Is Bigger Really Better?

Zach Homol

Often, I hear in the powerlifting world that if you want to become stronger, you must get bigger. I personally believe this to be about half way true. The statement is very bold and biased and just as any bold and biased statement there is always way more to it than what meets the eye.

I would like to speak about this topic using myself as an example. I currently hold a 1,775 total in the IPA and a top TEN ALL TIME TOTAL at 181lbs. Often I hear other lifters making comments like. “Zach. Imagine how strong you could be if you allowed your body to get up to 220lbs, you’d be an animal!” Sure, I do believe I would see some slight improvements on my lifts but I do not see that being the most efficient way to become stronger.

I believe everyone has a specific strength level they will be able to achieve in a certain weight class, once that lifter achieves that skill level, he or she may have to decide to bump up to the next weight class. By moving up a weight class you will be able to consume more overall calories daily which will then lead into better performance in the gym, and hopefully carry over on meet day. Now this is the most basic form of understanding to “Bump up a weight class” I’d like to discuss more on when is the right time to move up.

I personally have realized that I have not yet “out grown” the 181lbs weight class. There is multiple reason as to why I know I still have time to compete at 181lbs. I’m a relatively short individual, not often am I over 200lbs, the meets I do allow 24-hour weigh ins which allows me to compete on meet day at a heavier weight if I’m able to replenish properly after the weight cut. The list goes on and on. But the most important factor comes down to understanding my body. I realize the heavier I get the more my leverages are off on the deadlift. While my squat may see faster improvements, my deadlifts will suffer greatly. This could be a result of putting on TOO MUCH WEIGHT, TOO QUICKLY. All roads always seem to lead back to nutrition. When my nutrition is spot on, my body weight floats between 190-195lbs. This is the weight I feel most durable in. Being at this weight I’m still able to make the 181lbs weight class and be competitive with the best. With this being said, bigger is not better- in my case. Yes, I may be able to move slightly more weight do to sheer size but I wouldn’t be as competitive as I am in the 181lbs class.

My body structure is not built to hold onto 220lbs- trust me, I’ve tried. I find myself performing at a higher level- daily sub 200lbs. I do believe there will come a time when I am going to have to move up into the 198lbs division. When that time comes I will have fully outgrown the 181lbs class with 100% proper nutrition adding mass that I will not be able to make the cut.

Before deciding to move up a weight class make sure your programming is spot on, your nutrition is spot on, and your training is at 100%. Once all of those bases are covered and you believe you have fully maxed out your potential at that body weight, then begin the process to moving up into the next weight class!

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