Power lifts

5 Tips to Achieve Excellence in the Power Lifts

Guest blog by coach Roland Jung

5 Essential Takeaways for the Achieving Excellence in the Power Lifts in Toronto

A few weeks ago I took the Achieving Excellence In The Power Lifts seminar in Toronto, Canada with Charles Poliquin, Ed Coan and Matt Wenning. While both Charles and some students have already posted great summaries about their learnings, below a few of my main take-aways.

Keep tension in your hands

In all lifts, you have to keep a lot of tension in your hands – squeeze the bar hard! More muscles fire when you squeeze, and additionally the weight “feels” lighter…, so no thumbless grip on any of the power lifts.

Exercise variety is key

Your body does not like the same type of pressure/movement over extended periods. Varying your exercises avoids overuse, tendinitis and other potential injuries. Training in the power lifts is a long range sport, so you have to stay injury free to make continuous progress.

Train like Sherlock Holmes

You have to always search for and identify what your weak spots are. It’s more fun to train your strengths, but it is always the weakest link that limits your performance…and it is also what most likely leads to an injury. Matt told us several times that “roughly 70% of our workouts should be based on our weaknesses”. 

Training is what you can recover from

Training is not what you can do, but what you can recover from! Especially as you age, your ability to recover decreases. You can still train hard, but you have to know when to back off.


Don’t intend a PR – do it

When you go for a personal record, don’t intend to lift – just do it. You have to break your negative thoughts – and make you believe you can do it. Have some mental picture to get you as aggressive as you can be and lift! (Matt had a very visual example of “think about a friend trapped in a burning car and you have to pull him out; that’s how aggressive you need to be”)

A final note on the trainers: The atmosphere during the three days was amazing. The coaches spotted people continuously, gave individual feedback and didn’t leave a question unanswered. The combined experience, different points of views – though aligned on principles, made for a tremendous learning opportunity. Ed Coan, for example, though being a “rockstar” in the powerlifting community, comes across as the most down-to-earth guy you can imagine. No attitude – just a guy who, with his own words “knows a couple of things about lifting weights”. Not every day, you find the humbleness in a person like him.

Looking forward to meeting him, Charles and Matt again soon! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


Roland Jung