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Bench press, powerlift competition to test strength, willpower


Gregory Sambula, 21st Medical Squadron flight medicine technician, participates in the annual bench press and deadlift competition at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Jan. 27, 2017. Sambula deadlifted 565 pounds, placing first in that portion of the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher DeWitt)


The fitness center will host the annual bench press and deadlift competition 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Jan 26. Competitors will be split into two groups, alternating between bench press and deadlift. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Halle Thornton)


Danielle Council, 50th Contracting Squadron spouse, tests her strength in the annual bench press and deadlift competition at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Jan. 27, 2017. Council deadlifted 285 pounds in the competition, tying for first place. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher DeWitt)


The Schriever Air Force Base fitness center will host the annual bench press and dead lift competition 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Jan 26.

Participants must register in the fitness center for the competition by Jan. 24.

There will be prizes for bench press, deadlift and overall winners.

Competitors are typically divided into two groups; one will bench press while the other will dead lift and then the groups will switch.

Each competitor is allowed five total lifts per event. 

Competitors cannot reduce weight after a failed attempt, but are allowed to attempt the same weight more than once.

Seth Cannello, 50th Force Support Squadron fitness center director, added if competitors fail their second lift at the same weight, they are out of the competition, even if they haven’t completed five total attempts. 

“We start with the lowest requested starting weight, then add five or ten pounds each round depending on lifter requests,” he said.

Competitors can sit out as many rounds as they like until the weight they want to try is loaded. 

The person that lifts the most weight based on ratio to body weight is the winner.

Cannello explained the fitness center has hosted a bench press competition since 2004, and added deadlifting in 2009.

“I was extremely apprehensive to add deadlift because I thought people would hurt themselves due to bad form and attempting maximum weight,” he said. “However, we haven't had any injuries since adding the deadlift.”

Senior Airman Kyle Lucas, 2nd Space Operations Squadron mission planning cell mission analyst, has been lifting on-and-off since he was 14, and is now planning to compete for the first time.

“I wanted to be a better and stronger all-around athlete,” he said. “I didn't start deadlifting until I walked onto the football team at Penn State.”

Lucas entered the competition because he has been looking for ways to stay competitive.

“During the spring and summer, I compete in obstacle course racing,” he said. “I don't have a competitive outlet for the winter months. I saw the flyer for this event and figured I'd give it a shot.”

Lucas’ favorite part of powerlifting is how it has brought him and his brother closer together.

“He's stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base, but we talk everyday about our lifts,” he said. “We're constantly texting each other videos of our lifts, mostly to brag about the weight we're moving, but also to get feedback on form.

“When I told him I signed up he actually built me a training program. He's been my coach for this event.”

Capt. Christopher Fridley, 1st Space Operations Squadron mission commander, is also new to the competition, but has been power and dead lifting for a year.

A friend convinced him he should go out and compete because there is nothing to lose.   

Fridley’s favorite part about lifting is if one applies oneself consistently, there will be measurable progress.

“Not everything in life correlates so easily,” he said. “It (lifting) builds self-confidence and allows people to feel powerful.”

Cannello added the fitness center has seen strong people compete through the years, and it's fun to see people try to set personal records during the competition.

For more information, call the fitness center at 567-6628.

Male’s Records

Most weight deadlifted: 565 pounds-Staff Sgt. Greg Sambula, 2017

Most weight bench pressed: 525 pounds-Staff Sgt. Cyrus Ford, 2005

Most total weight lifted: 955 pounds-Capt. Roger Brooks, 2012

Greatest percentage of weight lifted: 5.38 times body weight-Col. Ken Allison, 2010

Female’s Records

Most weight deadlifted: 285 pounds-Staff Sgt. Ana Shockey and Danielle Council, 2017

Most weight bench pressed: 165 pounds-Brenda Lewis, 2007

Most total weight lifted: 405 pounds-Staff Sgt. Ana Shockey, 2017

Greatest percentage of weight lifted: 3.21 times body weight-Staff Sgt. Ana Shockey, 2017

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