No fancy electronic equipment, just simple iron weights on a bar, core strength, sweat on the brow, and gritted teeth. Defined muscles of the eight participants gave an indication of the time and effort dedicated to a lifestyle that is centered on physical health.
Spotters remained poised while two judges watched for body movements that would disqualify a contestant. Each competitor was given three chances to bench press their choice of weight. Crashing metal on metal thundered out, becoming more intense as the competitors had more weights added to their previous lift.
Awards were given in a variety of categories including first place in different weight classes, Best Overall Male Lifter, and Last Man Standing. The contest was not limited to members of the gym. It was open to the public. Entrants wishing to compete paid a $15 sign up fee which included protein refueling for the energy expended during feats of strength. Chicken and ribs were prepared by the gym staff on a grill situated directly outside of the gym.
Inspired by her own experience doing dead lifts and squats, Cynthia Jimenez created the Ironside Bench Competition. Saturday morning was the third time it has been held at the gym, on the corner of 5th and Market, where Jimenez works.
“She’s incredible,” said Jimenez’s proud father, Victor Gomez.
Jimenez intends to continue the competition, citing the benefit for seasoned lifters looking to push past a fitness plateau or the average person who wants to assess what they are capable of with a little bit of added pressure from people are watching and cheering.
Results were not available at the time of press. ■