Japan / Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni / News Stories / Sports

Community members pump iron at IronWorks gym

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan  — Twenty-six competitors showed up to test their strength, fitness and power during the 2010 Summer Slam Bench Press Competition at the IronWorks Gym here June 5.Abe Roman won the title as the men’s overall champion with a successful best attempt weight of 410 pounds and a combined weight of 1,124 pounds.

Roman currently holds the base record for his weight class.

In the women’s division, Umeyo Kunihiro took first place in the strength portion of the competition.

Her best bench press was 181 pounds and her combined weight overall was 512 pounds.

The competition allowed the competitors to attempt three bench presses.

The amount of weight was to be determined by the individual competitors according to their own abilities and personal goals.

Before the competition, the competitors were briefed about the rules of the competition.

The lift only counted toward their combined total weight if they were able to fully extend their arms.

One by one, the contestants took their turn as they laid flat on the bench, positioned themselves in ready positions and, with their best effort, aimed to haul the great amount of weight mounted on the bar.

Marines and spectators who watched the action cheered to motivate the competitors with each attempt.

“There is a lot of technique to it,” said Roman. “The idea is to decrease the range of motion by putting your shoulders and chest into position so you can press the most weight.”

Lifters were also required to keep their feet flat on the floor and maintain their position throughout the attempted bench press.

“Once you start adding weight to the bar, a lot of variables come into play,” said Shawn Lawson, bench press competitor. “Everything plays into it, including what you do with your neck, your back and your shoulders.”

For some, bench pressing is just a way to bulk up.

To others, it’s a test of strength, focus and endurance in an attempt to reach personal goals.

“It’s neat to come and watch young Marines build strength and develop,” said Roman. “Once you get into it, it’s hard to get away from,” said Shawn Lawson, bench press competitor. “They call it getting bit by the iron bug.”

Lawson won first place in his weight class and set a new personal record with a best attempt of 364 pounds.

“It’s about coming out, having a good time, pushing as much weight as you can and beating your own record,” said Lawson.

“It’s definitely a test of strength,” said Roman. “For me, it’s a hobby and goes along with the Marine fitness lifestyle of strength, fitness and power.”

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