Why Powerlifting SUCKS

When I was a kid my uncle and I used to spend hours together watching kung-fun movies featuring Bruce Lee and a bunch of  lesser know badasses.

What I loved most about watching these dudes fly across the screen kicking, punching and whooping the shit out of one  another… Was the sounds they made while laying the smack down. 

Each roundhouse kick or 1-inch punch summonsed a loud SHOUT, yell or groan.

I started lifting at the age of 14.

It didn’t take long before I started to YELL, shout or groan while lifting in the basement of my parents home.

Sometimes I’d make so much noise while lifting that my mom would become frightened.  She thought I was killing myself  down there, so she’d just close the door. LOL

Later, when I returned to football practice I became notorious for YELLING, shouting, groaning and making more noise than
anyone of the field.

YELLING seemed to prepare my mind for intense lifts.

YELLING seemed to help me lift with more intensity.

YELLING just made me feel good (energized and powerful).

A few years later I ended up playing college football.

The strength coach for my football team was a powerlifter.

He was pretty good at teaching us the proper techniques for pressing, squatting and deadlifting.

He also taught us how to breathe.

He taught us that powerlifters should SUCK as much air into their lungs and HOLD IT IN for our lifts. 

While this did yield some extra torque while lifting, it didn’t feel as good as YELLING.

[Me and my ex-powerlifter buddy AJ Roberts]

Many year later (well after my football career), I began competing in the sport of strongman.

As a strongman I returned to my old YELLING habit.  I would YELL before a lift, during a lift… and if I was satisfied with my lifting results, I might YELL in celebration after my lift.

It seemed to me that the more dynamic, explosive and athletic the movements performed… the more YELLING seemed to help.

YELLING is all about exhaling with intention and intensity.   

When Bruce Lee was kicking some bad-guy in the chest… he was exhaling with intention and intensity.

When I was slamming my helmet into a quarter-back… I was exhaling with intention and intensity.

When pro-tennis player Monica Seles hit a ball… she was exhaling with intention and intensity (she was a screamer!).

SUCKING, and holding the breath in might help add a few pounds to your lift, but it has many drawbacks.

SUCKING, and holding the breath in also causes a ton of intra-abdominal pressure in your body.

This pressure within your chest, lungs and organs has been found to cause a myriad of health issues (including left-ventricle hypertrophy and other heart problems)… besides it doesn’t feel so good.

Today, I don’t YELL as much as I used to… but I breathe with intension and intensity.

I’ve learned that lifting with deliberate, consistent and smooth breathing pulsation not only supports my strength and power, it also gives my organs a rest from all of the pressure caused by SUCKING and holding. 

If you’ve been lifting for a while, and using the SUCKING method to support your lifts… try something new.

Try lifting with a more relaxed breathing style, one that allows you to exhale ​​​while exerting force — or simply YELL.

You might find that your energy and intensity goes up.

You might also find that you have less chest pressure and anxiety after a good lifting session.

Lift to FEEL good. 



PS – my Lean Hybrid Muscle routine is all about lifting like an athlete.

No SUCKING required.