Let me start by saying that I love powerlifting. There’s almost nothing like pushing and pulling heavy-ass weights around like you were Hercules, at least for a moment or two, and getting a new PR (personal record). Powerlifting helped me lose a lot of weight and shape me into a better person of character, and for that I will always be thankful. But, right now, it’s time for me to move on.
When I first started training, around 14, I was very haphazard in my approach. I really didn’t know what I was doing and for the longest time, all I did was bench (typical of a teenager, right?) Through the years, however, after trial and error, playing sports, exploring new things, and studying fitness and exercise, a powerlifting style of training is what stuck and made me interested in working-out. So, I began and got great results until it was cut short due to an injury…and usually another one after that.
I messed up my right knee more times than I can count, at one time had sporadic sciatica from injuring my back, recipient of a slight indent on the anterior side of my shoulder from partially tearing my left pectoral, and some other minor problems for good measure. All by the ripe age of 22.
Although some are from sport, like my early knee injuries, much of everything else has to do in large part because I beat up my body, especially recently, powerlifting. I tried my best to recover with good nutrition, sleep, rest, programming, foam rolling, stretching, etc., and it helped. In fact, it helped a lot. I remember most of my workouts I really didn’t feel sore at all. I felt great. That all can change in an instant, however, and I learned that the hard way.
My most recent and major problem I’ve been dealing with has been my back. It happened one year ago this month and I’m still feeling it’s lingering effects.
I remember that day I bench pressed 315lbs for the second time within a few weeks, but this time it felt different from the first. I tweaked my back pressing the weight up by noticing that my quadratus lumborum (QL) (a muscle that runs from your last rib along your lumbar spine to the top of your hip) felt really hot and throbbing. Like the stubborn knucklehead I am sometimes, I ignored it, and decided to do snatch jerks.
I got up to 185lbs and on my first attempt I feel my back “crunch!” I strained my QL–badly–and ended up injuring it again a few months later. I’m still trying to get it right and that’s one of the big reasons I’ve stopped powerlifting, so my back can make a full recovery. And even when it does, I don’t plan to start anytime soon.
In my humble opinion, I think powerlifting is awesome, but not sustainable long-term because of the shear stress and strain it puts the body under. People get seriously injured powerlifting and I don’t want a broken body when I’m older. Hell, I’m already broken! Why continue and get worse?
That’s why I’ve decided to give it up, at least for now and the near future, and focus strictly on body-weight exercises, conditioning, and HIIT for good fun.
The only exercise I do with weights are front and back squats and that is only once a week (usually lower weight and higher reps). I can tell you my back feels sooo much better now and I have kept a lot of the muscle mass I had before by making the switch to almost a completely body-weight focused exercise program for almost two months now. I’m able to train with more frequency, lingering pain has gone away, and I’m starting to lean up (I think because I’m losing excess fat from my old work-out routines I kept on because of powerlifiting).
This new fitness philosophy I have is based on physical sustainability, longevity, and athletic performance. Plain and simple. I have nothing but kind words to say so far and I really feel great. Pain is almost negligible, zero DOMS (delayed on-set muscle soreness), and I might be in the best cardiovascular strength ever. For the first time in forever, the thought of running a mile doesn’t sound daunting anymore. It actually sounds kind of fun…sometimes. Jokes aside, it’s something different, new, and the results have been great.
I’m not saying stop lifting weights or powerlift, absolutely not. It’s a great activity to be a part and the reward is certainly great. What I am saying is that you don’t have to be defined by one exercise or fitness ideology and most importantly, understand that your body is your greatest resource/asset and you shouldn’t hurt it to the point where it’s irreversible, regardless of fitness regimen. Be smart, keep it simple, and do something that you have fun with. That’s it.
What do you think? Tell me by leaving a comment down below.
As always, thanks for stopping by. If you’re a subscriber, thank you. If not, please subscribe. Until next time, be strong and be you.
Extra: Check out these articles to understand some of risks involved and how to get started with powerlifting:
- The beginners guide to competing in powerlifting
- No Pain no gain–the dark side of powerlifting or any sport
- Disadvantages of Powerlifting