Addressing Coronavirus Concerns through Strength: Powerlifting Nationals 2020

The Ivy League basketball tournament was the first to fall. Shortly after, the NCAA announced that March Madness and all other winter and spring championships were cancelled in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus. Seasons – careers – for thousands of athletes across the country came to a screeching halt.

It was the right decision from a public health perspective. Hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide have overtaxed healthcare systems and lead to a rising number of deaths. Caution was the only option. Still, logic does not make the abrupt end to athletic seasons and careers any less frustrating, confusing, or disappointing.

From outside the world of sports, it might not seem like a big deal. After all, cancelling some games for the overall health and wellness of our country seems like easy altruistic calculus.

But for those who have been training, for those about to enter their seasons, and for the seniors embarking on their final hurrah, their lives have been significantly altered.

Luke Bartzis, Vice-Captain of the Arizona Rugby team identifies that he “never even got to say goodbye to [his] teammates.” It is not only a career cut short, but the end of deep and meaningful relationships, built in competition and fueled by shared purpose.

While the termination of these seasons should slow the spread of coronavirus, there are additional concerns that must be addressed. From a mental health perspective, we have to recognize that those frustrated young people are now entering a state of isolation, hopelessness, and sedentary lifestyles in what looks like a month-long quarantine.

The Good Athlete Project thinks it might have a solution.

The Good Athlete Project, a nonprofit organization focused on maximizing the potential of athletics as education, is hosting Powerlifting Nationals, an event for all athletes (powerlifters, baseball players, rugby players and beyond) to compete with their team one last time.

Although there have already been a significant number of individual entries, people are encouraged to compete as teams – teams that now have a light at the end of a tunnel, to compete together one last time, and stay connected throughout this uncertain moment in history.

This event hopes to address the needs of athletes across the country:

Hope. Seasons were cut short – the excitement built over the course of the year left in a flash, replaced by frustration and hopelessness. This too shall pass and when it does, teams and individuals now have something to look forward to! Meet day is coming in May!

Connection. Physical isolation does not have to signal the end of community. This provides the perfect opportunity to stay in touch with teammates. Young people are getting creative in their training and we have already seen Zoom meetings to talk nutrition and logistics. This is a great way to keep a team together, centered on a shared purpose.

Strong and Healthy. Sedentary behavior and poor mental health are directly connected. Though many would hope to stay active during this time, it can be difficult to find the motivation in days which are newly free of routine. This competition provides motivation, a timeline, and group accountability to avoid the trappings of a sedentary quarantine.

Powerlifting Nationals 2020 has all the components of a meaningful event, with a host of positive public health outcomes. And it should be a lot of fun.

If you or someone you know is interested in competing, check out some of the most frequently asked questions (below) and register today!

Q: How do I compete?

A: Competing in the National competition only takes 5 easy steps!

  1. Register via this EventBrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=100045111622
  2. Recruit your teammates and peers to compete!
  3. You will get a code to join a TrainHeroic team – join that team.
  4. When it is safe to do so, record your bodyweight, squat max, bench max, and deadlift max.
  5. Submit your numbers and video evidence by May 1 (later if quarantine is extended).

Upon submission, a team of professional judges will review all entries and a leaderboard will begin to populate – once those results are finalized, we will LiveStream the final results! Award plaques will be shipped to 1st place individuals and teams, and certificates will be given to Top 10 finishers.

Q: What if I don’t have access to gym equipment?

A: Improvise with your training, and wait to test. We want everyone to be safe and healthy. We will allow an extended submission period if the quarantine lasts longer than currently expected. And don’t worry – we’re all in the same boat – no one will be at their absolute best, but we’ll do the best with what we have! Good Athletes are resilient and adaptable. You’ll find a way.

Q: What if I recently competed in a meet?

A: If you have competed in a powerlifting meet from February 1 through the school closure dates, then you are eligible to compete by submitting those results instead of video confirmation.

Q: Where do I upload the video?

A: After registering for the meet, you will be given a code to submit your video on TrainHeroic. Be sure the videos are 60 seconds or less and abide by the guidelines for each lift.

Q: What if I can’t get my actual max?

A: Although many numbers will fall short of full potential, a max is the maximum ability at that given time – the timing and training will not be perfect or ideal, but these are not perfect or ideal times – we’ll make the best of it!