We’ve asked Deluxe ambassador Michael ‘Fergo’ Ferguson to share his experiences including how he was introduced to powerlifting and what tips he has for people looking to take up the sport.
Origins, Specifications and my Experience
Powerlifting had its origins in the U.K and the U.S.A from around the 1950’s and arose from humble beginnings. During this time it was closely aligned with ‘odd lift’ competition’s (curl, bench press, squat) which would often take place at Olympic Weightlifting events. From here, it became the squat, bench press and deadlift and progressed to hold its first ‘real’ World Championship in 1972 (with 67 competitors from only 6 countries). In turn, it then seemed necessary for a governing body, so the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) was set up and is still the sport’s world governing body today. But now with over 110 member countries!
So, simply, powerlifting denotes 3 lifts –
- The Squat
- The Bench Press
- The Deadlift
Competitors are allowed 3 attempts at each lift and their biggest weight lifted from each is added up to give a total, which determines their placing in a competition. Lifters are also categorised by gender, weight class and age class.
These 3 lifts are the basis of good preparation in almost any competitive sport as they provide genuine potential for performance improvement. On the other end of the spectrum I wouldn’t know any casual gym goer nowadays who has not at least heard of those lifts (as much as they might shy away from them). This is what makes powerlifting very accessible, and it’s how I joined the sport. Myself, I was training to “get bigger and stronger” for club rugby coming from school as a skinny 70kg Back. I knew my stats weren’t the most encouraging for higher level rugby but stumbling across powerlifting swayed my interest. Although I lacked direction and had no strength to turn an eye to, I was already doing the three lifts so it seemed like a natural progression.
There were a couple of lifters in ‘Aberdeen Sports Village’ – where I trained at the time – that I was influenced by, often seeing huge displays of relative strength (strength V bodyweight) that really made me think. Did I have to work tirelessly at gaining weight? Could I be light but strong? The whole appeal about strength/powerlifting for me was that it was measurable. There are not many sports where you can see progress so clearly – if the weight on the bar is going up and you are lifting it, is that not progress? That was certainly enough for me, I was in. I did my first competition shortly thereafter, albeit in a borrowed singlet resembling a dress. Maybe I should’ve gained that extra weight..
Anyhow, 4 and a half years later and I’m still only 74kg and not half as strong as some of lifters that got me into the sport. Nevertheless, I’d like to thank them for their part in getting me involved in powerlifting.
Importantly, powerlifting is not just ‘going to the gym’. Powerlifting is defined, like most sports, by its competitive aspect. Today, the sport is stronger than ever and there’s not been a better time to compete. The main powerlifting federation in the UK is the GBPF (Great Britain Powerlifting Federation), while the BDFPA (British Drug Free Powerlifting Association) provides a pretty similar competitive platform to the GBPF. They are both drug free and tested.
- The GBPF (Great Britain Powerlifting Federation) (National Level)
- The IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) (International Level)
These links you can keep you updated with all events, results, records, rankings, news and the process for application for competitions. I recommend that for those interested, commit to a competition and I doubt you will be disappointed.
Michael Ferguson – Deluxe Sponsored Powerlifter