In Palm Springs, CA on August 25th and 26th Colorado lifters, all hailing from Rocky Mountain Lifting Club, brought home 5 first place medals, 2 second place medals, and 1 third place medal.

Colorado’s sole female competitor, Jen Gaudreau, kicked things off for Colorado winning the National Championship in both the M1a and Open divisions in the 63kg class with a bench of 92.5kg (204 lbs).

In the Men’s 83kg class Tom Cencich won the National Championship in the M2a division with a bench of 190kg (419 lbs) while Volodymyr Narolskyy took second place in the Open division with a bench of 250kg (551 lbs).

Tom O’Keefe was the 93kg National Champion in the M4b division of the 93kg weight class with a 112.5kg (248 lbs) bench. Yes, your read that correctly 248 lbs at over 75 years of age!

In the 105kg class Sergey Shadyun took seccond place in the M2b division with a 140kg (309 lbs) bench.

Wrapping up the performances for Colorado and RMLC was of course Dan Gaudreau with yet another National Championship in the Superheavyweight M2a division with a 287.5kg (634 lbs) bench which also earned him third place in the Open division.

Congratulations to all these Colorado lifters. You can watch many of these same lifters in International competition in Aurora on November 17th at the 7th Annual NAPF/Pan American Bench Press Championship. Check the Upcoming Events section for more details.


On July 28th and 29th 34 lifters competed in the 2012 Rocky Mountain State Games at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s  world class training facility in Colorado Springs. Lifters from age 16 to 60 competed ranging from lifters entering their first competitions to National Champions. Check out the results at the “Upcoming Events/Results” link at the left.

Gage Soehner
840 lb Squat
2012 Mens Nationals

Colorado’s only lifter at this year’s USAPL Mens Open National Championships in Orlando, FL on June 22nd-24th was Rocky Mountain Lifting Club’s Gage Soehner. Once again Gage turned in an impressive performance and made a good run for the Gold medal ending up with Silver. Here is Gage’s personal report:

At men’s this year I got 2nd place to Steve Mann, 2030 total and a big PR in my squat.  Overall it was a successful meet.

I got into Orlando very late Friday night.  Saturday I slept in, checked my weight which was 266.8 in the morning after sleeping for 9 hours.  Needless to say I was a little shocked that I was that heavy, but I spent the rest of the day picking up the rental car, going to the grocery store, and then went to a movie.  I kept my liquid intake down, and didn’t feel too bad the next day considering I hadn’t had much liquid or food besides a few met-rx bars and some ice cream (ice cream is about the only low sodium food at a mcdonalds fyi).

Anyways, I weighed in at 119.6 and immediately started pounding some pedialyte, which was a good choice.  I felt good warming up for squats.  My last warmup was 675 with my suit on and no knee wraps.

My 1st squat was 755, and almost instantly I could tell the platform was spongy.  It was an elevated platform on risers and I do not think there was any columns under the platform to reinforce it.  I hit the rack pretty good walking it out, and on the video it was funny as I literally drug the eleiko rack about 6 inches somehow taking it out.

I got settled with the weight, and hit my opener easy enough.

My 2nd squat was 804.  My walkout was very quiet, slow and deliberate.

I hit the rack somewhat but not nearly as bad as on the 1st.  This squat was smooth and easy.

We took a big weight for my 3rd attempt at 838.  My walkout was probably the best on this one, very calm and slow as I knew the platform wasn’t the best.  I drove this weight up and honestly I think I could have done 859 on this rep.  I was very pleased with my squats here.

Bench warmups felt fine.  I had to use my 50 S katana as the 48 developed a hole in the arm.  In warmups I touched like 405 to my chest with this shirt and was instantly pissed off about how lose this shirt is.  My first rep was 507 and was easy.  My second attempt was 535 and I hit the standards very square on the way up, recovered and pressed out the weight to get two white lights.  My last attempt was 555 and the spotters took it as I started to grind the lockout.

Dead warmups felt a little hesitant because by this time my back was starting to get sore and stiff.  I think the big, heavy, emotional 380kg squat took some gas out of me.  Anyways, my opener at 651 went up fine.  We went straight to 705 for my 2nd attempt as I have wanted to take a shot at 700# for some time now.  I pulled this weight up, got it right to the finish and started to lose my grip.  I held on as long as possible and I lost the bar, tearing 3 fingers pretty good in the process. [EDITOR’S NOTE: a rare triple flapper – I had the pleasure of seeing it in person, unfortunately no one got a picture]  Out of all the things my grip went, which is something I didn’t even train this cycle.  If I had a good grip on this, I am fairly confident I would have locked my knees and got my shoulders back.  After the tore up hand I called it good.  I could have pulled a 672 or 683 for my 2nd attempt and had a larger total but it was of no consequence as the 3rd place guy was quite a distance behind me.

This meet was fun for me.  My squats continue to progress.  With the bench I am now of the opinion that I have just as much, if not more, raw strength than the other guys benching 580-600.  I need to get a shirt, that will not touch until I have 495lbs on the bar.  My deadlift is strange because although I didn’t get the weight I wanted, I continue to hit PRs in training.  I deadlifted 628 at 220# and at the time I could deadlift 495 for 6 reps.  Now, I hit 585 for 5 in the gym and end up with a 651 dead at this meet.  Although it is frustrating, I am not reflecting my true deadlift strength in the meets.

Big thanks to my wife, Dan and Jenn, and the team at RMLC!!

The 2012 USAPL Womens Nationals were held in Boise, ID on May 19th-20th and Colorado’s 3 competitors brought home 2 Gold medals and 2 Bronze medals.

Toni Kemper won Gold in the M1b 57 kg class with a 392.5 kg (865 lbs) total. Toni squatted 147.5 kg (325 lbs), benched 82.5 kg (182 lbs), and pulled 162.5 kg (358 lbs).

Jen Gaudreau won her Gold in the M1a 63 kg class with a 440 kg (970 lbs) total. Jen’s total also took the Bronze in the Open class. Her individual lifts were squat 160 kg (353 lbs), bench 105 kg (231 lbs) and DL 175 kg (386 lbs).

Brooke Anderson competing in the Open 72 kg class won the Bronze medal. Brooke squatted 152.5 kg (336 lbs), benched 90 kg (198 lbs), and pulled 157.5 kg (347 lbs) in her individual lifts.

Alex Galant, Brian Sato, Chris Pates, Mark Sigala, Mark Cucinella, Shane Landenberger, Ron Garafalo, Tom Cencich, Frank Agos, David Brekke, Del Worley, David Robinson, Russ Clark, Robert Keele, Steve Harms, Barney Herzog, Tom O’Keefe, Shane Secrist, Jim Brookshire, Sergey Shadyun, William Basow, Mike Skelton, Dave Gonzales, Preston Sumner, Rob Grisham, and Dan Gaudreau all competed in the 2012 USAPL Mens Master National Powerlifting Championships in Denver, CO on May 4th-6th. Results can be found at 2012_Masters_Nationals_Results.htm. These Colorado lifters earned 7 Gold medals (Galant, Sigala, Cucinella, O’Keefe, Gonzales, Grisham, Gaudreau) 5 Silver medals, and 7 Bronze medals.

Lifting before a hometown audience, Colorado lifters Dan Gaudreau and Tom Cencich took Gold and Silver respectively in their M2 weight classes helping Team USA to 2nd place behind Japan. The competition was held April 20th-22nd at the Red Lion Hotel in Aurora, CO which will also be the venue for the 2014 IPF World Open Powerlifting Championships.

Tom Cencich lifting in the M2 83 kg class benched 197.5 kg (435 lbs) to earn his Silver medal. On his 3rd attempt Tom benched an American Record 212.5 kg (468 lbs) and was awarded a good lift by the platform referees but this was overturned by the jury. Fortunately it was his own record he was going for so Tom is still the American record holder.

Dan Gaudreau served as meet director (with his wife Jen) in putting on this World Championship competition. I am sure only meet directors of such competitions can understand everything involved in dealing with sponsors, hotels, IPF officials, coaches, referees, lifters, volunteers,  and vendors in the days, weeks, and months leading up to such events. So at the last session of the competition after all this work Dan proceeded to:

  • go 3 for 3
  • win the Gold medal in the M2 (age 50-59) SHW class
  • break a world record on his second attempt at 280.5 kg (618 lbs)
  • break a world record on his third attempt at 300.5 kg (662 lbs)
  • outbench all the M1 (age 40-49) lifters
  • earn Best Lifter in M2 with 165.18 Wilks points.

Congratulations to Dan and Tom for their excellent representation of Colorado powerlifting at this World Championship and to Dan and Jen for their direction and presentation of this top notch event. Thank you to the City of Aurora for their sponsorship and production assistance in the webcast. And a big thank you to the many Colorado lifters whose efforts as volunteers made this Championship such a success!

Blaine Sumner who began training at Rocky Mountain Lifting Club (RMLC) in 2005 as a junior in high school continued his attack on International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Squat records in Melbourne, Australia on April 1st. After establishing the IPF Superheavyweight Equipped Squat World Record at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio on March 3rd Blaine went into a very brief raw training mode.  3 1/2 weeks after the Arnold he flew to Australia to compete at the Pacific Raw Invitational. The result was 3 new world records in the squat and 2 new world record totals as each of his squats were new world records and both of his successful deadlifts established new world record totals. Blaine opened well above the existing world standard with an 804 lb squat and his final squat was 882 lbs which the rest of the world calls 400 kg – quite a benchmark! Blaine added two successful bench presses (463 lb best) and two good deadlifts (711 lb best) for a 2055 lb total.

This was Blaine’s first international competition and he seemed to handle the jet lag well although he was disappointed with his bench and deadlift. He will be traveling to Stockholm, Sweden for the IPF World Raw Cup Championships on June 17th and then competing equipped at the USAPL Men’s Open Nationals in Orlando, FL only one week later. Blaine expects to add to his existing world records in the squat but is now putting additional focus on his bench and deadlift. Since he became serious about powerlifting on his first trip to RMLC he had used powerlifting primarily as a training modality for his other sports. In high school he competed in football, wrestling, lacrosse, and shot put and played football in college. When his football career ended in the summer of 2011 he was able to focus on powerlifting exclusively. His initial goals were focused on the squat world records which he knew were well within reach. Now that he has those records in hand he knows he can make big improvements in his bench and deadlift which will give him an excellent shot at equipped total world records and World Championships. As a USAPL/IPF lifter Blaine is particularly proud of the commitment these organizations have to drug-free competition: “The IPF is committed to getting powerlifting added as an Olympic sport and rigorous drug testing is a key component of that initiative. I hope to be able to compete for Olympic Gold before my lifting career is over.”

Blaine is currently a Wyoming resident working as a Petroleum Engineer at Devon Energy in Gillette. As often as he can he gets back to Colorado to lift at RMLC and support Colorado powerlifting. Blaine’s development as a powerlifter is a testament to dedicated training with supportive training partners and experienced coaches. As a freshman in high school he weighed 145 lbs and was thin as a rail. He knew as a linebacker and offensive lineman on the football team he had to get bigger and stronger. In his freshman class at Conifer High School there were probably 4 or 5 kids stronger than Blaine in the squat, today there is arguably no one in the world stronger than him in the squat. The difference between 145 lbs bodyweight and 350 lbs, between a mediocre squat at a small high school and a world record squat is only 9 years. That 9 years has been filled with many hours of intense, dedicated training. But Blaine will tell you that those hours have been the source of many great friendships with his training partners, coaches, and mentors. To all you young lifters out there Blaine says do not worry about where you are today, decide what you want to accomplish, find the people who will support your dreams, and give it everything you have. Blaine wishes to thank Dan and Jen Gaudreau, all his training partners over the years at RMLC, and his new training partners in Wyoming for supporting his dreams.

On March 31st Rocky Mountain Lifting Club hosted the 2012 RMLC Championships. With lifters ranging from 18 years old to 71 years old we saw a number of competitors set American records and many lifters earn their qualifying totals for upcoming national meets. Results can be seen here: 2012 RMLC Championsips and a thorough, fabulous set of pictures by Paul Logan can be found here: 2012 RMLIC Photos

Toni Kemper - 468 Wilks Total!

The 2011 Inductee for the Colorado Powerlifting Hall of Fame was presented at the meet – Frank Baja a long time record setting lifter, national judge and still setting national records on an artificial knee. Look for a profile of Frank in our Hall of Fame section soon.

Frank Baja is presented his Hall of Fame plaque by Dan Gaudreau

This was my 3rd Arnold Sports Festival to compete in and as always, it didn’t disappoint.  To walk up for an opening squat attempt and see almost every chair in the audience full, as well as people standing, was exciting.

Only making 5 of 9 attempts usually doesn’t make for a very successful meet but I feel differently about this one.  Leading up to the meet I had some lower back issues and had to back off of training a bit.  The last month I squatted one week and deadlifted the next to ensure my back stayed healthy.  I chose to go up to the 63kg instead of dropping to the 57kg weight class.  This allowed me to come in as strong as ever, and not very stressed, which always leads to a better performance on the platform.  I weighed in well under 63, coming in at 61.2 kg.

My squat opener was easy and deep at 167.5 so we went right for the big 182.5.  I came up with it but was turned down for depth.  Repeated on the 3rd and I got about 3/4 of the way up and just couldn’t finish.  It was a grinder, 4 seconds from the hole to where I lost it.  That is an eternity when you have that much weight on your back!  Many lifters in my flight struggled with the squat as only 9 out of 24 attempts were passed.  Most were completed, just not to the standards of the referee’s.

Bench was my most successful lift this meet and I finished with 107.5, which tied a PR for me.

Going into the deadlift I was trailing in 2nd place by 5kgs and she was opening 7.5kgs more than me so I knew I had to fight for it.  I was looking for my first total over 455kg (1000lbs) as well.  My second deadlift of 180kgs would have given me the total I wanted but it got out in front of me a little and I just broke it off the floor.  Repeated on the 3rd and got it about to my knees but it just wasn’t my day.  After the grinder I had on my 3rd squat, I just ran out of gas.

It was a great experience and I suggest that if you ever have the opportunity to be a part of the ASF, take it!  You will be hard pressed to find another meet like it!

A huge thanks to my amazing husband and coach, Dan.  He is the best coach in the business!  To all my family at RMLC, thanks for all the help and support in the gym.  Pete Alaniz and Derek Brixius at Titan Support Systems, thanks for the amazing gear.  Janel Brown, thank you for allowing me to chat and relax between attempts and telling me to get going when it was time, you know it’s how I roll 😉

The 2012 Arnold was a fun meet for me.  We got into Columbus Thursday night and hung out Friday per my usual pre meet routine.  I checked my weight, watched some of the lifting at the venue, caught a movie with Alisson and mostly watched my weight during the day as I was right on the borderline of being too heavy as usual.

Saturday I weighed in at 263.5 (I think) and went right in to warming up.  Everything felt fine in the warm up room with my last weight being 675.

For squats, my first attempt at 750 was a little weird.  On the descent I lost my balance and stepped backwards.  The whole thing was confusing and didn’t feel right.  My wife Alisson pointed out that I had taken an extra wide stance when compared to training.  She was right.  After the first squat I was rattled and didn’t want to be there anymore.  I got ready for my next attempt and saw that Dan G had called 805 for me.  This surprised me, but Dan replied, “we came here to win this.”  Dan’s call was exactly what I needed.  I went out and set up with my usual moderate stance and got the weight.  Now I was fired up, the last attempt we went 816.  The attempt was hard, but I got it.

Into bench the warmups felt fast and easy.  The first attempt was 507.  Last year at the Arnold, my training was indicating a 550 bench and I could only muster out 507 at the meet.  I was very determined to not let that happen again.  My first attempt at 507 flew right up.  We went to 530 something and this weight flew up faster.  After that attempt both Dan and I knew I had 560+ in me that day.  We were trying to keep up with Mann and he wasn’t missing any attempts.  We took 563 for my last attempt.  I drove it off my chest but it immediately got crooked.  I had to grind and finally got my right arm locked out but it was sloppy and the judges said no lift for downward movement.  The bench is a crapshoot sometimes with me.  It seems like if I hit the right groove, and the shirt is pulled down, and everything clicks that I can drive 570 up.  But, any errors and you can automatically deduct 50 lbs.  My bench has gotten better each meet but it still is frustrating.

Into deads we were now behind Mann and I told Dan I wanted the 2000 lb total I have been trying to get for a while.  So, we opened with something easy on deads, then went to 300k to get my 2000 lb total.  The last two meets my deads have been strong in training and I have been confident I would hit a 700 lb dead.  However, after benching the guy in third was now attempting to jump past me with his attempts.  Dan played some strategy and put in like a 738 lb attempt for me, forcing that guy to pull an impossible weight to go ahead.  Well he went ahead and pulled it.  So, my last attempt was at 740 something, I pulled it to my knees and that was it.  This has been the second meet in a row now where my deadlift numbers do not represent my actual strength, but that is okay.  At men’s nationals this summer we are going to call 650 and then go to 700 and I get it, awesome, if not, so what.

So for the meet I hit a PR total of 2013 and had a PR squat.  I was very close to a PR bench.  The Arnold is my favorite meet and the funnest to go to.  After lifting, Alisson and I went to the saturday night finals for bodybuilding and strongman and that was very fun.  There are lots of great people watching at the Arnold, and is a very exciting venue.  It was also great to see Blaine Sumner hit the 1035 squat, even though it was overturned.  Very cool.

Leading up to this meet I switched up my training a little.  For some reason I found myself fascinated with the 1980’s lifters that won IPF championships year after year after year.  Specifically Doug Furnas, Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski.  These guys all trained their squat the same way and had huge 1000 lb squats back in primitive gear.  The funny thing is that their squat training was super minimal, (one hard all out set) with little assistance.  And mind you they were all on copious amounts of exogenous testosterone to speed their recovery.  I find it curious that most drug free guys want to do 5 hard sets of squats three times a week ala Sheiko but then turn their head when you mention that the biggest, best drug using lifters of the past only did one hard set per week.  I trained this way for the meet and obviously I hit a PR.  I don’t know if it was the training method that yielded another PR, but it was a PR for me at 265 lbs nonetheless.  I am going to do another cycle this way, and I will see if there is some repeatability. 

Another thing that I have been battling is getting stronger while not gaining weight.  In the past if I put on the feedbag, the strength comes in no time.  I have a slow metabolism and keeping the weight down is hard.  This training cycle I cleaned up my diet more and I think that will be the answer for me for the meets to come.  I typically am an idiot and bloat up to 275 a month after my meet.  I feel good and my strength increases, then I have to start to cut weight coincidentally when the weights get really heavy.  My focus going forward will be to keep the weight steady.  Maybe even gaining a few lbs the last month of lifting would be glorious. 

Overall it was a fun meet, and even more enjoyable with fellow RMLC lifters Jen and Blaine there.  They had great meets and deserved it.  See you at Men’s nationals!