May 25, 2016 Just for discussion's sake, and to get a little philosophical about powerlifting - what constitutes elements of powerlifting programming that are more beneficial to just gym rat powerlifters and competitive powerlifters? Are you in it just to get strong? Are you doing it to be competitive? When I observe someone who exclusively does powerlifting competitions talk about regularly doing 12 reps of deadlifts in one working set ... well, I won't lie to you. I kind of cry a little inside. I created this diagram awhile back to illustrate to some powerlifter peers how to evaluate programming as it relates to one's specific goals. Where do the elements of your program (specific exercises, sets/reps, percentages/RPE, etc.) fall? Hopefully, it's at least in the middle, but I think one can argue that some folks (not necessarily here on the Den) may be doing things that are not advancing them toward their goals. For simplicity's sake, here's the distinction between the extremes: strength training programs and competitive powerlifting programs. Strength Training Program - people who base their lifting around the powerlifting lifts (squat, bench, deadlift) for the purpose of getting stronger (maybe with lesser emphasis on getting bigger) ... so this is different than a bodypart split/bodybuilder type program. Competitive Powerlifting Program - people who compete regularly, pursue records/rankings, always cut weight, the emphasis to their training is making the main three lifts as competitive as possible, etc. Powerlifting Program - people who may be interested in the sport and the big names, but may not compete, or if they do compete it's more for fun at the local meets (don't really try to cut weight that much if at all, not really pursuing records or ranking positions on PowerliftingWatch, etc.) Obviously, you can make the argument that all elements of powerlifting programming can be of benefit to anyone, but that would be lame. And boring. And a conversation-ender. Because logically, there are some programs or programming elements that are very much beneficial to just strength training (such as 1RM maxing out/testing in the gym regularly), and some that are only important for just those who compete regularly (utilizing a peaking/meet prep programming, for example). If we set aside things that would be used for atypical situations (such as, coming back from injury or a long break, or a very rare situation), here are a few obvious examples of programming elements that come to mind which are exclusive to just strength training or just competitive powerlifting: Exclusively Strength Training -- Beltless Squat working sets -- 10+ rep deadlift sets with frequency (not once in a blue moon type of thing) -- 1 RM maxing out/testing in gym with some frequency Exclusively Competitive Powerlifting -- Peaking/Meet Prep programming -- Single Rep working sets -- Emphasis on developing an arch on Bench Press -- Single Ply/Multi-Ply Equipment -- Rarely/Never testing 1RM in gym (coming back from injuries - exception) And here are few more that are probably less obvious (more debatable): Exclusive Strength Training -- Squat Everyday Program -- Paused Deadlifts -- Beltless Deadlift working sets -- 6+ rep Deadlift sets with frequency Exclusive Competitive Powerlifting -- Paused Bench Press -- Belt on Squat/Deadlift Speed Work I have a few others. Just curious if anyone into powerlifting has any thoughts/examples/criticisms/etc.?