Powerlifting workshop @ Eau Claire YMCA

Powerlifting Workshop @ ECY

Representatives from the strength & conditioning departments of all 5 branches in the Calgary association gathered Thursday for a powerlifting workshop hosted by nationally ranked strength athlete and representative of the Alberta Powerlifting Union, Elaine Huba. The session was structured around answering the question “how do you progress from lifting recreationally to lifting for competition?” To this end participants enjoyed a morning of technique coaching, the finer points of stepping on stage versus stepping on to the weight floor and a lot of Q&A.

The biggest take-home point from the workshop was that you don’t have to be a 300lb gorilla to get involved in the sport of powerlifting. Elaine has been called “one of the top 50 strongest women in the history of Canadian Powerlifting” and still has people offer to carry her groceries. Training for powerlifting is vastly different to bodybuilding and very few people are exceptional at both. “Training for maximal strength doesn’t make you bulky, it makes you strong” said Elaine during the session, “there’s a big difference”. Plus there are weight classes so you’ll only ever be competing against others’ on the same playing field as you.

The three movements that comprise Powerlifting are the bench press, squat and deadlift. Each of which are full-body exercises and completely safe when performed correctly, even with maximal loads. In competition you are required to perform a single repetition of each movement to strict standards e.g. demonstrating complete control of the weight. This isn’t an overnight process either, there is a lot of preparation work involved in building up to performing a single repetition and it could take months before you’re ready both physically and mentally. “It’s quite daunting to get under a squat bar with the fear that you might not make it back up” says Elaine, “but when you do, when you really work for the lift and accomplish it, the feeling is beyond anything I can describe.”

If you’ve ever considered taking that next step in your training or if you’re simply interested in advancing your technique, talk to one of the strength & conditioning team at your local branch or contact Geoff Starling directly on the email address below.