Sam Winter, 43, of Ellsworth manages a squat of 490 pounds. PHOTO BY STEPHEN FAY

Weightlifters turn out in force to defy gravity at YMCA meet

ELLSWORTH — The Fitness Department at the Down East Family YMCA is aglow in the wake of Sunday’s successful “Press Fest” power lifting competition.

More than 30 lifters — men and women ages 13 to 66 — from as far away as Augusta and Oakland turned out for the Y’s first-of-its-kind event. They were joined on the lifting platform by several Hancock County athletes. YMCA fitness trainer Josh Steward organized the contest with the assistance of Al Stork, owner of Stork’s Power Lifting in Winterport.

Question: What are the power lifts? Answer: the bench press, squat and dead lift.

The bar is bending but Rob Drummond, 44, of Augusta soldiers on with this 738-pound dead lift.  PHOTO BY STEPHEN FAY
The bar is bending but Rob Drummond, 44, of Augusta soldiers on with this 738-pound dead lift.

In the bench press, the lifter lies on his or her back on a padded bench and takes the loaded barbell off a rack at arms’ length overhead and lowers it to the chest. After a nanosecond’s pause, the head judge gives the press command and the lifter pushes the weight back up to straight arms.

The squat is a deep-knee bend with the barbell across the lifter’s back. The lifter steps under a rack holding the loaded barbell, settles the bar across his or her back and slowly drops into a deep squat and then rises back up to straight legs.

The dead lift is a brute strength event. The athlete grasps the loaded bar, which is resting on the platform, and hauls the weight off the floor and over the knees and thighs until he or she is standing erect. The knees must be locked and the shoulders back.

Each lifter gets three attempts at the bench, squat and dead lift. Two side judges and a head judge determine if the lift was properly executed. For a lift to be “good,” at least two of the judges must give it the thumbs up.

As is the case in boxing, lifters compete according to bodyweight classes that range from 97 pounds up to 308.

The dead lift is the lift in which the greatest poundages are negotiated. Case in point: Rob Drummond, 44, of Augusta. At a bodyweight of 283, Drummond deadlifted 738 pounds. That’s three-fourths the weight of a Steinway Model D concert piano.

Drummond’s sons Cody, 20, and Ronan, 13, also participated in Sunday’s event.

Other outstanding lifters were Luke Boyle, 18, of Franklin who performed a squat with 600 pounds in the 198-pound class and the husband-wife team of Sam and Jen Winter. Jen, 45, of Ellsworth performed a squat with 292 pounds and won Best Lifter in her weight class (148). Sam, 43, managed a 490-pound squat, which was the best effort in the 181-pound class.

The Y Fitness Department is discussing the possibility of another weightlifting meet, possibly this summer, to be held outdoors.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]
Stephen Fay

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