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We sat down with Andrew Richards, River North Gym Personal Trainer and Powerlifting Athlete to give us the scoop!

1. What is powerlifting? Powerlifting is a strength sport consisting of three events: squat, bench press and the deadlift. The lifter gets three attempts at a 1 rep max for each lift (a 1 rep max is the heaviest weight you can lift in a single attempt). They add together your most successful attempt for each lift and that is your total score. The person with the highest total score in their weight class wins. Weight classes can range anywhere from 123lbs to 308lbs+ for men and from 97bs to 198lbs+ for women. Powerlifting is different than Olympic lifting, which consists of two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk.

2. Anyone can do powerlifting: Well, provided they can do the three events of squat, bench press and deadlift. There are age categories from 12 years old to 80 years old. There is a common misconception that powerlifters that are giant 300lb men, but that isn’t true! Powerlifters come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of fitness backgrounds. Need some proof? Check out Kim Walford or Jesse Norris.

3. Competing is not reserved for the elite: Although those are the people commonly featured on social media and advertisements, the average person at a powerlifting meet is a just like you! Someone who works a desk job, has a family, but also enjoys getting stronger and pushing their limits! Don’t let the top 1% hold you back from pursuing something that could be very fulfilling to multiple parts of your life! Competing is also a great way to evaluate your training and get motivated!

4. It’s mental, too: There is a huge mental aspect to this sport that is often overlooked. Everything from planning your training to the actual meets themselves requires high amounts of patience, dedication and perseverance. And when the time comes, you have to have the confidence in your training and your preparation to stand up there by yourself and demonstrate what you’re capable of! Just because someone is strong physically doesn’t mean they will have a successful meet. Andrew has witnessed people “bombing out” which means not completing all three attempts at a single lift, thus scoring a 0 for the entire meet. More often than not, this is due to a mental issue rather than a physical one.

5. Powerlifting is a really supportive community: Although going to meet and the type of people there might seem intimidating at first, everyone is super nice and extremely encouraging! Even athletes that squat 800lbs are extremely humble and always willing to give you some advice. Every lift that every lifter attempts, the crowd goes crazy for you! It doesn’t matter if you are lifting 100lbs or 1,000lbs. And lifting in an environment like that is something that everyone should get to experience at least once.

For more information on powerlifting or to schedule a Private Personal Training Session with Andrew to go over the basics on powerlifting and to begin your own training regimen, e-mail us at

Check out Andrew’s Instagram for videos and updates from his powerlifting training: click here!