stable knees.
The deadlift is usually the culprit for injuries in the lower back. The squat can also contribute to this. The biggest impact has lifting with a rounded back. This puts extra pressure on your spine and can make things pop. These injuries are painful and might even end up in surgery. To avoid these injuries stretch, execute the deadlift with perfect form and listen to your body.
The deadlift can also scrape your shins. A good deadlift will stay as close as possible to your body. This means that on some attempts it will scrape of the sling from your shins. Apply chalk in these areas to avoid this. However, this maximizes the mess you make. So be picky on when you apply chalk.
Will powerlifting destroy your body
Powerlifting will not destroy your body, poor choices will. Yes, powerlifting puts your body under more stress than sitting on the coach. Yes you will get minor injuries from training. Will you end up with screws in your spine and a replaced hip from powerlifting? Yes if you are extreme or stupid. The worst injuries usually get back to someone having too much ego or being careless in their safety precautions.