Powerlifting benefits extend from head to toe

by Aaron Burns


HUNTERSVILLE – The landscape of physical fitness continues to grow and evolve.

Powerlifting, which includes three lifts – squat, bench press and deadlift – has become one of the nation’s most popular forms of strength training, according to USA Powerlifting member, national powerlifting champion and Olympic lifting coach Greg Simmons.

“It’s one of the true measures of absolute strength,” Simmons told the Mountain Island Monitor. “You’re challenging your entire body from head to toe.”

Here are some tips to help you get involved:

Find a qualified gym to get started.

Gyms are the place to find the best people who can help you in your quest for a stronger body. Elite Fitness, 15903 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, is one option. Planet Fitness, 212 South New Hope Road, Gastonia, is another, as is Fitness Factory, 1111 Hawthorne Lane, Charlotte.

You’ll find bars, weight benches and people to assist you as you get started.

“As is the case with any sport, if you find somebody who’s experienced to coach you, you’ll get better,” Simmons said. “You’re also less likely to have to worry about getting injured.”

Set realistic goals.

Simmons said one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you begin powerlifting is to expect major results in a short period of time. Powerlifting and the full-body workout it entails will give you those results, but not immediately.

The key is to stick with it.

“I don’t care what the (lifting) program is, one of the general principles of exercise is the progression of your overload,” Simmons said. “I like incremental goals: small stair steps that lead to larger things.”

Learn the proper technique.

Powerlifting techniques for the three lifts vary depending on your age and body type. If you’re shorter in stature and your arms are shorter, Simmons said bench pressing should be easier.

“I recently coached a 60-year-old woman who recently started powerlifting, and she’s about to enter her first national event,” Simmons said.

“She learned proper technique quickly. The better your technique, the more weight you’ll be able to lift.”

Watch elite lifters and take notes.

Like most sports, online videos are available of the nation’s best male and female powerlifters.

But watching the best lifters in person is even better. The N.C. State Powerlifting Championships are June 8 at Lincoln Charter School in Denver.

“Seeing someone doing it at an elite level is a totally different world,” Simmons said. “The experience you get from watching the best is invaluable, but it’s still best to learn at your pace.”

Want to visit a gym?

• Elite Fitness, Huntersville: Call 704-875-8817

• Planet Fitness, Gastonia: Call 704-868-4050

• Fitness Factory, Charlotte: Call 704-371-4660

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