Powerlifting 101 with IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson

Powerlifting 101 with IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson

If you’re completely new to the sport of powerlifting, or you simply want to know more about it – you’ve come to the right place.

IFBB professional Johnnie Jackson is a fierce competitor in the sport of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Considered to be one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world (often referred to as a “power bodybuilder”), Johnnie has also enjoyed a successful powerlifting career.

In this post, he discusses the very basics on the sport of powerlifting.

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting consists of three types of lifts: the benchpress, the squat, and the deadlift (in that order). You will be placed into your own weight class to make sure you’re not competing against lifters who are significantly heavier than you. There might be a five to 10-pound difference, but for the most part, you’ll be lifting against competitors around the same weight as you to make it fair all the way around the board.

How Should I Approach Each Attempt?

You’re allowed three attempts for each lift, with each attempt counting as one rep. For your first attempt, your main goal is to get into the meet.

“You don’t want to try and kill yourself with your very first opening lift,” says Johnnie.

If you’re successful on your first attempt, you will increase the weight of your second attempt so that it’s heavier than the first, but not quite your max. Your third attempt will be the heaviest depending on how you feel. Your heaviest attempt will be the one to count against the other lifters in your weight division.

Can I Just Go for My Max on My First Attempt?

Because you must get through your first attempt to enter the meet, you shouldn’t try to go for broke on your first attempt.

“Your first attempt should be simple enough to where it’s almost like a warm-up or a second warm-up,” says Johnnie.

Is There a Correct Way to Lift?

The Benchpress

On the benchpress, you’ll have someone directing you on when to press. While laying on the bench, you’ll take the bar down to your chest. That’s when your spotter or the judge will tell you to press, and you’ll push the weight back up. Then once you’re commanded to rack it, you’ll rack your weight making it a complete and official lift.

The Squat

With the bar and weights on your back, you’ll wait for the command to squat and then go down for a full squat and back up. You’ll wait for the command to rack, then you’ll rack the bar.

The Deadlift

For your last lift, the judge will lift his hand in the air, which signals the start of the lift. After this command, you’ll pick up the bar and weight to a full standing position then set the bar back down to the ground.

“Stay in control. Once you come up with the bar, some people like to just drop the bar, but you can’t,” Johnnie says.

Powerlifting vs Bodybuilding

“Whenever I go into a bodybuilding show, it’s so subjective,” Johnnie says.

Johnnie suggests that nine out of ten times, the outcome won’t be what you want it to be.

In powerlifting however, there is no subjectiveness to it. “If you lift the most, you win the meet. Period,” Johnnie says. “I love that. It don’t get no better than that.”

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