Negative Effects of Powerlifting

Powerlifting is an intense, explosive form of strength training that uses heavy weights in compound exercises that hit target muscle groups hard. The competitive version of powerlifting uses only three main weightlifting exercises -- the bench press, the back squat and the deadlift. Powerlifting can quickly develop strength through increased muscle mass, but both the competitive and recreational versions of the activity may come with some negative consequences.

A woman is squatting in a gym. (Image: kopitinphoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Performance Problems

For competitive powerlifters, many of the most serious negative effects occur during powerlifting competitions. Pushing too much to increase the point score for any or all of the three exercises can lead serious injury, such as muscle tears, joint dislocations, broken bones and injuries suffered from an inability to control the weight during either the lift or the control phase of a particular exercise. The deadlift and squat portions of competition are especially fraught with risk when too much weight is used.

Overtraining Injuries

Another area of powerlifting that might result in negative consequences is by training too often. Hitting the gym too many times each week, foregoing your rest days or even working out too frequently in the weeks leading up to a competition can lead to diminished muscle mass, muscle strains, joint pain and fatigue. A solid powerlifting training schedule should include no more than three workouts each week.

Watch Your Back

Years of powerlifitng exercises may impact the muscles and discs in the back, especially if you don't execute proper form each and every time. This also might occur if you do not wear a suitable weightlifting back brace during your squats, deadlifts and supplemental exercises. The result of back pain related to powerlifting can make bending, walking and twisting difficult and painful, and it may ultimately inhibit your ability to perform even light weight training over time.

Prevention Measures

Proper execution of form for each of the three main powerlifting exercises will go a long way toward mitigating most, if not all, of the most common negative effects of such a program. Also, incorporating supplemental exercises into your weightlifting program will improve the strength and resiliency of crucial stabilizing muscles throughout the body that will increase performance and reduce risk of injury. Also, training under the guidance of an experienced coach or instructor can help reduce the risk of injury as well.

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