Powerlifters going strong


If you are a weightlifter who enjoys working out for strength rather than body building, then you are in the right area.

“Powerlifting is very strong in the Midwest,” said Anthony Glass, a certified strength and conditioning specialist at NIU.

“Illinois has the highest number of American Drug Free Powerlifting Association (ADFPA) competitions of any other state,” Glass said. “There’s usually 10-15 competitions a year.”

The ADFPA is one of two major governing bodies in the sport of powerlifting; the United States Powerlifting Federation (USP) is the other.

Glass has been competing in powerlifting events since 1984. He was the USP North Carolina State Champ in 1991 and the ADFPA Illinois State Champ in 1992. Glass teaches weight training in NIU’s physical education department.

Powerlifting is a sport that requires the competitor to challenge his own strength, he said.

“It is an individual sport where the competitor gets self gratification,” said Glass.

Powerlifters are grouped by weight and winners are chosen based on the amount they lifted compared to their body weight. Most competitions have ten weight classes and award three trophies per weight class. An overall winner, or “Best Lifter,” is chosen from the ten first place finishers.

There are three exercises to most powerlifting competitions—the squat, bench press and deadlift. The lifter gets three attempts at each exercise. The best lifts, one from each exercise, are combined to come up with an overall score.

Jay Cole, a NIU graduate student in marketing, has been in powerlifting for two years.

“My friends thought that I should try it when they saw how much weight I was lifting,” said Cole.

Cole puts in a lot of training at the gym, four days for a total of about 10 hours a week.

“You should get a good foundation,” he said. “Spend the time where you’re comfortable with the weights because powerlifting is tough on the joints.”

Glass also recommends training four days a week.

“Train each lift once a week separately and work the secondary muscles also for that day,” he said. “On the fourth day do a variety of light weight exercises to get the soreness out.”

For those thinking about becoming a powerlifter, Glass offers some advice.

“Take it slow, don’t train heavy every day,” said Glass. “Learn the proper form and technique to each exercise.”

“There will be times where you can’t do what you expect to,” said Jack Brascia, a senior communications major who has been training for powerlifting for the past year. “Give it time and you will reach your goals.”

“There will be times where you can’t do what you expect to. Give it time and you will reach your goals.”

Jack Brascia, powerlifter and communications major