Just How Interested Are You? Things to Consider Before You Decide to Start Powerlifting

By Danny Bellmore

Just how interested are you? This is a great question to ask when someone shows interest in powerlifting and wanting to get into training for the sport. I remain open, honest, and blunt with anyone that has ever came to me with questions about the sport I have committed myself to for 23+ years.  In return for my honesty, I ask what the person is looking to get out of powerlifting.

Are you interested in competing? If so at what level?

The intent behind this question is to see what this person has in mind for a vision and mission. Some people want to get stronger – and never have any intentions of competing. This non-competitive powerlifting approach is perfectly fine, but the person must understand that there won’t be many people interested in pouring a whole bunch of time into you,  especially when their training partners have their crosshairs on a meet. A person who has the goal of becoming better at their skill and competing will get shown more interest. You don’t want to waste peoples time, so be honest and upfront from the start.

Is this a serious endeavor for you, or are you looking for a past time?

All too often people (especially true of gym cultures) just want to fit in, or just belong to a group. These people tell you what you want to hear so you think they may be serious. This false narrative is easy to figure out early on. The prototypical hobby seeker tends to be all energetic, talking the talk and thinking they fall below the radar.  The only person that being truly lied to is their own self!  This type of nonsense will get called out very quickly.  When the time to shine, they don’t back up their talk and even worse they look for the easy way out – the path of least resistance. Ironic for someone looking to get into powerlifting! These people come to the gym with a gym bag full of excuses as to why they can’t do the work needed to be better.

Team PRS member Jason Kowalewski using Inzer Black Beauty knee wraps

Can you afford to spend on average 10 to 12 hours a week in the gym to hone your skill?

This is something you need to ask yourself. Strength does not come over night and without a large amount of dedication and associated discomfort. Depending on how many people train in a given group, it is common for a training night can to last for somewhere around 2 to 4 hours. Geared lifting takes longer than raw lifting and is dependent on where you are at in your training. Some nights take longer than others and once you’re done lifting, you don’t pack up and head out – it’s your obligation and duty to stay and help the rest of the group. That’s all part of being a teammate. Trust me when I say that your help – or lack thereof – does not go unnoticed. The amount of enthusiasm that you show will be a huge factor on the amount of help you will receive in return.

Are you looking to be a raw lifter, or equipped lifter?

All lifters start off raw. I am of the firm belief that gear should be introduced once the individual has a good foundation and knowledge base. Raw lifting has less of an expense, but there is still some equipment needed. If your intensions are to switch over to gear there is a decent expense that goes along with this move. Often there are people in the gym that will sell you their hand me downs at a decent price. Without the hand me down trials, new gear can get very expensive very quickly.

What are you willing to give back?

As said earlier, powerlifting takes time…a lot of time. There will be times when you will have to sacrifice other things to train, but mostly your free time. During the off season, you generally can be more flexible with your time, but also you need to take other people’s training into consideration. Just because you are not training for a meet does not mean you can check out! You may have a teammate who is prepping for one and once again you must rise and meet the expectations of the team. The sport and the team are always bigger than any one person.

The sport of powerlifting is growing, there is no denying that. Before jumping in feet first, ask yourself these questions, and if you are ready for a commitment.

Back pain, or  serious injury hindering your performance? Order a copy of Gift of Injury today. The remarkable story of an athlete went from 1100 lb squats and 800 lb deadlifts to unending pain and disability after a massive spinal compression injury and his fight to the back to the top of the podium.


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Danny Bellmore

Danny has been involved in powerlifting since 1994. The first swing at a career was short lived due to a major back injury in 1999 that resulted in a 3-level spinal (lumbar) fusion. At that point, he took a 10-year break. Avoiding the gym all together because his body, and back, just never felt right. In 2010, Danny went to handle a good friend at a local meet. That experience re-ignited the fire within and he was back under the bar, never looking back. Danny established an elite total at my first meet back in 2010 and then accomplished a win at the 2012 APF Masters Nationals. Through his win at the APF Masters, he was training using the Conjugate Method, but he wanted a change. He needed a change. Danny reached out to a friend who stated that Brian and the Samson Barbell crew had it going on. In the process of connecting with Brian, he has endured a few setbacks. During our initial discussions, he had torn my rotator cuff and labrum, along with a separated AC joint. The surgery did not "take" and just nine months later, he was back under the knife for a "do-over." During the healing process, he had lost feeling and strength in my right arm. Being pig headed, he waited and waited. My choice to remain stubborn backfired, and I was back in the OR for another spinal (cervical) fusion. Now healed, and a few years under Brian, Danny’s total has moved to 1871 @ 165. He doesn’t like to predict or talk about goals, but he wants more, and feels like he has more. Plans now are to compete at the Senior Nationals in Jacksonville, Florida this June.
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