It is time for the interview pendulum to swing back from the huge strongmen to one of the lightest of strength athletes, top Powerlifter April Shumaker.
She may weigh less than 50kg, but this lady packs some power, as her many titles suggest.
Phil Burgess: How did you get into Powerlifting?
April Shumaker: I was 20 years old and I had started working at a major Health & Fitness chain as an Aerobics instructor.
At that time it seemed that was the pinnacle of achievement that could be reached in a fitness environment.
But like so many girls I wanted to “slim down and tone up,” and aerobics just wasn’t doing that. Everybody seemed to do everything differently.
I found a guy at the gym that seemed to know what he was doing and he agreed to train me and help me with a diet.
Little did I know that this would lead to competitive lifting.
At that time I could not bench the empty bar or squat anything at all. However he stayed with me and in time I was lifting weights that I never dreamed of lifting.
He took me to meets to see the other girls and show me that I might someday be competitive with them.
Warning: This can lead to marriage, ha-ha.
Phil Burgess: What is the competition result you are proudest of?
April Shumaker: Oh, that would be the 2010 USPF American Cup at the Los Angeles Fit Expo run by Steve Denison, where I posted a 903 pound total at a 103.5 pound bodyweight.
At that contest I beat the then #1 ranked 105 pound girl in America and went on to outpoint every other champion female for the coveted Champion of Champions best lifter award and a $1,00 prize.
Phil Burgess: What records do you hold, and what is your best Bench, Deadlift and Squat?
April Shumaker: I hold many National, American, and World records in the 3 lifts, including the World’s historical Best Raw Bench in any Federation anywhere in the World in the 105 pound class.
I am also the lightest female to bench 2x bodyweight, becoming only the 6th girl in history to achieve this feat at any bodyweight.
Single ply my best results are:
- squat in competition 325lb
- best bench is 264lb
- my best deadlift is 336lb
- my best total is 903lb
In raw, my total of 710lb is an all time American. I also have the World Record raw bench of 209lb at a bodyweight of 104.5lb and a record 303lb raw deadlift.
Phil Burgess: What Powerlifting federation do you compete in?
April Shumaker: I compete in the 48-kilo/105lb class and I will compete in any Federation anywhere that has my weight class.
Currently, I compete in several federations in raw, single ply & multiply.
Phil Burgess: What is more important to you, beating your previous bests, or beating others in a Powerlifting meet?
April Shumaker: Winning always takes priority over my personal records.
Phil Burgess: Who is your coach and who has helped you the most with your lifting?
April Shumaker: My coach, trainer, and husband is Bill Shumaker, and he has trained me ever since I first picked up a weight.
He also selects my weight attempts in every meet, wraps my knees, and selects my gear.
Phil Burgess: Is there a particular training technique/routine you follow, i.e. Westside?
April Shumaker: Well that is all up to the trainer, and he has always been a bit contrarian about my training, by incorporating a number of different training methods.
He takes a very long-term view about my training goals, but he does like the Westside systems!
Phil Burgess: Would you say that the number of women competing in Powerlifting is growing and what could the federations do to help?
April Shumaker: Perhaps a bit. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes less, but the selection of Federations with different formats helps us get more girls involved.
I think the federations should consider:
- Treating the women fairly. I do not support separate meets for male & female lifters. It is a fragmentation of scarce resources and time.
- Prize money for the women should be comparable to that of the men. Some Federations are very good about that, such as the USPA, and the APF.
Phil Burgess: What tips would you give to a lady who was thinking of taking up the sport of Powerlifting?
- Surround yourself with people who really know the difference between training for Females and training for males.
- Avoid injury like the plague. – you can lift forever if you avoid injuries.
- Study great female lifters in the various styles of lifting.
- Take a long-term view towards achieving excellence in your lifting.
- You can do almost anything given enough time, determination, and intellect.
- Train form, form, and form. – The weight will come soon enough!
I have two beautiful children and I love to have fun with them.
I am also an Aerobics instructor at LA Fitness.