Raw Power: What Does ‘Raw’ Mean in Weightlifting?

You may have heard the term “raw” thrown around quite a bit in the society of weight lifters. But what does it mean? In short, raw lifting refers to lifting without any supportive equipment, such as belts, knee wraps, or wrist straps.

When you lift raw, you rely solely on your strength and technique to complete the lift. This can be an excellent challenge for limits and competing against others lifting raw.

However, it’s important to note that raw lifting can also be more dangerous than lifting with supportive equipment, as you may be more susceptible to injury without that added support.

Understanding Raw Lifting

Raw lifting is a type of weightlifting where the athlete uses no additional equipment or gear to assist them in lifting the weight. This means that they use only their own strength and technique to perform the lift.

Raw lifting is often contrasted with equipped lifting, where athletes use gear such as lifting suits, knee wraps, and bench shirts to help them lift more weight.

Why is Raw Lifting Important?

Raw lifting is crucial because it allows athletes to showcase their strength and technique. When an athlete uses a gear to lift the weight, it can be challenging to determine how much of the lift is due to their own strength and how much is due to the gear.

Raw lifting also helps to level the playing field between athletes, as not everyone has access to expensive lifting gear.

In addition, raw lifting can be a safer option for athletes. When athletes rely on gear to lift more weight, they may put themselves at a greater risk for injury. Raw lifting allows athletes to focus on proper technique and form, which can help prevent injuries.

Raw Lifting Rules and Regulations

There are some rules and regulations in raw lifting. They regard the equipment and the lift you utilize in the activity.

Equipment Restrictions

In raw lifting, you are not allowed to use any supportive equipment such as knee wraps, wrist wraps, or a lifting belt. You can only use a singlet, shoes, and wristbands.

The singlet should be made of a non-supportive material and should not cover the elbows or knees. The shoes should have a flat sole and no heel elevation. Wristbands should be no more than ten cm in width.

Lift Restrictions

In raw lifting, you cannot perform movements involving bouncing or hitching the barbell. The barbell must be lifted smoothly without any pause or hesitation.

You are also not allowed to rest the barbell on your body during the lift. The lift is considered complete when the barbell is locked out and under control.

In addition, you must perform the lift according to the specific rules of the competition you are participating in. For example, in a powerlifting competition, you must perform the squat, bench press, and deadlift according to the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) rules.

These rules may include specific depth requirements for the squat and specific hand placement for the bench press.


Benefits of Raw Lifting

Raw lifting is bound to bring some good benefits to the table. Here are some you can expect if you lift raw.

Increased Strength and Power

When you lift raw, you use your body’s natural strength and power to move the weight. This allows you to build functional strength that translates to real-world activities.

By lifting without the assistance of gear, you can also engage more muscles and increase your overall strength. This can lead to more significant gains in your lifts and improved performance in other areas of your life.

Improved Technique

Raw lifting requires proper technique to lift heavy weights safely and effectively. You must rely on your form and technique to move the weight without gear assistance.

This can lead to improved technique and better overall lifting mechanics. Focusing on the proper form can reduce the risk of injury and improve your lifts over time.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Lifting with gear can create a false sense of security, leading to a higher risk of injury. Raw lifting, on the other hand, forces you to use the proper technique and engage all of your muscles to move the weight.

This can reduce the risk of injury and help you build a more muscular, more resilient body. By lifting raw, you can also identify weaknesses and imbalances in your body, allowing you to address them before they become a problem.

Raw Lifting vs. Equipped Lifting

So how do the two differ? We can see differences in terms of equipment, technique, and performance.

Differences in Equipment

Regarding weightlifting, equipment can make a significant difference in your performance. Raw lifting refers to lifting without any supportive equipment, while equipped lifting involves the use of equipment such as knee wraps, weightlifting belts, and supportive suits.

Raw lifting allows for a more natural range of motion and relies solely on the lifter’s strength, while equipped lifting allows for more to be lifted due to the added support. However, relying too heavily on equipment can hinder your raw strength development.

Differences in Technique

Raw lifting and equipped lifting also differ in technique. Natural lifting requires the lifter to maintain proper form and technique throughout the lift, as there is no external support to rely on. Equipped lifting, however, allows for more leeway in technique due to the added support.

In raw lifting, the emphasis is on developing proper technique and form to maximize strength gains, while equipped lifting may allow for more weight to be lifted but can also lead to bad habits and poor technique.

Differences in Performance

Finally, raw lifting and equipped lifting differ in performance. Raw lifting is generally considered more impressive as it relies solely on the lifter’s strength without external support. Equipped lifting, while still impressive, is often viewed as less authentic due to the added support.

However, it’s important to note that raw and equipped lifting has its place in weightlifting and can help lifters achieve their goals. Ultimately, the choice between raw and equipped lifting comes from personal preference and goals.


Drawing The Curtain

Understanding what “raw” means in weightlifting can be crucial for those just starting out in the sport. Raw lifting refers to lifting without supportive equipment, such as lifting straps, knee wraps, or belts. By lifting raw, you rely solely on your strength and technique to lift the weight.

Raw lifting is often considered more challenging than lifting with supportive equipment, as it requires excellent stability and control throughout the lift. However, it can also be more rewarding, as you can see your progress more clearly and know you are lifting the weight independently.

If you are interested in raw lifting, it is essential to focus on proper technique and form and gradually increase your weight over time. Consider working with a coach or trainer who can help you develop a safe and effective lifting program.

Overall, raw lifting can be a great way to challenge yourself and improve your strength and technique in weightlifting. By understanding what raw lifting means and how to approach it, you can set yourself up for success in this challenging and rewarding sport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Raw Weightlifting?

Raw weightlifting refers to lifting weights without using any supportive gear, such as knee wraps, wrist wraps, or lifting belts. Raw lifting aims to showcase the lifter’s natural strength and ability without any external assistance.

How is Raw Weightlifting Different from Equipped Weightlifting?

Equipped weightlifting involves using supportive gear such as knee wraps, wrist wraps, and lifting belts to aid in the lifting process.

This gear provides additional support and stability to the lifter, allowing them to lift more weight than they would be able to otherwise. Raw lifting, on the other hand, focuses on the lifter’s natural ability and strength without any external assistance.

Can You Compete in Raw Weightlifting?

Yes, many competitions focus specifically on raw weightlifting. These competitions are often divided into weight classes and age groups, allowing lifters of all levels to compete against others with similar abilities.

Raw lifting competitions typically involve the squat, bench press, and deadlift, to lift as much weight as possible in each of these three lifts.

What are the Benefits of Raw Weightlifting?

Raw weightlifting can help improve overall strength and muscle development, as well as increase bone density and reduce the risk of injury.

Additionally, raw lifting can be a great way to exert yourself and push your limits, as you rely solely on your natural ability and strength to lift the weight.

How Do You Get Started with Raw Weightlifting?

If you’re interested in getting started with raw weightlifting, it’s essential to focus on proper form and technique in each of the three lifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift).

Consider working with a coach or trainer who can help you develop a training plan and provide guidance on proper lifting techniques.

Additionally, be sure to start with a weight appropriate for your fitness level and slowly improve your lifting weight as you become stronger and more comfortable with the lifts.

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