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  • Elliot "Alu" Axelman

Alu's Love For Power-Lifting

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

I suppose that I was first introduced to weight-lifting during my first football offseason, which was probably around 2009. Having played football for a full season, which was full of being physically overwhelmed by opponents twice my size and triple my strength, I had all the motivation I needed. I attended offseason workouts religiously and I absorbed everything the coaches taught me. To this day, I owe my foundation in powerlifting to my coaches.

By the time I finished my final offseason workouts, I had increased my lifts substantially and I had put on around 10 pounds of muscle. Unfortunately, a tricking injury (landing a full-twisting flip on on a hyper-extended left leg) resulted in a torn meniscus, and with it, a fear of leg workouts which took years to overcome.

Around three years after graduating high school, my left knee felt perfect and I finally worked up the courage and perseverance to begin squatting and deadlifting again. I was working out at Dolphin Gym on my own, and I reached my old PR without much trouble. A few months later, I found myself training once or twice a month with a powerlifter named Anthony at the CrossFit gym he ran. He was the skinniest human you'll ever see, but he deadlifted 500 pounds, so I listened to him. He improved my technique enough to increase my deadlift dramatically. I went from 265 to 315 in a few weeks, I think.

Next thing I knew, I was training at the UFC gym with a friend from the parkour/tricking world. This kid was a bit bigger than me and looked anything but athletic. Yet, he was the strongest person in the gym in at least a few lifts, and he had the cardio and general physical ability of an elite athlete. We tried to work out together when we could, and he taught me a ton and inspired me even more. When he pulled 600 for the first time, I was so motivated that I asked him to keep a few plates on the bar so that I could hit 400 for my first time. I finished benching and then pulled 400. It was easy. I've since pulled 420, but I've yet to beat my Joey-era bench PR of 245, which I think I used to rep 3 times in a set. I'll get there.

Around a year after moving to New Hampshire (while working around 60 hours per week as a paramedic and working what seemed like 24/7 on a top media site in the state) I decided to commit to finally getting into the 1,000 pound club. I was certainly not getting any younger, and waiting was not going to get me there. My weak lift was my 245 pound squat, so I started squatting like crazy. True to the power-lifting premise, I did what I needed to do in order to guarantee that I could squat heavier next time. I increased by 5-10 pounds every week until I could squat 335. Once I did, I pulled 420, benched 245, and ran home to ask my beautiful girlfriend to film me doing all three lifts next time we go to the gym. "I want my kids to see proof of me joining the 1,000 pound club!"

While there are surely powerlifters in the club who weigh less than 138, I may be the only non-powerlifter (I'm a full time paramedic and editor-in-chief) to join the club at a body weight below 140 pounds.

Below is that video shot by Kate.

My next goal?

Dunking a basketball on a 10 foot hoop. It seems that at 5'4", I'd be the shortest Caucasian in the world to do so.

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