August 2015 - James Rowe
Please introduce yourself. Who are you? How old are you? Where were you born? Etc. Give the readers some background about yourself.
My name is James Rowe and I am 20 years old. I was born in Savannah, Georgia. I am currently a Junior at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.
Do you compete equipped (squat suit, bench press shirt & deadlift suit) or unequipped (no suits) or both and what
I compete both raw and equipped and I currently compete in the 264 and 264+ weight classes. I am currently still in the junior division, however, I compete in the open division also.
What was your last competition and how did you do?
My last competition was the USAPL Summer Showdown and I finished third in the junior division with a 506 squat, 330.5 bench, and a 540 deadlift, raw.
When was your first competition?
My first competition was the USAPL Spring Open April 2014. I squatted 485, benched 300, and deadlifted 455. It was definitely a major learning experience.
How did you improve from your first competition to your most recent?
The biggest improvement I’ve made from my first competition to my recent one was my deadlift form. When I first began training I always used wrist straps and thought I could use them. That was a huge reality check. I used to deadlift conventional and had a major hitching problem, I’ve recently changed to sumo deadlifting and my hitch is non-existent.
My next competition is going to be the APF Southern States Championship in Orlando, Florida. I am doing it with my training partner to help prepare myself for the USAPL Southern States Championship in December.
What do you plan on doing differently for that meet if anything?
I plan on having less difficult opening attempts and finish big so I don’t wear myself out before I reach my third attempts. I felt like at the Summer Showdown I opened and had my second attempts a little too heavy which really hurt me on my final attempts.
Where are you located in Georgia and where do you train at?
I am currently located in Pembroke, GA and I train with my training partner Joseph Walraven in his garage primarily. I also occasionally train at my local 24/Seven Gym as well as the recreation center at Georgia Southern.
What are your hobbies (other than powerlifting)?
I really love any kind of sports. Once I entered college I joined a semi pro football team and played with them, after that I played on an intramural football team at Georgia Southern. Other than that I love playing basketball at the recreation center, there are plenty of courts and people to play against there.
Who is your role model and why?
I’ve always looked up to Ed Coan and recently I’ve found Mark Bell as a role model. Ed Coan has always been the man in powerlifting, gear and raw. He said records that were never thought of at the time and I can only imagine what he could life with the gear that is made these days. Mark Bell is a big role model of mine because he is what I want to be in life. He trained for years and was a successful powerlifter and now he has his own brand and an amazing gym and gets to do what he loves for a living, and be very wealthy in the process.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I love poetry. I used to do avid poetry while I was in high school. I was even featured in a couple of student poetry books that where published.
Is there anything about powerlifting you would like to change or wish was different?
The only thing that I wish was different is that the sport had a spot in the Olympics along with weightlifting. I understand that there are many different divisions with raw, raw classic, and the different divisions of equipped lifting but I hope that one day a committee can come together and make a compromise where powerlifting can become an Olympic sport.
What is your occupation? Does it interfere with competing or visa versa?
During the summer I lifeguard at the local pool and I deliver pizzas for a local pizza company, I normally only do one meet during the summer due to having two jobs, but once I start back school my bosses at the pizza company are very understanding and if I need to travel for a meet they let me have any days off that I need.
How did you get into powerlifting and how many years have you been competing?
I originally got into powerlifting because there was a local competition at Georgia Southern. I was looking for any outlet for me to be an athlete outside of football. I was introduced to Mr. Joseph Walraven and ever since last year he has taught me from deadlifting with wraps and using the most rounded back that exist to almost a perfect deadlift. I’ve only been competing for 15 months now.
What are your biggest squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers? And how do your best training numbers compare to your best competition numbers?
In single ply my best squat is 650, bench 395, and deadlift 540 to total 1,585 lbs. As far as raw my last meet was my best raw meet at 506,330.5,540 to total 1,376.5.
What advice would you give a new lifter just starting out?
Be patient. It will take a lot of hours in the gym to critique your form to where it will need to be. ”Rome wasn’t built in one day.”
What are your short term goals now as a lifter?
My short term goals as a lifter are to drop to a weight that I am the strongest and most competitive at and place top 5 at USAPL Collegiate Nationals.
What are some long term goals you would like to achieve?
I want to qualify for IPF Junior Worlds. I’ve been following some of the collegiate lifters I have competed against and I want to follow in their shoes and travel and compete at the biggest meet possible for me at this age.
Who is your favorite powerlifter of all time?
Definitely Ed Coan. He is the G.O.A.T?
My favorite lift is the deadlift. To me it is the truest test of strength. There aren’t any cues to follow to tell you when to lift it unlike the squat and bench. It’s just you and the weight. I also thing that deadlift is the toughest problem that I have, so I feel like I dedicate more time to it so I favor it more.
Who is the most impressive lifter you have competed against?
I competed against Ray Williams at the Summer Showdown and he was absolutely monstrous. I believe he set every USAPL American Record in one meet, it’s definitely an honor to say I competed against him.
Do you have any rivals in powerlifting?
I’m going to go with the typical “I am my own rival” answer just for the fact I haven’t been competing long enough to have any true rivals just yet, however I have a few people I hope to be my rivals in the years to come.
I just want to thank everyone that has helped me get to this point in my career. I have had endless amount of support from my family financially and physically. Anything that I need to help me, my family makes sure I have it. If I have a meet, it doesn’t matter how far my family makes sure I get there. I wouldn’t be where I am at without them. I want to think my training partner and mentor Joe Walraven for teaching me the correct ways to do every lift and molding me into the lifter I am today. It is truly an honor to be considered the lifter of the month and thank you to USAPL for being an honorable federation to compete in.