First started in the 1960’s, powerlifting is a sport that emphasizes raw strength. This is measured by using three separate lifts: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Powerlifting requires less specialized equipment than olympic weightlifting, needing only a bar, bench, iron plates, and a rack.

Athletes are separated into divisions based on their bodyweight, sex, and age. In competition, each athlete has three attempts at each lift (nine total). The athlete with the highest total (best squat + bench press + deadlift) is declared the winner.

Competitions are through various governing bodies, such as the IPF, USAPL, USPF, and APF.

The “Big 3” compose the bulk of most powerlifting training programs, but assistance exercises, such as pull-ups, good-mornings,¬†and rows, are often performed as well.