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Old 03-21-2014, 10:28 AM   #1
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Default When is someone, according to you, a 'powerlifter'?

I just watched this video by Lobliner about competing in bodybuilding and how 'it fucking sucks'. What I found interesting is that contrary to what a lot of other people often say, according to him you can be 'a bodybuilder' without competing in bodybuilding.

I've often heard things like you're not a powerlifter untill you've competed, but why do people think that? Isn't someone who's trying to get as strong as possible through getting a bigger 3 lift total a powerlifter? I've been squatting, deadlifting and bench pressing for more than a year now and it's the best, I don't see myself giving them up. It's what I base my entire training program around. But I'm not so sure I want to compete in powerlifting. I've had a lot of fun doing strongman events lately. I have friends who also focus their training on their powerlifting total, but have no interest in neccesarily competing in a powerlifting comp.

Keep in mind that where I live (the Netherlands) powerlifting barely exists and there's basically like 2-3 small meets each year (with maybe 15 people competing at them), and that's it.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:34 AM   #2
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To me, as soon as you center your training around getting stronger on the big 3 then that makes you a powerlifter.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #3
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It's complex, to some degree.

As PLers have said, when you take part in a meet, your totals for that day and that day alone count, whereas a person that lifts for strength (PLer) and does those same 3 lifts in the gym, either on separate occasions or on the same day, without the pressure of a meet, may total more than they would at a meet; I think this is the main reason that people tend to say a PLer is a PLer once they compete.

Personally, I feel if a person says they train (as opposed to working out) a set style, that's fine by me; a person then either competes within that set style or doesn't which is a personal choice, sometimes based on many factors, and makes no difference, at least not to me.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:43 AM   #4
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Bodybuilding used to be an activity, and not just a sport. Back in my day if you were building muscle, you were "bodybuilding". I still look at it as such.

Powerlifting, on the other hand, is a sport. You can be training for your first powerlifting meet, but in my opinion, to be a powerlifter you must have competed.

Saying "I am a swimmer" implies you swim. Saying "I am a powerlifter" implies you have competed.

I don't get hardcore over this stuff. Merely mentioning how I interpret things.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
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I generally echo Babs and Steve's thoughts. After I competed at my first meet, I felt more like a powerlifter, sort of like it was "official". I had a total that was judged and deemed within the rules of the sport.

Indeed, lifting at a meet is nothing like lifting during regular training - sort of like a pro athlete will usually tell you the playoffs are not the same as the regular season.

Steve encouraging me to compete was a life changing decision, all for the better, and is something I will never forget.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:33 AM   #6
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When I think powerlifter I think of one that competes in the sport. If I am talking to someone about lifting and they ask about my routine I may say that my training type is more powerlifting based, but I don't consider myself a powerlifter.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:26 PM   #7
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You're a powerlifter when you eat 2lbs of mashed potatoes in a sitting and cry into them while you are eating.

Just kidding. I'd say it is when you compete in a sanctioned meet. That's where the line is, but I am not a stickler for that line.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:54 PM   #8
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I don't consider anyone to be a powerlifter unless they've competed as one. Likewise, with bodybuilders - they're the guys who've been up on the stage, posing before judges.

But there's room in this world for diverse opinions. So it goes.


edit: Hence, accordingly, I don't refer to myself as a powerlifter, or a bodybuilder. A "powerbuilder", maybe. Heh.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:37 PM   #9
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When you compete. The following is an excerpt from a column I write on the NASA site. I addressed this very question concerning one's first meet:

It takes a ton of courage to strap on a singlet or squat suit, listen for your name two deep, begin wrapping up, chalk up and walk onto the platform in front of strangers. If this is your first meet you may be alone…belonging to none of the ever-present clicks at the meet, wondering just what you are doing there, approaching the bar, reminding yourself to wait for the command, lifting the weight from the uprights, realizing these weights feel heavier than you anticipated, step out, set up, wait, wait, wait for the command, hear the words “squat”, descend, dang…I’m going slower than in the gym, fight for depth, drive up…almost too fast, fight your balance at the top of the lift, hear the words “rack it”, stubble into the rack, look at the lights….two whites. You fight the grin off your face. You hear the local know-it-all in the warm-up…”ask about your red light”. You don’t. At this moment you don’t care for nothing. You’re a powerlifter. You hear them call you to the scoring table. You’re late with your second attempt. You give it and away you go….participating in a powerlifting meet.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:40 PM   #10
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Typically I would say until you do a meet, you are training for powerlifting. Really though, I don't care what people call themselves. Just as long as they know a gym total and a meet total are two very different things.
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