By Mike Pearson, News staff
He’s just set two national powerlifting records, but Jordan Williamson knows there’s more to lifting weights than just building muscle.
Since entering the world of competitive powerlifting just over a year ago, the Stoney Creek resident has boosted his personal best bench press to a whopping 435 pounds.
At the WPC Can Am Bench Wars in Detroit on July 20, Williamson competed in the junior men’s 20-23 age division as well as the open men’s division.
After successfully executing lifts of 435 pounds, Williamson, 23, earned a men’s open national record and the men’s junior national record. He took home a first place medal in the junior men’s 20-23 division and a second place finish in the open men’s division.
Williamson’s previous personal best lift was 425 pounds set during the world championships last year in Las Vegas.
To take his training to the next level, Williamson made periodic changes to his routine over four week spurts. By alternating his training between barbell and dumbell work for four weeks intervals, Williamson added weight in stages to gradually improve on his weaknesses.
His performance appears even more impressive considering the challenges he faced in training. Over the previous weeks, he battled a pectoral muscle injury. He added stretching exercises to his workout routine to help maintain blood flow to the muscle.
“I was worried that I was actually going to do worse than my last competition just because my training leading up wasn’t as good as it’s been for other competitons,” he said.
It was a Grade 12 personal fitness class at Saltfleet District High School that first sparked Williamson’s interest in powerlifting.
The class was led by teacher Paul Pendakis, who Williamson considers one of his earliest mentors.
“He was someone to look up to,” Williamson said.
Lifting weights wasn’t easy at first for Williamson. When he started out, many of his classmates could lift 135 pounds, while Williamson’s was stuck at 95.
“I had to do 95 pounds, which there’s girls that work out with 95 pounds. But if I do it properly every single time, I’ll be doing 135 pounds,” Williamson recalled.
With just a few weeks of training, Williamson, weighing in at 150 pounds, could bench press up to 225.
“Since I started training I’ve always focused on proper form,” he explained. “There’s a lot of guys that’ll go to the gym and lift whatever their marker is...and they won’t want to go below that. So they’ll compromise their form or their range of motion.”
After just a month of basic training, Williamson was easily surpassing his classmates.
“Everyone else that was doing improper form was still doing 135 because they weren’t doing the exercise properly,” he said.
Williamson has qualified for the 2013 World Powerlifting Championships in the Czech Republic. But due to travel and training costs, he acknowledges the competition may be out of reach.
Over the next year or so, Williamson will be working to build a social media presence with YouTube training videos, competition videos and question and answer features, with information on bulking up.
Williamson trains at Five Star Fitness on Stone Church Road.
He’s actively seeking a sponsor, and building a name for himself on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram should help in that regard.
To keep his body in optimum shape while maintaining his 220-pound competition form, Williamson eats set daily amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. He must hit a daily calorie count of 5,500.
A political science student at McMaster University, Williamson hopes to enter a graduate program for business en route to potential public sector employment.
Next April, he’s planning to compete in a body building competition in Stratford. As one of Ontario’s biggest regional events, the show will give Williamson a chance to see how he measures up against Ontario’s best.
“It’s a totally different process geting ready for that,” he said. “You have to do lots of cardio, and you have to really restrict your food and stuff like that. With powerlifting, more or less you have to force yourself to eat.”
After enjoying so much success in powerlifting, Williamson feels he’s ready for a new challenge.
“It’s nice to test yourself to see if you can do it,” he said.
For more on Jordan Williamson, visit his YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/JordanWFitness. Among the posted videos, viewers can watch a clip of his record-setting performance at the WPC Can Am Bench Wars.