One year on, Big Bear Club moves from strength to strength

Chris McNaghten
Chris McNaghten

Big Bear Powerlifting club will soon be celebrating its one year anniversary and its members aim to round off its first 12 months in style!

On September 14 the Larne-based club will send a 12-strong team - nine men and three women - to compete in the Northern Ireland Push Pull championships.

The Bears head to Garvagh for the event where they will be among an expected 80 lifters. Their strength will be put to the test in deadlift and benchpress disciplines.

Serveral months ago, after the success the club has been enjoying, Chris McNaghten joined up with Andrew Falconer of Just Active gym to develop a separate ladies’ club. “There was a huge swell of ladies in Larne who tried out powerlifting and that has now settled down to between 10-15 members who train regularly. But we’re always looking for more to come and try it out.

“We have three ladies ready for competition and gearing up for the Push Pull in September, which is brilliant. We weren’t expecting such great progress so soon.”

“We got a real surprise in the interest women had in powerlifting,” he admitted. “I think it’s because it’s something so different that makes it so interesting. Our main focus is strength and conditioning based around powerlifting, but we also have circuits and fitness workouts at every session.”

Throughout the year the Big Bear club has had massive success. In March it hosted the Northern Ireland Deadlift Championships which turned out to be one of the the best powerlifting competitions Northern Ireland has ever seen.

The club has grown to a total of 23 members and has held multiple events for charities and throughout the community.

In October the Bears have two members heading to England to compete in the British Classic. Junior club member Ethan Brownlee had a huge success in the Max Power qualifier for the British championships and won his group sending him onwards, while Chris McNaghten also qualified in the 120+ senior category. Both men leave for battle with October 12. Earlier in the year, Robert Newman competed in the British Bench Press championship and earned a solid result.

“Im very proud of the club and the success it has had over the last year,” added McNaghten. “The members have developed so much and we have a solid, competive team. For a sport that was almost non-exsistent a year ago, the Big Bear club is now a big part of Larne.

“I encourage anyone to come and try out powerlifting. It’s not as big and scary as you think. The club is like one big family and it’s great fun. Anyone aged 15 and above is welcome to come and give it a go. It’s a brilliant sport that has many, many opportunites and a buzz like no other!”