By Karl Weisel (Wiesbaden Family and MWR)September 6, 2016
WIESBADEN, Germany - Spc. Connor Working's name is engraved on the Wiesbaden Fitness Center's wall.
The 529th Military Police Company Soldier is the first athlete to officially lift 1,000 pounds in 2016.
"This is just like in a powerlifting competition," said Alexander Kuepper, a fitness program specialist, powerlifting official and former competitive lifter, explaining that to join the elite ranks of the center's 1,000 Pound Club, a lifter must hoist a total of 1,000 pounds in the dead lift, bench press and squat disciplines.
"For most people the hardest is the squat," said Kuepper, explaining that anyone can attempt to join the 500- or 1,000 Pound Clubs simply by making an appointment at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center and ensuring they have a couple of spotters on hand during the lift session.
"I tell them what is expected and explain the standards for each lift -- how they have to be performed and how to get ready," said Kuepper.
Lifters have three attempts in each discipline to qualify successfully on any one day.
The 500 and 1,000 Pound Clubs were started at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center in 2012 as a way to gain more visibility for the sport of powerlifting. "A lot of people are intimidated by this type of sport," said Kuepper, adding that anyone can enjoy the benefits of lifting with a little advice from the fitness professionals, the right attitude and dedication.
"It's been a three-year process for me," said Working. "I just got into lifting when I joined the military."
Working added that while the Army has a viable physical training program, its intended to sustain a level of fitness. "To improve your own physical fitness you have to put in your own time.
"I like it (powerlifting). It's a great stress reliever, it's relaxing, a way to the tension out and cool down after work," Working said, adding that he regularly changes his fitness routine to "shock his body" and continuously improve his overall physical condition.
"As soon as I heard about the 1,000 Pound Club, I decided to try it. I think it's good way to get there to represent myself, my unit and my community," he said.
For his achievement, Working's name has been added to the official plaque at the fitness center and he was presented with a T-shirt.
"We don't give out this award easily," said Kuepper. "You have to earn it. What he accomplished is a real achievement."
"Making my last lift really felt good," said Working. "I had to make my weight. You really have to be committed to the sport. It's hard work."
"Because you have three events, you have to make sure not to over-rate yourself," said Kuepper for others interested in trying to join the elite lifter ranks. "Don't over-estimate yourself. … You need a strong core. The squat is the most extreme exercise for the body and performing it properly is so important."
For more information about the 500 and 1,000 Pound Clubs, tips on powerlifting and other fitness advice, stop by the Wiesbaden Fitness Center on Clay Kaserne.