How Much Should I Bench For My Age And Weight Powerlifting: Respect By Numbers

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Powerlifting: Respect By Numbers

In the sport of powerlifting, lifters will talk big, call out other lifters and do their best to be the biggest, strongest dog on the block, but in this sport, it’s the numbers that really count. This also applies in relation to respect. Many of the younger, inexperienced lifters come to the sport with a lack of respect for other lifters. Maybe because of their inexperience or maybe their age or the drive they have to make a name for themselves.

In August 2007 I was getting ready for a meet when I was asked to come out and help with the 2nd Annual Byrd Memorial Powerlifting & Bench Press Competition held in Lake City. I told the meet coordinator that I wanted to help, but I had to get my last squat day in before my own competition. He said it would be okay for me to squat with his competitors while they warmed up for their flights, as long as I would help him after I finished. I agreed and did just that.

The Byrd Memorial meet was a sanctioned American Powerlifting Federation (APF) meet, which meant they used a monolift to squat and multi-layered lifting equipment was allowed. Although multi-layer equipment and use of a monolift were allowed, Buddy Duke, a trainer and gym owner in Adel, Ga., fell. a team that consisted of all single layer lifters, most of whom were in their 20s and new. for the sport. Buddy is the Georgia state president of the United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF) and annually hosts the Southeastern Cup in Adel. The USPF is a single-ply gear federation that does not use a monolift, but rather the weight goes out on the squat. My team and I had been competing at Buddy’s event for years until we started in the multi-layer gear. Although the Byrd Memorial meet was an APF meet, he brought his team down to give them some competitive experience. All his lifeguards went off their weight and used their single layer gear.

In the warm-up room we had some lifters using mono and some going off the scale. As for myself, I was lifting raw (not gear) and just working up to medium weight because it was my last squat day before my next meet. All the other lifters were in gear and competing so I squeezed my squats in between each of their warmups and when I wasn’t squatting I worked on the monolift to help them. It was getting too hard to tell who was doing what so I asked each lifter as they went up to do a warm up if they were going out or needed me to pull the level on the monolift.

One of Buddy’s youngest lifters was coming up to the bar to do his final warm up, about 365 lbs., when I said to him, “Do you need me to pull…” I stopped and looked at him and realized, that he was one of Buddy’s and quickly said, “…no that’s right, you’re losing weight.” His response to me, with the biggest chip anyone could ever have on their shoulder, was “I’m a single-layer lifter, I walk my weight.” I almost replied, but luckily I had enough cool to stop myself, “You little s!#t, who do you think you’re talking to? My lightest squat days are heavier than any weight you could ever imagine putting on their backs.” Most of the Adel pledges had the same chips on their shoulders. For some reason, single-layer lifters, especially the younger ones, have this mightier-than-themselves attitude when it comes to multi-layer lifters. What they don’t realize is that most of the multi-layer and more experienced lifters started out the same way as those in single-layer gear.

I told my friends about what had happened and the attitudes of Buddy’s lifters. Instead of talking to his lifters, my friends said there was a better way to knock the chips off these guys’ shoulders. We decided to go to Adel to play the Southeastern Cup and let our numbers handle it. It was decided that three of us would get back into the single layer gear and prepare for the rally. It was the first single ply meet we had done in at least four years. It was actually a nice change of pace from what we had been doing. Of course our numbers wouldn’t be the same, but the whole point of the meeting was to show these guys a thing or two.

At Buddy’s rally, his team was there and our guys were ready. We hit numbers these guys had never seen in the gym or competition. By the end of the meeting, we had achieved what we had set out to do. They were humble to say the least, but to our surprise we did a little more than just pound chips and settle egos. We had done something that we did not expect, we INSPIRED! The guys who had their stronger-than-themselves attitude just two months earlier were so impressed with our lift that they started congratulating us, asking us questions, shaking our hands, and in some cases wanting pictures with us. I should add that I was the youngest and the least experienced of our three lifters at age 39 with nine years competing in the sport.

It’s funny how your numbers can speak for you. That day, the numbers of a few older experienced lifters showed a group of younger, inexperienced lifters the meaning of respect.

Also, all the younger inexperienced lifters out there; don’t be disrespectful to others just because they don’t compete in the same gear or lifting league as you. You don’t know their background in the sport and you might just be surprised like the Adel team did. To all you experienced lifters, it is your job to help develop, inspire and motivate younger less experienced lifters to be their best.

And for everyone, being good at what you do also means being humble and respectful. That’s the only way to gain respect in this sport.

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