Powerlifing raises bar to prepare for state meet

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Photo by Jacob Kriewald

Sophomore Gage Higgs lifts 405 pounds at his practice for the upcoming state meet. “I’m only as good as my last broken record; I have been doing this for so long that powerlifting has become more than a sport to me - it’s a lifestyle,” Higgs said.

With a quarter of a ton of weight on the bar, the pressure is on to lift the weight off the ground and win that medal. Powerlifting is a winter sport that does not get as much recognition as others such as basketball and wrestling. But that does not mean they do not put in just as much work.

The powerlifting team has been competing since January and has the state tournament coming up soon. There are two different state meets, one where you are only allowed to use a belt and wrist wraps.

The other, which is coming up, is where you are allowed to use full body suits and other equipment that can help your lifts.

“The team has shown steady improvement throughout the season.  Our number of lifters varies from meet to meet, but I’m happy with our progress,” powerlifting coach Tobin Higgs said.

Powerlifting is a winter sport where athletes male or female compete in their own weight class to try to lift the most weight. There are individual weight classes for people to compete in. The athletes have to weigh in before the meets.

“Coach has us lifters do high weight, low rep lifts that allow us to gain strength and mass at higher rate,” junior Aden Perry said.

There are three different lifts that the lifters compete in.

“The lifts consist of bench press, squat, and deadlift,” Perry said.

They had their meets on the weekends and completed all around the state. The team practices all week with Higgs, varying the lifts from day to day to better the athletes so when the meets come on the weekends, Higgs strives to have the team be as successful as possible and will continue to better them so they can do their best at state and other big meets.

“Lifts vary from week to week, but we usually focus mainly on the 3 basic lifts and a few variations of them. Getting stronger and better at the lifts under meet conditions are the main goals right now,” Higgs said.

Some of the lifters at East lift close to if not more than a quarter of a ton which is the equivalent to 500 pounds. It takes a toll on your body so there are companies that make equipment to help these athletes lift heavier weight. There are multiple different pieces of equipment ranging from a wrist wraps that help you with your grip and stabilize your wrists, to a compression shirt that helps your bench press to increase it almost 20 pounds.

“Lifting is often more of a mental challenge than a physical one. The most important things to remember each day are to:  A.) warm-up well, B.) lift the bar with good technique, C.) breathe correctly and D.) challenge yourself and others to get a little better each workout / practice,” Higgs said.