The Iron Awakening! Powerlifting Competition June 9th 2018

Many moons ago, the court of the Kings came together to answer the legendary question written in the stones of the caves of time. “What is Powerlifting?”

In their stone castle, lit dimly by flickering candles, a harmonious dripping from the flowing raging storm outside snaked its way through to their meeting room. Within these halls, they heard many answers. By the uninitiated, those who lack all knowledge, they presented poorly executed weightlifting demonstrations ” This is Powerlifting right?” as they haphazardly elevate their hands above their head. Others made their speeches mockingly posing as a bodybuilder would. Envisioning tanned, muscled half-naked poses done in front of a crowd. Some believed that simply doing a Squat Bench and a Deadlift, at any time classifies as Powerlifting. They gathered everyone, from lowly peasants to kingly kings. To try and answer this question.

After the discussion, Zeus came forward from Mt Olympus and with his bellowing voice enriched with laughter he declared ” Powerlifting is very simple. It is a sport in which you get three attempts at a Squat, a Bench Press and a Deadlift. The total of your best lifts combined gives you a total. That’s it” He then went back to his home and did whatever he wanted because he is Zeus.

Everyone cheered. It had been solved. The people came together to celebrate and dance in the streets, rejoicing in the simplicity of it all.

Let’s be honest, Powerlifting is a simple sport. How much weight can you Squat, Bench and Deadlift? Can you perform in this sport, in front of a panel of judges and come through the other end unscathed. Well, if you can comprehend a few basic rules and are able to perform the Squat, Bench press and Deadlift then hell yeah you can do powerlifting!

We have many competitive Powerlifters at The Iron Stronghold, we have had multiple lifters qualify and compete at a National level and have won numerous State level competitions. We have ambitious athletes, training hard to become as strong as possible. We also have newcomers who are simply wanting to give it a go, who have goals of becoming fitter, stronger, a bit healthier and are interested in throwing in a dash of strength to the mix to keep them capable.  We like to look at it as a fun way to test yourself with the other members of the gym as a natural part of training.

This past weekend we had a great mix take to the platform. We had advanced athletes watching over the new lifters. We had first timers joining in to test themselves against the Iron and we had a momentous battle between our intermediate lifters.

Read on to hear of the lifters and their exploits!

Dan and the expert Analyst Cooper, discussing the competition. 

As the day began, whispers spread through the audience. Tales of a young majestic beast that embraced strength, courage and bravery were spoken of fondly. Of the crowd favourite, Bella Tsogas. At 10 years of age, she swept the platform clean with her attempts, with shining confidence she was the first on the platform to start our day. Barbella had a great day hitting a 30kg Squat, a 20.05kg Bench and a 50kg Deadlift! Always one to have a go Bella lifted with great technique and managed to get a few tidy personal bests. For all our young lifters, weight on the bar is the very last concern for us. We’re not focusing on numbers, simply movement. Practice makes perfect and Bella having a go is a perfect chance for her to practice her lifts in a supportive environment and to help her develop as a young athlete. I’ve lost count of how many sports she’s involved in now! Good work Bella.

It was great to see Violetta Diacomihalis, a fellow lifter from the Shredshed, our allies in the North, make the journey down to have a look. She steeled her nerves and at the last minute, she decided to jump in on the Bench Press and show us what she’s got! At just 15 years of age she absolutely smashed a 50kg bench press, closing in on a bodyweight lift, such a great, swift performance by Violetta. All of us at The Stronghold are looking forward to seeing you compete further and no doubt with your determination you will go far in the sport! Thanks for coming along!

Violetta warming up her Bench Press, getting ready for her attempts on the platform!

Next up was Courtney Grimes but of course you all know her as Dorka The Explorka. After a hard morning of Explorking, Dorka made her way to the gym. Her endeavours and goals are known as she prepares for her first Bikini competition. It is often thought that “Powerlifting” and Bodybuilding don’t mix. It’s true you wouldn’t want to try and compete in both on the same weekend. But the two work together to bring a strong performing and looking physique.  Dorka is a great example of this, anyone can have a go and Powerlifting makes you strong as well as helps you LOOK strong! I had a chat to Dorka and explained that this would be the perfect comp to have a go in to set a starting point from which she can look back on. She finished with an 80kg Squat a 40kg bench and a 90kg Deadlift, enough to secure second place. Good work Dorka!

Next up, our female winner, Kate Tighe! The Tighe-Fighter flew in on her Death Star in the early morning and announced that she had decided to change her attempts. Through some illegible nonsense, I heard the words ” 150kg and Bench Press” thrown around within the same sentence, fortunately, Kate followed the plan and quenched any desire to follow an unrealistic venture. Kate has been training at The Stronghold for 6 months and in that time she has gone from strength to strength. When she first began she had the most drastic hip twist in her squat I’ve ever seen. Now she is lifting like a champion, finishing her day with a 75kg Squat, 50kg Bench press and 107.5kg Deadlift, securing the 67.5kg weight class Deadift and Total gym records! Her technique is improving, her strength is up, her body composition is improving and she’s training hard each week. Not one to turn down a challenge she decided to compete as soon as the comp was announced and didn’t hold back all the way through to her last deadlift! Great lifting Kate and a well earnt first place!

Next up we had Frank Day. This was Franks first competition. The crowd murmured softly as he approached the platform. ” Who was this man?” they said. They paused conversation, keeping eyes glued to the platform, intrigued by Franks calm confidence. By the time his Squats were over people were crying with joy, rejoicing in happiness. For they had seen beauty in it’s purest form. The Squat technique that was foretold has come to pass and they had all been touched and blessed by it’s beauty.  He quickly became another crowd favourite with his precise lifts and attempts. A 160kg Squat, 115kg Bench and a 175kg Deadlift to give him a 450kg total and the 82.5kg Squat and Bench Press gym record! A nicer guy you won’t ever meet and a great first competition for Frank. We’re all cheering for Frank and look forward to seeing him improve on his best attempts further at the next comp!

Connor, Blake and Frank watch over as Aaron does something at the Bench Press


Now we’ve always tried to get people from outside the gym to compete and have a go, to experience the fun of lifting weights and smashing PB’s, the thrill of battle that we all seek to find. The glory and honour that comes with passionate determination. So to see two willing, eager, capable gentleman who train from their home gym at Frogs Hollow come along and join in was absolutely awesome and I think I speak on behalf of everyone from the gym when I say that Dan and Will really killed it on the day!

Dan Natusch, in his first powerlifting competition, blew us all away with his raw strength. The lean machine, his confidence shone with each lift. Cool and collected,  weighing in at 81kg he Squatted 170, Benched 140kg and Deadlifted 190kg, giving him a smooth 500kg Total.  Dan looked like a seasoned pro on the platform, memories of the ancient lifters of old who graced the platform with such elegance flashed through the crowd’s mind as he executed his lifts. A great first competition and an awesome day full of pure effort from Dan.

Following Dan, we have Big Will. Not to be mistaken for an Ox, we had to ensure the concrete slab had adequate strength to handle his physical presence. Monstrous ability, raw strength and power Will was a natural. Having only 180kg of weight at home he was pleased to be able to explore some unknown territory, Will finished with a 185kg Squat a 160kg Bench and a 200kg Deadlift, giving him a 545kg total and 3rd place! Congratulations Will and great work lads was a pleasure to have you both in the gym. From all of us at The Stronghold we hope to see you guys drop in now and then for a session!

Frank, Loureen and Harry discussing Franks next Deadlift attempt.


Blake Harris was almost out of the competition after a football injury two weeks prior left him a bit out of action coming into the comp. But fortunately, he was able to keep it together and come through and have a great day on the platform. He finished with a 170kg Squat, a 100kg Bench ( Narrowly missing 105kg due to a technical error) and hitting a 212.5kg Deadlift. A very strong day for the 18-year-old. Blake is looking strong, he’s lifting strong and he’s got a very bright future ahead of him. Be sure to keep an eye on the young gun!

Now at every comp, The Iron Legionnaires always wish for one thing. A glorious death and an opponent worthy of delivering it. Those who spectate come to see lifters go head to head, cheering and sighing in unison as they make or miss their attempts. The crowd roars in an effort to bolster the lifters efforts. Sharing in the passion of their victories and feeling the sting of their misses.  On this day, Aaron and Victor did not disappoint as they gave the crowd a show they will not soon forget.

Vic hitting his 200kg Squat


Coming into Deadlifts Aaron was sitting pretty at a 352.5kg sub-total, hitting a 212.5kg Squat and a 140kg Bench Press whilst Victor was trailing at 335kg after managing a 200kg Squat and 135kg Bench. Vic had his secret weapon to unleash, but would it be enough to topple Aaron?…

Aaron was ahead coming into the last lift at 582.5kg.

Victor had to make up the difference, sitting at 575kg.

Aaron came to the platform, 240kg loaded. The weight moved, but stopped. The crowd sighed and fell silent. It now came down to Vic. The final lift.

250kg on the bar. Up, up, up, we yelled! As gravity lost hold of the Iron, Vic carried it all the way to lockout!

585kg total to finish with the victory by 2.5kg!

A glorious win to Vic, made possible by the valiant attempts of Aaron.

A great day had by all and a truly sincere thank you to everyone who came along to watch and support the lifters. Remember. Powerlifting is a sport, a test, a test of strength, of willpower, of discipline. It is an expression. A chance to show yourself and to show those around you what you are capable of. It is a celebration, a dance to showcase your achievements, it is a chance for everyone to come together in the gym, have some fun and lift some F***ING WEIGHTS. SO LET’S GO!

The winners, Kate and Victor, with yours truly, Dan. 


!!!!! A special thank you to our helpers, judges, desk runners and spotters/loaders !!!!!

Jorden Da KissAllyse AylingNik Bilaniwskyj-StoneLoureen KellyConnor Llewelyn and Meg Warby.

To Jodie Harris and Lisa Van Der Hout without whom we would have gone extremely hungry, a massive thank you!

Huge thank you especially to Julies Photography/Julie Warren for taking photos on the day, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we really appreciate your efforts!

Thanks to Cooper for his expert Powerlifting analysis!

And last but not least, on behalf of everyone thank you to those who came to support the lifters!

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