The question, “How much can you bench?” is probably among the single most asked questions of any gym-goer. But few among us can answer, “500 pounds.”
This week, mere mortals and giants alike will descend on Calgary to compete in the 2012 Canadian Powerlifting Championships.
“For many powerlifting athletes, this is the big event of the year,” says meet director Mike Armstrong. “This is where records get broken.”
Not to be confused with Olympic weightlifting or bodybuilding, powerlifting encompasses the holy trinity of squat, bench press and deadlift (often regarded as the absolute test of strength). Athletes vie to lift the heaviest weight possible for one rep – and have just three chances to do so.
Competitive powerlifting athletes have to perform the lifts to demanding technical standards, in full view of the public, while being scrutinized by a panel of three referees. Training session after training session, the ultimate aim is to find the fine line between what you can lift right now and what you can’t lift just yet. The undoable weight is sought out, challenged and attacked. Once achieved, the lifter immediately sets their sights on the next incremental number that now eludes them.
Sound inspiring? Take a look at the numbers for this year’s championship and try not to be impressed:
240: The number of competitors registered.
14 to 82: The age range of athletes competing.
25: Percentage of contestants that are female
800+: The weight in pounds expected to be lifted by deadlift and squat. Bench press will likely steer into the 600lb range, according to the aptly named Armstrong.
Want to witness some impressive feats of strength? Tune-in to the live broadcast here. This front row seat will offer its best view on Wednesday evening starting at 5 p.m. (MST) and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (MST), when you’ll see some of the heaviest lifts. In a crowded class of contenders, Michael Sinclair, John McDonald, Cliff Samms and Rhaea Fowler (a current world champion) are ones to watch as they set out to take home national titles.
Now time to hit the gym. Only 365 days to get training for next year’s title.
The Canadian Powerlifting Championships run from Tuesday, April 10 to Saturday, April 14 at the Delta Hotel in South Calgary.