Bench press competition returns to Combat Center
By Cpl. Charles Santamaria, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms
The Marine lies on the bench and slowly places his chalk-covered hands on the cold, iron bar. The cumulative weight, more than 300 pounds, is now only supported by the Marine’s arms. He eases it down to his chest and hears the word ‘Press!’ prompting the Marine to push. As his arms shake, the Marine gives his last bit of strength to push the weight and ends by extending his arms and racking the weight.
1st Lt. Chad Carlson, motor transportation officer, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, won the Bench Press Competition hosted by Semper Fit, High Intensity Tactical Training program and GNC at the East Gym, Aug. 28, 2014.
The competition was organized by gender and weight classes, which included feather weight from 0 to 149.9 lbs., light weight from 150 to 174.9 lbs., middle weight from 175 to 210 lbs., and heavy weight which was 211 lbs. and heavier. Each participant had to maintain four points of contact and perform the press with minimal movement. Three judges also monitored every press for to make sure lifters were safe and following the regulations of the event.
“That’s what Marines do,” said Michael T. Hill, manager, East Gym Fitness Center. “They’re competitive by nature and they want events that give them that opportunity.”
Participants enjoyed the challenge presented by the program’s efforts to bring more fitness events to Marines. Cpl. Heather Keasler, administration specialist, Center Personnel Office, came in second place in the female division maxing out at 120 lbs.
“I haven’t benched in years and I’m glad events like this are available,” Keasler said. They want to involve more Marines in group competitions. I’m looking forward to getting back into it and working at lifting.”
Carlson won the overall trophy for bench-pressing the most weight in the gym, 405 Lbs. The competition returned after two years due to growing requests from Marines to have a competition of this kind. Each competitor had three rounds to work their way up from their starting weight before their highest was submitted.
The overall winner enjoyed the challenge and found pride in his win for not only himself, but his unit as well according to Carlson.
“It was a great competition with great guys all around and I hope they do more like this,” Carlson said. “I didn’t win this only for me; I did this for the Wolf Pack.”
The Bench Press Competition is slated to become an annual event but Combat Center patrons are encouraged to call MCCS Sports Division and request for more fitness competitions 830-4092.