The Importance of Powerlifting in Athlete Development

The Importance of Powerlifting in Athlete Development


Powerlifting is essential to athletes because it enables their bodies to develop more force in the movement. Powerlifters often center their programs around three core exercises namely; squats, bench press, and deadlift. Ideally, an athlete who is not training heavily is unhealthier, slower and weaker. Currently, most strength and conditioning programs structured to improve athletes’ performance make use of powerlifting methodology (Latella, Van den Hoek, & Teo 2018). Recently, powerlifters and athletes and coaches linked to powerlifting have considerably promoted the benefits of powerlifting methodology. Powerlifting methodology has great merits to athletes because it improves their performance. Powerlifting equips athletes with maximum strength, and this contributes to strong leg muscles hence enhancing the chances of performing exceedingly well.

Research Problem

The area of concern about this study is the injuries associated with powerlifting. Pain and injuries are common and troubling problems among recreational powerlifters and elite athletes who continuously engage in squats, deadlift and bench press exercises. Bench press, deadlift, and squats engage athletes’ multiple joints, and this exposes their bodies to extreme physical demands severally during training sessions. Fundamentally, injuries associated with powerlifting because the athletes exercise with excessively heavy loads, faulty lifting techniques and an extensive range of motion during their exercises (Bengtsson, Berglund & Aasa, 2018). During powerlifting exercise, athletes are prone to both overuse and acute injuries. A significant proportion of the injuries among powerlifting athletes occur during the bench press, squats and deadlift exercises. Mostly, both intrinsic and extrinsic factors are closely linked to injuries occurring during powerlifting exercises.

Literature Review

Previous studies have shown that injury prevalence and incidences among powerlifting athletes are undoubtedly training related (Bengtsson, Berglund & Aasa, 2018). The commonly affected areas in powerlifting athletes include the hip, shoulders and the lumbopelvic areas. During deadlift exercises, an vital risk factor involves placing high loads on the lumbopelvic region (Strömbäck et al., 2018). An increasing number of powerlifting athletes have reported the prevalence of injuries in more than one body region. In spite of the injuries the powerlifters are exposed to, they continue with their exercise. However, injuries have made the athletes to alter their mode of training to prevent the aggravation of the pain but still enable themselves to further their training. Most injuries seem to occur during exercise while a few cases of injuries have been reported during competitions. During the training sessions, powerlifters undergo through moments of physical and mental fatigue and within a short span of time, the athletes accumulate loads of stress which renders them susceptible to injuries (Drew &Finch, 2016). The four most familiar injuries linked with powerlifting includes knee injuries, cervical spine injuries, lumbar spine injuries, and shoulder injuries. Of all the reported powerlifting injuries 60% of the injuries were acute, and 40% were chronic (Aasa et al., 2017). The localization of the injuries among the athletes participating in powerlifting is shoulders, lower back, and the elbows. Some athletes, however, may severely injure their chests and their knees during training sessions. In essence, pain and injuries are common in powerlifters of both sexes, and these injuries hinder planned training. Compared to men, women powerlifters are more likely to injure their necks and thoracic regions.

Deficiencies in the Literature

A significant limitation from the above literature review is the lack of sufficient evidence to describe the connection between specific injuries and powerlifting exercises. Lack of detailed information in regards to the consequences of the injuries to the professional development of athletes is a shortcoming of the literature. This shortcoming can be addressed and solved if detailed information relating to injuries in powerlifting athletes is provided. For instance, some of the detailed information can be clinical studies and specific medical diagnoses. Another limitation is the fact that female powerlifters mostly injure themselves on the neck and thoracic region. The literature has failed to explain why unlike men, women are more susceptible to neck injuries. This study will address this deficiency by encouraging equal participation of both sexes in training to gather more information about areas more prone to injuries.

The Audience and Significance of the Study

Coaches, elite athletes, recreational powerlifters, sprinters, trainers, and the youth are the audience who will find this study interesting generally because powerlifting is regarded as a sport of the young generation. The significance of this study is that it addresses the importance of powerlifting in the professional development of athletes. Powerlifting makes the standing base strong, strengthens muscles and this makes the athletes have an increased speed hence displaying an outstanding performance during competitions (Latella, Van den Hoek, & Teo 2018). The study is significant to the audience because it makes them aware of the injuries and impending danger associated with powerlifting.


In both professional sports and college athletics, powerlifting is becoming quite influential. Powerlifting gives athletes great muscle and leg power which makes them more agile and speedy (Suchomel et al., 2018). Injuries are common in powerlifting just like there are common in any other sport. Lately, both sexes experience injuries which hinder their planned training. Injuries often make powerlifters to alter their training plans because of the pain they go through. To avoid acute and chronic injuries, the lifting techniques used in squats, deadlift and bench press should be managed and highly optimized. For instance, when bench press is not controlled well, it could be a potential risk factor for a powerlifter as they may develop injuries in the shoulder region. To minimize injuries to the shoulders during the bench press, powerlifters need to minimize the range of motion. Principally, powerlifting is a great contributor to improved performance among athletes because it strengthens their muscles and gives makes them attain maximum speed during the performance.




Aasa, U., Svartholm, I., Andersson, F., & Berglund, L. (2017). Injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med51(4), 211-219. Retrieved March 20, 2019, from

Bengtsson, V., Berglund, L., & Aasa, U. (2018). A narrative review of injuries in powerlifting with special reference to their association to the squat, bench press and deadlift. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine4(1), e000382. Doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000382

Drew, M. K., & Finch, C. F. (2016). The relationship between training load and injury, illness and soreness: a systematic and literature review. Sports medicine46(6), 861-883. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0459-8. DOI: 10.1080/24748668.2018.1496393

Latella, C., Van den Hoek, D., & Teo, W. P. (2018). Factors affecting powerlifting performance: an analysis of age-and weight-based determinants of relative strength. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport18(4), 532-544.

Strömbäck, E., Aasa, U., Gilenstam, K., & Berglund, L. (2018). Prevalence and Consequences of Injuries in Powerlifting: A Cross-sectional Study. Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine6(5), 2325967118771016. Doi: 10.1177/2325967118771016

Suchomel, T. J., Nimphius, S., Bellon, C. R., & Stone, M. H. (2018). The importance of muscular strength: training considerations. Sports medicine48(4), 765-785. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-018-0862-z