What Equipment is Needed for Powerlifting?

What Equipment Is Needed For Powerlifting

Powerlifting is one of the most demanding sports out there, and it goes way beyond what you see on social media. Success in powerlifting requires months, if not years, of committed training with the proper equipment; squat racks, barbells, weight plates, and even chalk.

Starting a powerlifting routine can be intimidating. Especially if you don’t have the right equipment. In this article, we will cover all of the equipment you need to have handy, either at home or your local gym, if you want to practice the sport of powerlifting.

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a competitive strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight in the squat, bench press and deadlift. These lifts are performed in that order, and the total of the best successful lift (the heaviest weight lifted) for each lift determines the winner for each weight class and division.

The sport is overseen by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). The IPF is the global governing body for all powerlifting federations across the world. It was founded in 1972, and its current president is Dr. Tamas Ajan.

Equipment Needed For Powerlifting

Before starting powerlifting, you will need a few things to ensure your training is successful. Powerlifting is one of the most difficult sports in the world. So an aspiring lifter needs to be prepared for all that comes with the sport.

Below are listed some of the most essential pieces of powerlifting equipment used by powerlifters:

Barbell Bar

Powerlifters train with barbells, similar to those used in competition, to help increase their strength and size.

Barbells are long metal poles with weights attached at either end. You can do many exercises with barbells, including squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and cleans. However, not all barbells are the same. Choosing the Olympic-style barbell is essential if you’re planning on competing.

Also, many powerlifters use personalized powerlifting programs to fully prepare themselves for competition so they can perform their best.

Squat Bar

A squat bar is a standard barbell with center knurling, which helps keep the bar in place during squats. This barbell is used for squats, bench press and sometimes deadlifts depending on the powerlifting federation’s rules and standards.

Deadlift Bar

A deadlift bar has no center knurling and is usually slightly thinner than a standard barbell. This allows it to have some give or “whip” as the bar bends when using heavier weights. You should only train with a deadlift bar if your chosen federation uses it in competitions. Otherwise, you are better off using the standard barbell for all your main lifts.

Weight Plates

Many different types of weights can be used when you do powerlifting exercises. Some people prefer using standard metal plates while others prefer calibrated plates like those used in competition.

Standard Plates

These are typically made from solid iron or steel, but can also be made from plastic or rubber. It is best to stick to metal plates, as many rubber or plastic plates have different widths than those used in competition, which can hinder performance.

Calibrated Plates

Calibrated plates help ensure that you’re lifting the correct amount of weight during your workouts. They are also the same plates that will be used in competition. So training with them is a great way to make sure you have no surprises when it comes time for competition.

Squat Rack

A squat rack, or power rack, is a vital piece of equipment if you want to compete in powerlifting. It allows you to practice your squats in the safest way possible if you train alone. That way, if for some reason you are not able to squat the weight up, the rack can hold the weight for you and help prevent a major injury.

Bench Press

The bench press is another vital piece of equipment needed for powerlifting. It is best if you get a full bench press set-up, but at minimum you will need a simple bench that you can put in the power rack to perform bench presses with.

Elbow or Knee Sleeves

Though it is not required, powerlifters often wear elbow or knee sleeves or knee wraps during their workout to help support their joints and prevent injuries. These sleeves can be made from neoprene or cotton — although neoprene is more popular because it’s more durable and easier to clean.

Wrist Wraps

Similar to elbow and knee sleeves, wrist wraps help support your wrists and prevent injury. For some that have difficulty keeping their wrists straight, they also help to keep your wrists in line with the bar.

Powerlifting Belt

Powerlifting belts are not required, but they are one of the most effective tools for improving your lifts and preventing injury. They do this by helping you brace your core during heavy lifts so that you feel stronger and are usually able to lift more weight.


Chalk is another necessary piece of powerlifting equipment you need to have on hand. It helps to keep your hands and the bar dry so that you can grip it better. This is extremely important for heavy deadlifts, but putting some on your back can also help keep the bar in place during squats and prevent your back from slipping on the bench when bench pressing.

Powerlifting Kit

A powerlifting kit consists of a belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps and other vital equipment which help protect your body while performing heavy lifts. No matter what level you are at in the sport, you should put together your own powerlifting kit that you bring to every meet and training session.

Benefits Of Powerlifting Equipment

Some of the main benefits of using powerlifting equipment are:

  • Improved performance and focus
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Reduce the chances of injury
  • Helpful during training


Powerlifting equipment has proven to be essential for building strength, lowering injury risk, and improving performance. While it’s crucial to improve your lifting ability and natural strength, as well as, it provides some support. Powerlifting equipment can help in many ways. Find the equipment that best suits you and get to training heavy!

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