Powerlifting: Spotlight on Jack Baker


KENNESAW, Ga.. — President of the Kennesaw State University Barbell Club, Jack Baker, is preparing for his next weightlifting competition coming up in the spring semester.

The club sport sponsored by KSU’s athletic department is starting to grow. Powerlifting is a competitive sport that involves three types of weightlifting in a set sequence. The newly founded Barbell Club includes powerlifting, Olympic lifting and CrossFit.

“Powerlifting involves the slot bench and dead lift,” Baker said. “So as far as the competition goes you are going to have three attempts at each lift to get a maximum lift for each and achieve a total which will be compared to other people in your weight class and age group. As far as CrossFit goes, that’s more original as far as competitions. Such as, combining circuits. It could be a one-mile run followed by 100 burpees. It’s crazy! As far as Olympic lifting, that combines the cleaning jerk and the snatch. It’s the same set-up as powerlifting, you get three attempts to get a maximum lift.”

Baker not only devotes a lot of his time and energy to the Barbell Club, but he is also a member of the KSU football cheerleading squad. Finding time to go work out in the gym is no easy feat as he is also a full-time student, active in on-campus activities, and works a part-time job.

He is eager to join the field of public health education and share his passion and knowledge for exercise and being physically active.


Jack Baker performing a bench press. (Photo by Montana Scott)

Power lifting is run by a lot of different federations and there are many different meets throughout the year. Baker says he likes to compete in about one to three powerlifting competitions a year.

“As far as power lifting goes there is a ton of different federations,” Baker explains. “Everyone has their own personal preferences. Each federation has its own rules and ways of running each meet.”

The sport is physically and mentally tasking. Baker and all his teammates work hard to reach the results they are aiming for.

“This sport is really stressful on the body, and we all need a lot of hard training as well as recovery,” Baker said. “And I know a lot of people that do a ton of meets every year, which is fine, but I guess especially for newbies generally shoot for one to three meets per year.”

There is a different way of practicing for each type of meet, and powerlifters show tremendous discipline before each meet. They put their bodies through a lot of variations and exercise intensities that requires tremendous commitment.

Going through these high intensity workouts comes with a price. One of Baker’s teammates, Moussa Alsaleh, says: “I get a lot of wrist injuries, but that always happens, you just have to build your wrist strength.”

Baker mentions his injuries mostly involve his knees, back and wrists. They have to go through a lot of training to make sure their form is perfect in order prevent risk of injuries. He also mentions that new members go through a lot of training for the first couple of weeks to train their neuro efficiency and helps their rapid muscle growth, until they reach a point which they call “the plateau.”

“After that point you really have to apply science and really just keep training hard and just be smart about things to ensure progress still occurs,” Baker said.

Through Baker’s experience with the sport of powerlifting, he learned that powerlifting takes a lot of will power and high levels of discipline. Giving up is not an option. “No pain no gain” fits perfectly when it comes to this sport, because when powerlifters put in the work, it definitely shows.

Baker is a shining example of discipline that is taught throughout the sport. He finds the time and effort to participate in various school activities in addition to running the Barbell Club.

“I’ve done two competitions personally: The APC (American Powerlifting Committee) Georgia Open in March and the APC Nationals at the end of June. I know all of the different types of lifting, but primarily, I am a powerlifter,” Baker said.

If you are interested in learning more about powerlifting or the Barbell Club, contact Baker at kennesawbarbell@gmail.com and follow its Instagram account. The club is always looking for more teammates.


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