Powerlifting Equipment List

Powerlifting Equipment List

Powerlifting Equipment

Powerlifting requires a lot of very specific equipment. Required equipment includes a squat rack, a weight bench, a barbell bar and weight plates. With these pieces of equipment you will be able to execute the three powerlifting lifts. Numerous other machines and weights are used in training, but this equipment is the most common.


Special clothing and other assisting equipment are not required but can be beneficial. Clothing options include athletic clothing, compression clothing, squat briefs, bench shirts, or other flexible clothing. In powerlifting competitions singlets are nearly always required. Beneficial accessories are wrist straps, elbow sleeves, knee wraps, deadlift wraps, powerlifting shoes, and a powerlifting belt. Each of these accessories will allow someone lifting weights to avoid injury and get max production.

Barbell Bar

Powerlifting Barbell Bar

The barbell bar is a lifting bar used to perform the three main powerlifting lifts. There are many variations to this bar, but generically, this bar weighs 44.0925 pounds, is 2.2 meters in length, and 28 millimeters in diameter. Different styles of this bar include Olympic, T-bars/Hex-bars, and thick handled barbells. Weights are placed on both sides of the bar. These bars are grabbed with hands and then lifted in the desired direction.

The barbell bar is used in lots of lifts. Examples of lifts using barbell bars include squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench press, overhead press, and rows. These lifts can all be executed with different types of bars and weights, but barbells are the most common. 


Powerlifting Bench

The bench is what you use for most chest exercises. Having a stable comfortable weight bench is essential for a variety of exercises including the popular bench press. The bench should be around 17 or 18 inches in height, with a width of around a foot. Benches are typically made out of 2in x 3in 11-gauge steel. The padding of the bench should be firm and dense, not too luxurious. There are flat benches, incline benches, and adjustable benches. A flat bench is for things like bench press, and also dumbbell rows. The incline bench is for things like dumbbell flys. If you want something more versatile, you can get an adjustable bench that can allow you to do anything from bench press to military shoulder press.

Calibrated Plates

Powerlifting Calibrated Plates

Calibrated plates are far more expensive than your typical steel weight. These plates are machine calibrated to very tight weight tolerances, typically to within 10 grams of stated weight. They have a 50mm opening, which is much slimmer than basic iron plates, and they are painted according to the IPF coloring scheme. Calibrated plates are extremely durable and accurate, and some brands will send you replacements if you are able to prove weight information is incorrect. You can purchase them in either kilograms or pounds, depending on your preference.


Powerlifting Chalk

Chalk is a great thing for a lifter to use when they are working out. You can get a block of chalk for around $12. There are many benefits of using chalk during your workout. It is a great way to fix sweaty palms. When you put chalk on your palms, it will absorb the sweat and give you dry hands allowing you to lift safely. This is also a great way to lift harder as you will have much better grip, allowing you to lift heavier and workout for longer. The last thing chalk will do is prevent injuries and also protect your form, which is extremely important when you are trying to progress in exercising.  

Deadlift Bar

Powerlifting Deadlift Bar

When you are deadlifting, you can either use a regular straight barbell, or a hexagon bar. A hexagon bar is shaped like a hexagon where you can put weights on each side. You stand inside of the hexagon to perform the lift. This will allow you to position yourself in the bar’s center of gravity for the deadlift exercise. The hex bar is a bit easier on the joints than a traditional deadlift. Due to the positioning of the handles, it is easier to get the proper posture when you are lifting heavier weights.

Elbow Sleeves

Powerlifting Elbow Sleeves

Elbow sleeves provide support to your elbow and will help reduce the pain in your joints around the elbow. It will also help keep your elbows stay in the proper position, providing support and helping them to relax. They are created out of high quality breathable fabric, keeping your elbow warm and reducing the risk of injury. Elbow sleeves provide compression and improve muscle tissue oxygenation, which will enhance your performance during a short bout of exercise. There are many positives and pretty much no flaws in using an elbow sleeve, so there is no reason why one should not wear one if they want to play it safe and avoid an injury.

Knee Sleeves Or Wraps

Powerlifting Knee Sleeves Or Wraps

Knee sleeves for powerlifting were created to provide the knee joint with compression and order to keep them protected. Generally, knee sleeves are made out of neoprene which is a type of fabric. They do not necessarily provide any sort of extra strength, but they will keep your knees warm, preventing tendonitis and other annoying issues that often come up with creaky joints. 

Knee sleeves are different from knee wraps. Knee wraps are made of a stiff, stretchy ply material. When they are pulled tightly around the knee, lifters are able to squat more weight. How much more is dependent on the individual, but some claim they are able to add an extra 70 pounds to their weight when wearing straps.


Powerlifting Plates

Plates are a necessity if you are going to be performing any type of lifting using a barbell. Plates are weighted circular objects with holes in the middle that you put the barbell through. They come in 2.5, 5, 10, 25, 35, and 45 pound weights. If you are performing a lift such as benching or squatting, then you can use metal plates. However, for workouts such as deadlifts and cleans, you want to use rubber weights because you are going to be dropping the bar on the floor once you complete your workout.

Powerlifting Belt

Powerlifting Belt

Lifting a large amount of weight can be incredibly dangerous if you do not properly prepare your body. Belts are made to give your spine and abs additional support when lifting heavy loads. When lifting, it is a natural instinct to roll your back which is a very common way to injure yourself. Belts are made out of either leather (the most durable and preferred), Nylon, or Polyurethane. Belts come in either velcroed or buckled form. The buckle provides excellent security, but is time consuming to take on and off. The velcro has grown in popularity due to its simplicity. However, it is not as durable as the buckled version. A powerlifting belt that has the proper material, dimensions, and fits your preferences will drastically help you out during your workouts. A belt can cost between $30 and $70.

Powerlifting Clothes

Powerlifting Clothes

The clothing worn by powerlifters depends on the level the lifter is at. Beginners may start by wearing casual athletic clothes: gym shorts, tshirts, athletic shoes, leggings, or compression clothing. As they get more serious about the sport they may progress towards compression shorts/tights, weightlifting shoes, shorter shorts, tank tops or any clothing to increase flexibility. Once lifting very heavy weights, lifters wear equip knee wraps, elbow sleeves, powerlifting belts, and wrist straps. These become very important and help prevent injuries when lifting heavy weights. They also assist the weightlifter in moving the maximum weight. For competitions, leotards or singlets are commonly required to be worn by competitors.

Powerlifting Shoes

Powerlifting Shoes

Weightlifting shoes can greatly benefit a competitive or average weightlifter. The specialized ones come with an elevated heel, stiff heel, tightening straps, and a wider box toe area. A nice pair of lifting shoes will cost around $90. The elevated and stiff heel allows someone to sit back and be more comfortable when squatting. It also gives more support to the foot and puts the weight in the correct location of the foot. The tightening straps substitute for laces. This gives the shoe a more consistent feel and tightens equally around the foot. The wider toe of the shoe gives feet the ability to completely splay as they would naturally. These shoes are available in low top or high top, depending on what the user wants. Low tops give the ankle more mobility while high tops present more stability.

Powerlifting Socks

Powerlifting Socks

Powerlifting socks are used for deadlifts and help protect your shins from the bar when you are performing the movement. These socks are intended to protect the shins and act as shin guards. They will prevent scraping and bruising, and allow you to focus on your workout and not worry about anything else. They have become extremely popular among avid deadlifters, as scraped shins are a big concern to a lot of people. The socks come with a bit of padding and are similar to soccer socks, and will undoubtedly help you with your workout.


Powerlifting Singlet

If you are going to be a competitive powerlifter, then you are going to need to purchase a singlet. If you are new to the sport, it is probably a good idea to go with an inexpensive wrestling singlet just to get started. However, as you progress into better competitions, that may not fly. wMost IPF approved singlets are under $100, which is worth the investment if you are planning on doing multiple competitions. When you are purchasing a singlet, you want to make sure you know all of your competition rules, because the last thing you want is to be disqualified for wearing a singlet that does not meet standards. You may feel a bit uncomfortable since they are a little bizarre looking, but once you get over it you will find them to actually be helpful when you are lifting.

Squat Bar

Powerlifting Squat Bar

When you are squatting, you can use a typical barbell that you rest behind your neck. This is probably the more common method of squatting. However, you can also use what is called a safety squat bar. This bar is designed with a padded section that sits around your neck with two handles extending over the shoulder. This will allow you to hold the handles directly in front of you. This makes the safety squat bar perfect if you have any shoulder or elbow pain when you use a straight bar. Using this bar is also a good beginner method to perfect technique before moving onto the straight bar when you squat.

Squat Briefs

Powerlifting Squat Briefs

Squat briefs are considered to be the official powerlifting underwear. It is a very popular choice among powerlifters everywhere. Its design will actually help increase your power in squatting and deadlift. Many athletes have also reported relief from groin pain and lower ab pain which will allow them to train through injuries and aid the healing process. Adding lifting stability, it will provide a more explosive start and follow through of the hips when you are deadlifting.

Squat Rack

Powerlifting Squat Rack

The squat rack, or power rack, is a piece of equipment that holds the barbells and weights. It allows you to pick up the bar at the desired height depending on the lift. When you finish with the lift, you place the bar back on the rack. This rack can handle very large amounts of weight. It can also act as a spotter when you are working out alone. Many times, the rack also has other uses aside from weightlifting. This may include pull up bars attached to the top, dip bars, or pegs to hold weight plates.

When using a squat rack, most times you will stand inside and set the rack up to act as a spotter. This is very beneficial when doing exercises such as bench press, squats, and rows. Other exercises such as deadlift and most other olympic lifts will require you to stand outside of the power rack to make sure you have space.


Powerlifting T-Shirts

As mentioned, during competitions, you are required to wear a singlet. You can only wear a shirt when you are squatting or benching, and it needs to be worn under the singlet. Women should wear a shirt under their singlet at all times. This will cost around $30.

If you are simply training just to stay in shape, you can wear any type of shirt you would like. Some people like to use a high performance shirt by a company like Underarmour or NIke that will wick away sweat. Others will prefer to just wear any old cotton workout tee that they like the design of. It is completely based on preference.


Powerlifting Towel

Obviously, when powerlifting you are going to generate a lot of sweat. A towel is almost mandatory for a couple of reasons. One, you need to wipe down a bench or squat rack after you use it to get rid of any possible germs. Another reason is to keep the sweat off your body. A small towel that is lightweight, compact, and has great moisture management will be perfect to bring along with you to the gym. It also should be quick drying and odor resistant.

Training Equipment

Powerlifting Training Equipment

Training for powerlifting is an extremely rigorous process. There are thousands of different ways to train for competitions. The most common training equipment includes incline and decline benches, dumbbells, kettlebells, stretch bands, hex bars, treadmills, and exercise bikes. Each of these pieces of equipment can be used in numerous ways and for countless reasons.

It is important for a powerlifter to be a well rounded athlete. Using different lifts and different rep numbers will allow different muscles and body parts to get involved. Training is the only way to begin increasing the weight one lifts, so this equipment is almost as important as the actual equipment for powerlifting. The majority of this training equipment can be found at nearly every gym across the United States.


Powerlifting Underwear

If you are in a powerlifting competition, boxers, boxer briefs, and shorts are commonly not permitted. Non-supportive underwear is strictly mandatory. While not a universal rule, most federations will require you to wear underwear such as tighty whities. This is because the federations do not allow compression shorts, boxers, or anything with legs.  

If you are simply just lifting recreationally or to stay in shape, then you can wear whatever you want. Compression shorts are likely the best option as they are tight and comfortable and will not cause you too many issues. Squat briefs are another good option as they provide numerous benefits.


Powerlifting Weights

You cannot partake in powerlifting without having any weights! There are an extremely wide variety of weights. In powerlifting competitions, you are going to stick to typical barbells and plates. A standard barbell often weighs around 45 pounds. You add plates to the barbell and perform deadlifts, squats, and other powerlifting exercises.

Outside of powerlifting, there are endless types of weights you can use for exercising. There are dumbbells, machines, kettlebells, medicine balls, and far more that will allow people to get a wide variety of exercises done.

Wrist Straps

Powerlifting Wrist Straps

Wrist straps are made of cloth or leather and wrap around your wrist and the bar that allow you to hold onto heavier weight. They are extremely common for avid powerlifters who are deadlifting heavy weights. There are going to be many people who will claim using straps is “cheating,” but the fact is there is no shame in using them if they are going to help you get stronger (which they will).

There are three main types of straps: loop straps, speed straps, and hook straps. Loop straps are the easiest variation to find, and will allow a secure fit around the wrist. A speed strap offers a closed loop which makes them easier to quickly attach them to the bar. It is also easier to bail out on a failed lift, making them the go-to for olympic lifts. A hook strap does not require any type of wrapping, and the standard bar will sit comfortably in the hooks. However, these will not fit most specialty bars, and you can tightly squeeze the bar which can negatively impact your technique.

Wrist Wraps

Powerlifting Wrist Wraps

Wrist wraps provide support to the wrist when you are lifting heavy weights in pressing and overhead lifts. Typically wrist wraps are only used when you are lifting a weight that is close to your maximum effort. The two primary kinds of wraps on the market are cotton wraps and velcro wraps. Cotton wraps are thinner and more flexible, while velcro wraps will provide you with more wrist support. If you are benching or performing a shoulder press, thicker velcro wraps are probably the best option. However, if you are doing something such as power cleans or snatch, you should use the cotton wrap so you have more range of motion at the wrist.


How much does powerlifting equipment cost?

Powerlifting is an expensive hobby to get into. If you are building an at home gym, you are going to need to get a squat rack, a barbell bar, a bench and weight plates. These are absolutely required to perform power lifts. A full squat rack will range from a couple hundred dollars up to over a thousand dollars. Barbell weight bars cost between $80 and $250, depending on required performance. Weightlifting benches can cost $100 to $250. Weight plates costs will depend on the weight and quantity of plates. Weight plates can usually be found for the price of the weight being purchased. For example, a 45 pound plate would usually be $45. All of these prices vary depending on the quality and performance requirements.

Another option is to join a gym. The majority of public gyms have all of this equipment available to members. Through the U.S. the average monthly gym membership cost is $58.