News: Lifters test their might in bench press
Story by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
IWAKUNI, Japan - Semper Fit hosted the Summer Slam 2011 Open Bench Press Challenge at the IronWorks Gym sports courts here Saturday. The event was open to both station and local Japanese residents.
The female division had four weight classes. Miyako Kamiguri, 106 pounds, was the overall female winner, bench pressing 105 pounds. Hiroko Yanai placed second with 105 pounds. Sayaka Takabayashi took third place with an 83 pound bench press.
Shuji Goto, 242 pounds, was the overall male winner, bench pressing 579 pounds. Steve C. Robinson Jr., 275 pounds, came in second place pressing a maximum weight of 529 pounds. Robinson also attempted to break the IronWorks Gym American bench press record of 540 pounds. Seventy-year-old Mato Akihiko, 148 pounds, placed third overall, bench pressing 375 pounds.
Each participant was awarded a medal, Tshirt and water bottle for participating in the event. The overall winners were also given a
All participants were given three attempts at their respective maximum. The use of bench shirts became necessary as the weight became progressively heavier for the male participants.
Bench shirts are shirts that enable lifters to move heavier weight.
The shirts are made of a material that severely restricts excessive movement in the shoulders and arms, forcing the muscles to stabilize more and lift more weight.
Extreme focus is often required when bench pressing heavy weight with or without a bench shirt.
“There’s no room to think about anything else,” said Goto. “The focus is on the weight and to keep it moving.”
The training mindset of high weights/low reps is essential when attempting to move large amounts of weight. Robinson used
this style of training in preparation for thecompetition.
“I have a max effort bench day and a dynamic effort bench day,” said Robinson. “The dynamic days are a lot of high reps/low weight. I concentrate on explosion. The max days are just me trying to move as much as possible.”
Some of the athletes had different motivations for wanting to participate in the challenge.
“I was concentrating on trying to break the 540 pound [bench press] record,” said Robinson.
For others, their reasoning for competing here was more long term.
“I’m training for a meet in October,” said Goto. “The bench press challenge is just to prepare me for that.”
Whenever heavy weight is involved in lifting, the possibility for serious injury is always there. Semper Fit took every precaution to insure no such incident happened. Several times throughout the meet, many lifters required assistance from the several spotters who hovered around the bench press rack in case of muscle failure.
“I’m just glad the volunteers were reliable and aware during the event,” said Brian Wilson, Semper Fit assistant athletic director. “Some of these guys lift really heavy weight. Injuries are something I hate to see.”
The bench press challenge is one of several annual events put together by Semper Fit. Semper Fit also sponsors The Strongman competition and Fitness Fallout.
Wilson said even though fewer participants showed up than expected, he was still pleased with the turn out.
The 2011 Far East Powerlifting meet is the next Semper fit exercise event scheduled to take place in late September, early October.