The Definition Of RAW Lifting
The following is the definition of what we powerlifters consider a lift to be done “RAW”.
“RAW” determines the assistance you are allowed to use for training and testing your lifts. What we consider to be RAW is the same as what most sanctioned Powerlifting Competitions also consider to be RAW.
This is different than what is considered to be 100% RAW. 100% RAW means without any assistive equipment at all, as if you were only lifting in shorts and a t-shirt.
RAW lifting allows for some safety equipment to accommodate more people and promote the safety of the lifter, above all else.
To be considered RAW when lifting you can use the assistance of:
- a weight lifting belt,
- non-supportive knee or elbow sleeves,
- chalk as needed,
- and wrist wraps if needed.
*Non-supportive knee and elbow sleeves are used to promote joint safety by keeping them warm but add little to no actual lifting support.
This amount of equipment promotes the safety of the lifter while allowing for only necessary assistance.
Overall, the lifter has to do the lift, not the equipment.
The more equipment you use, the more you have to rely on when it counts. It is best to only use what you need to be safe and save the rest for when you absolutely need it.
Drugs and Supplements
Being RAW also does not allow the use of drugs or special supplement regiments that greatly improve a lifter’s strength, recovery or muscle growth.
Basically, if you would fail a drug test using it, then it is not RAW.
To be clear, no supplements are needed to make your program work as effectively as possible. It is all about how much you put in.
Lifting equipment is anything that directly improves your ability to lift more weight. This could be very light assistive gear, such as knee or elbow sleeves, all the way up to extremely supportive gear, such as lifting suits.
One of the most common pieces of equipment to be used is a lifting belt. When used properly, a lifting belt allows you to better brace your core for stabilization by increasing the intra-abdominal pressure placed on your spine. By increasing stabilization you are enabled to lift heavier loads.
Equipment can improve lifter strength and safety, but can also have adverse effects when used improperly.
If any one piece of equipment is used too frequently, then it will limit your body’s ability to grow stronger in that area. Essentially, the equipment will become a crutch that then must be used every time training occurs in order to keep up with the strength developed in other non-supported areas.
The most effective way to use equipment is only when it is necessary.
For example, when using light to moderate loads (<75%) avoid using any equipment at all to build greater strength in all areas. Then when you put on equipment for maximal loads (>80%) you will be that much stronger.
Even if you have an injury, only use the equipment when you need it. If your injury does not hurt, then do not cover it up with equipment. Allow it to grow stronger.
When you are building strength, use little to no equipment.
When you are testing strength, use whatever you can to improve your lift.