How To Increase Your Powerlifting Total The Quickest

June 11th 2019

Geared more towards beginners and intermediates, this post will shed some light on how beginners can increase their squat, bench press and deadlift PRs.

So, you want to know how to increase your powerlifting total right now and fast? You have probably researched on Google at least ten different times (I know I have) and have been frustrated with the content on those articles. They just simply do not tell you what you need to know.

You may see “10 different way on how to improve your powerlifting total” or some clickbait version. Here is the catch though, why do you need 10 different ways to increase your total? You are just looking for one or two ways. Anything more and you are really just digesting too much information and not focusing on your actions.

You may also see very vague advice on what to do, which gets extremely annoying. Well, let me break down some tactics on what you should do if you want to increase your powerlifting total and overall strength

How to increase your powerlifting total

To increase your powerlifting total efficiently, set a concrete, finite goal and work your hardest towards it. If you are a beginner or intermediate lifter, this can be done using linear progression programs. If you are a more advanced lifter, you should have enough lifting experience to select a proper program. But overall, it will take time and consistent effort to increase your powerlifting total drastically.

Set a concrete goal and work your hardest towards it

Without some direction in your life, how can you work hard towards something? You need to have a general idea of where you are going. Just saying that “I want to be as strong as I can be” is a good base to continue developing your ideas. That was actually my initial goal.

However, as the years went by, I found that my results were sub-par and I really could not figure out why. Until it became glaringly obvious - I need to set a clear, concise and specific goal for how much I wanted to increase my powerlifting total and by when.

Simply just allowing life to happen is a nice and passive approach. But if you want to achieve greatness, you need to be strict with yourself. Because chances are, very few people are squatting 405lbs for the first time in the gym. So, you have to work hard and consistently to achieve some level of competence in this sport.

What are some sample goals for a beginner and intermediate?

It is important to reach but you also should be realistic. Improving 100-200lbs in a year is not uncommon for many powerlifters. This is talking about their squat, bench press and deadlift max, not their training numbers. While your training numbers will directly reflect your PRs, do not panic if your training numbers are not skyrocketing up. At the same time, do not get lazy and just let life control your training.

It is more common to improve 50-100lbs in a year as a beginner or intermediate. As lifters who do not have much experience in the gym, you will get stronger no matter what you do. As a result, a lot of lifters fall on this spectrum when it comes to improving their powerlifting total. Should this be your fate? It depends on your motivation and how hard you are willing to push yourself.

I am confident that you know the difference between putting in effort in the gym and just taking a moderate approach. In the former, you are locked and lasered into your training. Nothing will take away these special training sessions. On the latter, you are just going through the motions.

This also means fixing your life outside of the gym

How serious is it that you want to increase your powerlifting total? Do you still want to have a life, party and increase your gym total? That may not be the best strategy for moving forward.

Chances are that you know what to do to achieve the most optimal results - eat high-quality food, sleep a lot, reduce stress, etc. You just do not want to optimize your life to support getting stronger.

And that is perfectly okay. Being strong is not for everyone. But if you made it YOUR goal to get stronger by the end of the year and improve your powerlifting total by 150lbs and you do not want to do everything in your power to achieve this goal, who is to blame for failure?

A coach won’t change your effort

Unless you know that you will commit for powerlifting for the long term, hiring a coach as a beginner or intermediate is a waste of money. Why? Because everything you do in the gym will make you progress. The only question to ask is how long it will take.

Many lifters want to hire coaches and blame them if they do not make gains in the end. This is not a good solution if you want to reach new powerlifting totals.

The major issue is that lifters are not holding themselves accountable to their training, lifestyle and goals. You simply do not want it bad enough to change. It is really as simple as that.

And there is no right or wrong answer - there is just an answer that is right for you. Whether you want to increase your powerlifting total badly or not, your efforts, actions, and thoughts will reflect your mindset and desires. Do you have a burning desire to strength train?

What program should I run?

This is a common thought, what special, secret program should you run in order to make the most gains for your powerlifting total fast?

The answer is… there is none. In order to have an impressive total, you need to build strength. And to build strength, you will need to take several weeks to several months in order to continue to develop more strength than you already have. In fact, that is really the biggest secret and what many lifters (including myself) want to find an answer to is can we speed up the process.

As a beginner or early intermediate lifter, you can! It is called running a linear progression program, like Starting Strength or Greyskull LP, where you are increasing the work capacity of your workout every session. This area becomes a little gray as lifters become more advanced. In a previous article, I highlighted what lifters should do after linear progression.

Have patience

If you are doing everything, from inside the gym to outside of the gym, for a long period of time, you will get stronger. There is no other way your body can evade growth. You simply need to get stronger.

Impatience is probably what fuels many lifters to preemptively make bad decisions. When your emotions cloud your mind and heart, you cannot make a logical decision.

You know that strength training will take time. You know you have set a concrete and finite goal within the next few months. So, all you really need to do is put in the work today and let your body do the rest. There is no point to stress over something when you have done everything right on your end.

Let us wrap it up

There is no shortcut to success. Otherwise, you would never appreciate all the struggles and failures that led up to that point. The same can be said for strength training. All your battles in the gym, with pumping iron and with your mind, are placed there strategically for your benefit. You are getting stronger every single workout, not just physically.

Be grateful that you are alive and healthy. You are experiencing the powers and rewards of strength training. Be excited that you are training without injuries and that you can still continue to improve yourself. While you do set goals for yourself in lifting weights, this journey will not be worth it if we did not enjoy the process at the gym.

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