Ernie Frantz’s Ten Commandments of Powerlifting Re-Released

Ernie Frantz’s Ten Commandments of Powerlifting Re-Released

Mar 8, 2014

I have the honor of re-publishing Ernie Frantz’s ‘Ten Commandments of Powerlifting’ as an updated second edition through SUCCESS by DESIGN Publishing.  The book remains virtually the same as the original with only a few updates and omissions, and new pictures, at the request of the author, Ernie Frantz.


Originally published in 1983, ‘Ernie Frantz’s Ten Commandments of Powerlifting’ was a game-changer.  The book described the methods of one of the world’s greatest powerlifters and powerlifting teams, Team Frantz, and remains as valid today as it did 30 years ago!  Ernie Frantz, often described as the ‘Godfather of Powerlifting,’ has trained, and continues to give advice to, a great many of the top lifters in the sport of powerlifting.  He founded the American Powerlifting Federation (APF) and the World Powerlifting Congress (WPC) and is the only powerlifter to both take best lifter at a powerlifting competition and second place Mr. USA in bodybuilding ON THE SAME DAY.

The book does not just offer advice on methodology, but also covers descriptions of the lifts, how to train, use of supplements, diet and rest, spotters, training partners, dealing with injuries and rehabilitation, women in powerlifting, common complaints by powerlifters, powerlifting myths, general competition rules, interviews with several of the sport’s greats, and the original introduction of the ‘All or None’ principle.  The information and the ten commandments, themselves, have been often repeated as ‘new ideas’ and ‘new principles’ by others who often leave out the necessity to look at training and mindset of a well-rounded powerlifter and focus only on one or a few of the principles discussed within the book.

Ernie’s Ten Commandments (described in detail within the book):

  1. Equipment should be a benefit, so learn to use it wisely;
  2. Make sure you warm up properly and listen to your body;
  3. Act like your light lifts are heavy, so your heavy lifts will feel light;
  4. Concentration separates the good from the best;
  5. Keep every body part tight during the entire movement;
  6. When trying a new style, work up slowly, but work hard;
  7. There is no excuse for a lack of practice;
  8. A good deadlifter will always finish strong;
  9. Bodybuilding and powerlifting do not mix.  Make your choice: beautiful muscles or raw power;
  10. Work with a positive attitude: A winner thinks he can; and a loser never thinks.

Regardless if you are thinking about entering the sport, a beginner or an advanced lifter, and regardless of federation, this book provides invaluable information on lifting and competing.  There are no ‘magic bullets,’ just straight-up information and programs that are utilized by the greats to this day.

We have made sure that the book remains in circulation and is available as both an eBook and hard-cover book through most distributors, which we are expanding.  It is an easy read and in demand.

Direct link to distributor for eBook and Hard Cover:


Publisher’s Forward (From Book):

I rejoined the world of powerlifting with my first competition in October, 2011 following a 15 year break due to a serious injury falling from a roof.  In the 1980s and early 1990s, powerlifting was at its 20th Century peak.  The sport was open to new lifters, but the spotlight was on the ‘big boys,’ the heavy squat attempts, the giants, the big benches and the big deadlifts.  Throughout the World powerlifting has remained a significant sport as well as a practice and training for sports of all types.

Powerlifting is the art of moving weight quickly in the form of three major lifts: squat, bench, and deadlift.  Each of these lifts, using proper form, involve the whole body as well as mental fortitude.  If you are not using both the power of the mind as well as power of the body, you will not be able to move the super-human weights observed at many local and world events.  It is now not unusual to see squat attempts approaching, or exceeding, 1000 pounds, or bench attempts over 500 pounds, or deadlifts exceeding 600 pounds.  It is not without its dangers – as I am writing this I am recovering from a serious training accident that occurred away from my team on sub-standard equipment (I broke one of the commandments).

At the time of the publication of this book, there are multiple federations globally with a variety of rules associated with the lifts and judging.  There is also controversy surrounding raw versus single ply versus multi-ply geared lifters.  The number of raw first time lifters has escalated and often exceeds the number of geared lifters at many meets as virtually anyone can enter the sport and compete at any level of experience.  Additionally, social networking has generated the ability to broadcast whole meets live, athletes can record and upload their attempts, advice can be shared between lifters World-wide, even when they don’t share the same language.

While there is virtually no money in the sport, with the very few financially sponsored lifters, there is the thrill of no restrictions from entering a meet.  I have observed 60+ and 70+ year old men and women make their way up to the bench or squat rack and knock out weight that your average young gym rat would be impressed by.  Engineers, doctors, business leaders, truck drivers, fast food employees, therapists, you name it, all participate and speak the same language of powerlifting and lifters who persist enjoy a brother and sister hood that extend World-wide.

I met Ernie Frantz, after having heard about him for decades, during an Illinois local meet.  He had suffered some business losses related to the loss of his gym in Aurora, Illinois, due to fire.  He was selling off damaged items and continuing his support of the sport.  When we met, he was proudly wearing his “Godfather of Powerlifting” t-shirt and kept me rapt in stories related to the early years of strength sports and powerlifting.  He continues to train lifters and visit gyms providing advice generously.

Over about a year of meeting Ernie off and on at competitions and gyms we realized that a wealth of information would be lost to time once Ernie would no longer be able to continue.  When I attempted to obtain a copy of the original Ten Commandments book, published in 1983 – not only could you not find a copy, but those who had obtained them held on to them tightly – not willing to part at any cost.  I did obtain a copy from Ernie in order to work this project – the development of the second edition.  It was decided that a few items (amounting to about five paragraphs) would be removed, spelling and grammar corrections made, new pictures (actually some of the original plus new) would have to be obtained, but that the lion share of the original book would remain unchanged.  Why?  Simply because it remains one of the most complete books on entering and maintaining the athlete – easy for the beginner and a great reference for the elite lifter.

We are also working on a second project – Ernie Frantz’s biography.  It is a collection of stories and experiences that bring to light a generous spirit and full life bringing the sport to where it is today.  Intrigue, excitement, adventure and rubbing shoulders with local and world leaders; when I first heard some of the stories I was taken aback.  Then, as we sifted through the evidence, pictures and news stories, we believe that the biography will expose our chosen sport well into the general public, once again.

And so, please enjoy this second edition of the original Ten Commandments – the advice and wisdom of one of the giants in sports, let alone powerlifting…


Howard W Penrose, Ph.D., CMRP

President, SUCCESS by DESIGN Publishing


Lombard, Illinois, 2013


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