BRUCHMUHLBACH-MIESAU, Germany - The squat bar before Master Sgt. Timothy Andrews was loaded with 473 pounds - one of many heavy lifts he would complete during National Military Powerlifting Championship at Miesau Army Depot.

A 22-year Air Force veteran from Spangdahlem Air Base's weapons safety office, Andrews remained focused as he stepped under the bar, eased the weight onto his shoulders and began lowering himself.

"You have to be thinking about what you're getting ready to do - your form, your technique and the way that you trained," Andrews said. "Yes, it's a competition. But also, know your limits."

Powerlifters pushed their limits during the March 17, sponsored by U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation program. They competed in squats, bench press and dead lifts. Some lifters were from the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Others, like Tina Robinson, flew from the States to take part.

Robinson, a former Army truck driver once stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany, and who now serves as an Air Force first sergeant at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., squatted 330 lbs -- a military record for a lift without equipment and in her age division. Robinson's come a long way since 2001, when friends encouraged her to take up power lifting, she said.

"Being prior Army, we used to work out a lot, before dawn we're doing (physical training)," Robinson said. "When I was at Keesler Air Force Base, some guys I worked out with told me I had the genes to do it, to compete. So, why waste it?"

The competition gave Robinson a chance to return to Europe, see the sights and reunite with fellow power lifters, she said.

Well-known among military power lifters is Chief Master Sgt. Troy Saunders, captain of the U.S. Air Force Powerlifting Team. No stranger to the KMC, Saunders was stationed for several years at Ramstein Air Base and was previously named U.S. Air Forces in Europe Athlete of the Year. Currently assigned to Scott Air Force Base, Ill. on the Air Mobility Command headquarters staff, Saunders serves as the functional chief for the vehicle management career field.

Saunders broke more than one record -- some were his own -- during the competition. His lifts included: squat, 535 pounds, bench press 353 pounds and dead lift 650 pounds. But more important than records is the camaraderie shared between military competitors, he said.

"It was an honor to get to lift with some of the best powerlifters in the Air Force," Saunder said. "They were a great bunch of lifters and positive examples of what hard work and determination can do."

Powerlifting is a great sport for competitors and spectators, said Thomas Dennis, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's chief of sports and fitness. The event offered an opportunity Americans in the KMC to try something different, he said.

"It's a great sport, plus we're taking care of Soldiers and family members," Dennis said. "Besides powerlifting, everyone came out today and had fun, that's number one."