Fads and factions in the Powerlifting Community


I wanted to take a moment to rant against a trend I’ve observed in the Powerlifting Community, that is, criticizing the various trends that arise in training styles over the years. The diatribe goes something like this “_____ is just a fad. It might work for a while but then it’ll stop and they’ll have to find something else. They’d be better of switching to a more sustainable form of programming”.

It’s a common saying that aspects of others that irk you are really just reflections upon yourself. I think this certainly holds true for this topic. I used to be one of these naysayers. Sustainability is the only way. If you’re a program hopper you’re just short-changing yourself. I no longer believe this to be necessarily true.

If there’s one thing common amongst elite powerlifters it’s that they’ve tried everything. Seriously, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t tried Smolov or Sheiko or Westside or hasn’t iterated through many different training styles. I’m starting to think that this is actually necessary to become a well rounded Powerlifter.

Why is this the case? Because to succeed you need to find what works for you. We’ve all heard this commandment before. I would, however, posit that it has less to do with how the style of training approaches volume and intensity, the exercise selection and the fatigue management. I think it is much more mundane, much simpler. It’s all about your enjoyment and buy-in.

Elite level lifters have been in the game long enough that they’ve iterated through any number of training styles and found the one that they enjoy, the one that resonates with their personality, their lifestyle. They’ve found a sustainable program. To say that they should have used this same training style all along could very well be hindsight bias.

Let’s have some understanding for the program hoppers and the training fads. This is all part of their journey.

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