5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Powerlifting

By: Brian Carroll

Why do we get in to this sport? Is if for glory? Is it to step on stage and prove your self as a lifter? Or maybe we do this because we have run our athletic course in our primary sports but there is still a fire that burns inside to keep the competitive juices flowing. Either way, we start powerlifting for a reason and that reason is as individual as the sport. Yet powerlifting is not like any sport I have ever competed in and like any sport, there are things I wish I knew before I got started. Here are some of mine:

1. It will get very hard once the initial gains are realized. Yes, you will make that big jump you once you start to the get the hang of something or beginners luck – whatever you want to call it and then BAM. The inevitable wall that everyone crashes into. My wall was when I blew from 2,006 total in October of ‘04 to 2,376 in November of ’06. Then it got hard and I spun my wheels until 2008. Gains are not linear so be prepared to have stalls in progress. Most aren’t ready for this and it really hurts them and some end up quitting. Now you must work very hard and even more efficiently. Not just harder, but smarter and more efficiently. Simply saying harder could be too much on your body. I understand ‘seize the day’ but what’s the rush? Do it correctly.

2. Enjoy the rough patches because this is what you learn from. I’ve said this a lot, you don’t learn from being successful, it reinforces what you know or what you think you know. Failure is the best teacher, Pain teaches you.


3. Enjoy the good times even more. Once you’ve experience some very hard times, it will make you appreciate the rough times. It will make the accomplishments and victories both small and large that much more sweet. Learn to enjoy it but NEVER let your highs be too high and not let your lows become too low. Even-steven, level headed and keep focused!

4. Be prepared for injuries. If you lift enough heavy weight for enough time you WILL get hurt. It’s just how it works. Some more than others but the injury fairy will visit you, trust me. The silver lining is getting hurt will make you train smarter OR end you. It’s really up to you how you respond. I’m a better lifter for being hurt many times over the years!

5. Compete 2x per year and no more unless you are forced to. In 2000 I read (NOTE – ‘read’, didn’t sink in) Ed Coans powerlifting book and saw how he didn’t compete too often unless he had to but 1-2x per year. Nationals and worlds pretty much. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and put your all into each competition prep and make the most of each competition you do. You only have SO many in you, treat each one as if you aren’t promised many more – which you aren’t. One day it will not be there, so make the most of what God has blessed you with. I’m living this now 100%.


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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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Brian Carroll

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Brian Carroll

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