5 Tips from the World of Powerlifting Which Will Boost Your Training

5 Tips from the World of Powerlifting Which Will Boost Your Training

The myth goes that bodybuilders are weak, vain sissies who spend too much time lathering themselves in oil and mincing around in disturbingly small thongs, while powerlifters are a bunch of fat, macho idiots who spend too much time stuffing their faces with pies. It is a myth that is as old as the fitness industry and, like most fitness myths, it is complete and utter bullsh*t.

While the “bodybuilder VS powerlifter” debate still rages on among ape-brained wannabes on internet forums, real bodybuilders and powerlifters are in the gym, learning from one another and becoming better because of it. You only need to look at immensely strong bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman (an ex-powerlifter himself) or cut-up powerlifters like Konstantin Konstantinovs to realise that the two scenes can offer each other a lot of value.

Here are 5 powerlifting tips which all bodybuilders should consider incorporating into their existing regimes. These hacks and tips will make you stronger, less susceptible to injury and able to recover from workouts faster than ever.

#1 Prevent Injury With Partials
In addition to normal, full range of movement (ROM) lifts, powerlifters also add partial lifts into their training mix. Partial lifts, as the name suggests, are lifts with a much smaller ROM, usually in the ¼ of a full rep range. By doing such a small movement, powerlifters are able to lift weights in excess of their usual 1 rep max.

There are many benefits to doing partials – firstly, they dramatically strengthen tendons and connective tissues, which not only make you less susceptible to injury, but also increases sheer strength, which means that you will be able to lift more with better form. As an added bonus, the enormous loads you’ll be hoisting will “shock” your muscles into hypertrophy.

#2 Conditioning with GPP
General Physical Preparedness (GPP) was a central element of old Soviet strength training programmes which have since been used to great effect by powerlifting guru Louie Simmons at the world-famous Westside Barbell gym.

GPP training incorporates various diverse exercises to build overall strength, conditioning and athletic ability. It diversifies workouts, meaning that overworked areas get a much needed break, while supporting muscles (which may not get hit as much with traditional lifts) get worked out.

For bodybuilders, GPP is a great way to cut fat and get in shape for the on-season and competitions. Because most GPP exercises are explosive and intense, they are moderately hypertrophic as well as cardio-intensive, meaning that they are the perfect way to burn fat and maintain muscle. The range of different GPP workouts available also means that it is a fun alternative to slogging your way through a 45 minute treadmill session!

Some great GPP exercises include:

· Strongman training

· Rope climbing and other rope work

· Sled running

· Sledgehammer workouts

· Gymnastic drills

#3 Active Recovery
Although the high(er) rep workouts of many bodybuilders mean that they lift huge volumes of weight during workouts, the heavy individual loads powerlifters lift during a workout means that their central nervous systems and joints get a real battering. As a result, powerlifters need to take recovery seriously if they are to continue lifting and competing.

However, amongst bodybuilders (especially newbies and amateurs) the attitude towards rest and recovery can be a little… casual. Overtraining is possibly the single most destructive thing many bodybuilders do; as well as cutting down muscle gains, overtraining can have a disastrous effect on your joints, overall health and immune system.

However, rest and recovery doesn’t just mean taking time off – by using some active recovery techniques which powerlifters rely on, you can accelerate your own healing, meaning you can push yourself harder than ever in the gym.

Sports massages, acupuncture and cryotherapy are all essential for speeding up recovery and aiding good mobility and biomechanics. The only downside is that these kinds of treatments can be quite expensive. However, denying yourself a couple of boozy nights out or junk food trips will save you enough for a couple of sessions, and have a good effect on your physique.

Louie Simmons, the powerlifting coach we mentioned earlier, attributes a lot of his athletes’ success to myofascial release massage, which he does with foam rollers. Foam roller massages help stimulate growth by increasing blood and nutrient flow into sore muscles and joints. For what they are (foam on a stick) foam rollers can be quite expensive, but you can save a few bob by buying them from discount stores like this one. Even better, if you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can build one yourself for a fraction of the price. Instructions here.

#4 Give Your Joints What They Need
One quick glance at my belly paunch is probably proof enough that I shouldn’t be giving bodybuilders nutrition advice! However, there is one element of nutrition that many bodybuilders neglect – micronutrient joint care.

Your micronutrient intake is a fundamentally important part of recovery, and as lifting weights and living a bodybuilding lifestyle is particularly taxing on your joints, tendons and connective tissues, it is important that you supplement your diet with the vital nutrients you need to recover and repair.

Glucosamine and chondroitin have been scientifically shown to aid recovery, and when combined with MSM and vitamin C, pack a powerful punch. Glucosamine should be taken in the 1,500mg/day region and chondroitin should be taken in the 1,200mg/day region. The amounts should be taken over the course of the day, split between two or three pills.

I recommend the glucosamine & chondroitin all-in-one sup from MyProtein, which you can pick up for less here.

#5 Develop Your Supporting Muscles
All strength athletes will have muscular imbalances which make them weaker and more susceptible to injury. Since bodybuilders spend so much time building a visibly balanced and symmetrical physique, it is unfortunate that this isn’t reflected to the same degree in functional balance.

Powerlifters spend a lot of time training supporting muscles (which are sometimes not even visible) in order to increase all-over strength and support big muscle groups and joints. By adopting some of these training practises, bodybuilders will also become stronger and have better joint support, meaning that they will be less likely to get injured.

The real icing on the cake is that training for balanced strength will be reflected in an even more well-balanced and symmetrical physique, which will really help out any bodybuilder on stage!

Some good examples of supporting strength exercises include:

Hip Thrusts


Sumo Deadlifts

Seated Band Abductions

I hope that you’ll find these 5 tips help with your everyday bodybuilding training. Almost every sport out there probably has something to teach bodybuilders, so get involved in the comment section below and tell us how you incorporate other sports into your fitness and training programmes!

By Scott Masson.
First release
Last update
0.00 star(s) 0 ratings

More resources from Simon