Nick MacPhee, of Walpole, earned the Best Lifter Award at the 2019 RPS Maine State Powerlifting Championships at Beyond Strength in Falmouth on Saturday, July 27. MacPhee won all three events in the 220-pound weight division of the open men’s class.
The winner of the Best Lifter Award is determined with the Wilks formula, which measures, pound for pound, who is the strongest athlete at a competition.
MacPhee set three personal bests on the day. He lifted 720 in the squat, 445 in the bench press, and 775 in the dead lift for a total of 1,940 pounds. He broke his own bench record by 15 pounds, his squat record by 40 pounds, and his dead lift by 35 pounds for a three-lift improvement of 90 pounds.
MacPhee said he almost “bombed out,” a slang term used by lifters when they fail to make a lift and are not allowed to continue in a tournament.
“I opened with the squat at 680 and got red-lighted because I did not go deep enough. I put 20 more pounds to 700, thinking it would make me go deeper. I was red-lighted again, so I put another 20 pounds (720). I completed the squat on the third attempt.”
Weightlifters get three attempts to make a successful lift, or they are out of the competition. If he had not been successful on this third lift, in his first event of the day, he would have been done.
“I just got a tattoo of a bomb on my leg, so it would have been funny if I had bombed out,” MacPhee said.
MacPhee said this was his best tournament by far. He is currently ranked 11th in the world in the 220-pound weight class in all federations. “We had a pretty good weekend,” he said.
He started lifting weights seven years ago, but completed a 16-week prep leading up to the tournament. “To get where I am at took seven years,” he said.
MacPhee trains on his own equipment in his Walpole home. “I have a 3-year-old now,” he said of the convenience of working out from home.
He made his first lift of 405 in the bench press, then “jumped up” from there, finishing at 445. “I was really happy with that,” he said. “I lifted two times my body weight. It was a big goal.”
He has also competed in Strongman competitions. He was crowned Maine’s strongest man Feb. 23 at a Strongman competition at CrossFit Decal in Winthrop. “I just did my last one,” MacPhee said of leaving the sport. “I got out while the going was good.”
He also competes in the Maine Highland Games, where he won the lightweight class four years in a row and was ranked number one in the world in that class. He has since moved up to the amateur division, heavyweight class for anyone over 200 pounds.
“I’ve got a few invites to go pro, but once you go pro, you can’t go back. Going into the pro class is a commitment and you have to travel a lot. You have to know the people to get invites. It is a big decision. I’ll stay in the amateur class until I make my mind up,” MacPhee said.
The 41st annual Maine Highland Games and Scottish Festival will take place Saturday, Aug 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Topsham Fairgrounds in Topsham.