In my years of coaching, I’ve noticed two distinct methodologies when it comes to teaching powerlifting technique:
The first: spending a ton of time with a barbell and simply changing cues to benefit the lifter – all with the implied idea that you possess adequate mobility to perform the barbell movements and just need to learn to MOVE properly.
The second: using non-specific (ie. not a barbell) exercises to “build aspects of the lifts” or even develop certain muscle groups which might be lagging or even preventing a lifter from maintaining specific techniques due to a lack of strength in a certain area.
Both approaches have their merits but developing technique in powerlifters is far from a one size fits all approach.
Instead, it’s important to do a needs analysis of the lifter and see where they are lacking. If someone has an extensive background in sport but has just started with powerlifting training recently… they’ll probably succeed with approach 1 since they have a good overall movement background and possess adequate movement variability to begin with.
On the other hand, if you’ve not done much for activity and are just starting to get into lifting OR have exclusively trained the big 3 (similar to many beginner programs), using some strategic variation to develop aspects of your technique with different exercises might be a better way to lay a broad base for success in powerlifting down the line.
This can be as simple as including some single leg work and jumps as part of your lower body training regimen in addition to squats and deadlifts.
The important thing is that you keep an eye on whatever you are including in your program and treat is as a science experiment. If you add in single leg jumps with the goal of improving explosiveness and ankle stability… when you re-evaluate a few weeks later you should really check to see if there was improvement in those areas.
PS – Here’s 3 ways I can help you in your lifting:
1. Follow me on Instagram (@strongeryoupt) where you can find even more lifting tutorials, and content around becoming the strongest lifter you can be.
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3. Join the “Momentum Program” and become a case study. I’ll work with you 1-on-1 to develop a customized coaching strategy, get rid of your current pains and consistently add pounds to the bar. Just put the word “COACHING” into an message here and I’ll get in touch to see if you’d be a good fit.