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Powerlifting History

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The history of powerlifting, weightlifting and strength training.

Powerlifting originally was made up of a variety of different lifts, referred to as weightlifting "odd lifts". Gradually the field of competitive movements was narrowed down to the strength training lifts used today - the squat, bench press and deadlift.

Lifting heavy weights has been going on for thousands of years and the Greeks as well as the Romans engaged in lifting competitions. The modern version of powerlifting started to come together in the 1950's. but didn't reach national proportions until York Barbell, under the leadership of Bob Hoffman, started holding national competitions in 1963-64. In 1964 the first official AAU rulebook came out.

In the 1970's the poundage used really started to rise as powerlifting gained acceptance around the world. Rules such as what type of wraps would and would not be allowed began to emerge.

Powerlifters of tremendous strength arose, including Bill Kazmeir, John Kuc, Larry Pacifico, Jim Williams, Vince Anello and several others stood out as well. Some of the powerlifters started competing in the World's Strongest Man events as well, with Kazmeir taking several titles.

Women's powerlifting started to pick up in this time frame as well and has grown to be sizable in number. In 1992 bench press shirts were allowed to be part of the official powerlifting gear. Today full body suits are worn for competition.

As more differentials were introduced into the sport (raw competition, natural competition, etc.) a variety of different powerlifting organizations and federations emerged.

Individual records and overall totals continued to be shattered. The standard weight classes are defined in kilograms: Men: up to 53 kg (Sub-Junior/Junior), 59 kg, 66 kg, 74 kg, 83 kg, 93 kg, 105 kg, 120 kg, 120 kg+

Women: up to 43 kg (Sub-Junior/Junior), 47 kg, 52 kg, 57 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg, 84 kg, 84 kg +

In recent years the Westside Barbell Club, led by Louie Simmons, has had a major impact on powerlifting and gym members hold a host of world records. Westside has popularized the explosive training style which is finding favor with more lifters.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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