Playing through pain is one thing. Doing so while gripping a quarter-ton of metal, well, that’s a whole new ball game.
Last Saturday, Isaac Lorenzen managed to beat such bulk – twice, in fact – and established a new United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) Colorado standard as he drove through his body’s black-flag signals.
“Everyone was screaming’ the spotters and loaders were in my face screaming. I heard my dad yelling, and I was like, ‘I really got to get this lift,’” Lorenzen, son of Aaron and Joshua Lorenzen, recalled in between practice sets Wednesday at Momentum 24/7 Fitness in Bayfield. “I was pulling my fourth deadlift attempt and I had it over my knees, starting to lock it out. When you lock out, you contract your lats, pull ’em back, and I was starting to, then felt my rib slip. But I locked it out and held it, then (the official]) said ‘Down’ and I set it down, got the lift.
“I celebrated, went crazy, teared up a little bit because it was just incredible. But then as soon as it was over, the adrenalin went away and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’”
Lorenzen thought he only had strained a lat muscle, but it turned out he had a displaced rib, too.
None of that mattered at the time inside Insurgent Fitness in Flagstaff, Arizona, at the 2019 USPA Lumberjack Open, as entrants and spectators alike cheered the gutsy effort of a record-setting 518.5-pound conquest, crushing the 501.5 he’d just raised on his ninth overall try in a third different discipline.
“I was in as a 181-pounder, in the (age 18- and 19-year old) ‘Classic Raw’ division, so I wore knee wraps instead of knee sleeves, and what happened is I went 9-for-9. I hit all my lifts, set all the Colorado state records for my age and weight class,” Lorenzen said, noting a peak bench press of 275 pounds and a max squat of 380. “And they gave me a fourth deadlift to just add to the record–and I hit that.”
Until just over a year ago, however, weights were, for the current BHS senior, more means to an end of putting on the pads and seeing the football field as a Wolverine.
“Kyle Killough put a lot of us freshmen through workouts that would just whup us,” Lorenzen recalled, noting the former BHS standout. “He was a starting inside ’backer. I used to play inside ’backer, and I was like, ‘Man if I want to play inside, I’ve got to start working out.’ He really motivated me to get into the gym. My parents started to push me, too, and I just started to love it the more I did it.
“As a freshman, I was a small, small guy. I was 140 pounds like, ‘I need to get bigger if I ever want to play varsity.’”
Starring this past fall as an interior lineman, often bulling through opponents of greater size, Lorenzen’s gridiron career at the high-school level came to an end up in Arvada during the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
“That loss to Faith Christian, I mean, it really hurt,” he said, acknowledging that he visibly took the defeat harder than most. “But after I got over it, I was like, ‘You know? I’ve still got powerlifting I can do, might as well lift.’”
That grind began about two days after losing 21-13 to the Eagles, as Lorenzen and David Hawkins went back to the weight room and set a few personal records as they developed a strength program together. But Lorenzen’s powerlifting pursuit had already started a year earlier at the Cinco de Mayo Classic in Albuquerque, where he bench pressed 253 pounds, had a squat of 346 pounds and a 446-pound deadlift set Colorado’s age 16-17 198-pound Classic Raw records and hinted he may be onto something.
“I didn’t really know what to do; I’d only been powerlifting seriously for two months,” he said. “I was kind of doing my own thing. Then I got on a program, got much, much stronger, and I noticed I was very happy with how this last meet went – my total (1,156.5) was almost a hundred pounds higher,” Lorenzen said. “I just really like the general atmosphere of fitness. I love pushing people, I love having people push me, and I love learning new things and teaching others what I know.”
Pausing to talk between multiple sets of 315-pound squats and moving over to the bench, Lorenzen said he may take some time off to train and fully heal before entering his next competition, whenever and wherever that will be.
“I don’t think I’m going to do the Colorado State Championships (April 6-7 at Denver’s CrossFit Omnia), since I just had the (Arizona) meet,” he said. “I was actually looking at doing the national championships (the July 11-14 USPA Drug-Tested Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada), and my total actually qualified for (the International Powerlifting League Drug-Tested Worlds)in Limerick, Ireland, later this year.”
He confirmed Thursday morning that should all entry spots for the Las Vegas event be filled by April 1, the June 27-30 USPA National Championships in Columbus, Ohio, could also be an option.
And even after graduation in May, around which time his Momentum 24/7 Fitness base will be expanding into a larger facility just down the street, Lorenzen, who is largely self-coached but also instructed by his father and family friend James O’Conner, said his personal drive won’t soon slow, no matter where it takes him.
“I’m looking at doing firefighter or EMT, and there’s a lot of firefighters and EMTs doing powerlifting,” he said. “I saw one last year that was absolutely insane. He was a huge dude from Santa Fe, so I definitely want to continue. I love the sport so much, and I just have so much fun every day when I get to come in and lift. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to do it.
“And I’d like to encourage people to get into powerlifting, or into the gym in general. I’d love for more and more people to discover it and to understand it’s a great thing. You can push yourself, be yourself and become the person you want to be.”