March 2018 Featured Lifter

USA Powerlifting-NY would like to spotlight some of the stand-outs in the state. We will feature a new lifter each month, and ask them some random questions to get some insight into what makes them tick…..

This month’s featured lifter is LUKE GRAHAM.

  My name is Luke, I’m 21 years old, and I’m a 105kg powerlifter. I also just recently became a state referee! I’m from Verona, New York (roughly 30 miles east of Syracuse). I’m currently studying Kinesiology at the State University of New York at Cortland with hopes of becoming a strength and conditioning coach.

Training Facility

Hell Barbell in Utica

Question and Answer time!!

USA Powerlifting – NY: What got you interested in Powerlifting?

Luke Graham: I was really weak in high school. Junior year in the weight room for wrestling, I struggled to put up my bodyweight for 5 reps on bench (~185lbs). I started looking at strength training programs on youtube, and I came across channels such as Jonnie Candito and discovered powerlifting in the progress. I started doing his free 6-week program and I started seeing some crazy gains.

USA Powerlifting – NY: When and where was your first meet?

LG: My first meet was the Northeast Iron Beast II in Albany, New York.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What things have you learned since your first meet?

LG: I had no idea how to warm up or how a meet was ran! I warmed up like 3 times in 2 hours, each time finishing with like 10lbs under my opener. It didn’t really bother me on squat and deadlift, but I almost bombed out on bench.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What does the future hold for you in regards to powerlifting (PR’s higher total, weight loss, etc.)?

LG: The future is looking bright. Shortly after an amazing performance at the Arnold Pro Raw Challenge in 2017, where I totaled 775kg @ 105, I injured my quadratus lumborum (QL) and it has been lingering ever since. I competed twice after the Arnold. First was the Syracuse Summer Showdown in June and I totaled 2.5kg less than the Arnold, then I competed at Raw Nationals where I totaled 10kg less than the Arnold. Even shortly after nationals, I injured my SI joint which is still bugging me today. I realized it’s time for me to take a good amount of time off and focus on getting healthy. As of recently, however, I just began to start feeling a little bit better again. I’m still going to take things slow, but when I get back on the platform, I’m promising that I will be the strongest that I’ve ever been.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What is your favorite of the “Big 3” and why?

LG: I really enjoy both squat and deadlift, but nothing gets me more hyped than deadlifts. There’s nothing more thrilling than lifting a ton of weight off the floor at the end of the meet.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What is your least favorite of the “Big 3” and why?

LG: Bench press, cause it’s never been able to show up on meet day… and I suck at benching.


USA Powerlifting – NY: Do you follow a specific training program? If so, is it a custom program for you or a template style program like 5/3/1 or the Texas Method?

LG: I’ve been coached by Joey Franzo the past two and a half years.


USA Powerlifting – NY: Do you lift as part of a team or a group? Who are they and how did you become part of that group?

LG: Not necessarily. I have a lot of friends who also compete and we train together, but when we’re in the gym, we’re there to work.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What advice would you give a newbie powerlifter?

LG: Don’t fix what ain’t broke, and quit comparing yourself to others. Get on a solid program, stay healthy, eat a lot, and train your ass off.


USA Powerlifting – NY: Tell us something about you that those in the powerlifting world wouldn’t know about you (guilty pleasure, vice, anything at all)?

LG: I can ride unicycles. I have a normal sized unicycle and 6-foot tall unicycle at home 🙂


Bonus Question

USA Powerlifting – NY: Who is your favorite powerlifting athlete and why?

LG: Dennis Cornelius for sure, there is no stopping that man. One of the greatest feats of strength in the world of powerlifting.

Serving Drug Free Powerlifting in New York

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