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The Future of Powerlifting
as Predicted by Anson Wood

Powerlifting Bench Press Techniques

Every month you pick up your favorite powerlifting publication or log onto your favorite powerlifting web site or forum and it seems that someone has broken a short lived record. Someone has developed a new bench shirt or squat suit that will allow someone to smash that record in the following month(s) and another organization has emerged. Who's going to be the first to bench 1100 pounds? Who's finally going to deadlift 1000? Did someone else squat over 1000 this month? I'm sure someone out there is shooting for a 3000 pound total this year. Then your skeptical side starts to ask questions. How much juice is that guy on? How much can he lift raw? How much of this is real? A lot of people are asking these questions. You're not alone. These questions and skeptical attitudes are changing the face of the sport every day.

Steroids have become a hot topic among Americans. Baseball brought the subject to the attention of the world and we're finally starting to hear the "experts" talk about sports and athletes across the board. I don't see congress doing anything about steroids in amateur sports anytime soon, but spectators and competitors are starting to make enough noise to start a new movement that will change the sport forever. Web sites like this one and groups like North Star Pride, working together will give natural athletes a chance to showcase the results of their hard work without being overshadowed by a chemically enhanced behemoth. As the movement toward drug free athletics grows stronger, we'll also see more educated athletes. A higher level of awareness about what you are putting into your body will ultimately result in healthier athletes, but may also result in athletes more capable of skirting drug testing procedures. The good news is that the controversy in baseball could result in more advanced testing procedures. Only a sport with deep pockets such as major league baseball could inspire a laboratories to research testing methods for drugs such as HGH.

Gear in powerlifting seems to take steps forward every day. In the eyes of many lifters, a step forward for gear such as a bench press shirt is a step backward for the sport. Everyone seems to agree that the bench shirts, squat and deadlift suits are not going away, but many want to see more raw lifts and limitations placed on the gear that is used. Much of this is already happening. North Star Pride is putting a lot of emphasis on this topic and gaining a larger following every day. Many organizations already limit the use of gear to what they consider to be reasonable and I see this to be a growing trend. Organizations that don't limit their gear leave their competitors open to public challenges of raw strength, skepticism and possibly severe injury. Lets face it, your unsupported elbows take a severe beating when you add unusual amounts of assistance to your chest, shoulders and triceps during bench press. Your spine is compressed to a much greater extent when you attempt a squat that is much heavier than you would attempt raw. Raw and single ply lifts are going to be gaining a lot more recognition in the future of this sport as people realize that the huge lifts in expensive unlimited gear is highly publicized because the publications make their revenue by advertising for the manufacturers and retailers of such gear. What many don't seem to realize is that new lifters and spectators are turned off by any piece of equipment that resembles a space suit or can stand on its own. New lifters are the future of the sport and a 1000 pound bench press doesn't really inspire a new lifter as much as you might think. It might inspire a struggling lifter to buy a new shirt or have his old one modified, but wouldn't we rather inspire these new athletes to become more educated about training and nutrition?

Overall, I see the division of the sport growing at a very fast pace. I recently had a friend of mine that isn't really familiar with the sport tell me that all of these records didn't mean "diddly" to him. After talking to people about the sport his opinion is that each organization is its own sport and he has a point. This is exactly what inspired Bench America. I've heard WPO referred to as the "Harlem Globe Trotters" of powerlifting and I've heard the IPF referred to as "The World Series of Powerlifting". For the sport to survive we need spectators and we need many of these spectators to become competitors. With more and more skepticism about the gear used and steroids, it is my belief that the future of the sport is in limited gear, raw and drug tested competitions. The sport has to be very transparent. The sport just can't survive if the focus is on gigantic lifts based on secret weapons. The secret is out and to people outside of the sport, it looks like WWE wrestling. Every sport has its own specialized gear, but the great sports place limitations. Certain pieces of powerlifting gear may eventually go the way of the corked bat and the grossly oversized driver head. Only time will tell where the line will be drawn or when the powerlifting community will decide enough is enough. This lifter predicts a strong movement toward limited gear, more raw lifts, more drug testing and a at least one more powerlifting publication; a powerlifting publication in which records will stand much longer than in today's publications.


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