Raising the bar: Meet our powerlifting champions

What better way to see in July than the BPU (British Powerlifting Union) British Championships this weekend [4th & 5th July] at Andover Leisure Centre! The event will showcase talent from across the UK who after years of training are now looking to break already outstanding records set by their powerlifting peers. Two of the competitors who have qualified for the BPU British Championships are locals to our leisure centre; we caught up with them to see how they are feeling before the big weekend.

Name: Clifford RichardsClifford Richards

Age: 36 From: Andover

Key Fact: Clifford is ranked within the top three powerlifters in the country for his body weight! (82.5kg)

Clifford has been training since 1995 when he was just 17 years old, but has been competing at a professional level for 11 years. He is currently the BPU British Record holder for raw benchpress lifting an amazing 190kg; the current world record stands at 210kg which Clifford aims to match or beat at the championships. Clifford also benched an easy 200kg benchpress at the Andover Leisure Centre Fitness Expo which you can read about here.

How often are you in the gym? Recently I have been training five times a week, usually for an hour and a half. I’ve been adding a lot more assistance to my supportive muscle groups in an attempt to further push my squat, bench and deadlift.

Are there any classes, machines or staff members in particular that you have found particularly helpful? Currently there are no powerlifting classes offered at Andover Leisure Centre, but there is a growing number of talented individuals who are always willing to help others. Staff member Robyn Brown (a 10x world champion) is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to strength based training – whether it be bodybuilding or powerlifting.

Are you finding the preparation particularly tough? Not really, I have been training so long that it is simply part of everyday life for me now.

You are going for the world record on Benchpress, how do you feel about that? I feel genuinely excited that I am close to achieving a lifelong goal of mine, but the work doesn’t stop there as there always more to achieve. I will also be aiming to take the British Squat record which is currently 240kg.

What is the difference between ‘Equipped Powerlifting’ and ‘Raw Powerlifting’? Equipped powerlifting allows the lifter to wear supportive equipment during their lifts, this can give leverage and mechanical advantages during the lift. The equipment was originally designed to protect lifters from serious injuries but can also add exceptional amounts of weight during a lift. During my equipped lifting days I was able to get an extra 120kg on my squat wearing a squat suit. Raw lifting is basically man vs weight but with the allowance of a weight belt.

Name: Mitch RavenscroftMitch 1

Age: 26 From: Andover

Key Fact: Mitch is hoping to qualify for the world powerlifting championships in Portugal this November!

Mitch currently holds the BPU British record for benchpress and is hoping to claim the squat record at this competition.

How long have you been powerlifting for? I have been powerlifting since I was 17 and trained for two months before entering my first equipped competition. After two years of competing I sustained a back injury; coupled with university I didn’t have the time to put in the training. In late 2013 I decided to make a plan to compete in 2015.

Have you taken part in anything like this before? Yes, I competed in 2007, 2008 and again in 2012.

What are your thoughts as we approach the event? I’m feeling excited and nervous. Once I have a successful lift in each, I will be fine.

How often do you train and how? I follow a method known as 5:3 and train three times once for each lift and then repeat every five days. I will be coached under Eric Lilliebridge after this competition in preparation for the world championships.

Why did you decide to powerlift? I used to play a lot of rugby and after starting at the gym, I was told by my powerlifting friends that I had strong legs and should give it a go…so I did and haven’t stopped since!

The BPU British Powerlifting Championships are happening on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July at Andover Leisure Centre.


One thought on “Raising the bar: Meet our powerlifting champions

  1. Pingback: UK and Worldwide events | Valley Leisure Lifestyle

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