SHOWING THE STRAIN: Powerlifter Chris Thomas completes a 290kg deadlift during the Queensland Cup.
SHOWING THE STRAIN: Powerlifter Chris Thomas completes a 290kg deadlift during the Queensland Cup. SUPPLIED

Doing a power of work to lift interest in building sport

POWERLIFTING is a sport growing rapidly in popularity.

A variation of weightlifting, the sport is a test of strength that comprises three attempts at three weight lifts: the squat, the bench press and the deadlift.

While Olympic weightlifters typically perform the overhead snatch and clean-and-jerk lifts, and do so with faster execution, powerlifters generally lift a greater total weight.

Woolgoolga's Strong Fast Fit gym owner Chris Thomas said the sport offers great benefits to participants.

"I've trained in a gym setting for a long time and initially got into that because it was all looks based and I wanted to look better," he said.

"I showed some strength and over time started to value performance over aesthetics.

"As I started to get more involved in the sport and meet other people around the country who do it, I found it's a very supportive community."

Thomas last month competed at the Australian Powerlifting Championships in Melbourne, finishing fourth in the men's 83kg-93kg weight category.

The performance came just two months after Thomas's made his competitive debut at the Queensland Cup competition.

The 24-year-old is part of Powerlifting Australia, the country's largest federation for the sport and the only one that drug tests its competitors."It's the only federation you can go in and you'll be drug tested so there's a lot of integrity there," Thomas said.

"It's an important distinction to make because there are other federations in the country that have no testing and while they might have impressive numbers getting put up, you're never quite sure."

With the closest certified powerlifting gyms located in Newcastle and Brisbane, Thomas said he would like to see more opportunities for powerlifters in the Coffs Coast area.

"We're more or less halfway between those two spots, so Coffs is the perfect area to get set up with a powerlifting coach," he said.

"I'm looking at it with my gym over the next two to three years but I'd just be happy to see more interest in the sport as a whole.

"It's a cool sport because it's not just for big and burly men, there are not really any barriers to entry so if you can find someone who knows a bit about the sport you can start."

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