Everything is wrong. I get it. I do.

There’s this “coach,” or talking-head on your Instagram, telling you what’s wrong with everyone else, but he doesn’t know a lot, himself. That’s why he’s talking so much.

It’s a distraction; if the mouth keeps moving, the fingers keep typing, your eyes stay focused on the words, far from the more important business of how the talking-head’s lifters perform, or how consistently they fail to. Or if there even are any lifters. But hey, check out that confidence! It makes you wonder if the talker is even aware they’re a punchline to everyone who has been in the sport more than thirty seconds.

Legends in their own minds. Assholes.

I could go on tearing apart what’s wrong in the sport of powerlifting, but, quite frankly, it’s microscopic and it has very little to do with coaching. All that’s wrong with the sport for the most part is it’s been insufflated with whining from cry babies who are too worried about the splinter in their neighbor’s eye to notice the plank in their own. It really comes down to that. I’m done contributing to it. I can’t write an article, bitching about people bitching.

I don’t care enough. And, yes, I’ve been given this as a topic suggestion, repeatedly. But these things are infectious and self-sustaining. So the best I can do is meet you guys half-way. I’m going to sum this all up very quickly and juxtapose the small negatives with some of the myriad and massive positives of the current state of the sport.

RECENT: CBD for Lifters

What’s wrong with powerlifting? Not online coaching. Not Crossfitters doing meets. Not other lifters secretly being deep cover Nazi operatives. Not anything about other lifters, or coaches, at all. It’s pretty simple for me to address this from a coaching standpoint, since that's my expertise. Like essentially any other product or service being offered, customers are faced with a buyer-beware scenario. The market tends to sort itself out on these matters.

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A few months ago I ordered a couch online (not a coach). It came up in my Instagram feed as an advertisement. This turned out to be more evidence for the argument “if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.” Needless to say the couch never came, I lost my money and with no recourse from Instagram, I was forced to eat the cost of the purchase. I will do more research before buying something from an ad in the future, even on a well known and trusted site.

Most beginner lifters end up making a bad choice hiring their first coach, because the coaches who constantly advertise and post about coaching don’t actually do much of it. They might send out a lot of templates, but they don't do much coaching. Again: buyer beware.

I always say my track record speaks for itself. Everyone’s does. Working with someone without a track record of proven and repeated successes is going to be a gamble— regardless of their political views, or way of eating, or how strong their virtue signaling.

All that’s really wrong, from my perspective, beyond the very minor coaching speed bump is this new abundance of public whiners, cry babies, nosey bastards and, again, virtue signaling pseudo-political fucktards, all of whom are focusing on all the wrong things. That group is easy enough to ignore.

Powerlifting is really not so bad. It’s closer to the truth to say it’s heading in an awesome direction. We have human(s) totaling 2500+ raw. I can remember when a 2500 multi ply total had yet to fall. Finally Gary Frank took it. 2600, too. A shitload more after that. How about an 1100+ raw squat? I wonder if Goggins ever imagined, when he took the first 1100 multi ply squat, someone was going to beat that number, raw, and in his lifetime.

Goggins and Frank are both Titans, and yet these numbers are getting flirted with by raw lifters in their early twenties. It’s mind-boggling to consider that.

This leads me to another important point: all of the people complaining and rallying about the various social issues they’ve superimposed onto powerlifting, you know, since they started participating in the sport a year or two ago— they won’t be around in a year or two more. Trust me, I’ve been through ten or twelve of these cycles over the past 22 years. So shake that all off, too.

The few who are promoting this new “diversity,” take a group of people (powerlifters), who have already been very well unified in the pursuit of strength for quite some time, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual preference, diet (yes, diet is somehow relevant to identity now), and they would force us to separate them into groups and analyze whether or not they’re all being treated fairly. This sort of thing usually stems from internal guilt about their own perceived privilege; guilt they believe will be mitigated by “good deeds” and “advocating.” I won’t even begin to touch on the problems with that proposition, mainly because I don’t care enough. Oh, and because those people are irrelevant in the face of time. They are tourists. Here today, gone tomorrow.

Believe me when I say, as someone who has been intimately involved in this sport for a very long time, coaching lifters across every age group, race, gender, religion, sexual preference and so on, I’ve never seen someone discriminated against or made to feel uncomfortable in a meet or any other powerlifting context based on these things. In fact, I have never experienced another environment as universally supportive, regardless of those characteristics, as the sport of powerlifting. So where powerlifting took many and made one, these fools would take that one and separate us back into many groups, all of which somehow need these same fools to protect them and advocate for them.

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But everyone knows the only things powerlifters really hate each other for are the type of gear we wear, or don’t wear, or how deep we squat. Oh, and who we’ve slept with.

One thing not up for debate is the fact that good information, as well as educational content, is available on a scale not possible at any point previously in the sport. As a result, the average lifter with five or more years experience has a better baseline level of knowledge about training than they likely would in any timeframe, historically.

How do I know? I haven’t done a survey or anything, but I’ve been competing for 22 years. So I’ve witnessed these changes with my own eyes, in real time. 20 years ago, if you asked someone at a meet for advice on how to get stronger, you’d probably get something to the tune of “eat until you gain weight,” without even a question about how you are training or not training. (Not saying that didn't work to some degree.)

Of course, all this information is a double edged sword. There is a legion, composed of wienery internet kids who barely even lift, many of whom have never done a meet, offering advice based on things they’ve read on the internet, or watched on youtube, and never practically applied with any success. On the internet it's hard to tell who is who, most of the time. So we have a situation where someone who doesn't have much experience can easily pose as an authority to anyone who knows less than they do. These people have no experience, which is problematic, I'm happy to admit. Like my man Rollins said, knowledge without mileage is bullshit. But it’s easy enough to separate the geeks from the go-getters. Check their track records. If they don't have one of those, you can be sure they don't know as much as they think, whatever excuse they give.

At the end of the day, the net impact of all this has been tremendously positive, evidenced by the numbers continuing to climb, now to previously unthought of heights. So why are all the talking heads focused on what’s wrong? The same reason every wolf in sheep’s clothing is busy pointing out other wolves. Meanwhile, I will probably see an 800 pound raw benchpress in my lifetime. Think about that for a minute.

Participation by females in the sport is also at an all-time high. And that is by a nice margin. Female coaches have begun to emerge and make names for themselves. I know of at least one successful powerlifter who, after identifying publicly as transgender, moved on to coaching with great success and almost universal support within the lifting community.

Powerlifting is the most inclusive it’s ever been. Lifters are more accepting toward one another than they’ve ever been. Totals are larger than they’ve ever been, across the board. Prize money at single contests has crossed over into the six-figure range.

To the the people who say the sport is in poor shape or heading in a bad direction, I would pose a question.

What metric could you possibly be using to come to such a conclusion?

Please share this if you’ve enjoyed it and feel free to reach out with any topic ideas for future columns.

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