News: Grueling sport pumps iron
Story by Lance Cpl. Jerrick J. Griffin
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The power-lifting team known as the Camp Pendleton Bar Benders is looking to expand its team of weight lifters with more men and women from across Camp Pendleton.
The team is comprised of ap¬proximately 13 service mem¬bers and one civilian who train for competitions across the
“I’m here to let everybody know we are here,” said Sgt. David Douglas, motor transport mechanic, Repairable Mainte¬nance Company, 1st Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “I think power lifting is an overlooked sport as far as the Marine Corps goes. You got all the big sports like baseball, football and soccer that a lot of people look at, but power lifting is one of the most grueling sports, in my opinion, that you can do.”
The Camp Pendleton power-lifting team has been around since 1999, but it wasn’t as organized as it is now. The team is recognized by Varsity Sports, which is an organization on Camp Pendleton that offers athletes the opportunity to compete against other varsity teams from other bases and colleges in tournaments or competitions.
“We now hold the same kind of status as [baseball, football and soccer teams] you always hear about,” said Sabrina Gibson, the coach of the power-lifting team. “Hopefully we’re here to make power-lifting just as popular as those teams.”
This year in competitions as a team, the Bar Benders have earned first place wins in all three contests entered.
“As a team, we have entered three competitions so far and we’ve won all three,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Kiraly, one of the members of the power-lifting team.
Each member has a different reason for why they started power lifting in the first place. Douglas, who can bench press more than 600 pounds, played soccer in high school before he began weight training.
“Okinawa was my first duty station, and there’s not much to do there so I just stayed in the gym the whole time,” said Douglas, 24, from Milwaukee. “One of my [gunnery sergeants] out there said that I should try out the bench press competitions. I wasn’t about competing with weight lifting, I just like to weight lift. I finally tried one of [the competitions] and I got hooked.”
While Douglas picked up weight lifting to pass time, Gibson, who was an athlete growing up, fell naturally into the sport.
“I started out as a competitive gymnast,” said Gibson, 32, from Honolulu, Hawaii. “I wasn’t scared of strength and lifting weights. I was on the Air Force power-lift¬ing team even though I was small, but [I] enjoyed lifting heavy weights. I would like to see more females take on that same role and not be scared of the weights.”
Though they all started lifting for different reasons, the team has one challenge they plan on completing together, bringing power-lifting to the forefront of the sports community. The team trains throughout the week and holds open training sessions to anyone the last Saturday of every month.