Lessons in Lifting With The
*I am in no way affiliated with each of these brands. This is solely based off of my experience and the experience of my lifters.
What equipment do I need for powerlifting? This is one of the most common questions I get asked as a coach. In this article we will be looking at this question through the context of raw powerlifting in the USAPL federation. I will not be discussing what kind of gym equipment is needed (barbell, plates, platform, bench, and rack or stands) but rather what gear is needed for optimizing your lifts. The short answer to this question is you don't absolutely NEED anything if your just looking to train as a hobby and not compete. If that is the case, stop reading this article and get your butt in the gym. However, this article is being written in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and you cannot go to the gym, so you might as well continue to read.
What is raw powerlifting? There are many misconceptions here for noob lifters. There are two main categories when signing up for a competition. Equipped and raw. Equipped lifting is a whole different beast that we will not be diving into today, so don't worry about that.
According to the USAPL Lifters Hand Book, raw lifting can be defined as using only the following gear:
Many new lifters believe that raw means they cannot wear any gear, but this is not the case. Although all of the previous gear we've mentioned is allowed, the use of a belt, wrist wraps and knee sleeves is optional. I am going to go through each category of gear and give some basic guidelines needed for competition and some links to different options. If you would like a more detailed guide, here is the link to the USAPL lifters handbook. The handbook is a great resource that every lifter/coach should read through. It not only outlines the gear requirements but goes through rules and regulations for competition, banned substances, etc.
*Keep in mind, some local meets are a little looser on equipment regulations. At nationals, equipment from an IPF approved manufacturer is required. I will include one non IPF approved recommendation with a few categories for those not looking to compete or compete only at the local level.
**If you are only powerlifting for recreational purposes, you will not need a singlet nor do you need to worry about your briefs. With that being said, you should invest in some decent underwear. I had a lifter recently rip his boxers going into the hole during a squat.
Non Supportive Singlet
Why? Singlets are tight fitting and allow the judges to better see your movements. It is also hard to hide anything against the rules under a singlet. If you do not plan on competing, you will not need one.
SBD , Titan , and Inzer.
Why? We don't want you to bleed all over the bar.
Why? Belts can increase performance through bracing. May also decrease injury risk.
Inzer 10 mm or 13 mm not tapered, Strength Shop, SBD, and Lifting Large.
Non IPF Approved Belt Recommendation:
Why? Squat shoes can help with poor ankle mobility and may help with depth when squatting. They also may help you get into a better position during the bench press. Flats or slippers may give you a more balanced squat. Slippers are as flat as you can get and stick to the platform when deadlifting. It all comes down to personal preference and what works best for the individual.
IPF Approved Shoe Recommendations:
Why? Provide more support to the wrist and can help with grip.
Inzer, Titan, and SBD.
Why? Compression from the sleeves will increase blood flow, you'll stay warm longer, may help with recovery, and you'll get a little stronger stretch reflex out of the hole when squatting.
SBD and Stoic.
I hope this was helpful to you as it will serve as a reference for my new lifters. All of this information is from the USAPL Lifters Handbook. Remember, you don't need all of these recommendations to lift, but you will need them to compete. Please leave any additional questions in the comment box and feel free to reach out for any other powerlifting advice.