Tag Archives: powerlifting

Swindon Barbell at the GBPF British Equipped Powerlifting Championships 2016

Swindon Barbell had 4 entrants to this year’s British championships; Yasmina Couty in the -63k seniors, Helen Toms in the -84k Masters category, Charlie Shotton-Gale and Christie Civetta lifting in the -84k seniors.

Powerlifting involves 3 lifts; squat, bench press and deadlift.  Each lifter has 3 attempts to get the highest weight lifted for each movement.  The best attempt of each lift is added together to give a total, those with the biggest total win.

Yasmina preparing for her final Deadlift to secore Silver Medal overall

Yasmina preparing for her final Deadlift to secore Silver Medal overall

Yasmina was entering this competition as a practice run for some technical changes she has been making in training and ended up, unexpectedly, winning silver medal! Yas achieved a massive 5k personal best on her squat and 2.5k on her deadlift giving her the second highest total in the 63k ladies class and silver!



Helen Toms squatting 140k in the Masters 2 age category

Helen Toms squatting 140k in the Masters 2 age category

This was Helen’s second competition in full Powerlifting equipment (which involves a lifter wearing tight clothing to remove joint weakness and give more emphasis on the muscle strength).  The nerves showed a little as she missed her opening 2 squats but achieving a successful lift in the 3rd attempt gave Helen a good base to move on to bench in which she got a 5k personal best and the same for the deadlift giving her a result of 140k squat, 75k bench and 155k deadlift and silver medal in the masters 2 (50-59 years old), second to the current world silver medallist I might add!

Christie Civetta pulling 172.5k Deadlift to secure her overall Bronze Medal

Christie Civetta pulling 172.5k Deadlift to secure her overall Bronze Medal

Christie, who is studying her Masters at Bristol University, is originally from USA and only turned a senior this year so this competition hit her with many firsts.  Nevertheless, the competitive American turned her nerves into determination and missed none of her 9 attempts achieving a 190k squat, 107.5k bench and 172.5k deadlift.  Christie managed to pull her last deadlift not only to add 25k to her personal best total but also for the bronze medal!



Charlie Shotton-Gale benching 137.5k for new British Record

Charlie Shotton-Gale, who is an old hand at British championships, this being her 9th competition, was entering with a mind-set of hopefully breaking a couple of her existing British records.  Never did she think she would have such a successful day as she did.  Charlie hit a smooth 215k squat, adding 2.5k to her British record, she then went on to add 5k to her British Bench record, increasing it to 137.5k, and 2.5k to her deadlift record to 202.5k.  This meant she increased her personal best total and thus the British record by 15k, to 555k, giving Charlie a total of 4 out of 4 British Records in the 84k female senior’s (23-39 years old) category.  This was down to her achieving successful lifts on 9 out of the 9 she attempted getting only 1 red light the entire competition. 

Charlie Shotton-Gale squatting 215k for a new British Record at -84k body weight

Charlie Shotton-Gale squatting 215k for a new British Record at -84k body weight

Swindon Barbell have a busy calendar in the coming months taking members to the British Masters championships, the South West Championships as well as Charlie Shotton-Gale gearing up for the European Championships in May.

If you would like to know more about Swindon Barbell you can find them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/swindonbarbell/ or by contacting head coach Charlie on charlie@sg-fitness.co.uk.

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Programming for Powerlifting


Charlie Shotton-Gale, Multiple British Champion, World ranked 6

There have been a lot of programs popularised in the media from a simple linear progressive program to the 5/3/1 (8) and Eastern European programs.

If you are training for your first ever competition, or indeed if you are just entering in to a pure strength training program, you will want to keep it simple and consistent.

Focusing on the ‘big 3’, which includes the back squat, the bench press and the deadlift, is key, as  would be starting light and working on your technique before you begin to add load in the form of weight to the bar.      

Developing a good technique is the most important aspect to a beginners lifting career, and this may take up most of their initial few weeks of training before they can add loads (weights) (1, 2). Working solely with a wooden or plastic technique pole developing movement patterns so that the neuromuscular system can familiarise itself has been shown to have immense amounts of benefits to novice lifters when they start to add load to their movements (1).

Keeping to a simple linear progression can be the most effective manner of allowing the body to adapt successfully when increasing load over time. This can be in the form of a 12 week structured load progression and volume (sets x reps)  reduction, such as 4 weeks of 5 sets of 5 repetitions (REPS) on each exercise, separating the week in to a squat day, bench day and deadlift day. This would be reduced to 3 sets of 3 reps per exercise for 4 weeks and completed by 3 sets of 2/1 for 3 weeks.

linear program

This last 3 weeks is termed ‘tapering’ and is used when loads of near maximum are being lifted to ensure recovery is optimal for the muscles, the neuromuscular system and the central nervous system. (3, 4).

During a tapering phase, you will also start removing any auxiliary, or assistance, work you were doing to enhance the movement and ensure the body receives the recovery it  needs.

Once the tapering phase is complete, a rest period of between 2-5 days is necessary before competing. This will ensure that any small aches and pains receive time to heal, and will allow your body to regenerate in time for maximum effort (4).


Dean Bowring, GB Powerlifting, World Champion 2010

On competition day, a minimum amount of work is required to ensure the balance of muscular readiness is achieved but fatigue levels are not detrimentally increased.

Proficient coaches will ensure their athletes are warmed up thoroughly but not fatiguing, and are physiologically and psychologically ready to perform at their maximum.

Strength athletes that have been training and/or competing for at least 1 year may find they need to start altering their basic progression and begin another effective yet simple program such as the 5/3/1 (8). This program bases its progressions over 4 weeks i.e. 1 week of 3 sets of 5 reps (3×5) on each exercise, followed by 1 week of 3×3 then a week of 1 x 5/3/1. This is followed by a lighter ‘de load’ week of 3×5. The entire program is based on percentages and is easy for intermediate lifters to follow.

This program also finishes with a tapering week before competitions, as do all programs to ensure there is ample rest and recovery before you attempt to lift the maximum your body can.

Eastern European programs have become very popular for elite and long standing lifters because they consist of high volume multi lift structures that train each exercise several times a week. Such programs include Smolov (7), Sheiko (6) and the Bulgarian weightlifting program that has been adapted for powerlifting.

These programs follow an undulating progressive nature, training each exercise every training  session under various loads and volumes often utilising high volume low weight technique work alongside low volume high load force development before the program alters in exercises used after 3-6 weeks, depending on the program.

These programs are only recommended for those who have been regularly training and competing for over 2 years as the strain on the muscles and neuromuscular system is immense.

For lifters who have been training and/or competing for under a year focusing on simple progressive programs that develop good technique is the most recommended protocol. Once a lifter has developed their techniques and ability, moving on to a still simple but more varied program can enhance the progress the lifters achieve in their competition weights.

Finally, for very experienced lifters it is recommended that high volume varied lifting programs are adopted, such as the Eastern European powerlifting programs (6, 7.) or Western European programs such as the Norweigan Powerlifting Program and Synthesised Training System.

If you would like to download this article, please click on the link below:

Programming for Powerlifting


  1. Baechle, T.R., Earle, R.W., & Wathen, D. (2008). Resistance training. In T.R. Baechle & R.W. Earle (Ed.), Essentials of Strength & Conditioning (3rd ed.). (pp. 381412). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  2. Häkkinen K. Neuromuscular and hormonal adaptations during strength and power training. A review. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1989 Mar;29(1) 9-26. PubMed PMID: 2671501.
  3. Israetel, M (2014). Peaking for Powerlifting. Found at: http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2014/08/12/peaking-powerlifting
  4. Pyne, D., Mujika, I. & Reilly, T. (2009).  Peaking for optimal performance: Research limitations and future directions. Journal of Sports Sciences.  Volume 27, Issue 3, 2009, pages 195- 202. DOI: 10.1080/02640410802509136
  5. Rippetoe, M., Kilgore, L. & Pendlay, G. (2008). Practical Programming for Strength Training. Found at: http://www.richard-pye.talktalk.net/practicalprogramming.pdf
  6. Sheiko, B. (2014). Found at: http://sheiko-program.ru/forum/index.php?topic=313.0
  7. Smolov, S.  Found at: http://stronglifts.com/how-to-add-100-pounds-to-your-squat-smolov/
  8. Wendler, J.  (2009).  Found at: http://www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness



Charlie Shotton-Gale half way through a 1RM attempt in a conventional style Deadlift

Deadlift Seminar at Battleground Fitness UK

SG Fitness hosted an introductory seminar on the Deadlift at Battleground Fitness UK.  For those that attended please see reminder notes below to enhance your learning.

For those that did not attend, have a read and make sure you are there next time to make sure you get the best out of your lifting.

What you wanted to focus on:

  • Technique/Types of Deadlift

We covered various deadlift techniques from conventional, sumo and olympic style first pull deadlift.

Olympic Weightlifter completing his First Pull Deadlift

Olympic Weightlifter completing his First Pull Deadlift

Charlie Shotton-Gale half way through a 1RM attempt in a conventional style Deadlift

Charlie Shotton-Gale half way through a 1RM attempt in a conventional style Deadlift

Pat Constantine completing his Sumo Deadlift

Pat Constantine completing his Sumo Deadlift

  • Types of grip

We discussed the double over hand and alternating grip.

Double overhead is usually used for olympic lifting such as cleans and snatches as they require to catch the bar after the pull, the grip used is usually referred to as ‘Hook Grip’.  Whereas higher weight powerlifting style deadlifts tend to use alternating grips that are stronger.

If you are not training for a Powerlifting or Weightlifting competition it is advised to use straps if you experience grip issues.

  • Warm ups

We discussed a routine of

An example of a warm up routine that will ensure you are ready to perform you maximum weight of that day.

An example of a warm up routine that will ensure you are ready to perform you maximum weight of that day.


What issues you have experienced:

  • How to remove lower back pain

If you are experiencing lower back pain it is likely due to one of 2 issues:

  1. you are rounding your back during the lift and so putting pressure on the lower back in a flexed position
  2. you are leaning too far forward during the lift and so using the hamstrings and back too much rather then utilising the front and core as well.
  • Grip issues

Discussed above.

  • Belt usage

Belts are highly recommended to use when training for high strength deadlifts.  This is because of the intra-abdominal pressure that supports the lumbar section of the spine to enhance the stability of the upper body.  An explanatory paper by Dr Frankel covered the research on using a belt whilst weight training.

What did you want to achieve:

  • Bigger 1 rep max – how to achieve this

By altering techniques throughout the seminar there were 6 personal best’s achieved

A display of each person increase on Personal Best lift.

A display of each person increase on Personal Best lift.

  • Endurance deadlift.

We discussed endurance based deadlift as some participants are entering the ‘Super Human’ contest in which they will be continually deadlifting as a team for 20 minutes.

Recommended to adjust foot stance and hand position during training before they find a technique that is most suited to their body and posture that will reduce back pain and ensure leg movements are used for deadlift above back pulling.

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Want to try Powerlifting? Know what to do and who to compete with.

This article will explain Powerlifting briefly.

If you would like more information please see Swindon Barbell, British Powerlifting or contact us.

This article will look at:

  • Classic and Equipped Powerlifting in the UK
  • What federations are out there for you in the UK
  • Which federations are best for able body and Paralympic powerlifting.
  • Where to find out more information

What is Powerlifting

Powerlifting is a pure strength based sport that tests leg strength using the squat, the upper body strength using the bench press and the back using the deadlift.

The video here shows the structure of a competition – 3 attempts on the squat, 3 on the bench and 3 on the deadlift.  the best (highest) weight from each lift are added together to give a total.

The person with the highest total wins.

Powerlifting has 3 subcultures – equipped, unequipped (Classic) powerlifting and bench press only.


The video shows an equipped lifter competing which includes wearing squat and deadlift suits, knee wraps and a bench shirt.


Dean Bowering (former IPF champion and multiple British Powerlifting Champion and record holder) deadlifting in a deadlift suit, belt, deadlift socks and deadlift slippers.


Bulgarian lifter preparing to bench press wearing a Bench shirt.


Charlie Shotton-Gale, multiple British Powerlifting champion and record holder, squatting wearing a Squat suit and Knee Wraps.


Powerlifting equipment started increasing in development at the end of 1980’s and beginning of the 1990’s.  It is a very different style of lifting to unequipped (Classic or Raw) lifting because the lifter has to not only be able to lift the weight, they have to be able to contend with the tightness of the equipment as well as the limited breathing and increased amount of pain.


Unequipped or Classic powerlifting is more akin to gym lifting in which you are allowed to wear knee and elbow sleeves along with wrist straps and a weightlifting belt.

Stephen Manuel, GBPF multiple British champion and IPF World Silver medalist, celebrating in Classic powerlifting approved SBD knee sleeves, wrist straps and singlet.

Stephen Manuel, multiple British Powerlifting champion and IPF World Silver medallist and squat record holder, celebrating in Classic powerlifting approved SBD knee sleeves, wrist straps and singlet.

There are many different federations within the UK and the are separated in to drug tested and untested federations.

Which Federation is for you?


The largest and most populated of tested federations is British Powerlifting, which is affiliated to the oldest powerlifting federation the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and adheres to the World Anti Doping Association (WADA).

This caters for Classic and Equipped, Full 3 lifter Powerlifting and Bench press only.  This does not have a separate Paralympic section (as of Feb 2018) however all abilities are welcome to compete.

British Drug Free Powerlifting Association (BDFPA) is an alternative which is affiliated to the World Drug Free Powerlifting Association (WDFPA) and is the only federation recognised by the British Services such as Army, RAF and Police at this present moment.

This caters for Classic and Equipped, Full 3 lifter Powerlifting and Bench press only.


There are many untested federations within the UK including British Powerlifting Congress (BPC) and British Powerlifting Union (BPU) or Federation (BPF).

If you are looking for natural or tested federations please check with the federation you competing in or are thinking of joining.

Brithsh Powerlifting

If you are thinking of competing in the British Powerlifting the pathway of competing follows

Developmental competition.

You do not have be a federation member and the cost of competing is generally 50% of that of federation competitions.  You also do not have to wear competition standard attire such as singlets.

Regional competition.

This is based on the area you live and Swindon is included in the South West (SWPLA).  Everyone can enter no matter your experience or ability, however it is required that you are a British Powerlifting member, be wearing competition attire and cost on entry will be full price (usually £25).

National competition.

Depending on weather you are equipped or classic will depend on when your competition is in the year.  Classic powerlifting has become very popular since the IPF introduced the Classic World Championships in 2012 and so national championships have separated from equipped nationals, with a further separation of men and women’s championships due to high numbers.

To enter nationals you will need to:

  • Achieve the qualifying total for your category of lifting (equipped or unequipped), age, weight and gender category.
  • Achieve this within the last 12 months at a regional level and be active within your region. (Please see qualifying procedures)
  • Be a member of British Powerlifting
  • Send in entry form including price of entry.
  • Wear competition attire.

International competition.

To be able to compete internationally you be will required to:

  • Have either won or achieve silver medal status at your national championships
  • Attend the relevant Squad sessions that you would have been invited to
  • Received an official invite from the British Powerlfiting confirming your position on the squad
  • Be able to self fund the trip.  British Powerlifting will partially fund aspects of the trip, but as of 2018 the cost of the trip falls entirely on the athlete and/or their sponsors.
  • Please see full details through International Selection criteria

British Weightlifting Paralympic Powerlifting

This is where it can get a bit confusing because, for Paralympic Powerlifting, they come under British Weightlifting.  Weightlifting is not Powerlifting, it is the Olympic sport of the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch.  However, as it is an Olympic Sport, Paralympic Powerlifting runs within the British Weightlifting banner under the governance of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) but more information can be found on the World Para Powerlifting website.

Help for Heroes Paralympic Powerlifting

Help for Heroes have joined forces with British Weightlifting (BWL) to enable injured vets to use Powerlifting as a pathway to recovery.

This has been taken in to the Invictus Games where a selected few athletes can go and compete in a multi-sport, recovery based competition.

Once these athletes have completed their recovery journey through H4H, they have 2 options in Powerlifting – to access one of the able bodied federations to compete in Bench only (or 3 lift if their abilities suit) or to compete under BWL heading toward World Para Powerlifting.

Alternatively, they could do both!

How can you get involved?

Check out the list of local clubs to you either by using the Brithsh Powerlifting club finder or on the British Weightlifting website.

For more information on anything you have read or seen in this blog please contact SGF by emailing charlie@sg-fitness.co.uk

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Charlie vs A Locomotive

Some of you may have already seen on the social medias that I am doing another fundraiser.

However this time I am doing it primarily for myself.

On September 6 2014 on wharf green swindon town centre (outside the big TV screen) Karl and I will be squat, benching and dead lifting a total of 89 tonnes.

This is to:

1) raise money to send me to the World Powerlifting Championships in USA

2) raise awareness of Powerlifting in Swindon and Wiltshire

3) 1/3 of money raised will go to Breaking free Women’s support group.

You can support by either turning up and donating or by going to http://www.gofundme.com/8j97q0 and donating directly.


IMG_0151.JPG This entry was posted in Fundraising, personal training, Powerlifting, training and tagged , , , , , , on by .

GBPF South West Powerlifting Championships 2013

The weekend of April 21 2013 saw Swindon Powerlifting making their way up to Cheltenham BodySports gym for the annual South West Powerlifting Championships. In the team we had:gbpf

  • Veteran lifter Michelle Constantine, who having qualified at her last competition for the Nationals was using this competition as a training session so not lifting to 1RM.
  • New Comer Dan Brunt-Murphy who had been training himself with a few coaching sessions from Coach Pat.
  • Former Junior GB Team member Nick Shotton-Gale after that qualification total of 680k for the Senior Nationals.

SG Fitness was supporting, assisting and coaching all 3 lifters in replacement of Coach Pat as he was unavaiilable on the day.

First out to lift was Michelle, and even though she was using this as a training session the weights were still heavy, and she was pleased to get 130k squat, 70k bench and 140k deadlift.

Non of these lifts were a PB but in equipment that was loose or she was not used to it was a great chance to push the muscles without the strain of needing numbers.

Lifting alongside Michelle was newbie Dan B-M, who had come to see Coach Pat a few times for training sessions but mostly developed his own program and training for the competition.

With a great squat of 150k.


122.5k bench and a spectacular 195k deadlift.

Dan has a lot of potential for the future of his lifting. Dan is going to be working with Coach Pat and SG Fitness in the future to work on his technique in the lifts and to develop certain muscle groups that are essential to being a good lifter…..GLUTES!

Last up from Swindon was Nick. Nick had received confirmation of qualification from his last competition 7 weeks ago as he was 7.5k away from the qualification total, however this was not good enough.

Nick wanted to qualify on merit alone, and rightly so. Nick’s opening squat of 245k was solid but got a 2:1 in favour vote, so he had to make sure 255k for his second was deeper, which it was, however 262.5k in his 3rd attempt was not.He was happy with 255k.

Bench press brought the biggest surprise to Nick, failing his opening attempt of 172.5 on an error on his part his second attempt of 177.5k flew up.

so he decided to up it to 185k, a weight he has never even attempted before.  And we managed it, just.

He only needed his opeining deadlift of 245k to easily qualify for his 680k total, and achieving his 255k second attempt he decided to try for a PB of 260k but obviously emptied his energy levels on the 255k and didn’t manage to pull it.

However, with a 10k PB on his bench, a 2.5k PB on his squat and a massive 22.5kPB on his total he achieved a 695k total and well and truely qualified for the Senior Nationals in June.

Well done to all the lifters who competed on sunday, we can’t wait to see everyone at the GBPF British Powerlifting Championships June 22-23 June (Spirit of Sport, Blessed Trinity RC College, Ormerod Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 3AA)

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness