Benefits of Powerlifting – Why Lifting Heavy Weights is Beneficial

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You don’t have to be a powerlifter to achieve many great benefits from powerlifting workouts. I train all types of clients from housewives to the sports-minded individuals. Anyone who wants to improve athleticism can benefit from powerlifting. Yes, even the average everyday person whose goal is to improve the quality of their daily functionality can and will benefit from powerlifting exercises. By building your strength and power through lifting weights, as well as pushing and pulling movements, this will improve your strength for the different tasks you take on each day. This doesn’t mean you have to lift as much as a competitive powerlifter, just enough to provide the great benefits this type of strength training provides.

I am a 2x World Champion Female Master’s Powerlifter and a 4x National Champion Female Master’s Powerlifter. I started at the age of 40 and have been in the sport now for 15 years off and on. I only take a break when I switch over to do figure shows since this gives my body a break from heavy lifting and also refreshes my mind. Powerlifting training added muscle to my body to allow me to step on stage competing against women in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. I was able to strip away the extra pounds in powerlifting I had put on to help me lift heavy weights for the platform and to showcase amazing muscle at the age of 50 for figure contests. Not many women at 50 will carry the amount of muscle I carry if they are not participating in weight training. I was able to compete at the age of 50 in my first figure show and took 1st place in the following categories:

  • 1st in the Open Class
  • 1st in the Novice Class
  • 1st in the Master’s Over 40 Class

powerlifting-benefits-squats

I was able to bring home the title of 2009 OCB Figure Overall Winner! I did this standing next to other competitors on stage who were 10-25 years younger than myself. I was actually the oldest competitor on stage! This accomplishment and placing at this show was due to my years in the sport of powerlifting and continual weight training. Do not be afraid to lift heavy or to lift at all. We will lose muscle every year and the benefits of weight lifting or resistance training far exceed the results of not lifting at all.

Don’t buy into the image of powerlifters being overweight, out of shape and moving slowly. That’s not to say that there aren’t those who are carrying around a little more body fat but today we are seeing more and more of the fit and athletic type of powerlifters. These are the deeply muscled physique powerlifters, as well as teens, women and men of all ages. Different weight ranges, body types and overall sizes are coming into the sport. Powerlifting continues to grow and over time it will bring in even more women each and every year.

I would like to point out something specifically to the ladies. When it comes to powerlifting or lifting heavy, you will not get huge and transform yourself into looking like a man, nor will you start to look manly over time by powerlifting. To achieve that look you would have to use steroids and other anabolic-androgenic hormones. Women naturally do not carry the amount of muscle a man does due to the lack of these muscle building hormones. There are women who have crossed over and look more male than female due to their choice of using steroids. These ladies are chemically enhanced and do not represent the natural powerlifters who train drug-free. I’ve been in this sport for 15 years now and still look like a lady.

Powerlifting exercises (squats, bench presses, deadlifts and assisted exercises) can help you build a nice foundation of muscle, as well as increasing your overall strength levels over time. This sport will assist in adding more muscle in less time than doing a ton of light weight, fluffy reps and sets which are usually found in your normal gym type workout routines. There are other great bonuses to lifting weights and training hard in the sport of powerlifting. You could try the world of powerlifting by going to a competition and be delighted to find a new world of great people. The people you will meet will have a common bond, which is the bond of the IRON.The camaraderie you find in powerlifting is amazing. Everyone is pulling for the lifters while encouraging them with every lift.

If you decide to give powerlifting a try, you will compete against those in your age group and weight class. You could get the opportunity to set State, National, American and even World records!

powerlifting-benefits-federations

Each federation (approximately 25 to 30 today) has its own website for posting upcoming events and their current meet records. Natural athletes can look for specific “drug-free federations”. There are both non-drug tested and drug tested federations out there, so be sure to check the rules, guidelines and so on when considering a possible future meet. You’ll find that powerlifting meets are very affordable compared to some sports or events.

I also love that I can have one of my favorite foods when competing in the sport of powerlifting. The night before I lift at a meet I am able to carb-load with pasta and lots of it. This is something I cannot afford to do for a figure show. In figure competitions, I cut carbs and in powerlifting, I load up on carbs. These are two very different sports entirely.

I would highly recommend powerlifting or heavy weight lifting to men and women alike. This includes the ladies looking to enter their first show whether it’s bikini, figure, physique or bodybuilding. Women competing in any of these areas will benefit greatly from powerlifting and resistant training with weights.

Below you will see a photo of my physique when I was competing in a figure show. The muscle on my frame can be achieved and I was able to build this amount of mass as a woman who is over 50 years old. This is due to my consistency with weight training as I do powerlifting meets six months of the year and the other six months are dedicated to figure shows. Staying active in powerlifting helps to keep most of my hard-earned muscle for figure contests when I diet down for 4-6 months to get ready for a show.

powerlifting-benefits-muscle

I’ve lifted in three weight classes in powerlifting which include the 181 pound class, the 165 pound class and the 148 pound class. I found that the excess weight I used to carry for my upper end weight classes was not necessary. I am just as strong pound-for-pound today at 145 pounds as I was in the 165 pound, and 181 pound class. This shows that you can still be strong without carrying around the extra weight, as long as it’s lean muscle and not body fat on your physique.

Benefits of Powerlifting:

  • Increasing strength is the first and most obvious benefit.
  • Developing your sense of balance.
  • Increases stability and encourages the body to work effectively under stress by lifting maximum weights.
  • Power comes from the intense heavy lifting that will improve all of these areas over time and also provide advantages in your everyday activities. Great examples include lifting groceries, pushing a lawnmower, getting up and down off the floor, getting in and out of chairs, as well as staying independent longer into your golden years.

You can see from the information above, there are many wonderful reasons and positive benefits for including powerlifting into your overall fitness program.

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About Author

Eleanora Reeves

My name is Eleanora and I'm a personal trainer and the owner of Reeves Fitness Center in Urbana, Illinois. I'm able to reach others through my healthy lifestyle and help them reach their fitness goals. I live the life in which I talk about with confidence and with passion! See my profile page for more information.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Great article, the benefits of powerlifting and weight training are so many. Yet, try telling any woman that it will help build muscle naturally (I do not advocate drugs) and they will look at you with horror. Even though they admit that they don’t like looking at themselves in the mirror, especially without clothes on. Women and men who make lifting part of their lives will always continue to reap the rewards right into advanced age. I actually know of women who prefer to keep their weight down by starvation. The number on the scale might be low but it wouldn’t be a good look once they get a bit older and their spine collapses with osteoporosis.

    • Avatar

      I totally agree with you Helen, I see it every day and hear this over and over. Women have bought into the old thinking of ” Heavy weight lifting will make them look like a man” Again I have been in the sport many years and have reap benefits that are amazing due to the weight lifting and resistance training. I am not saying that they need to go to the extreme of powerlifting, but I am saying they need some form of weight or resistance training to keep muscle as they age. This is so important, not to mention all the other wonderful things that will come from weight lifting.

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