Powerlifting in High School


Powerlifting is a sport that has become increasingly popular due to the rise of the lifting culture. As teens involve themselves more and more in the gym, more high schoolers are becoming more interested in competing in powerlifting. 

In this sport, athletes compete their squat, bench, and deadlift against others to lift the highest amount in their age and weight class. The goal of powerlifting is to be strong. 

Like myself, Luke Rothrock, senior, is a powerlifter at Leesville. Rothrock competed in his first competition in November. I competed for the first time in August of this year.

Getting Started

“I started lifting weights freshman year, and I started taking it seriously sophomore year… I realized I was pretty good at it… so I went and signed up for a meet,” said Rothrock. 

This is the story for many who get into powerlifting. The sport of powerlifting is gaining popularity and accessibility through apps like Tik Tok. 

I like powerlifting over bodybuild or lifting with no specific goal because it gives me something to strive for that isn’t physical but performance-based. This makes it better for mental health while also giving athletes something to work towards.

I started with my first powerlifting coach because I wanted to work with someone who knew what they were doing leading up to the NC State Championships meet.

Similarly, Rothrock got his first coach towards the end of November to prepare for High School Nationals. “I decided I’d want to take my training more seriously for my next meet,” said Rothrock.

Powerlifting vs. Sports

Rothrock and I do sports outside of powerlifting: I do cheer, while Luke does lacrosse and swimming. 

“Powerlifting helps lacrosse because you are stronger physically and can hit harder and wih swimming, it helps pulling water,” said Rothrock. 

Similarly, with cheer, being strong helps immensely with stunting and tumbling — the stronger you are, the easier it is to base, and the more height you get with tumbling. 

Doing sports while powerlifting also helps with functional strength. Many of them tend to have mobility issues the older they get and the longer they lift. Continuing to do sports while powerlifting allows strength to be used somewhere other than a barbell.

“There have been times when it’s been difficult balancing powerlifting with sports… there have been times when I would have to lift before or after my lacrosse practices and before swim meets,” said Rothrock

I have found a hard time balancing powerlifting and cheer. I’ve had to wake up at 4 a.m. to lift before school, go after cheer at 8:30 at night, or go in between school and practice. 

“A thing I’ve learned from powerlifting and other aspects of sports is discipline… this means showing up to my workout or practice for the day even when I don’t feel like it,” said Rothrock. 

Our Future in Powerlifting

“[I like] the constant self-improvement and desire to get better,” said Rothrock. In powerlifting, while competing against others, you’re also competing against yourself and trying to become stronger and stronger. 

Both Rothrock and I have big goals. My next meet is NC State Championships in March 2023, and Luke’s next meet is High School Nationals in March 2023. 

“I don’t have any specific goals for my next meet but to try my best and give it my all… but my main goal would be to win,” said Rothrock. 

My goal for my next meet is to qualify for Nationals in Tennessee and, of course, win.

Rothrock is currently the strongest 82.5 kg, 17-year-old lifter in North Carolina. I hold all 4 North Carolina State records in the 75kg, Teen 2 class. 

“[My goal is] to be the best,” said Rothrock. 


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