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Sport of Powerlifting

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Is powerlifting a sport?

The answer to that question is yes it is now a recognized Olympic sport as well as a recognized para-Olympic sport since 1984. The sport originated in the USA and the UK in the 1950s. Previously, the weightlifting governing bodies in both countries had recognized various ‘odd lifts’ for competition and record purposes.

During the 1950s, Olympic weightlifting declined in the United States, while strength sports gained many new followers. In 1958, the AAU's National Weightlifting Committee decided to begin recognizing records for ‘odd lifts’. A national championship was tentatively scheduled for 1959, but it never happened.

The first genuine national ‘meet’ was held in September 1964 under the auspices of the York Barbell Company, Ironically, Bob Hoffman, the owner of York Barbell, had been a long-time adversary of the sport. But his company was now making powerlifting equipment to make up for the sales it had lost on Olympic-style equipment.

The history of powerlifting and how it traveled the long and often complex and complicated road before it became a recognized Olympic sport is a long tale. The point is that it has finally reached a point where it is a sport that grows in popularity all over the world every day.

There are now officially recognized categories and the powerlifting event is very specific and is separated in a few stages which are as follows: Each competitor is allowed three to four attempts on each lift depending on their standing and the organization they are lifting in.

It is usually the smallest weight class to heaviest. The lifter’s best valid attempt on each lift counts toward his competition total. If two or more lifters achieve the same total, the lighter lifter ranks above the heavier lifter. Problem competitors are judged against other lifters of the same gender, weight class, and age.

This helps to ensure that the accomplishments of lifters like Lamar Gant, who has deadlifted 5 times his bodyweight, are recognized alongside those of Benedikt Magnusson, the current All-time deadlift world record holder. Comparisons of lifters and scores across different weight classes can also be made using handicapping systems such as the Wilks formula.

In a Competition, there are three events: squat, bench press and deadlift. Some variations of this are found at some meets such as "push-pull only" meets where lifters only compete in the bench press and deadlift, with the bench press coming first and the deadlift after. Single lift meets are often held, sometimes alongside a normal 3-lift event. This is most common in the bench press.

At a meet the events will follow in order: squat, then bench press, and the deadlift will be the final lift of the meet. If the federation also has an event for strict curls this will normally occur before the squat event. But in general the three events are then added together to arrive at a total.

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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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