The Bar is Loaded #6: Powersports

The Bar is Loaded (Article Banner)

This article was previously posted earlier on the original NASA website.

You know why I write an opinion column and not a blog? Because I’m basically a boring guy.   I go to work, eat, spend not-near-enough time with the little woman, eat, lift once-a-week, ride the Harley when I can, eat and watch T.V. I’m not ‘in’ to video games. I suck big-time at golf. And, I’m simply not allowed back into the bowling alleys around SoCal. My guilty pleasure is television. And one show that intrigues me is ‘Life After People’ on the history channel. For those who haven’t had the pleasure the show chronicles the future in time blocks (1 year – 10 years – 50 years – 100 years, etc.) after people have vanished from the earth. You basically watch all our cities and monuments turn into national parks and ancient ruins.

Watching this show I couldn’t help think about this column and how it started. After a 15 year self-imposed lay-off, I returned to the sport and wanted to jump back in. I shared my amazement at the changes in the sport (gear, internet, organization, etc.) and was fascinated with the differences that evolved over this short time span. After clearing the cob-webs and up-ing the intensity of my workouts I set out to compete. Two months into training I realized that I’m not near as pliable as I once was. I completely blew out my hammy (purple bruising and all) and came to the conclusion that it will take a few years before my squat is respectable (if that). I was definitely jonesing for competition.  I re-tooled my workouts and set my sights on PowerSports©.
I was never a guy who curled. I remembered the pics of Steve Wilson rupturing his bicep and I figured bigger biceps were just one more thing to tear while deadlifting.  But I rationalized how hard could it be. I researched the site and come to the conclusion that 200 would be considered a very good lift in my weight class. 200 lbs. isn’t even considered warming up on the other lifts. It’s just a good ‘stretching’ weight. Performing a strict curl with it should be a breeze. Wrong. I looked like an idiot in spasm the first time I attempted 150. And then the realization – just like everything else in this godforsaken sport – it’s not going to be easy.

PowerSports©, for those who haven’t been exposed, is a competition of the strict curl, bench press and deadlift. PowerSports© follows the same format as a traditional powerlifting meet and simply substitutes the strict curl for the squat. And, with the exception of a belt, no support equipment is allowed. During a NASA powerlifting meet PowerSports© is contested within the event itself. The events of a full meet are sequenced as such: strict curls, squats, bench press and deadlift. And several unequipped powerlifters will compete in both unequipped powerlifting and PowerSports©. The purest definition is straight from NASA’s web site: Power Sports©, developed and implemented by Rich Peters in 1996, was designed to test an athlete’s over-all strength levels. The mere fact that no supportive equipment is allowed is a testament of the athlete’s confidence in his strength levels and his true power as a strength athlete.

PowerSports© is hotly contested and attracts national-caliber powerlifting athletes as well as those who specialize in the strict curl, bench press and deadlift. There are lifters who excel at both PowerSports© and unequipped powerlifting – Tyson Myers and Mike Bishop immediately come to mind. And there are those athletes who have specialized in posting big in PowerSports© – Cyrus Ford, Jason Smith, Jackie Baltimore and Desmond Phillips (the latter pulling 804 in a PowerSports© event!).  PowerSports© records are kept at every level of competition from State to American and Worlds. PowerSports© has its own national championships and Mr. Adelmann maintains a Top 100 list for all categories. And, PowerSports© has one big attraction – professional competition.
This year’s Pro PowerSports© competition offers up over $14,000 in cash prizes. This head-to-head event will match lifters across weight classes via coefficient with the highest coefficient winning. Money will be available to the overall winner through 5th place and individual lift winners through 5th place. Special awards provide monetary incentive to all.  Such awards as: heaviest curl for 275lbs – SHW; best coeff. for CO, KY, OK or KS lifter; highest deadlift coeff. for TX lifters; etc., etc. Wanna get in on the fun? Here’s what you do.

1. sign up;
2. lift in two NASA events between sign up and the Pro meet;
3. receive an official entry form once you meet qualifications, and
4. show up in Oklahoma City on October 17th and kick butt!!

Some of PowerSports© top competitors back out of the pro meet because there’s no guarantee of first place money. One top lifter put it this way, “I do not think that should deter anyone from lifting at this meet, especially since it is head to head competition. This is a one of a kind event and lifters should really try to take advantage to compete in it”.
“[T]he bottom line is that people are afraid of losing. Sometimes losing is better than winning because at least you know how you match up against the best, and had the heart to do it. I have done all three Pro meets and I have lost each time, but I have gotten better each outing, and that means a lot to me. I have the heart to keep trying and I have faith and confidence to know my day will come. If more people had this mindset Rich would have to put a cap on it because so many people would be trying to enter.”

I echo this sentiment. For those of you yearning for earnest competition against all in the field – then PowerSports© is the ticket. I may give it a shot if only they had a money category for overworked lifters age 40 and above with nagging injuries from Southern California or North Dakota. If Gary Clock doesn’t enter I’m in the money!