Contemporary training practices in elite British powerlifters: survey results from an international competition

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Mar;23(2):380-4. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31819424bd.


The primary objective of this study was to investigate current powerlifting training methods in light of anecdotal evidence purporting increased similarity with the explosive training practices of weightlifters. The study also assessed the prevalence of contemporary training practices frequently recommended for powerlifters in the popular literature. A 20-item survey was distributed to 32 elite British powerlifters at an International competition. The subject group included multiple national, international, and commonwealth champions and record holders. Based on 2007 competition results, the average Wilks score of the group was 450.26 +/- 34.7. The response rate for the surveys was 88% (28 of 32). The survey was sectioned into 6 areas of inquiry: a) repetition speed, b) explosive training load, c) resistance materials used, d) adjunct power training methods, e) exercise selection, and f) training organization. The results demonstrate that the majority of powerlifters train with the intention to explosively lift maximal and submaximal loads (79 and 82%, respectively). Results revealed that 39% of the lifters regularly used elastic bands and that 57% incorporated chains in their training. Evidence for convergence of training practices between powerlifters and weightlifters was found when 69% of the subjects reported using the Olympic lifts or their derivatives as part of their powerlifting training. Collectively, the results demonstrate that previous notions of how powerlifters train are outdated. Contemporary powerlifters incorporate a variety of training practices that are focused on developing both explosive and maximal strength.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United Kingdom
  • Weight Lifting* / physiology