person powerlifting in gym

The Beginner’s Guide to Powerlifting

Powerlifting is not just a sport, it's a way of life. No really, just ask any powerlifter. Actually, you won’t even have to ask. But seriously, it requires dedication, determination, and a strong mindset. In this beginner’s guide, we are giving you a glimpse into the world of powerlifting. But we’re not going to leave you hanging, we’re providing all the information you’ll need to get started. Whether you’re an aspiring athlete or simply looking to improve your overall strength and fitness, powerlifting can offer a huge range of benefits for people of all ages and backgrounds. Disclaimer: It will require a can-do attitude, among a few other things. But we’ll get into that.

Understanding Powerlifting: The Basics

So, what is powerlifting? Powerlifting is a strength-based sport that involves three main lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. The goal in powerlifting is to lift as much weight as possible in each of these three lifts, with the total weight of all three adding up to your overall score. With us so far?

Powerlifting is sometimes confused with other strength-based sports like bodybuilding and weightlifting, but there are some key differences. Let’s go over those.


Bodybuilding focuses on developing a specific aesthetic physique. Think chiselled abs and bulging biceps. This is achieved through a lot of muscle-isolating exercises and strict dieting, especially when in comes to competing. However, when it comes to powerlifting, this sport primarily focuses on building overall strength in the three main lifts. The goal isn’t aesthetics. Although you may find a mirror around a powerlifter, but for very different reasons.


Weightlifting involves moves like the snatch and clean & jerk, which are technical lifts that do require speed, explosiveness and flexibility. However, powerlifting is more focused on slow and controlled movements to lift maximum weight. 

Getting Started with Powerlifting

Thinking about getting straight into it? Press pause for a second. Before jumping into your first powerlifting session, it is important to have the right mentality. Because mentality is probably a good 50% of it. Powerlifting can be a challenging and demanding sport, but with the right mindset, you can achieve your goals. Here are some tips for beginners:

  • Set realistic goals: It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in your powerlifting journey. Start with small, achievable goals and work your way up.

  • Find a coach or mentor: Having someone who is experienced in powerlifting can greatly benefit your training. They can provide guidance, technique advice, and help you set realistic goals.

  • Choose the right gym: Look for a gym (or space) that caters to powerlifters and has all the necessary equipment for your training. Having a supportive community of fellow powerlifters can also make your journey more effective.

Common Mistakes When Beginning Powerlifting

When starting powerlifting, enthusiasm and eagerness can sometimes lead to common mistakes. These errors can hinder progress, increase the risk of injury, and affect long-term success in the sport. Here are some of the most frequent missteps beginners make:

  • Lifting too heavy too soon: It’s critical to start with lighter weights and focus on mastering proper form and technique before increasing the weight. This will help prevent injury in the beginning stages.

  • Neglecting warm-up and cool-down: Skipping proper warm-ups and cool-downs can lead to injuries and hinder your progress. Again, in any sport or training session, stretches are crucial.

  • Ignoring recovery and rest days: Rest days are just as important as training days. Your body needs time to recover and repair in order to progress. So, forget that ‘no days off’ mentality because that can lead to injury and burnout.

  • Not tracking progress: It’s important to keep track of your lifts, weights, and progress over time. This will help you see how far you’ve come and make necessary adjustments to your training over time.

  • Comparing yourself to others: Everyone has a different starting point and journey in powerlifting. Focus on your own progress and don’t compare yourself to others. As they say, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’.

Essential Gear and Equipment for Powerlifting

Having the right gear and equipment is crucial for a successful powerlifting journey. Don’t skip this part. Here are some essential items every beginner should have:

  • Powerlifting shoes: These shoes have a flat sole, providing a stable base for lifting. They also provide ankle support, which is important for squatting and deadlifting. We don’t want any busted-up ankles.

  • Wrist wraps: Wrist wraps can provide extra support and stability for your wrists during heavy lifts. So, if you have weaker wrists, these will be a game-changer when you start picking up that bar.

  • Knee sleeves or knee wraps: These can help alleviate knee pain and provide compression for added support during squats.

  • Lifting belt: A good lifting belt provides additional core stability during heavy lifts, reducing the risk of injury.

  • Chalk: Chalk can improve your grip and prevent slipping during lifts. It’s especially useful for deadlifts and heavy bench presses. This is great stuff if you get sweaty palms easily.

To check out some of these essential accessories, head to our Training and Sports Accessories  collection online or head to your local ASN store.

Basic Nutrition Guidelines for Powerlifters

Nutrition plays a crucial role in any athlete's training regimen, and powerlifting is no exception. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Calorie Intake: Powerlifting requires a lot of energy at times, so it’s important to consume enough calories to support your training. Obviously, the exact amount will vary depending on your body weight and goals. However, a general starting range for people who participate in ‘moderate levels of intense training’ is around 40-70 calories per kilogram of body weight per day (Kerksick, C et al., 2018). This range is also recommended for those between 50-100kg of body weight.

  • Macronutrient breakdown: Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, so aim for 1.2-2 grams per pound of body weight (Kersick, C et al., 2018). Carbohydrates provide energy, so consume complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy fats are also important for hormone production and overall health.

  • Meal timing: Aim to eat a balanced meal containing proteins, carbs, and healthy fats within an hour before and after your training sessions. This will help refuel your body and aid in recovery.

  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health and performance. And we’re not just talking about H20. We’re talking about proper hydration aka replenishing lost minerals and electrolytes.

Recommended Supplements for Powerlifters

Evolve Pump Action

Evolve Pump Action is a groundbreaking supp designed to cater to the rigorous demands of powerlifting, among other training styles. It is engineered to maximise blood flow, support muscular endurance, and increase nitric oxide production, leading to unmatched pumps and performance enhancement. Thank us later. Whether you're preparing for a comp or looking to surpass your PBs, Evolve Pump Action is tailored to support the strength, endurance, and focus required to excel in powerlifting, making it an absolute essential to keep under your belt.

Evolve Creatine Monohydrate

Evolve Creatine Monohydrate is an essential supplement for not just your average gym junkie, but powerlifters too! Why? This pure form of creatine monohydrate serves as a pivotal component for supporting strength, increasing lean muscle mass, and improving recovery times. Afterall, it is one of the most researched ingredients in the world. For powerlifters, the ability to train harder and recover faster is crucial, and that's exactly where Evolve Creatine Monohydrate shines. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. By replenishing the body's ATP levels—our muscles' primary energy source during high-intensity activities—it enables athletes to maintain peak performance across successive bouts of heavy lifting. Additionally, its role in hydrating muscle cells can lead to improved protein synthesis, aiding in muscle growth and repair. This makes it not just beneficial but almost indispensable for powerlifters looking to push their limits in both training and competition.

Evolve Reload

Evolve Reload is a one-of-a-kind post-workout recovery protein powder, crafted with powerlifters and athletes in mind. What’s in the tub? It's a comprehensive blend that combines fast-absorbing proteins and carbohydrates, along with essential amino acids and creatine to support muscle recovery, repair, and growth following intense lifting sessions. For powerlifters, recovery is as critical as the training itself; it's during this period that the body rebuilds stronger. Evolve Reload addresses this directly by providing the nutrients necessary to reduce muscle soreness, replenish glycogen stores depleted during heavy lifting, and support the anabolic process essential for muscle hypertrophy. 

Finding Support and Community

Powerlifting can be a solitary sport, but having a supportive community can greatly enhance your experience. Look for local powerlifting clubs or online groups where you can connect with other lifters, share tips and advice, and find training partners. You can also attend powerlifting competitions to cheer on others and get a sense of the community. 

In a nutshell…

Powerlifting is not just about lifting heavy weights; it’s a challenging sport that requires physical and mental strength, dedication, and perseverance. By setting realistic goals, using proper form and technique, having the right gear and nutrition, finding support and community, and developing a strong mindset, you can achieve great success in your powerlifting journey. Stay determined and believe in yourself – the gains will come with time and hard work. And in the meantime, check out our Education Hub for more articles or jump straight into our Muscle Gain and Strength supps collection for more of the best supplements for powerlifting. 


Kerksick, C et al (2018). ‘ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations’. Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition.