© Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News
Lucas Chapman, right, prepares for a set of bench presses. The 18-year old is one of four APC athletes crossing the border for an August 4 competition in Maine.
AMHERST – A downtown basement. The music is aggressive. The lifters stand in a group, taking turns doing sets of bench press. Just a regular workout at the Amherst Powerlifting Club. Almost.
“We’re going down to Westbrook, Maine,” said Nathan Robertson, team leader.
The Dyna Maxx, APF-sanctioned 2012 Maine Stet Push/Pull Championship is being held August 4. Four Amherst lifters will be competing – the first international competition for the club.
Workouts change focus six weeks out from competition. Powerlifters usually compete in three movements: squat, bench press and deadlift. Those three exercises become the sole focus when a competition is looming. In the case of a push/pull meet, though, competitos just perform bench and deadlift.
Deadlift is Kristen Best’s favourite. The 17-year old weighs just 145 pounds, but has deadlifted 440 in practice. He’s going to Maine, along with Robertson, fellow teenager Lucas Chapman and 48-year old Stan Wilband.
“The thrill of it’s awesome,” said Best, when asked about competing.
“A lot of people think bodybuilding’s cooler…,” said the youth – getting bigger, not stronger – but he likes seeing his ‘personal best’ poundages go up.
Robertson said Best’s deadlift is world-class. The club holds 15 national records. Maine may change that.
“We’re all going for records,” said Robertson, who’s hoping for a 600-pound bench press and a deadlift in the same ballpark.
The club hosted its first meet in the spring, April 21. It was well-received, according to Robertson.
“(We’re) getting known around the country,” he said.
Out-of-province lifters have already registered for Amherst’s next meet, taking place Oct. 6: The CPF Autumn Armageddon.
“(We) must have made a good impression,” he said of the previous event.
Back to the workout. The music, turned down for conversation, is cranked up.