Love the Sport, Hate the Injuries
I love powerlifting, but of all popular resistance training methods, powerlifting causes the most injuries. I'm not saying this to deter anyone from powerlifting or from performing squats, bench press, or deadlifts; I've always championed these movements.
What makes these exercises so effective at building muscle is precisely what makes them dangerous. They load a large portion of the body's musculature in a stretched position, thereby creating high joint reaction forces and lending themselves to compromised postures.
Combine this with the competitive nature of powerlifting, the constant desire to set PRs and hoist heavier loads, the hardcore mentality of the typical powerlifter, and the individual differences in anatomical mobility and soft-tissue strength, and it's easy to see how it can become a recipe for disaster for certain individuals.
Almost every seasoned lifter I know has hurt themselves squatting and/or deadlifting – it's the nature of the beast, and it's what teaches us to respect these lifts.
How to Minimize the Risks
If you wish to compete, make sure you:
- Use strict form in training and save the sloppier attempts for the third lifts on the platform.
- Take regular deloads or just avoid going balls-to-the-wall 52 weeks per year.
- Don't get greedy with volume increases.
- Listen carefully to your body and make appropriate adjustments.