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Members of Quantico Power Lifting Team are Cpl. Joshua Horne, left, combat instructor, The Basic School; Staff Sgt. Matthew Reep, platoon sergeant, Warfighting Company, Infantry Platoon, The Basic School; Private First Class Tiffany Boyd, data network specialist, Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Center; and Petty Officer Third Class Caleb Stricklin, corpsman, David R. Ray Branch Health Clinic.

Photo by John Hollis

Marine powerlifters aim to increase numbers

12 Dec 2014 | John Hollis Marine Corps Base Quantico

Perfect the technique first and the strength will come later.

That’s what Staff Sgt. Matthew Reep, platoon sergeant, Warfighting Company, Infantry Platoon, The Basic School, tells newcomers to powerlifting as they learn the tricks of the trade that he’s mastered over more than two decades of competition.

Reep would know better than most as his two world titles and 14 national ones in five different power lifting federations would easily attest. Despite nearing 41 years of age and his relatively small stature at 5-foot-3, 170 pounds, he can still bench press well more than 400 pounds and stands tall among his peers in the powerlifting community. Reep’s bench press ranks fourth him overall nationally in the open class, but second in the Master’s class for competitors aged 40-45.

“Everybody always thinks you have to be some huge guy, but doing things right is the most important thing,” he said.

Reep recently competed in the International Powerlifting Association National Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships in York, Pennsylvania, winning the 165-pound class in both the Men’s Raw Open and Men’s Master classes. His cumulative 1,441-pound total for squat, bench press and dead lift set a new world master’s record.

Reep’s many accomplishments have given added credence to the advice he’s given the young powerlifters coming up behind him.

“You think you’re having a good day, then you see a guy who is 20 pounds lighter than you and 15 years older than you double your weight,” said Navy Petty Officer Third Class Caleb Stricklin, corpsman, David R. Ray Branch Health Clinic. “It tells you that he knows what he’s talking about.”

Reep is doing his best to pass on all that he’s learned about the sport as he tries to assemble a full Quantico powerlifting team in time for next spring’s Military Nationals in Atlanta. So far, so good as the young Marines following behind him have begun catching on quickly. Four service members from Marine Corps Base Quantico were among the throng of Washington, D.C.-area service members who competed at the all-comers meet at the Pentagon on Oct. 29. Three Quantico male lifters totaled more than 1,200 pounds in three lifts. Another, Private First Class Tiffany Boyd, data network specialist, Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Center, totaled around 700 pounds.

Boyd, who had limited previous weightlifting experience from high school while throwing the shot put and discus, had taken home a second-place finish after bench pressing 145 pounds during her first meet at Henderson Hall earlier this summer.

“I felt really excited about it,” she said. “It’s something I feel like I really excelled in. I’ve really never gotten into anything like this.”

Cpl. Joshua Horne, combat instructor, The Basic School, echoed similar thoughts about his affinity for power lifting.

“It’s about personal pride,” he said. “I feel more accomplished. It’s fun to be strong.”

That’s just the kind of enthusiasm for the sport that Reep had in mind.

“It’s all about loving the sport, learning from the people around you and trying to make yourself better,” he said.

Those interested in learning more can contact Reep at matthew.a.reep@usmc.mil.

— Writer: jhollis@quanticosentryonline.com