- Associated Press - Sunday, June 29, 2014

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - Dan Styczynski says, with a chuckle, that there are some downsides to being a powerlifter.

“Everyone’s always saying ‘Pick this up. Pick that up,’” he told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus ( http://bit.ly/1iaLdyY ).

As of June 6, there’s a reason why people think he can.

Styczynski, a 23-year-old from Howell who is part of the XXX Powerlifting Club based at Total Fitness Center in Genoa Township, deadlifted 446.43 pounds at a powerlifting meet at Grand Rapids, a world record for his weight class of 67.5 kilograms (148 pounds).

It’s a very good start to a career that is less than a year old.

“I’ve been into lifting and working out for a couple of years,” Styczynski said. “But I didn’t get into powerlifting until January. I work out at Total Fitness and Michigan Barbell. They hosted a meet in February and posted some fliers for it. Others work out there who are powerlifters, and I told them what I could do and is this in the ballpark?”

It turns out he was very much in the ballpark, if a diamond in the rough.

“His technique wasn’t the greatest,” said Bob Bierschbach, founder of the XXX Powerlifting Club. “But when you start out, it usually isn’t.”

Styczynski competes in the dead lift, where the competitor lifts the weight off the ground up to his waist, then holds it until told to put it down.

Styczynski approaches the weight with a wide stance, with his feet turned to an angle, toes nearest the weight.

The record came at the American Powerlifting Federation (APF) Senior Nationals in Grand Rapids, which was open to lifters from the state of Michigan.

“I went for 457 pounds, and I came close,” he said.

Styczynski played baseball, basketball and football while growing up in Howell.

“I was always active,” he said. “I went to college at Central (MIchigan University) and worked at a bar there. The bouncers there were huge and into lifting.”

Styczynski says he worked as a doorman and a bartender while going to college, then took a job in construction, which he does today.

Asked about people asking him to lift things in a phone conversation, he said they did, with a sigh.

“It’s bad enough I have to swing a sledgehammer all day,” he said.

But he also works out religiously, two or three hours a day in addition to working 10-plus hours a day at this time of year.

“Between work and training, I don’t do much,” he said. “I don’t hang out.”

Bierschbach says Styczynski’s dedication has paid off.

“He’s in here every day, which is almost too much sometimes,” Bierschbach said. “He wants to be in here, which is always a key to doing anything.”

Still, the record was a bit of a surprise, since deadlifting wasn’t a primary focus going in.

“We’d never had a heavy (in weight) deadlift before the meet,” Bierschbach said. “We did a lot of other stuff, but I told him, it’s going to work. You have to have faith. And it worked.”

Next up will be the APF’s world championship meet in Palm Beach, Fla., in November. With a record already under his belt just five months into this new sport, another five months of training could mean the sky’s the limit.

Styczynski’s lifting mates with XXX Powerlifting will be behind him all the way.

“I’ve had a lot of injuries, so I have to do my lifting through other people,” Bierschbach said. “You always want your people to do well. When you see it go and they’re all excited, it’s a bonus, because you know how hard they worked.”

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Information from: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, http://www.livingstondaily.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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