The physical costs associated with Powerlifting are discussed regularly. How gruelling training is, the aches and pains you will face, and the mentality needed to succeed in the sport.
What’s not talked about as often is how much cash a person should expect to spend preparing for their first meet.
From the outside looking in it can seem powerlifting is an inexpensive sport. Technically all you really need is a pair of shoes and a singlet and you can compete in a meet. But that would be the equivalent of showing up to a drag race with a golf kart.
So if you want to be fully equipped for meet day here’s what you can expect to spend.
First off let’s start with Coaching, a coach is an invaluable expense to a novice powerlifter. It’s easy for anyone to train hard and intense but designing a strategic plan for yourself with an end goal for every session can be difficult and often times novice lifters will train to heavy and to hard which leaves them falling short on meet day from overtraining.
Having a coach expedites the learning process, and a good coach always has the end goal in mind, being as strong as possible the day of the meet. For a good coach you can expect to spend $75-150 per month.
Next you’ll need to equip yourself for the meet, which all starts with your feet. You will need at least one good pair of lifting shoes. No, tennis shoes won’t cut it here. For those on a budget you can get by with one pair of flat sole shoes like vans or chucks. This will give you a pair of shoes you can use in all three lifts. Squat, bench, and dead.
While 1 pair of shoes is the budget option, most lifters have 2-3 pairs of shoes for lifting. And elevated heel shoe for squatting, a flat sole shoe for bench, and for the 3rd option some lifters like to have deadlift slippers. Personally I’d recommend a pair of squat shoes and then your choice of flat sole shoes. For this combo you’re looking to spend close to $200 for both pair.
***Pro tip: Periodically check sporting goods stores like Dick’s and Academy, when someone buys a squat shoe online and returns it these stores will put the shoe on sale in clearance, I bought my squat shoes for $15***
After your feet are covered we will move up to the knees, while you can bare knee squat you are leaving pounds on the platform by doing so. A good pair of knee sleeves or wraps will not only help prevent injury but give a boost in performance as well. A quality pair of knee sleeves or wraps will be around $60-70
Next up from the knees is the waist, the most pivotal point for a powerlifter. This is where a lifting belt comes into the conversation. A vital tool in the powerlifters arsenal, a lifting belt is not the place to cut cost.
The last thing you want is for your belt to blow out during a heavy squat or deadlift. For most lifters an 8mm 4inch wide belt is the right style. The cost of a durable stock belt ranges from $80-100. Of course you can spend more if you venture into the realm of customized lifting belts (trust me I’ve spent my fair share of money here)
We’re halfway up the body. The final area of concern are the wrists, for squatting you want a good pair of wrist wraps to help support the load your holding on your back. And of course for bench you’ll need the support to maintain proper position.
Wrist wraps will hit your pockets for $30-50
The last piece of gear you will need is your singlet. Yes there is a difference between a wrestling singlet and a lifting singlet. A simple singlet will run $50.
Now you have everything you need to get to the meet, coaching, lifting gear, and all the clothing needed. Now it’s time to pay for the meet.
We won’t discuss travel costs but keep in mind no matter where you compete you will have some travel involved.
Meets will always have an entry fee, the average meet will cost $120 for entry with an additional fee for any extra divisions that are entered. In addition to your entry fee you will usually need a membership to the federation that is hosting the meet. Most feds charge $100 for a yearly membership.
After the entry fee is paid you’ve covered all of the “up front” expenses to completion.
In case you haven’t been keeping count, for a 12 week prep you’re looking at spending roughly $800-1000 for all of the items mentioned above.
Hopefully this hasn’t discouraged you from stepping on the platform. However this should have prepared you for what you will need financially to take on your first meet. Of course none of this takes into account the cost of food and the Project AD supplements that you will use and eat during a prep. But that’s an entirely different article in itself.
So save your pennies, buy all your lifting gear, hire a good coach, and get on the platform.