Powerlifting shows powerful benefits

By Sean Phee, @SeanPheeDE

Visitors to the west weight room at the Recreation Center on Saturday would have heard grunting and seen veins throbbing as competitors lifted seemingly impossibly heavy weights in a chance to call themselves the strongest.

The competitors were powerlifting, a sport that shows who can lift the most.

Saturday’s competition was the inaugural SIU Powerlifting Meet. It was organized by the SIU Fitness Club, a Registered Student Organization dedicated to weight lifting. Participants competed in bench press and dead lift.


Dash Buntjer, a graduate student from Santa Rosa, Calif., studying kinesiology, lifted the most during the men’s bench press with 405 pounds. Chris Roth, an assistant strength and conditioning coach for SIU athletics, lifted the most during the men’s dead lift event with 700 pounds.

Samantha Eldridge, a graduate student from Carol Stream studying general health, lifted the most during the women’s bench press with 155 pounds. Vanessa Frost, a graduate student from El Puerta de Santa Maria, Spain, studying kinesiology, lifted the most during the women’s dead lift with 405 pounds.

All lifting events on campus are organized by president of the SIU Fitness Club, Matthew Jordan, a graduate student from Bloomington studying kinesiology.

Jordan said there was a great turnout for the event, but wants to have more lifts in future events.

Eldridge, SIU Fitness Club’s powerlifting chair, said powerlifters compete in three different lifts: bench pressing, squatting and dead lifting.

Eldridge said powerlifting is one of the best ways to stay healthy because full body movements work multiple muscles instead of one muscle group. Powerlifting is great for both gaining muscle mass and losing weight, she said.

Caleb Snyder, a graduate student from Carterville studying kinesiology and food nutrition, said doing power lifts with low repetitions and high weight is the best way to add muscle mass.


Eldridge said some people have the impression that only muscular people can do power lifts.

“It’s something anyone can do, no matter what age,” Eldridge said. “Even your grandma can do squats.”

Sean Phee can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269.