Becomes second Canadian to bench press 250kg in competition
Joe Lecuyer continues to take the world of powerlifting by storm. His latest accomplishment: winning his division at the 2016 WPC World Cup in Idaho, setting two world records and four Canadian records in the process. He also earned the meet’s best lifter award.
Lecuyer competes in full power meets, wherein a lifter gets three tries in each of three different powerlifting events: a squat lift (he lifted 310 kg at the September 3 World Cup at Idaho Falls), a bench press (245 kg), and a deadlift (310 kg). Lecuyer’s three event total – 865 kg – is an amateur World Powerlifting Congress record for men of his weight class (140 kg+), who lift unassisted (or raw – without a powerlifter suit or other equipment).
At the meet, Lecuyer exercised an option to do a fourth bench press, and succeeded in pressing 250 kg (551 lbs) – another world record.
Each of his lifts was also a Canadian record, as was his total. (He also holds all four Canadian records for the 140 kg weight class; he was a little bigger when he lifted in Idaho.)
The win caps an exceptional 11 months of achievement for the Ignace native, who came to Atikokan in 2011 as a civil engineering technician with the Town.
“I was always a pretty big gym guy in Thunder Bay, and I had friends there who used to encourage me to try these bigger meets,” he said last week. He first broke the 500-pound mark on the bench press in Thunder Bay in 2009, but at that point wasn’t ready to commit to consistent, long-term training (he attended Confederation College and stayed in the city a while after graduating).
When he landed the job here, he started to get serious about lifting, and had soon adopted a disciplined, rigourous program. He went so far as to build his own weight room, a small (10-foot by 10-foot) shed in his yard.
“There really wasn’t a lot when I got here – just some equipment at the high school,” he said.
Lecuyer began lifting at 14 at Ignace HS, and had progressed far beyond what a school training room could offer. (When he arrived, the Moose Hall, long the home of Atikokan’s serious lifters, and Ray Mussely, the leading lifting coach, were both gone.)
He soon had something of a following here, and became known right across Northwestern Ontario for his prowess on the bench press.
Finally, early last year he decided to join the World Powerlifting Congress and start entering major competitions.
“My girlfriend said: ‘You’re not expecting to win, are you?’ I researched what the records were, and I knew what I could do, and so I knew I had a pretty good chance…”
In October, he won his division at the Ontario championship with a total lift of 815 kg (squat 280 kg, bench 230 kg, deadlift 305), and upped that to 840 kg (300 – 240 – 300) in winning the Canadian championship in June.
Lecuyer competes as an amateur, meaning he must submit to a regular drug testing regimen; all his muscle has been earned the hard way, through almost two decades of training.
He’s 33 now, and has no immediate plans to slow down. He recently joined the other powerlifters’ group, the Canadian Powerlifting Union [CPU], and is looking to some of its Manitoba events to keep competing over the next few months. There is a bigger goal, too…
“”The CPU will be hosting the International Powerlifters Federation world championship in Calgary in 2018. I want to be there for that,” he said.
That will be a big test for the athlete; the competition in the CPU is stiffer. Canada’s number one powerlifter, Kelly Branton, holds many of its records. He’s the only other Canadian to reach 250 kg in a competitive raw bench press (his best is 256 kg last December).
He’s got company, now.