Q&A: Long Term Training Considerations for Powerlifters – with Alexander Eriksson

We reached out to Alexander Eriksson (@ae.power) – the reigning European champion, and general powerlifting mastermind – to pick his brain on powerlifting training in the long-term perspective.

Class in session!

Q: How should a powerlifters’ training change over the years, as they move from being a beginner to advanced?

Alex: – Powerlifting stands out as a sport where innate talent and other training history play a huge role. Some lifters are ready to fight for international medals just 2–3 years after they first touched a barbell. Whilst other lifters might need over a decade of training to reach the national level. This makes it hard to define a beginner, intermediate, and advanced lifter. You can’t just look at training age or strength level. However, for the sake of this interview, I will assume that all lifters go through roughly the same process to make it from beginner to advanced. Independently of your talent or training history.

– If we break competitive powerlifting down to its simplest training principle it’s about one thing: achieving progressive overload that increases your 1RM. To do so you simply need to manage training stress and recovery. This is true independently if you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter. However, what differs between them is the breadth of options that is considered adequate training and recovery.

Q: What should a beginner powerlifter focus on?

Alex: – Beginners have a huge breadth of opportunities. They will respond to basically any training stimuli. Therefore, it’s no need to track training meticulously. Simply focus on learning the movements and get confidence lifting heavy weight. Having this confidence and consistency under the bar will help the lifter take the next step into the intermediate zone.

Q: What should an intermediate powerlifter focus on?

Alex: – Intermediate lifters still have a great breadth of opportunities when it comes to planning their training; however, they have to start being a bit more careful. The focus of the intermediate lifter should be to follow a structured program. But not necessarily individualized program. This will help the lifter understand what works well and what does not work as well.

Q: What should an advanced powerlifter focus on?

Alex: – Ultimately, as an advanced lifter, you have a much narrower interval where you can plan your training. There’s not really any low hanging fruit, and you simply have to monitor progress and keep on grinding. The focus of the advanced lifters should be to build a sustainable and holistic process. This will make the journey enjoyable, and also helps you find the small keys that help you progress in the long run.

Thanks a lot for giving us some brain gains, Alex! If you want to see more of Alex, make sure to follow him on Instagram for insights into powerlifting as well as his personal training. And check out his website, AE Performance Coaching, for coaching and other services!

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Daniel Richter

Daniel has a decade of experience in powerlifting, is a certified personal trainer, and has a Master of Science degree in engineering. Besides competing in powerlifting himself, he coaches both beginners and international-level lifters. Read more about Daniel and StrengthLog by clicking here.