by Kelly Branton
Powerlifting is an emotional roller coaster that very few can stay at a high level for a long period of time and not quit. If you’re someone like me that has pretty much turned their life off from anything but powerlifting, that being said “I love what I do and I am not complaining” but it’s the truth. People say to me, “but you’re a freak! It comes easy! You have good genetics!” Just for a little education for everyone, it sure the hell does not come easy to me.
Every time I put my bag down in the gym, I go hard and I try and stay mentally on top of every set. I always think of how hard everyone else is training. In this day and age, if you let your foot off the petal, you’re toast! 2015-2016 I had some good moments and some not so good moments. At the commonwealth powerlifting games in December of 2015 I squatted 903lbs, which ended up being the largest squat in Canadian history. But when it came to deadlifts, to pull for the 120+kg world total record, I dropped it right at the top. I had some issues with my bench before the Deadlift that added to the drop, but it’s no excuse. It was the best/worst meet I have ever had in my life. I squatted 900lbs but only deadlifted 700lbs. This has happened to me many times. Fast forward to nationals, I get a stomach flu the day of the meet. I puke a few times and still go out and try and giv’er and again have to pull back and end with a mediocre pull of 700lbs.
2016 Worlds Killeen, Texas. I show up, drop my bag in the back room and I’m ready for war! I felt like I was made from steel, nothing could stop me! No weight I loaded was too much for 3 white lights. I’m fueled by confidence! Opening squat 850lbs, I kill it! LET’S GO, load the bar to 903lbs. On the 903lb squat, I jiggled it at the bottom and I had to catch it and regroup. That squat used a lot of my energy. Third attempt, I loaded a 5 kilo jump, very doable for me. For whatever reason I just could not come up with it. I am sure you have all seen the video so I do not need to get into what happened. A few people told me it looked so dramatic. I describe the feeling like this, have you ever went to go pick something up? Does not have to be heavy. You get a stinger in your back and you do not want to move out of that position until it goes away? That’s how I felt, so I bailed on it. When I laid on the ground I could feel my back tighten up and some pain run down my hamstring. I remember people coming around me telling me not to move and asking me questions. All I remember saying to my self was, get the *#^! up. I headed to the back room, my team did a great job working on my back to get me moving again. When I went to bench I could not arch my back. So we had to play the game and lower my opener. Went 3 for 3 in the benches and then in the deadlift, we played the game and I ended up with another bronze metal at worlds. Yet again finishing with another 700lb deadlift. After the meet was done, I did not feel very well, I could not stop sweating and my back was hurting big time. Not to sound cocky or anything but I just felt like I threw a year of powerlifting in the garbage. Could not string together a good meet.
Do you think the story ends there? Not a chance!!! Did a lot of work to get my back better with my new coach Mike T. My last meet at Ontario’s I totaled 1017.5kgs, with a ton left in the tank. I am on a warpath here! I have no clue how long it will last, but I will ride it out as long as I can. Powerlifting is my passion; I want to see how strong I can make my body. Powerlifting is not a sprint, it’s a long and steady uphill battle.