What is Powerlifting?

What is Powerlifting?

The sport has an interesting history to say the very least. Long ago, it actually began as a sport called “odd lifts.” It was much more oriented towards strongman-style competitions with a large number of events. Over time, however, this narrowed down to the three competition lifts we now have today.

But the origins of strength training go back as far as the Greco-Roman times. Hippocrates was perhaps the first to refer to the phenomenon of training, commenting “that which is used develops, and that which is not used wastes away.” Another Greek, Aelius Galen mentions exercising with the halters—an early version of the dumbbells we use today.

Enter modern times: strength sports exploded in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1950s, with several federations hosting ‘odd lifts’ events.

The very first actual meet, however, was held in York, Pennsylvania on September of 1964 at the York Barbell gym: The Weightlifting Tournament of America. It was a national event and the first of many for the USA. Funny enough, Bob Hoffman—the owner of the York Barbell Company—was actually an opponent of the up-and-coming sport. He had no idea of the chain of events he set in motion that day.

As that was happening, federations and organizations in the UK were beginning to form.


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