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Yuma Marine breaks bench press record
A Marine from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma broke the state bench press record June 4 when he lifted more than twice his weight of 200 pounds.
Cpl. Jonathon Bailey, Marine Air Control Squadron 1 communications technician, won the bench press category of the Arizona State Competition in Phoenix when he lifted 402 pounds, but the 21-year-old Mesa, Ariz., native wasn't always a fan of working out.
“The pain is what I hated. Every time I'd go, I was sore for a week, a week and a half, and I didn't care for that.”
He is not satisfied with simply a state record; he wishes to go all the way, even if the path is not an easy one.
“What I initially hated is what I now love. I learned that once you push through the pain, it's different. If you want to reach the goals I'm trying to reach and win a world championship, you can't stop when it starts to hurt. You have to keep pushing.”
It is not easy and it can be mentally challenging when the body reaches moments of exhaustion, according to Bailey. Watching the transformation of his body is something he really enjoyed about the sport.
Bailey discovered his passion for power lifting during a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.
“Most people haven't ever felt weight like that on top of them. Even the first couple of times where I had 400 pounds hanging from my arms, it felt like a massive amount of weight. It's so much pressure that the first month lifting, I would break blood vessels in my eyes. You are always at risk of injuries from the shoulders, hands, head and throat, anywhere really.”
A huge asset to his drive would be credited to his uncle, Bailey's coach, who has been lifting for 10 years and has three different state records.
“The reason why I hit the levels I do is because even when I say I'm done, and I think I can't go on anymore, he pushes me and pushes me and pushes me,” said Bailey. “When my uncle saw what I could do coming back from deployment, he wanted to put me in a competition bench shirt. The shirt, with sleeves coming out at 90-degree angles, is designed to prevent injury and help in training.”
Bailey is now working to beat the record of 507 pounds for his weight class during world championships in Reno, Nev., Nov. 1-6.
Lance Cpl. Laura Cardoso writes for Desert Warrior, the newspaper at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.