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If you had told my high school gym teacher that I'd ever represent my country at an international sporting event, he'd have fallen off his chair, such was my lack of sporting prowess. It was not until my early thirties that I discovered the benefits of strength training, and within a couple of years I had gone from complete novice to a reasonably good powerlifter, representing Australia at international meets and occasionally bringing home medals. Powerlifting comprises three lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift, with the goal in competition being to lift the highest weight for a single repetition of each lift (figure 1).
It was a few weeks postcompetition when the training weights were still relatively light that I decided to challenge myself to break the deadlift record on the honour board in the gym: maximum repetitions at 1.2×bodyweight. The first 10 repetitions were easy. The second 10 repetitions were easy. …
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