Once upon a time I trained with the goal of competing in a powerlifting meet.

My all time best would be (in a self conducted pseudo-meet) as I never quite had the nerve to pull the trigger to get on the platform in my Wrestlemania singlet. 

Squat: 330lbs
Bench Press: 300lbs
Deadlift: 415 lbs
Total: 1,045
At a weight of 149lbs

I no longer squat ass to grass and hardly barbell bench press or deadlift off the floor with a straight barbell. Not because I can't but because I don't need to. 


I have fantastic mobility and am able to perform a back squat that rivals most lifter's front squat yet I have no reason to squat that low and heavy on a regular basis. Aside from a brief flirtation with olympic weightlifting, there's almost no reason me to go that deep other than "just cuz, hit depth bro".

I now perform a variety of split squat/lunge variations and almost exclusively perform barbell squats to a box (about a hair below parallel, but I'll mix up box heights depending on how I feel after a run). For ME to get ready to squat ass to grass required a good amount of stretching and mobilization which I decided I no longer wished to do every other workout.*
*(Note: This isn't to say I still don't have to stretch, roll out and mobilize, it now takes a fraction of the time which is important to not waste time or energy pre-lift.)

If I do perform a free standing squat it's because the box is taken, and I'll perform front squats or an anderson squat off the pins. I will also throw in DB or double KB goblet squats during the week where I'm squatting as deep as possible to maintain mobility. 

Barbell Bench Press

This is the one lift I've taken out and noticed zero changes in performance or physique. I had finally achieved a 2x bodyweight bench press and was ecstatic, however I also had a chronic pain in my shoulder and elbow. I no longer wanted to push through the aches and pains. 

I occasionally will perform a shoulder width barbell bench press with zero arch. In terms of muscular development and joint health using dumbbells has been much better for ME. If I need to do something heavy, it'll be dips which I'm close to performing one rep with my bodyweight hanging off me. I can still press 100lbs+ dumbbells and about the only thing I can no longer do is barbell press heavy which makes sense due to the lack of specificity. 


One of the last times I deadlifted 400+ off the platform, of course my client only took a photo instead of a video

One of the last times I deadlifted 400+ off the platform, of course my client only took a photo instead of a video

My FAVORITE lift. 

When I was 17 years old, I threw my back out performing a deadlift incorrectly. It no longer bothers me but there are certain movements which when performed heavy enough makes my low back tick. Heavy deadlifts do the trick. I got to 405, that's good enough for me. 

I will usually pull a conservative stance sumo now anytime I get the itch to pull off the floor, but now almost exclusively use the trap bar to do all my pulls. I can pull multiples of 405lbs off the platform without having my low back/sciatic nerve hate me the next day.

If you don't compete, you don't need to be programming with a fixed mindset of "the big 3" lifts and everything else being an after thought. 

If you train to be a better athlete, you don't program like a powerlifter. If you want to have bigger glutes or larger pecs; powerlifting MIGHT work for some while leaving much to be desired for other individuals. 

I routinely work 12-15 hrs/day, and what's often lost in the sea of social media PR's is a simple fact that if I'm tired there's a higher likelihood I might get hurt...
which then means I can't work...
If I can't work, I don't make money...
And then my cat's can't eat. Ain't nobody taking kibble out of my cats mouths!

To ME it's risk-reward, and it's simply not worth it to me any longer. You can still get at it without performing "the big 3".

I squat, deadlift, and pull to improve my running performance. And I bench to make sure I don't wind up like a typical long distance runner. That's why I lift, why do you? Just something to think about. And now some photos of my cats! 

An excuse to post photos of my cats? D'uh!

An excuse to post photos of my cats? D'uh!