Power Training

A junior champion ‘s powerlifting techniques for mass and proportion

Junior level champion Yumon Eaton of Florida may be one of the most unusual young American natural competitive bodybuilders, thanks to his prior experience in “strongman” and powerlifting. His initial experience with power lifting while training for college football have become a building block which he believes was critical to his present-day natural bodybuilding success. Nowadays, his familiarity with powerlifting movements also gives him some perspective on how other athletes can utilize some of the main movements to maximize their own bodybuilding goals.

For instance, you really must include the deadlift: “I don’t think any other movement builds as much muscle as the deadlift, because every muscle in the entire body is recruited to perform that movement, and it’s just a very comprehensive movement. But correct performance is also just as key: “It should be just one fluid movement, and what I see the most is people making it two movements — they’ll lift the bar with their legs, lock their knees out and then continue to lift with their back. The deadlift should be one movement, and what I see is people making it two movements.”

As far as other core powerlifting movements, the squat and its variations should also be a staple — but again, be attentive to your form, otherwise you sabotage much of the potential benefit: “The problem with the squats is with people not going down sufficiently. You know, I call them “knee bends” — people grab a lot of weight that they can’t handle and shouldn’t be trying to handle. I come from a powerlifter’s point of view, so all lifts need to be butt below knees and below parallel. But even if you’re not interested in powerlifting or really developing power, I still think even for bodybuilding you should do the rep at least parallel — anything above parallel is just taking away from the movement.”

Having an experienced first-hand source in powerlifting technique who can advise on form and performance along with spotting you, is also an essential asset. Yumon Eaton found on such seasoned athlete early on at his local rec center who turned out to be an invaluable training partner and advisor: “I always lifted heavy, and I was in the gym one day, and there was a guy there who actually used to be a former powerlifter himself and was very good,” he recalls. “He noticed me and one day he gave me a tip — he said I needed to lower my butt and drive up my legs, instead of just pulling with my back when I deadlifted. And so one thing led to another, and I would see him on other days and he would critique my form, and so we began training together and he actually became sort of a mentor to me, and that’s how actually I became involved with powerlifting.”

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