The sounds of clanging iron echoed through the Montclair State Campus Recreational Center on Thursday afternoon as students filed in from 3 to 6 p.m. to test their strength in a bench-press and squat competition. Participants crammed into the first floor weights area to spectate fellow weightlifters’ sets before giving it a go themselves.
“This event has been around since 2009 or so,” said Montclair State Campus Recreational fitness supervisor Jon Gorman. “To be fair, we judge each competitor’s sets based on their body weight in comparison to how much total pounds they bench or squat.”
Lifters were allowed two turns to reach the highest set of reps they could possibly do as two minutes were allotted in between each set to ensure the lifters’ bodies were not being overworked. Although prizes are at stake for the victor, not everybody signed up strictly to win. Many entrants joined the competition purely to stay in shape and assess their limits as lifters.
“As an aspiring fitness personality who may be covering these types of events, I just wanted to build my confidence up”, said Nkechi Okpara, a graduate student studying nutrition dietetics and food science. “I loved it. The spotters were helpful in guiding and motivating you. I overestimated how much I could squat, but now it encourages me even more to keep pushing for a peak performance.”
Contestants were invited to sign up beforehand through various emails and flyers sent out to the Red Hawk community but it was not mandatory to fill out a form in advance.
“We like to have it open to everybody because not everybody gets the notifications of the event,” said Gorman. “A lot of gym-goers stroll in for their daily routines and see the commotion figuring, ‘Hey, Why not give it a try?’”
Out of the women’s categories, students Asyra Murchison came in first place for the bench press competition, and Ruba Ali came in first place for the squat competition. In the Men’s categories, Alla Jumhou won the bench press competition and Steven Madlansacay won the squat competition.