Powerlifter Archetypes

Why should you pigeon-hole lifters into certain categories in order to better coach and treat them?

A few years back when I was at a continuing education course for injury rehab, we were learning a whole realm of assessments and the instructor made a comment that really stuck with me.

One of the other course attendees asked something to the effect of “why are we spending so much time assessing? When can we get to the interventions, treatment and other cool stuff?”

The course instructor politely looked at them and responded “if you have an objective framework for assessment, you can take complicated situations that clients you work with will present and reduce them down to “another one of those” or “another one of these”.

At first, I was a bit against this idea of pigeon-holing lifters into categories based on what an assessment told me but the more I thought about it, the more I noticed it was something I do in most of my practice.

Paying attention to little details in the powerlifting coaching and injury rehab process and you can end up being REALLY proactive with your approach by identifying archetypes that present with lifters. Lifter X might be more prone to have weak quads in their squat, so we prioritize building leg strength instead of waiting for their quads to give out on a heavy squat and they blow out their back.

Lifter Y might use certain words to describe how they brace that leads you to believe they are missing a couple key details that are holding them back from hitting some lifetime PRs on their lifts.

Being able to identify patterns and presentation archetypes has become an invaluable tool in my coaching when the goal is to take a proactive approach with training rather than a reactive one.

What tools do you find most helpful in your training that let you maximize your efforts?

P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you to overcome your training obstacles and put up PR totals:

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