Powerlifting is a strength sport that comprises three events, or disciplines if you will. These include the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Like any other sport that requires strength training, powerlifting has its own rules, specific exercise techniques and equipment. It takes years of practice to master proper techniques and become a professionally prepared athlete in this sport.
Sport of powerlifting began in the USA. Initially there was no powerlifting but something that was called odd lifts. Such sport encompassed a broad range of heavy lifts, which sometimes included the present exercises, like squat, bench press, and deadlift. From state to state, the rules varied, until at some point the sport as we know it today was formed. From there on, it was popularized and accepted widely in Russia, United Kingdom and in many countries throughout the World.
In the present day we have a number of federations Worldwide that function separately from each other with their own specific version of the rules. The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) presents the international governing body for the sport of powerlifting. Some of the bigger federations include RAW, USAPL, ADFPF, WPC, WPO, APF and so on. They all fashion their own specific rules about lifts that are performed, equipment that is used, whether the drug testing will be carried out and many other related matters.
Powerlifting involves very specific strength training, where the goal is to achieve a maximum lift and not muscle stimulation, which is often the main goal in related sports, like bodybuilding. Fast twitching muscle fibers are trained using maximal and sub maximal weight with low repetition count. Nutrition is planned around the training to accommodate the necessary recuperation and growth of muscles and tendons in the body. Such eating schedule primarily involves usage of protein and lots of carbohydrates to fuel the training. Besides basic compound movements, powerlifting training includes many supplemental exercises for strengthening particular parts of the body. Although it is so, the emphasis still remains on building power in the main three events: squat, bench press and deadlift.
Apparel that is used for powerlifting is usually made from strong and durable single-ply (single-layer) polyester material. In addition, powerlifting suits are made from denim and canvas materials and in multiple layers (multi-ply), which are allowed or not, depending on the specific federation that you are competing in. Wrist wraps and knee wraps are used to protect the joints and tendons from strenuous training and competition and to prevent any possible injuries.
Some of the most prolific professional powerlifters that used to set records in their time were Rickey Dale Crain, Lee Moran, Ed Coan, Kirk Karwoski and many others. They made the powerlifting sport what it is today.
Important thing is to differentiate powerlifting from other similar sports like Olympic Weightlifting, Bodybuilding and Strongman. People very often confuse these sports for each other, which is not that unusual since they all have something in common, and that is training to achieve powerful lifts and increase strength.