Powerlifting, a strength sport that involves three major lifts – the squat, bench press, and deadlift – has gained immense popularity over the years. While the sport might appear simple at first glance, its success lies in mastering the fundamentals. Jessica Pfund looks at the different lifts and explores the key principles that form the foundation of success in this discipline.

Young fitness woman with slim type of body doing exercises by using barbell.

The Fundamental Lifts

Mastering powerlifting’s fundamental lifts requires attention to key details. Focus on proper technique, bracing your core, and achieving depth in the squat. For the bench press, emphasize grip width, a solid setup, and controlled movements. In the deadlift, prioritize form, setup, and sequencing, engaging your back, hips, legs, and grip for a successful lift.

Fundamental Principles Of Powerlifting

Powerlifting is not only a physical endeavor but also a mental and strategic one. You must grasp and integrate certain fundamental principles into your training and approach to truly excel in this strength sport. Let’s delve deeper into these principles:

Consistency: The Bedrock Of Progress

Consistency is the backbone of any successful powerlifting journey. Regular training sessions allow your body to adapt to the demands of lifting heavy weights and build strength gradually over time. Skipping workouts or constantly changing your routine can hinder progress. Develop a training schedule that you can stick to and progressively increase the intensity, volume, or weight as your body adapts.

Progressive Overload: Gradually Pushing Limits

The principle of progressive overload is simple: you need to progressively increase the weight you lift to get stronger. This continuous challenge ensures your muscles constantly adapt to new stress levels, leading to growth and increased strength. However, avoid making drastic jumps in weight, as it could lead to injuries. Instead, aim for small, incremental increases in weight over time.

Recovery: Where Growth Happens

Recovery is often underestimated but is equally as important as the actual training. Your muscles don’t grow during workouts; they grow during the recovery phase. Prioritize sleep, as it’s essential for muscle repair and growth. Adequate nutrition, including a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, is crucial for providing your body with the building blocks it needs. Additionally, incorporating rest days into your routine gives your muscles time to recover and prevent burnout.

Mind-Muscle Connection: Enhancing Technique

Developing a strong mind-muscle connection involves focusing on the specific muscles you work during a lift. This heightened awareness enhances your technique and enables you to engage the targeted muscles more effectively. Visualization techniques can help you mentally rehearse your lifts, improving motor patterns and overall performance. This principle prevents injury and optimizes your lifts for better results.

Seeking Feedback: The Path To Improvement

No lifter is an island. Seeking feedback from experienced powerlifters and coaches or even recording and reviewing your lifts can be tremendously beneficial. Constructive criticism can highlight areas for improvement that you might not notice on your own. A fresh perspective can help you fine-tune your technique, identify weak points, and optimize your training plan.

Smart Programming: Planning For Success

Effective programming is like a roadmap to your powerlifting goals. It involves designing a well-structured training plan that considers your workouts’ frequency, intensity, and volume. Periodization, or dividing your training into cycles with varying levels of intensity and focus, is a key aspect of smart programming. It prevents plateaus, reduces the risk of overtraining, and ensures you peak at the right time for competitions.

Mindset And Mental Toughness: Building Resilience

Powerlifting requires mental strength as much as physical strength. Developing a positive and determined mindset is crucial. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and learn from setbacks. Mental toughness helps you push through difficult training sessions and overcome the fear of failure. Visualization and goal-setting techniques can keep you motivated and focused on your journey.


Powerlifting isn’t just about raw strength but mastering the fundamentals to unlock your full potential. Whether you’re a novice lifter or a seasoned pro, the key building blocks of powerlifting remain constant: technique, form, and consistency. Jessica Pfund says by understanding and refining these fundamental aspects, you can make incredible progress on your powerlifting journey while minimizing the risk of injury. So, remember to squat deep, bench with control, and deadlift with precision – these foundational principles pave the way for powerlifting success.

Published by HOLR Magazine.