Presidents Blog August 2019

Written by Emma James on . Posted in News


Only a few of the 29 lifters that traveled all the way to Orlando to compete at the AWPC World Championships 2019.

Well here we are. A week after the AWPC World Championships in Orlando, USA and the team is still talking on Whatsapp and I think probably will be forever more!

I have to say this was probably one of the most wonderful teams I have had the pleasure of being with and the camaraderie was loud, constant and all with best and honest intent.

It isnt an easy thing to do – first qualify, then do the British to fight for your place and then go to a foreign country long haul and try to produce results you have at home. For a lot of them they have to compete 3 times in a matter of months and hold that peak or backing off and then resetting for another peak for 4 or 5 weeks is really tough, particularly in the side of tested powerlifting.

A Whatsapp group was started to help everyone stay in touch and go over any travel, rules, kit etc issues plus a Facebook page – the Facebook page quickly become dormant after the Whatsapp group started! We had a full mix of people – from Teenagers and Juniors to Masters and a pretty even split between the male and female competitors. Sadly, due to a much loved co-promoters death in the USA, the numbers at the Worlds were down from other years but our British team had the formidable task of having to try and battle against the top 3 lifters of countries like the USA who have massive Nationals and therefor the standard was high for our guys to compete against. We also had India, Mexico, USA (obviously), Canada, Ireland, Korea, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan amongst others there representing their countries. This was not an easy competition so to walk away with the overall country trophy was pretty astounding and damn I was pleased for them.

Frankly, I dont do a medals count during the competition, nor do I watch to see if GB will win through the comp either as my interest is in each person hitting the numbers they want and having the best experience possible to facilitate them in competing as close to optimal as possible. Travelling long haul is hard to compete – and #i mean flights of 7 or 8 hours +. Jet lag, changes in food, sleep patterns, different environment, different equipment and not really knowing your place in the “universe” of that competition in that country all has an effect on results. General expectations are that you never hit PB’s at long haul internationals – so you play a reasonably moderate game. However, the amount of people who hit PB’s and took new World records was unbelievable and I stand by the fact hat due to the level of team support – many of the negative factors I mentioned above were negated.

The difference in equipment is also a factor – having front loaders instead of back loader monolifts, soft covering on the bench, different platforms etc all play a part of what you are used to on not used to. What did put people off a bit was the 25kg bench bar – which in fact feels exactly the same as an Eleiko and is actually better weighted, just psychologically different. I have switched between 25kg bench bars for years in the US and really you just need a few sets and its fine. I did partially solve the mystery of the “omg its a 25kg bench bar” when I was told by one of the comp organisers that he had found one of our team using a 25kg SQUAT bar for warm ups on the bench – so I suspect that this may have been used by a few others……! He wouldnt tell me who it was as he knew the piss taking would continue FOREVER. On the other hand – these things are easily done when you are presented with different types of kit in unfamiliar surroundings. I still remember the introduction of the Texas whippy bar (a very long time ago now and introduced at World Championships) and many people having terrible trouble on deadlift, falling over (including me), staggering about the platform, being sent hurtling backwards etc due to the acceleration none of us were used to – so if you think about that, I would say Team GB dealt with a 25kg bench bar really well indeed and with British finesse.

We did have some of our team that felt it wasnt the best day at the office for them. I wish that there were the right words to explain that what they did was actually beyond what most mere mortals would ever do. That the anxiety of being at a World Championships and being potentially very stuffed plus impact of long haul travel weighs heavy until you get a few long distance comps under your belt and know what to expect (no amount of warning helps – it is one of those things you have to experience yourself). I hope they look back and see the what in fact they achieved, the medals they won, the pb’s they may have got in other lifts and the competition they had to face. Its all very well going to some one off comp or managing to qualify for some invite only comp but this is a world stage for a word title with the distinct possibility of becoming very undone for many reasons discussed above. It is an “unsafe” environment emotionally and psychologically with many things which will knock you off balance very easily. It is also harder going to competition which you “may” win and may have to fight than to a competition you know you have no hope of winning which is the case with many of the invitationals. So, World and also European level internationals are miles above many of the “invitationals” that people chose especially if they are close to home even on a maintaining equilibrium basis.

We saw immense stories of overcoming adversity from previous injury, literally getting a major injury 3 weeks before the Worlds, having traumatic personal events happen RIGHT before the competition, overcoming past issues at competition and also seeing Team GB overcoming events on platform which would have knocked others completely sideways BUT THEY KEPT GOING. One of our lifters exploded so fast to punch the bar out of the racks on squat, the bar rolled and dropped which was the first time it has happened to them – and that lifter carried on and lifted the rest of the day. A few missed their 1st and 2nd attempts but FINALLY got it on the third which I can tell you from personal experience is a huge mind f%%K which most people dont recover from – but they got their 3rd.

So we had many stories, many tears of joy, relief, disappointment but above all there was a sea of blue team kit right there at the front cheering like hell every time a British team member stood on that platform and even now writing this I am welling up thinking about it.

I am adding the list of our team competitors at the end here and I would ask you if you would please, to make an effort of congratulating our team for an exceptional and forever memorable group effort as well as each person giving it absolutely everything they had – and it showed. Thank you all for what you did, everything you did for eachother, your effort and determination to succeed regardless of the circumstances. I am incredibly proud to have been part of the team and personally treated with great kindness. Here is to you all – go well and see you all soon xx

Bev Johnson
Freddie Isherwood 
Darius Stagner 
Robert Warberton 
Lucinda Perrett
Sal Lack 
Nigel Beattie 
Diane Leach 
James Martin 
Holly Davis 
Nicola Burroughs
Rose Pope
~Christine Clark 
Robyn Vaughan (female) 
Kane Francis 
Martin Cockroft 
Viv Dickinson
Richard Baker 
Julian McKerrow 
Gemma Wright 
Daniel Whittall 
William Lewis 
Laura Smith 
Dan Chalwin 
Jason Berrington 
Katie Rourke 
Jack Howe 
Cheska Webb
Rich Willis

Lifter of the Month May 2019

Written by Emma James on . Posted in News

Scott Neary

Good morning, Thank you very much
Ive not completed anything like this before so ive done my best effort so far.

1) Who are you?

Scott Neary

2) Why did you start weight training?

I went to a rugby specific strength and conditioning session at A&O in Aug 17, the owner set a deadlift challenge to win 6 months membership, managed to pull 210kg and to my surprise won it. At first I used weight training to assist with rugby but I quit rugby and fully committed to powerlifting after a year. My deadlift still hasn’t improved much since then!

3) Which Gym do you mainly train at and why?

Alpha and Omega Performance in Salisbury, the main reason I train here and only here is the people, they have a huge powerlifting team and a wealth of knowledge and experience, the owner Adam Hindle is my coach. This is the only gym I’ve been to where the whole gym stops to support a Pb attempt 

4) Can you give us a quick rundown of your best competition lifts and where, and also your most memorable competition lifts which were not necessarily the biggest.

Classic raw-270/160/260 at the Midlands and South Yorkshire Qualifier 2019

Recently had a go with multi-ply before euro’s build up, So much to learn here.

Multi-ply – 330/232.5/260 at the Southern Qualifiers 2019 after a 7 week crash course learning kit

Most memorable lift – 330kg multi-ply 3rd squat at the southern qualifiers to steal a British record

5) How did competing happen? What’s the story?

I’ve always been involved in team sports, I tested the water with a novice comp ran at A&O and really enjoyed it. I went to watch the Barnstable qualifier last year and signed up straight after.

6) Who was your hero in strength training across all fields? Did you have poster of them in your room?!

I didn’t really follow strength sport when I was younger, I didn’t really notice sports outside of rugby, I had Sonny Bill Williams on my wall, He was and still is my sporting hero

7) How long have you been competing now and what other sports did you compete in?

I’ve done 1 novice comp and 3 qualifiers, I’ve played National 3 rugby before powerlifting stole all my ability to jog

8) Whats the ultimate fantasy – re your competing – keep it clean!

1000kg in kit whilst still in the ABPU is my biggest one at the moment, So much to learn so it seems too far away at the moment, considering spending all next year in kit to chase it

9) Where do you feel you are now in terms of what you believe you can achieve?

My realistic goal is the ER/WR squat record in the 125kg classic raw division, I’ve done it in the gym, but we all know it’s a different beast doing full power on the platform, haven’t got the psychology right on the platform yet

10) What do you think about social media and powerlifting?

I’m a big fan of social media and powerlifting, I’ve only recently starting using Instagram as a platform for powerlifting, I’m a big fan of sharing training methods and learning by watching the random things others do

11) What was the best bit of advice you ever got about your lifting – and by whom?

Open light! Adam Hindle attempted to reign a few of us in when our egos took over, one guy bombed on squats by not listening, thankfully I listened so I still haven’t experienced bombing, I’m sure it will happen at some point 

12) What has been the best training method or approach for you personally? – we understand everyone is different.

Conjugate method, Adam Hindle bases my programming around this with a few others in the team, Leigh Routledge also uses this method at A&O so plenty of people to help out. This method has destroyed mental blocks with numbers for me.

13) Tell us how you feel the morning of the competition?

I always feel rubbish the morning of a comp, with deload and rest planned before the comp I always feel weak, phantom illnesses and I always regret my opener selections! It’s not until the warm up room I’ll settle down, so far all warm ups have felt good, Shows the programming/peaking works

14) Is there any advice you would give new lifters that you think is one of the “keys” to success on platform?

Ignore your gym Pb’s! They don’t translate to the platform. It’s all about building the biggest total you can, forget other lifters and chase your own total

15) Tell us something about yourself the powerlifting community will no clue about.

I donate my hair to charity as soon as it’s long enough, so you may see my with some tragic hairstyles

Kind regards


Presidents Blog: A/BPU British Nationals the MUST READ

Written by Emma James on . Posted in News

So here we are, the British Nationals is here again so damn fast.

This year we are looking at 450+ competitors, 3 platforms and more staff in one place than I have ever had to deal with. More equipment, more logistics, lorries and vans and more AV equipment.

Holding our nationals at Bodypower is something that was a huge deal for us – it gives the lifters exposure to over 120,000 people going through Bodypower over 3 days and gives them the chance to be seen by audience of interested and amazed onlookers instead of only those associated with people lifting.

As a lifter you might think its complicated – from the point of view organising a competition at Expo – it really isnt. The only complicated bit you have to think about is where to pick up your competitor tickets and where the additional tickets you ordered are going – all of which is updated for you on the A/BPU web site, Facebook Event page and also the Facebook A/BPU main page. Its all there.

For us, well mainly me and also my husband, its meeting with Bodypower, working out layouts, where seating areas are, delivery of equipment, pickups, ticket collections, where loos are, entry systems, weigh in booth construction, personnel rostas, hotel rostas, checking the memberships for all the entries. Then the data entry for the flights, moving people into flights, changes of weight classes, divisions, people pulling out and putting that all onto the programme that you see on the monitors.

The point I am making is that we have many volunteers all there for you, the lifter and making this happen.. The whole essence of the federation has been to be lifter focused and make competitions the least stressful and easy as possible. Now, an Expo, with all the people creates the added anxiety to competing so it can feel stressy and busy, when in fact, its the same as it was when you competed in a shoe box with 30 others lifters crammed in it. So, perception has a lot to do with it and how you respond to the perception you have is how you will feel.

The reality is that you will have more space than you usually have at any qualilfier, more equipment, more time and more help. Take a moment to sit in the warm up and look around, acclimatize and see all the stuff you HAVE to keep you informed.

Behind each platform audience area will be the monitor for that platform – you probably wont be able to hear the announcements that well, just like at qualifiers, but you will have a HUUUGE monitor so you just keep your eye on that. Get your warm ups in and take the weights on and off the bar yourself, dont bugger about and clog up the warm up kit with others waiting – this is what causes stress for others.

The week of Bodypower, the approximate flight times will go up on the Facebook Event Page. these are approximate and will be until the final weigh ins are done each morning. Assume your flight will change!!!!

Once the morning weigh ins are finished, the race is on for us to work out if the flights are changing. We are only allowed 20 in a flight so if people change divisions and weight classes then that is what causes changes in flight numbers – so its YOU GUYS that create the changes in flights! Normally the first flight wont change but BUT there is always the possibility it might so rule of thumb is to be there 8am. The final flights will go up on paper at each platform and on the platform tables. Check the platform and the flight you are in. We will be working on the split of flights for each day once the entries close on the 29th at 5pm. Then we need until 5th to work it all out.

So, remember few things.

Firstly, this is your British Championships, we are very aware that everything rides on you placing here for the World Championships selection and the pressure you are under. Keep in mind ALL our staff compete and they understand.

As you have all this pressure on you – we try and make everything as smooth as possible but we also need you to read the information posted on the web site, social media and the emails. This way everyone knows what they are doing and it is less stressful for everyone. The pressure will also dictate how you respond to situations and decision making – be aware of this and take a few moments to “opt out” if others around you are pre comp anxious – its spreads! Also try not to get involved in others “stuff” unless you can actually help. Concentrate on your own competing, even though you might want to give support, everyone understands and let the people that can practically help do their job.

Treat our staff with respect please – they are here to help you and give back to the sport. This includes the referees – we are completely lifter focused so we WANT you get your lifts and will help however we can within the rules. If a red light is given then ask what is was for – any aggression towards any staff member will result in you being removed from the competition and the building immediately without discussion and banned from the federation. There is extensive information about how to contest a decision on the Referees and rules page on the web site – so read it! The refs will probably grab you if they want to make you aware of something even if you got the lift – so listen to them!

If you are unclear on rules then ask a referee. Dont ask table staff – ask a ref! If they dont know they will find out for you and if you need help then please ask – come and tell us! Last year we allowed a certain lifter of note to warm up in our area and then found out later he completely hogged a bench – everyone complained about it but not one person came and told us so we could action it. Telepathy isnt our strong point so tell us what is happening – if we arent dealing with something it means we dont know!

I can tell you now that I am so nervous about this. It is a huge undertaking and I am petrified something will go wrong somehow no matter how much beforehand work I do and the rest of the team does. We all want the experience to be positive and easy for you so you can get on with your lifting and the only challenging thing is finding the weigh ins. The admin is huge – its been months getting this ready and organising, since last October in fact. The Bodypower team have been wonderful as well and supported us and me every step of the way. Yes things can change a little bit last minute but the fundamentals are all still the same and at the very end of it the goal is the same – that it is all about you when you step on platform.

I wish you all the best of luck. It is hard competing for a place on a World GB Team and being at this level and I know that. I wish you success on your own goals and that somehow, you enjoy the competition.

Presidents Blog: TEAM GB ROCKED! WPC World Championships 2018 Update

Written by Emma James on . Posted in News

So we are just back form the 2018 WPC World Championships in Orlando Florida and with a hoard of medals! Team GB set upon the USA with brute force and a fair bit of ignorance to bring the stiff upper British lip to Orlando and some very resolute performances. 

The team, made up of 23 lifters from Teens to M5 made it to one of the best venues we have seen at WPC Worlds in some time and the organisation was outstanding. A very posh venue indeed and tonnes of room with the usual Elite equipment as well. The Whatsapp Group was buzzing, the lifters were doing a bit of arm waving and the whole team was firmly behind one another and you cant ask for more than that. I am pretty sure that among WPC World records that the team took there were many personal bests achieved and I do also know that a few of our team had to overcome circumstances prior to coming out to the worlds, and during, that would have flattened most of us. 

Something I did notice was the positive approach so many of the team had before and during the competition. International events can be terrifying and if you are right on the edge with your numbers and going for something never attempted by a Brit before, the risks can be huge. I made a post while we were out there about how proud I was of the team and how hard they had worked and also made a point about the big fish small pond syndrome. What sparked this was a post that appeared and then disappeared on Facebook, the usual “youre not a real world champion as there are so many federations” nonsense which appears every year from some disgruntled person who usually has competed much outside the country if at all. 

The point I want to raise is that many of us at some or another know we are going out to international to meet our fate so to speak. That what we lift is probably not going to win us a medal but we want to compete anyway and give everything we have got. Others also know that there is a high possibility, like myself, that you are having to take a risk to hit numbers which havnt been attempted before and the possibility is you will bomb – but you still do it. Even if you end up in a class on your own, the fact is that you will have had to fight for your place to be there through the British, you will still have trained to improve and up your numbers and keep fighting to improve – with the potential of being hammered at the competition. None of us know what will happen but we go anyway to set foot on platform at world level. 

Now a phenomena which seems to have been appearing in the UK is this holier than though thing from people who have only been around a few years, not only think they are now a guru on the sport, but also they are in a position to criticise others and other federations publicly. Not only is this really “not cricket old chap” it is frankly a fundamental undermining of those people who have earned the right to compete and regardless of their level will be risking everything to fly off to do it. The UK on a whole is really very small, so these “superstars” in the little isle of GB, once on the international circuit where they dont go usually dont fare so well. The real superstars are the ones who are lifting internationally comparable weights BUT who have the humility and professionalism to support everyone, support the sport and also encourage people who are on the ladder no matter whether they do it for fun or a focused goal. 

Every person who lifted at the WPC World Championships was there for every other team member. Every one of the people on the team offered to help others. Every one of our British Team screamed and shouted for everyone else on the days they could be there. I am immensely proud of all our competitors and the damn hard work they put into not only getting there, but also pushing to improve and compete. Below is a list of our GB Team – please give them some love!! 

Emma Ylitalo-James 
Mitchell Wright 
Paul Morgan
Owain Tobias 
David Gibson 
Christopher Jenkins 
John Miller 
Mitchell Ravenscroft 
Kerri Morris 
Dominique Fisher 
Tom Sheppard
Naomi Sheppard 
Darryl Traince
Arran Sullivan 
Luke Geary
Rik davison
Phil Watkins 
David O’Sullivan 
Keenan Freer
Neil Stewart 
Paul Edmonds 
Stephen MacNeil
Nicholas Grasmeder 
Kevin Maher 
Andrzej Roszkowski


Results form the WPC World Championships are here: