Classic Powerlifting Performance: A Systematic Review

J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Jul;33 Suppl 1:S194-S201. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003099.


Ferland, PM and Comtois, AS. Classic powerlifting performance: A systematic review. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2019-The purpose of this study was to review all scientific publications related to able-body drug-tested classic powerlifting performance since January 1, 2012, and to regroup them into a brief narrative review. Three electronic databases were systematically searched in August 2018 using the wildcard: powerlift*. A manual search was performed from the reference list of all retained articles. The search and selection strategy permitted to gather a total of 16 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Results show that practitioners should prioritize a low-bar squat and a wide grip bench press because they generally contribute to moving greater loads, bring more attention to preventing injuries, since a fair amount of powerlifters seem to train injured and prioritize a hypertrophy-power-strength model when prescribing 3 times a week daily undulating periodization on nonconsecutive days for squat and bench. Practitioners could also introduce respiratory muscle training, use daily 1 repetition maximum training combined with down sets on experienced athletes and use a rate of perceived exertion scale based on repetitions in reserve combined with an individual velocity profile when prescribing intensity. Before competition, powerlifters seem to taper in this order: the deadlift, the squat, and lastly the bench press. The Slingshot does help to move more weight because it helps to generate more inertia, but it also deactivates the triceps. Finally, the present work was limited by the present literature but could serve as a reference in the field of powerlifting. Further research should include more details about the circumstances under which they were conducted.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance*
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*