Unleash Your Inner Mongrel and strength - KIWI-STRENGTH

Unleash Your Inner Mongrel

Comprehensive Powerlifting Guide To Unleash Your Inner Mongrel and strength 

Powerlifting is a strength sport that revolves around the goal of lifting maximum weights in three primary lifts - the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

While it is often mistaken for bodybuilding, the two are distinct. Bodybuilding emphasizes aesthetics and muscle definition, whereas powerlifting is centered on strength and power.

Powerlifting is a highly competitive sport, with athletes from all corners of the globe vying for titles and records. The sport is categorized into weight classes, allowing athletes of all sizes to compete on an even playing field.

Powerlifting competitions take place at various levels, from local and national to international, with the pinnacle being the World Championships.

The Squat: The King of Lifts

Regarded as the king of all powerlifting exercises, the squat is a compound exercise that engages the entire lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Additionally, it is a full-body exercise, involving the core, back, and upper body.

To execute a squat,

  1. Start by approaching the bar and placing your hands on the bar where feels most comfortable to start with
  2. Go under the bar and place your feet mid foot in line with the bar with a stance narrow than your squat stance
  3. Groove the bar into position on your back with a high-bar or low-bar position squeeze your shoulder blades together, flare your lats, put your elbows forward and down if wide hand placement or back and down for hand placement is close to create that shelf and push your chest up
  4. If you are getting elbow pain while squatting, then adjust your hand placement out a finger or two but keep your upper back tight, chest up and shoulder blades together
  5. Take a huge breath like you are suffocating and push that air right down to lock everything in, you are having issues with activating your core drop to the floor and do some planks and get someone to jab you in the core so you can feel it activated. 
  6. Lock your eye placement about 1.5m-2m out in front of you and keep looking there with your head or chin driven back into the bar.
  7. Pop the bar up while keeping your upper back tight and holding your breath.
  8. Take one big step back and out to the left then wait a few seconds for the bar to Seattle then take a step back and out to the right then wait a few seconds for the bar to Seattle  then slight adjustment of the foot placement and let bar settle while you keep holding your breath or re breath but hold your core tight.
  9. Start to descend breaking at the hips first or hips and knees keeping tight and controlled all the way down then pushing back up while holding your breath and pushing your knees and chest up till you lockout your hips and knees at the top then let the bar settle for a few seconds then walk it back in to rack and push the bar hard against the rack or mono hooks if in mono then slide the bar into the hooks or J-Cups. 

Maintaining proper form is KEY in the squat, as it is a complex movement that can lead to injury if performed incorrectly. It is vital to keep your core engaged throughout the movement and to maintain. Ensure your knees do not cave in, and distribute your weight evenly between your heels and the balls of your feet.

The Bench Press: The Upper Body Standard

Another cornerstone in powerlifting is the bench press. It is a compound exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. The bench press is performed lying on a flat bench, with the barbell held at arm’s length above the chest.

To perform a bench press,

  1. Start by lying down on the bench and slide yourself right back so your head is off the bench, Leave your feet out in front (do not pull them back under your hips) put your shines on a 45 degrees angle but spread your legs wide 
  1. Once feet are set grab the up rights of the bench and put your shoulder blades together then push yourself back down the bench and try getting right up on to your traps to create that tight arch (without moving your feet position) once set,  Once set your eyes should be in line with the bar or just behind the bar while maintaining your foot position
  1. Next grab the bar start with a hand placement shoulder width or a few inches wider then take a big breath engage your lats, push then down to your hips and take the bar right out to your bar line this should be around the top of your abdominals.
  1. Rotate your elbows in but don't over rotate them in and make sure those lats are activated if not activate them now and drive them down to your hips.
  2. At this point you should be in a shit load of pain/ tightness?
  3. If you are good bench press isn't meant to feel nice if it does then reset because its wrong.
  4. You should feel your feet driving right through your body to your traps so when you bench all you need to do is push yourself to the bar or use the que hips to the bar.
  5. By using that hips to the bar que its keeping your body in that tight position the whole time and when you pause you wont lose any tightness if anything you will bench the shit out of the weight because your now your using your full body including leg drive.
  6. make sure you have taken a huge breath  (hold that breath till bar is locked out) and start to lower the bar But it should feel like your belly or hips or raising to the bar up to the bar till you touch the top of your abdominals then drive straight back up
  7. Once locked out wait a few seconds then rack the bar

The Deadlift: The Ultimate Test

The deadlift, the final lift in powerlifting, is often considered the most physically demanding. It is a compound exercise that works the entire posterior chain, including the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. The deadlift is performed with the barbell on the ground, and the athlete must lift it from a dead stop to a standing position.

To perform a deadlift,

  1. Walk straight up to the bar so the bar is right against your shins or bar running through your mid foot/last shoe lace and standing hip width apart
  2. Bend over to the bar maintaining your shins in the right position for your foot placement.
  3. I.e.; Vertical shin position if you’re starting positioning is with your shins already against the bar and bar running through mid-foot if your shines go forward
  4. Grip the bar so your elbows are against your knees
  5. Take a big breath and sit back into your hips as you are loading them (you should feel the top of the glute or ass flex or engage, then push your chest up as you engage your lats and your lats will drive down to your hips while pushing your chest up (number 4 need to be done all at once but break it down to learn then progress it to be all at once)
  6. . Your head should be in a good position if your eyes looking 1.5-2mm out in front of you.
  7. Pull straight up driving from the top of glutes/ass/lower back ass🤣 as if someone has put there hand on your lower back and said now deadlift and push from here.
  8.  Then as you come up keep pushing your chest up as it will naturally rotate your shoulders back and push your hips through like your trying trust or fuck the bar will lock it out
  9. Once you have fully locked out the deadlift lower the bar straight down this should be fast let gravity do its job 



Your end position is your start position on all lifts? 
Let’s look at this on deadlifts
Once you have locked out your deadlift you are standing with your shoulders back, chest up with lats engaged and pushed down to your hips this is your start position.
Proper form is KEY in the deadlift, as it is a movement that can lead to lower back injuries if performed incorrectly. It is important to keep your core tight throughout the movement.

Powerlifting Rules

  1. Powerlifting competitions are governed by strict rules and regulations to ensure fair play and safety. Each lift is judged by a head, right and lift side referees, who determine whether the lift was performed correctly.
  2. In the squat, the athlete must descend until the hip joint is below the knee joint, and then stand back up with the weight under control.
  3. In the bench press, the athlete must lower the bar to the chest, pause until the bar is motionless, and then press it back up with the arms fully extended.
  4. In the deadlift, the athlete must lift the weight from a dead stop to a standing position, with the shoulders behind the bar and the hips and knees fully locked.
  5. In addition to the technical requirements of each lift, powerlifters must also adhere to strict rules regarding equipment and attire.
  6. The barbell must be a 20kg stiff 2.2m in length power bar and pending on federation Like IPLNZ were they can use 25kg stiff as fuck 2.3m squat and bench bars and 20kg deadlift bars 2.3m long. All the plates must be calibrated to ensure accuracy.
  7. The athlete must wear a singlet (soft suit) and may wear a belt, knee sleeves, devils' breath smelling salts, wrist wraps, knee wraps, lifting shoes, long socks and Lifters can also use 1ply or multi ply equipment depending on the category.


Powerlifting is a challenging and rewarding sport that requires dedication, discipline, and hard work. By mastering the three main lifts - squat, bench press, and deadlift - and adhering to the rules and regulations of the sport, athletes can unleash their inner mongrel, and strength to achieve their goals.

Whether you're a seasoned powerlifter or just starting, I hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable information and insights into the world of powerlifting.

Remember to always prioritize safety and proper form, and never hesitate to seek advice and guidance from experienced coaches and athletes.

Written By

Kiwi-Strength Coach Dan

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