Archive for February, 2013

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Mass-Lift.com Featured Lifter- Andrew Mastone

After his best lifter performance at the 2012 Massachusetts State Championship in December, Andrew Mastone has been selected as our newest Feature Lifter. Just as many collegiate lifters, Drew found a home in powerlifting when other athletic doors began to close. In a short time he has become one of the top ranked collegiate lifters and expects to have a strong showing this year at Collegiate Nationals. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself? deadlift

I am 22 years old in my senior year at Northeastern University studying History. I hail from Tewksbury, MA and plan on becoming a teacher when I graduate.

How did you get into the sport of powerlifting?

I started lifting weights in high school and absolutely fell in love with it. I also threw shotput and walked on to the Northeastern track team.  After my sophomore season, I was cut and was then approached by Northeastern Strength Coach Mike Zawilinski to join the Northeastern Powerlifting Team.  I jumped at the opportunity and haven’t looked back since. Best thing that ever happened to me.

What weight class or weight classes to you compete in?

I currently compete at the 242 weight class but have competed everywhere from 220 to 275. A wise man once told me girthless is worthless.

What are your best lifts?

My best squat is 300 kg (661 lbs), best bench is 202.5 kg (446 lbs), best deadlift is 275 kg (606 lbs), best total is 770 kg (1697 lbs).

Drew showing he is never intimidated as he is squaring off against competitor and IPF Junior World Champion Preston Turner from University of Texas, in a style WWE fans would enjoy.

Drew showing he is never intimidated as he is squaring off against competitor and IPF Junior World Champion Preston Turner from University of Texas, in a style WWE fans would enjoy.

What USAPL National meets have you lifted in and how did you place?

In my young career I have competed at two USAPL Collegiate Nationals and placed 13th in the 220 lb weight class in 2011, and unfortunately bombed out of the 2012 meet competing in the 275 lb weight class. I’ve had success at state meets winning the 242 lb weight class at the New Jersey state meet in August 2012 and the Massachusetts state meet in December 2012. I will be heading to Killeen, TX with my teammates in April 2013 for Collegiates and am looking to have a breakout performance. Stay tuned…

Drew pushing hard enough in the squat in the 2012 Massachusetts State Championships to pop a blood vessel in the nose.

Drew pushing hard enough in the squat in the 2012 Massachusetts State Championships to pop a blood vessel in the nose.

Have you lifted in any NAPF or IPF meets if so how did you place?

Not YET.

Where do you train?

I train at Northeastern’s Cabot Athletic Center with NUPL, and also train at Xaverian Brothers High School in Norwood, MA and at Baystate Athletic Club in Scituate, MA. I’d also like to thank the Ianetta’s for letting me use their basement in Tewksbury.

Do you lift with a group/team or by yourself, if so who?

I train with my Northeastern Powerlifting teammates notably my brothers on the BTR led by myself and big bad blue chipper Stephen King. We’re led by a great coaching staff comprised of Northeastern Strength Coach Mike Zawilinski, the founder of NUPL Joe Cappellino, NUPL alumni Luis Jaimes, and newcomer and former Louisiana Tech coach Zac Cooper. I am also privileged to be able to train with the great guys over at Xaverian led by Coach Al Fornaro. NUPL is like a second family for me and nothing makes me happier than training with them.

 

The 2013 Northeastern Powerlifting Team (NUPL) where Drew is the Treasurer on the Executive Board of the team.

The 2013 Northeastern Powerlifting Team (NUPL) where Drew is the Treasurer on the Executive Board of the team.

What current goals are you trying to accomplish?

My goals for the end of my collegiate career include squatting over 700 lbs, benching over 500 lbs, and deadlifting over 650 lbs. I want to stand on the podium at Collegiates and help Northeastern Men’s team win our first National Championship.

awardsWhat is your greatest moment in powerlifting?

My greatest moment in powerlifting was winning the Best Male Lifter award at the Mass State meet in December 2012 in front of my family. It was a great personal moment and validated years of pounding the grindstone.

Can you tell us a little about your training routine?

I train four days a week and have been fortunate enough to have knowledgeable coaches who put together successful training programs. In the past I would dedicate one day to either the squat, bench, or deadlift but now have been doing all three every training session with varying intensity. Over this winter break, I have been doing the Sheiko which has given me fantastic results.

Who are your mentors?

My two biggest mentors are Joe Cappellino and Juis Jaimes. I’ve been able to see both of them attain national and international success and have learned a lot from both of them. Lou has been especially instrumental in my success helping me learn how to use gear and coaching/handling me during my last two competitions. Also my high school track coach Steve Levine has always been there for me with advice and wisdom throughout my athletic endeavors in college.

Do you have any tips that could help other lifters?

Eat, Train, Sleep. Recovery and soft tissue work are extremely important. I’ve learned there is no big secret to success in powerlifting, you just have to work your ass off and take care of your body. Also, have fun with it and surround yourself with genuinely good people.

What inspires you to keep training?Teamate

There are so many things I draw upon for inspiration, but being cut from the NU track team lit a fire under me that just didn’t exist before. I joined NUPL hungry, pissed off, and with something to prove. Now I am inspired by the fact that this is the final hoorah for me and the other seniors such as Anthony Grimaldi and Billy Pepicelli and that all our hard work over the past three years comes down to Collegiates in April. I want to give back to a program that has done so much for me.

What is your favorite music to listen too when your training?

I love listening to metal such as As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, and Parkway Drive. It puts me on a different planet mentally. The Women’s team hates when I play it, but they’ll learn to love it.

Do you compete in any other sports?

This summer I plan on beginning training to become a professional wrestler.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to thank all of my family and friends who have supported me since I started powerlifting and shout out to all the NUPL Alumni who I trained with over the years. Much love.

Drew at one of his first meets, Albany Strength Powerlifting Meet, 2011

2011 Collegiate Nationals, Scranton, PA

2011 Massachusetts/Rhode Island State Championships

2012 Collegiate Nationals, Baton Rouge, LA

2012 Massachusetts State Championships, where he won best over all male lifter

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Powerlines- February 2013

To view the latest issue of Powerlines the Official USA Powerlifting Newsletter Please click here

Contents:

  • President’s Message
  • Updates
  • Rankings
  • Arnold Sports Festival

President’s Message
I would like to welcome you to Powerlines. For those of you who don’t remember, we have several versions of our newsletter, including hard copy, and electronic over the years. We feel it is an important vehicle to convey information to our members and to let you know what is going on in USA Powerlifting. However, it is dependent on the efforts of our volunteers to write and send to you and our editorial staff has had many of the same concerns that you do: managing work, family, and lifting careers which limits their time. We will continue to do our best to send out newsletter, but please also use our daily communication vehicles, Twitter (this can be viewed on the USAPL website) and Facebook.
2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year. Over the past year we have done well in international competition, and have continued to build on our solid membership base. Our first major competition this year is the Arnold Sports Festival. As in prior years, we will have raw, equipped, deadlift, bench press competitions, and a push-pull competition for lifters in Ohio. One bright sport is in the raw competition, limited to approximately 70 lifters which filled in 36 hours. We are also considering debuting a feature during the Pro American Championships where the public gets to meet our elite athletes, ask questions, and perhaps, sponsorship willing, receive photographs and/or posters of their favorite athletes. We are pleased to welcome back Presenting Sponsors GNC and Titan Support Systems, Gold level sponsors Quest Nutrition and Next Lifter Software, Silver level sponsor Lifting Large, and Bronze level sponsors Denovo Nutrition, Brown’s Gym, and Supreme Sports Performance Training (SSPT). We are looking forward to a great competition!
Our schedule is full this competition year with all of our usual National Championships, starting off this spring with Collegiate and High School Nationals, followed by Master Nationals, Women’s Nationals, and Men’s Teen/Jr. and Open Nationals. Raw Nationals follows, with Bench Nationals rounding out the calendar. Please see www.usapowerlifting.com for our calendar.
Internationally, we have a full calendar this year as well, with teams competing in the Open, Bench Press, Master’s, and Raw divisions. Each international competition, whether the Arnold, a World or North American meet offers the highest level of competition for our athletes. Please note: in 2013 to be selected to an international competition, you must attend the National Championship which corresponds and which serves as the selection meet, e.g. for Open Worlds and Open North American’s, you must have attended the Nationals in that division.
As a reminder, if you use medications which are restricted either in our out of competition you must receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption. If you are an international competitor, this must be granted by the International Powerlifting Federation. If a National level competitor or below, this must be granted by the USA Powerlifting TUE Committee. You are responsible for this application and any medications you take. Failure to receive a TUE may result in a drug test failure. NO TUE applications will be granted for hormone replacement therapy.
Thank you for your support of USA Powerlifting events, our athletes and our mission. Welcome to Powerlines and stay strong.
L.J. (Larry) Maile, Ph.D., President
USA Powerlifting

To continue reading Powerlines the Official USA Powerlifting Newsletter Please click here

 

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Mass-Lift.com Featured Lifter- Sam Belinksy

This past year, I had the opportunity to lift with one of Massachusetts up and coming lifters, Sam Belinksy. Sam has competed several times in high school with the Special Olympics, and this past fall traveled to Puerto Rico to participate in the IPF World Championships in the Special Olympics division. At that meet, he placed third overall with the second highest total of the meet. Sam’s next goal is to compete in a National meet within the next two years. Sam is an inspiration to all, and I wish him luck as he continues to train.
Sam’s coaches are Ron and Holly Moody, you have been training with him for the past three years. With their help, Sam was able work on flexibility and form so as to master the three main lifts. He has one of the best work ethics of any lifter I know, and consistently seeks advice and suggestions so he can better himself.
Below is a conversation I had with Sam shortly after he competed at the 2012 Massachusetts State Championship meet. I wish Sam the best with his training and his personal life as he heads off to Mt. Wachusett Community College this semester. – Roy Apostle

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Sam Belinksy, and I am 18 years old. I was originally from Everett, MA but moved to Shrewsbury when I was younger. I graduated from Shrewsbury High School this past Spring, and beginning this Spring I will be studying Fitness Leadership and Fitness Science at Mt. Wachusset Community College.  

How did you get into the sport of powerlifting?

I first started weightlifting when I was 13, but started seriously powerlifting as a sophomore in High School.  My first powerlifting meet was a state meet in June of 2010.

What weight class or weight classes to you compete in?

I compete in the 275 weight class

What are your best lifts?

375 lb squat, 308 lb bench, and a 463 lb deadlift. All of these lifts were done raw.

What USAPL National meets have you lifted in and how did you place?

I have not yet competed at any USAPL National Meets, but my goal is to qualify for one in the future.

imagesHave you lifted in any NAPF or IPF meets if so how did you place?

I lifted at the 2012 IPF World Powerlifting meet this past fall in the Special Olympics division. I placed third in my weight class.

Where do you train?

Right now I train primarily at the YMCA in Westborough, MA. From time to time however I train with my coaches, Ron and Holly Moody.

Do you lift with a group/team or by yourself, if so who?sam3

I usually train by myself or with my coaches, Ron and Holly Moody. I also train with my training partner from this past summer, Roy Apostle, when he is in Central Massachusetts.

What current goals are you trying to accomplish? 

To get stronger and bigger. As well, my goals are to compete in National meets as well as other IPF meets like the one this past fall.

What is your greatest moment in powerlifting?

When I went to Puerto Rico and competed at the IPF meet. It was a great feeling to know that only two other people in the entire world were stronger than me.

Can you tell us a little about your training routine?

Right now I follow a program that I developed with my training partner Roy. It is primarily Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 and a Sheiko bench program. With this program I squat 4-5 times a week which has helped my squat tremendously. I also deadlift heavy every other week and bench 2-3 times a week.

Who are your mentors?

Ron and Holly Moody. They really helped me get into the powerlifting with the Special Olympics, and they were the ones who helped me when I was at the IPF meet in Puerto Rico. I also credit Roy Apostle with helping me develop a stronger squat and deadlift.

Do you have any tips that could help other lifters?

I would say keep training hard and lifting hard.

What inspires you to keep training?

The thing that inspires me the most is that there is an old family friend that is really strong and has been weightlifting and powerlifting for a really long time. I really aspire to be like him. I also like watching biographies of other powerlifters. By doing so, I see how other lifters train, and I work as hard as I can to be like them.

What is your favorite music to listen too when your training?

When I listen to music in the gym, I like Mettallica, 30 Seconds to Mars, and AC-DC to name a few.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to take some time and thank Ron and Holly Moody for always being there to help out. As well I want to thank Roy Apostle from Northeastern University Powerlifting for helping me this past summer.

sam

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Requisites for Success

Platform in Sweden

The past three months have been some of the most exhilarating of my entire life.  In June 2012, I was as an assistant coach on the USA teams at the inaugural IPF Classics Powerlifting World Cup in Stockholm, Sweden (Picture on right: Platform at 2012 IPF Classics World Cup – click for larger view).   In essence, this was the first official Super Bowl of raw (unequipped) powerlifting.  I can’t recall ever being that excited for a single competition that I wasn’t competing in.  The anticipation was overwhelming.  The Swedish Powerlifting Federation delivered on their promises.  The competition was top-shelf on every level and the entire week exceeded the hype.  Collectively the USA men and women’s teams placed second overall.  Individually, our lifters performed exceptionally well as many came home with medals and some with world records.

The following month I had the honor and pleasure of presenting at the 2012 Reactive Training Systems (RTS) Powerlifting Seminar in Orlando, Florida (Picture below left:  RTS Seminar Presenters).  Working alongside powerlifting legends like Suzanne “Sioux-z” Hartwig-Gary as well as some of the brightest coaches, experts, and scholars like Jeremy Hartman, Mike Tuchscherer, and Dr. Michael Zourdos has already proven to be one the highlights of my professional career.  I probably learned more about technique, training, and nutrition in two days than I had within the past two years.

RTS_ Seminar SpeakersThree weeks later all but one of the RTS presenters competed at the 2012 USAPL Raw Nationals in Killen, Texas.  We were all blessed with outstanding individual performances.  Any time four lifters exhibit a 94.4% successful attempt rate including personal records (PR); they’re obviously doing something right.

Our lives are full of chapters.  Occasionally, I like to refer to them as seasons.  These three impactful life events comprised a season in my life.  As seasons conclude, I like to pause and reflect.  Meaningful introspection isn’t accomplished in one sitting.  In fact, it can take days, weeks, and months, sometimes longer to truly learn and grow from all that’s transpired. Self-analysis often reveals positive and negative elements.  When you’re truly honest with yourself, examination can be painful.  However, that pain can lead to improvement and progress.  Perusing meet results and photographs, watching video highlights, reviewing lecture notes and power points, and simply recalling conversations all contribute to vivid memories that will last a lifetime.  I’m so thankful for these moments and never take them for granted.

Success in athletics is easily quantifiable in a myriad of ways including PRs, scores, and winning.  Success is neither an accident nor a coincidence.  Achieving success is a process and the direct result of a set course of action.  It doesn’t just happen.

Lanny Bassham 1975

One of my star lifters recently gave me a most wonderful book entitled “With Winning in Mind,” by Lanny Bassham.  Lanny (pictured on right at 1975 Pan American Games) was an awkward kid growing up. He never excelled in athletics but years later, he finally found his niche’ in competitive rifle shooting and went on to win the Olympic gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada.  Two years later he won the world championships in Seoul, Korea.  In doing so, Lanny developed his trademarked Mental Management System that helps competitors create a process for increasing the probability of success.  While some of the information is both common sense and familiar, it’s definitely worth reviewing.  His other ideas and many of the nuances of his methods are creative, fresh, and thoughtful.  I have begun employing some of them in my own life and am thankful for the positive mindset they help create.   His text should be required reading for every competitive athlete.

One of the best things about powerlifting is its objectivity.  Performances and results aren’t influenced by personal feelings or opinions.  Success as well as winning and losing are all based on actual fact and concrete data.  It’s a reality that provides immediate feedback.  Lifters compete within specific weight classes and the one who lifts the most weight wins.  It’s simple and so revealing at the same time.

As I outlined in my 2010 piece “Training Specificity for Powerlifters,” athletes of all genres are quick to seek out the latest training methodology.  Unfortunately, training protocol isn’t the answer to athletic success.  Self-proclaimed gurus, strength coaches, famous powerlifters, and sports performance specialists would all have you believe that their programs are the key to unlocking your potential.  Lord knows there are a myriad of methods to choose from including: linear periodization, undulating periodization, 5/3/1, Sheiko, 5×5, the Texas Method, the Bulgarian method, Westside, RTS, Prilepin’s Table, and the list continues.  Sadly, athletes are often duped into believing that training protocol matters most.  Training plans matter but not nearly as much as consistent effort applied over time.  Corrective exercise specialists and physical therapists will brainwash you into thinking you’re better off fixing all your imbalances first before taking another step.  If we only followed their counsel, we’d never actually train.  At some point, you need to suck it up and get under the bar.  Equipment manufacturers will even go so far as to announce that unless you’re training on their equipment or using their facilities, you have no chance.

When examining methodology, it’s easy to find uniqueness and differences.  More important are the common themes.  What are the best athletes doing?  Where are they similar?  This is key.

The five speakers at the RTS Powerlifting Seminar presented on a variety of topics from technique and training methodology to nutrition and attempt selection.  Looking beyond the power points and the uniqueness of each presentation, one pervading theme resurfaced throughout the weekend.  Each expert drove home the mantra of applying consistent effort over time in order to achieve technical mastery.

RTS’s Mike Tuchscherer recently wrote an article entitled “Genetics and Hard Work.”   I agree with Mike’s assertions in this article.  In fact, his closing remarks about an extreme amount of hard work have inspired me to train harder than before.  My own personal reflection has led me to such questions as, “What could I have done differently in my preparations for Raw Nationals?  Did I overlook something? What can I do better moving forward?  And what’s necessary for me to improve?”  Some of that introspection combined with the info from the RTS Seminar have revealed to me that I need to spend more time on the things I’m not good at.  It’s no coincidence that those also happen to be many of the areas I dislike.  That’s all about to change.  I’m embracing those weaknesses and committing to improving them.

While we can all work harder, genetics cannot be overlooked.  I won’t use it as an excuse but it’s our reality.  My wife Sioux-z stands 4’11” tall and I’d bet my life she would never dunk a basketball on a regulation 10′ basket.  That’s not an excuse to put forth less effort.  If she were to truly aspire to such an athletic feat of explosive jumping ability, I’d be the first to support her in that endeavor.  Thankfully she prefers to spend the bulk of her training time squatting.  After all, sometimes your “best” sport picks you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t improve or even become world class in an endeavor you aren’t necessarily equipped for.  It simply means that if someone with superior genetics follows a similar path, they have a significant head start.

I relish watching experts perform their craft.  Experts have the ability to make the extraordinary appear ordinary.  It’s like watching an artist paint a masterpiece right before your eyes while only using two colors.  Athletics are no different.  Supreme athletes are able to do incredible things with their bodies that the rest of us can only imagine.  So naturally, every four years I’m drawn to the Olympics.  This year was no different as I enjoyed watching the world’s best compete on the world’s grandest stage.  I’m particularly fond of the sports I can’t consume on a regular basis – gymnastics and track and field.  I find the gymnasts and decathletes to be the world’s best overall athletes because they’re able to do things all the other athletes can’t.

The 2012 Summer Olympics had two instances that really stood out to me.  During one NBC telecast, the commentators showed an illustration of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s recent 100m final.  Bolt is the current world record holder in both the 100m and 200m races as well as a double Olympic champion.  At top speed, his stride measures approximately 10′ in length and he took 41 strides to complete 100m.  His next closest competitors were at 44 and 46 strides respectively.  In a most basic equation, speed = stride length x stride frequency.  Bolt’s competitors have to move their legs much faster to overcome the stride deficit.  They could train like animals, become stronger, produce more force than Bolt, and take nearly every performance-enhancing drug in the world, but the probability of overcoming that genetic (stride length) deficit is close to zero.  Their flexibility simply can’t be improved to that degree and they can’t trade-in for longer legs.  Their only hope is that the Jamaican’s penchant for self-adulation eventually goes to his head and he slacks off in training or underestimates his rivals.  However, Bolt has proven he is human in three rare defeats to Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, and his current training partner Johann Blake.

From what I gather, Bolt works extremely hard at his craft.  He deserves credit for working hard.  He should thank God and credit his parents for his physical traits. His combination of genetics and hard work are currently insurmountable. While he’s not my cup of tea, there’s no denying he’s the best sprinter of all-time.  Naturally, the discussion and media coverage surrounding Bolt’s prowess got me thinking about the role of genetics in sports.  Oppositely, a less-publicized Olympic athlete made me consider the role of hard work.  NBC painted a poignant picture of Kenyan middle-distance runner David Rudisha.  The current world record holder in the 800m, Rudisha lives in Iten, Kenya.  His remote village is approximately 200 miles from a rubber track.  So, while many of his contemporaries train on rubber tracks and at expensive facilities, he and his coach Colm O’Connell remove large rocks from their makeshift dirt track in what has become an almost daily ritual prior to training.

Coach O’Connell wisely preaches, “It’s not about sophistication.  It’s not about facilities.  It’s about doing the simple things well and believing in what you do.”  Amen to that!  Rudisha went on to win the 800m final and set a new world record of 1:40.91.  His post-race interview illuminated his humble, soft-spoken demeanor.  Without any bombast or show, Rudisha spoke softly revealing his profound conviction in consistent effort and his training methods proving that he doesn’t need modern facilities to become the greatest middle distance runner alive.

oconnellrudisha2.PNG

Coach Colm O’Connell with David Rudisha and Rudisha next to his world record time.

It’s glaringly obvious that Rudisha is eternally focused on process rather than outcome.  When you constantly dedicate yourself to a series of steps (process) and repeat them over and over again, the results (outcome) take care of themselves.  Fortunately for powerlifters, the same holds true.  Strength is a skill.  Lanny Bassham defines a skill as “doing something consciously long enough for the process to become automated by the Subconscious Mind.”  Skill acquisition is best achieved through frequent, repetitious practice.   Practicing your skills often and diligently over long periods of time can eventually lead to technical mastery.  And while technical mastery is not exactly a destination per se’, it’s a journey that every powerlifter should embark upon.  The sooner you hone your skills and step toward technical mastery, the sooner you’ll add a lot of weight to the bar.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s text “Outliers: The Story of Success” he refers to the 10,000-hour rule.  His book is based on original research done by Anders Ericsson, a Swedish psychologist who calculated that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.  Using a calculator you can really have some fun with this and notice that even while training 7 days/week for 3 hours at a time it would take close to 10 years to accumulate 10,000 hours of practice.  Most trainees don’t have that kind of time and/or aren’t willing to put in that amount of work.  Again, this is one person’s research and you can accept it or discard it as you see fit.  Perhaps the more appropriate rule for a lifter would be 10,000 high quality repetitions.  Suffice it to say, even while some learn faster than others, I think we can all agree that it takes thousands of hours and many years of quality training (practice) to become a master of something.    Any way you look at it, the amount of skill you develop is determined by the quality, quantity, and efficiency of your training.

Ultimately, when considering any training strategy, notice the differences but examine the similarities.  Parallels typically include a steadfast devotion to the basics and a constant reinforcement of sport form.  If you wanted to become a world-class violinist you wouldn’t practice the bass guitar.  Sure, both are string instruments but they are quite different.  The same holds true for the powerlifts.  Some coaches espouse building the lifts rather than training them.  Don’t succumb to this lunacy.  Training doesn’t need to be fancy in order to be effective.  If you want to improve your squat, spend the bulk of your time squatting… just like you do in competition.

Mike Tuchscherer is correct.  The one universal commonality of experts and champions is a tremendous amount of hard work.  Focus on the controllable.  Pay your dues by putting in the time and work.  The amount of effort you apply is entirely up to you.  Outwork your competitors.  At SSPT, we like to refer to it as “sweat equity” and it’s absolutely magical because, as with most things in life, you reap what you sow.

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Mass-Lift.com Featured Lifter- Jill Arnow

I would like to welcome Jill Arnow as our newest Featured lifter. Jill, flew across country, back to her home state to compete at the 2012 USAPL Massachusetts State Championships. For the first time in her career she was able to lift in front of her home town crowd and she did not disappoint. Despite a long recovery from a neck issue, Jill was able to bring her “A Game” and win the best Raw Female Lifter award.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?bench  

I grew up in Lexington, MA, attended public schools in Lexington through 10th grade then graduated from the Cambridge School of Weston.  I got my BS from UNH and then an MS Cornell before moving to Seattle.  I worked in the tech industry, as an artist, and for several non-profits before going back to school two years ago, and received a Masters in Public Administration last year.

How did you get into the sport of powerlifting?

Mostly by accident!  I starting going to a gym in Seattle as part of my recovery from surgery for thyroid cancer.  The gym happened to have a lot of powerlifters there including Willie Austin, Bull Stewart, Grant Higa, and Paula Houston.  I had never heard of powerlifting at the time.  Paula was my personal trainer and I went in to train on 9/11 because I couldn’t imagine sitting home all day watching the television.  Paula suggested I try squatting as a way to grounding myself on that horrible day.  I did.  She followed with “you should compete, you’ll probably win.”  And so I did.

What weight class or weight classes to you compete in?

I’ve traditionally been in the 90kg class, although I’ve gone up to the 90+kg class from time to time.  With the new weight classes, I’m planning to go down to the 84kg class.

What are your best lifts?

My best competition lifts in gear:  squat 192.5 kg, bench 137.5 kg, and deadlift 188 kg.  I currently hold over 30 Washington State records, 12 American records, and 3 world records.

What USAPL National meets have you lifted in and how did you place?

Women’s Nationals:  2006 – 1st in Masters 45-49,2nd in Open; 2007 – 1st in Masters 45-49, 2nd in Open; 2008 – 1st in Masters 45-49, 2nd in Open; 2009 – 1st in Masters 45-49, 1st in Open; 2010 – 1st in Masters 50-54, 1st in Open; 2011 –  1st in Masters 50-54, 1st in Open

Have you lifted in any NAPF osquat 3r IPF meets if so how did you place?

Had hoped to lift in last year’s NAPF Regional Championship but when an injury took me out of the meet, I went anyway and got to meet all the Boston area lifters there.

IPF Masters World Championships:  2006 – 1st; 2007 – 1st; 2008 – 2nd; 2011 – 1st

IPF Open World Championships:  2008 – 6th; 2011 – 5th

Where do you train?

I train at Seattle Strength and Power ( www.seattlestrength.com ), owned by my coach, Todd Christensen.  It’s a hard-core gym in the basement of an office building catering to powerlifters and strongmen of all ages.

Do you lift with a group/team or by yourself, if so who?

Most of the time there’s a group of people working out at the same time.  There used to be a larger group of USAPL women training there, but now it’s a mix of master’s women training for USAPL and guys who are either lifting USAPL, WABDL, or other single or double ply federations.  It’s a great place to be able to achieve your best amongst people who are working on their bests as well.

What current goals are you trying to accomplish?

These days, my biggest goal is to stay healthy and injury free.  Having just competed in December in Rockland, I have a few goals for my raw numbers.   I recently pulled 400 raw for the first time.   But, my next competition with be Women’s Nationals and I’m hoping to up my American records as well as make the Master’s World team.

What is your greatest moment in powerlifsquat open worldsting?

Setting records is always a great moment, especially a world record.  Having to make a third bench press attempt to stay in the meet and getting it felt great.  Being named Washington State Athlete of the Year and nominated to the state Hall of Fame were both great honors.  But, I think coming in 5th at IPF Open Worlds’ in 2011, despite being the smallest and oldest in the field meant the most to me.

Can you tell us a little about your training routine?

Broadly, I squat at least once a week and bench once a week.  I pull anywhere from every other week to less than once a month.  I do a lot of assistance work with chains and bands.  But, often I have to work around pain or injury and we do a good job of keeping things interesting and heavy enough to keep making gains.

Who are your mentors?

Todd Christensen, who has been my coach for most of my lifting career, has been the biggest influence on my lifting.   All the folks in the gym are incredibly helpful and supportive no matter what anyone is doing.  We can all give each other pointers and call depth for each other.  Also, I credit Grant Higa for getting me comfortable with squatting early in my career.  Grant has a beautiful squat and as a professional strongman, I always knew he’d be able to catch me if I got stuck on a squat.  As a result, I was never afraid to push the weight on my squat.

 

Do you have any tips that could help other lifters?deadlift

I think my best suggestion is to have fun.  Anyone who has ever seen me at a meet knows that I’m always focused, but relaxed.  If you’re well prepared and know what you’re doing, the best thing you can do is to get out of your head, and do what you know how to do.  I love watching lifters, like Liane Blyn, who lift hard and enjoy themselves while doing it.

What inspires you to keep training?

There are two sides to this – the first is that I’m incredibly competitive and I’m not willing to give up.   The second is that I’m much happier when I have the endorphin rush from lifting.  Seattle is a gloomy place in the winter and anything that helps my mood is critical.

What is your favorite music to listen too when your training?

There are always battles over the music in the gym!  I tend to stay out of it and can put up with anything other than easy listening or AC/DC for the 40th time.  If I listen to my own music at a meet, I tend to listen to a mash up of things that either get me pumped up or make me laugh.

Do you compete in any other sports?

Not now.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I had a blast at the Mass Open last year, and don’t be surprised if you see me back in Massachusetts in the near future.   And, I’d like to thank John Inzer for his support through the years; I’ve done well through the years in Inzer gear and John has been great.