After his collegiate career as a cross country runner ended, Brindlee Mountain teacher and coach Evan Lemons was looking for a new sport to compete in.
He found power lifting and he is definitely making his mark in the sport.
At the recent Ultimate Warrior meet in Birmingham, Coach Lemons weighed in at 180.1 pounds. He then proceeded to put up these numbers:
Squat - 295 kg or 650.4 lbs. (State Record)
Bench - 182.5 kg or 402.3 lbs.
Deadlift - 285 kg or 628.3 lbs.
Total - 762.5 kg or1681 lbs. (State Record)
It was good enough for 1st place in the men’s 82.5 kg. Classic Raw Division and he was named Overall Male Ultimate Warrior Champion Best Lifter.
Coach Lemons, a Brindlee alum, ran cross country and track collegiately at the University of West Alabama. When he finished school at the age of 22, he started lifting with his brother-in-law Justin Bone. Coach Lemons’ early numbers were much, much less than what he does now.
“I might have been squatting in the mid-200s and benching 145 to 150 pounds,” Coach Lemons said. He was 22 then. He is 30 now.
He found that lifting is similar to running a far as the training regimen goes.
“It’s about consistency,” he said. “You can’t go into the gym and max out every single day. You have to have a game plan. You have to train your central nervous system to handle that kind of weight. It’s like running to build endurance. You have to set a pace to handle a certain amount of weight just like you’ve got to set a pace to run for a long period of time.”
He and Justin trained on their own for years. But Coach Lemon hit a stretch where he was dealing with more injuries than he wanted.
“I was going too heavy and trying to lift too much before a meet,” Coach Lemons said. “I threw in the towel and said I was getting a coach.”
His coach, Ronald Tarvin, took him from a max of 1315 on the three lifts to 1681 in less than 3 years. Coach Lemon has now set 3 state records in the squat, breaking his own record each time.
For a long time, the deadlift was his favorite lift. But he’s had so much success lately with the squat that it has become his favorite.
Coach Lemons normally trains 5 days a week at Willmore Fitness in Guntersville.
“When I first started, I thought it would be really cool to squat 600, deadlift 600 and bench 400,” he said.
He has eclipsed those numbers now and he hopes to build upon them even more.
“My coach doesn’t want me doing a lot of local meets now,” Coach Lemons said. “He wants me to throw my hat into some bigger meets.”
He hopes to get into the Kern, the U.S. Open of powerlifting, held annually in California. It would be next spring and he would tune up by doing a nearby meet in December or January.
His coach would like him to go to a meet in Australia. But that would be very difficult, Coach Lemons acknowledged.
“I literally coach all year long,” he said. “I have supportive parents and students and they know this is something I do on the side. But it would be hard to be gone a week.”
He coaches boys and girls cross country, girls and boys varsity track, JV basketball and is the varsity strength and conditioning coach for every sport on the Brindlee Mountain campus.
“The county school system really does not have a specific position of strength and conditioning coach,” Coach Lemons said. “We had to do some maneuvering to make the time work out. But we have been doing it a year and a half. We have several kids on the boys basketball team who can dunk now. We had an athlete win a girls state championship in track. We have more kids out for football than we’ve had in awhile. It’s paying off.”
There is a mental aspect to lifting weights. A lot of power lifters get worked up and channel the rage. Coach Lemons is the opposite. He stays as calm as possible until it’s go time.
“I guess it’s like a hurricane,” he said. “The backside of the storm gets rough pretty quick.”
The showing at the recent meet put him in the Top 10 in the world in his weight class when it comes to lifting. He said it’s a waiting game to see just where he falls in those rankings, who’s ahead of him and if he gets the invite to the Kern.