Friday, August 30, 2013

Connor Lajoie smashes American bench press record - By Michelle Libby

Connor Lajoie is entering his sophomore year at Windham High School, and already has earned himself an American record in bench press. On August 3 in his first contest, he broke the record for his age group and weight class in the bench press, lifting 280 pounds as a 165-pound teenager. The old record was 255 pounds. Connor still has another year in this age division. 

“My goal is to keep breaking my record over and over again.” 

Connor and his father both workout at the Dyna Maxx gym in Westbrook.
“It’s the most popular sport that people don’t know about,” said Chris Lajoie, Connor’s father, who also powerlifts. “Everybody trains those three lifts. Connor just takes it to the next level,” he said. 

“I’m not normal,” Connor joked. 

“You’ve got to be a little different to strive to keep getting stronger and stronger,” said Chris.

The three lifts Connor competes in are the bench press, squat and dead lift. Most athletes like football players all train using those lifts, but very few are like Connor and compete those, Chris said. 

Chris has been lifting since age 15 and he’s 49 now. “It’s just something about the sport,” he said. 

“I saw my brother and him going to the gym every single day. I went to check it out,” Connor said. 

Training is a full-time after school activity. Connor and his father hit the gym four days a week, three hours a day. “When he leaves the gym, he’s pretty worn out,” said Chris. 

Connor said he pushes himself and sometimes his family has to tell him to slow down. 

“I see that I have possibilities to lift this much. That’s what motivates me,” he said. 

“If I stop lifting for a week, I start to feel ill and sick because my body needs it,” Connor said. 

Competing in power lifting isn’t just going to the gym and lifting weights. There are three judges watching everything from feet positioning to making sure the athlete doesn’t lift his butt off the bench. For competition he is required to wear a singlet so the judges can watch his form. He also wears a belt and wrist straps to protect his body. A bench shirt, which is a tight shirt, protects his chest muscles. 

“The biggest pride I have in weightlifting is doing it drug-free,” said Connor.
Chris, who is also a 100 percent drug-free lifter, benched 675 pounds, breaking a record at that time. 

The people who do the performance enhancing drugs, “don’ stop to think about the young people. They don’t think they’re influencing the teenage kids. It’s sickening,” said Connor. 

When asked what Connor does for fun outside of school, his reply was, “This is it.” He wrestled for a few years, but “I thought, I want to powerlift. I kept thinking, how will this affect my lifting?” he said.   

At the gym his main goal for every workout is “to have nothing left in the tank,” Connor said. 

Training for three hours means that he has to train smart with good coaches and experienced powerlifters, said Chris. 

“They don’t treat me any different as anyone else. I’m a powerlifter just as they are,” he said. 

In October, Connor hopes to break the American record for the squat lift and dead lift. At his age, records don’t get broken very often, Chris said. 

Connor has no plans to stop powerlifting and looks to his father to know he can do this for a long time to come. 

“It can be a dangerous spot, pushing yourself to the limit without crossing that line,” said Chris who has had many surgeries and injuries. 

The final part of Connor’s workouts include eating right. Connor drinks Creatine to build muscle mass and eats a lot of protein, he said. 

“I acquired the love and the passion and I developed it. It gets in your blood,” said Connor.  

His next competition will be in Westbrook in October.

1 comment:

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