5 Equipped Lifting Tips

By: Brian Carroll

1. Have an alterations’ specialist on speed dial to adjust your fit of equipment. I use a guy that sews car upholstery/refurbishes old cars and he can take in or out any piece of gear you throw at him for a good price too with tough nylon stitching. Don’t take it your grandma for an adjustment. I suggest once you find your go-to, you make nice with him or her and take care of them with tips, treats and all kinds of ass-kissing. They could literally save your training cycle or meet.

2. Plan out your training with thought and purpose. Use the 10/20/Life principles and schedule your heavy equipped days for when you’re sure that your crew/training partners will be around to help spot, get you in the gear and push you when you need to be pushed. Treat them right, especially since it’s likely that they will have to stay later or even come when they were potentially going to take a day off. These guys and girls could save your training cycle, meet prep, and even your life.

3. Don’t only lift in gear always and forever. You need to train raw, especially in the offseason to ensure that you keep a good raw base and can get the most carryover. One can become soft, weak, flat, and small if they only lift-equipped. Find the correct balance that works for you. Even if you have injuries to work around and have to go ‘lighter’, that’s ok. Get the work in, produce some hypertrophy, and keep your raw strength at a certain level to help keep the gains coming.


Benching 800lbs at the 2015 Arnold

4. Don’t start off in gear, build a base. Learn the technique. If you can’t squat raw with good form, don’t expect it to be fixed by adding briefs and a pair of wraps. This is a big one: if you can’t bench 95lb, squat 225, or pull 275 and you’re a dude, you need to spend some time getting strong and have something to work with prior to trying to bench 200lb, squat 315 or pull 365. It takes time to get strong. As I say in 10/20/Life – strength is a lifetime process and will not happen overnight. Lifting gear is no exception.

5. Don’t ever try to do it alone; you can’t and it’s dangerous. I’m sure you’ve seen the accident’s and highlight reels of squatters bailing on a bar because their knees shoot in, bars rolling off ones back, mono’s flipping, bench presses ending up on one’s face and deadlifters flying backward into a wall, rack or even a deadlift jack. You need people’s watchful eye, support, safety, and encouragement to be at your best. Never underestimate it.

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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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