by Stacy Smith, Leisure World News
When powerlifter Charles “Chuck” Lund turns 75 years old in March, he will be on track to beating the highest world record of pounds lifted – 450 pounds for a squat, bench press and deadlift – by someone in his age category.
What might seem impossible to some seems likely for Lund; he lifted 533 pounds at his last meet and is on the verge of lifting 600 pounds – his goal for next year. This year alone, he’s broken state and national records held by the United States Powerlifting Coalition (USPC) and World Powerlifting USA (correction made per Charles Lund).
The septuagenarian, who says he’s not athletically gifted but has always been very strong, switched from boxing to weightlifting at 54 years old, and has loved every minute of it ever since. Lund will compete in a USPC meet on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 9 a.m. at the Frederick, Maryland, fairgrounds.
Although Lund was initially discouraged that he’d lost a great deal of strength in his fifties, he found he was able to lift more and more weight over time, and that he was indeed competitive with those in his age and weight group.
Following a few years with a great coach, Lund qualified for a USA Powerlifting tournament at 57 years old in 2004 and took first place in his weight and age categories, lifting more than 1,000 pounds total.
When Lund and his wife moved from Tucson, Arizona, to Silver Spring, Maryland, four years ago, Lund started working with strength resistance bands following a treatment regimen for stage 3 melanoma, which is now in remission.
In October 2020, the couple moved to Leisure World, where Lund began working with fitness trainer Sam Ellis in the Fitness Center in Clubhouse II. Lund wanted to move from resistance bands to free weights, and Ellis agreed to help.
“I’m grateful to Sam for helping me to lift safely at my age. We worked this past year on correct form and strength training [for] squat, bench press and deadlift,” he says. Squat, bench press and deadlift are forms of weightlifting that work different muscles.
Lund has learned along the way when to push himself and when to take it easy.
“Lifting more and more weight very gradually is important,” he says, adding that powerlifters should lift enough weight to destroy muscle tissue to a point that it can build itself back even stronger, but not so much weight that the muscle tissue can’t repair itself within a reasonable time.
Lund says that days off from weightlifting are critical. “Too many lifters lift too often or lift too soon after an injury,” he says. Lund has never had a serious injury from weightlifting.
Boxing and weightlifting are lifelong passions for Lund, activities he’s participated in ever since he was a kid. He’s even inspired his grandson, who just graduated high school, to start powerlifting.
Now, as Lund ages, he’s “obsessed with life-extension and health strategies.” With his doctor’s approval, he takes extra protein powder, niacinamide (B vitamin) and quercetin and pterostilbene, which are rich in antioxidants. His blood pressure and cholesterol are at lifetime lows.
“I feel as good as I have at any time in my life. I’m slower and less strong and have some memory issues, but at least I feel as great as ever,” Lund says.
Bombing out. Our topic covered on this Tuesday by Timothy Paynter of Paynter Periodization.
What is it and how can you avoid it?
Bombing out refers to failing to register a successful attempt in any one of the competition lifts on meet day. When this happens you become disqualified from the competition. Obviously, you want to avoid this.
The best way to avoid bombing out is by opening with an easy weight that you have completed many times before to competition standards, on competition equipment, with the same commands you’ll be using in the meet. I suggest lifters practice their openers anywhere from 2-3 times in the last few weeks leading up to the meet. Practice builds confidence and confidence is crucial on the platform. I also suggest practicing in an atmosphere as similar to the meet as possible. So wear your singlet/competition approved equipment (wraps/sleeves/belts etc.) and have a friend(s) call the commands for you. Be familiar and honest with yourself about competition standards. Record your lifts from multiple angles to ensure you’re squatting to proper depth, pausing your bench press, and not hitching your deadlifts etc..
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to open LIGHT, around 88-90% of your planned third attempt. The whole purpose of your opener and second attempt are to set you up for a successful third attempt. No one is going to remember what you opened with when you’re nailing your third attempt anyway.
Instagram @paynterperiodization or email email@example.com for coaching.
By Kristine Rae Olmsted
My journey to powerlifting started with CrossFit boot camps about 9 years ago. Having been a nationally-ranked distance swimmer in earlier years, and after many years of being sedentary, I decided I wanted something active to do. A friend was starting boot camps at a CrossFit gym that wasn’t too far away, so I joined her. I fell in love with the community, the camaraderie, and the supportive yet competitive atmosphere.
After about 6 months of boot camps, I felt like I was ready to tackle CrossFit. I had been particularly intrigued by the barbell movements, primarily the squat. Squatting under a barbell just looked so primal to me- just about anybody can do it, from toddlers up through big, burly dudes.
I had a health condition related to environmental allergies that prevented me from breathing effectively for about 5 months out of the year- so CrossFit and its metcons weren’t going to work for me. I called the gym owner in tears, thinking he would kick me out of the gym as a liability. What he said astounded me- “Well, what CAN you do- can you lift?” I replied that lifting was my favorite part of CrossFit anyway, and a lifter was born. I signed up for the gym’s barbell club and began learning the basics of the squat, bench press, deadlift, snatch, and clean-and-jerk.
I’ve always been strong. I can recall being a kid and helping my mom move furniture, and people commenting on how physically capable I was. Turns out being strong in general translates pretty well to being strong with a barbell. I began, like many newbies, to excel in the deadlift (which I will argue is the least technical lift of the 3 powerlifts), and to a lesser extent in the squat (second most technical), but bench (most technical) took some doing. I wasn’t particularly interested in the Olympic lifts- it was brute strength I was seeking. After about a year of barbell club, I felt like I had exhausted my ability to progress in that environment.
Like many new lifters, I would read everything I could about lifting, the science of strength development, and programming. My favorite author, Coach Rick Scarpulla, was coming to the gym to give a seminar, and I excitedly volunteered to pick him up and ferry him around for the weekend. I could see from Coach Scarpulla how much technique I had to learn, so I focused mightily on technique for a year, until he came back for another seminar- the weekend of my 40th birthday. I told him I wanted to feel 400 pounds on my back in celebration of my big day. Not only did I feel 405 on my back, I squatted it (albeit with bands up) and was hooked on big weight. That weekend I signed on with Rick as my new coach. (This was challenging since he was in New York and I was in North Carolina, but we made it work.)
I had been intrigued by equipped lifting for some time, and Rick and his crew lifted equipped. I started dipping my proverbial toes into that water and felt like a newbie all over again- as many new equipped lifters experienced. I got stronger and technically better, and ended up winning two Nationals and one World Championship in single-ply before venturing into multi-ply- which is where my heart resides. To date my best lifts are a 565 squat, a 365 bench, and a 425 dead.
Nine years of awesome experiences, new friends, and character-building challenges…all thanks to simple beginnings in a CrossFit boot camp. I am profoundly grateful.
The primary goal of beginning the USPC was to enable meet directors to develop the best meet experience for lifters. The USPC is a positive, encouraging federation from the top down. By providing local support to new and upcoming meet directors, we are automating and developing processes that benefit the lifters.
One of the ways we accomplish this is by having the best equipment on the market for lifter and spotter safety - the DynaBody Monolift. A monolift provides more safety for a squatter. Imagine the energy you expend by having to step back with a few hundred pounds of weight on your back or, for elite lifters, think of walking out 800+ pounds. The monolift makes squatting heavy weight much safer and also provides an extra layer of safety by having straps/chains that aid in preventing the bar from hitting the ground if something goes awry. Do you want to walk out your squat? You can do that, also. The USPC is giving you the option to do a "stand and go" squat or walk it out. How much better does it get than that?
We also utilize a DynaBody Competition Bench at our meets. This bench is sturdy and unshakeable. The pad is much thicker and considerably wider than the typical combo-rack insert benches.
Our online testing procedure for becoming a judge is revolutionary. The test is not a "gimme" and is not just a True/False test. No two tests are alike since the system randomizes the questions. If you have judged with another federation, you should not take this test lightly. Once you pass the test, however, you are not automatically placed into a judge's chair. There are other criteria which need to be met in order to acquire your judge's shirt (which of course is free to you)! Before you attempt to take the test (or lift in a meet) be sure to read the USPC Rulebook, which link is here.
These are just a few ways in which we are changing the face of powerlifting --come to a meet to see more!
When the seeds of creating a new powerlifting federation were first planted in 2018, I could never have envisioned how the world would change within the next few years: the victories, heartbreaks, losses and struggles that we have all encountered over the past year, specifically. But if life is a teacher, the biggest lessons to learn are that nothing lasts forever, life always gives us opportunities to grow and learn, and at the end of the day we are all in this thing called "life" together.
The sport of powerlifting is a great way to bring us together to support each other in our struggles, whether those struggles are mental, emotional or physical. It's hard to think of other sports that are capable of having an 11 year-old just starting their strength journey, an internationally competitive 30 year-old, and a life-experienced 82 year-old lifter sharing the same equipment and platform on the same day. If we intend to learn and grow as people as well as lifters, the first step is coming together to support each other regardless of our backgrounds, genders, ethnicities or sexualities.
Isn't the sport of powerlifting amazing? Message us if you would like to share the story of your powerlifting journey with others in our next newsletter/blog.
Presented to you by the USPC & WPUSA:
The United States Powerlifting Coalition was created to provide powerlifters an atmosphere where they can be comfortable in a safe, lifting environment. We utilize a monolift on the platform in order to provide the best experience for both lifters and spotters and to promote safety and confidence when squatting; a fat pad bench with face savers and Texas squat, power and deadlift bars on the platform.