Team Insanity talks about the Insanity Meets, Sanity and Insanity

Create: 10/11/2015 - 07:52
==================== BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION - This is a Germany based powerlifting team/project/meets. Their insight on the sport is very different from ours. Do pay special attention to what you are reading: powerlifting is a dimension of culture and, as such, rich and diverse. ===================== PLW – Please tell us a little about your team. If possible, give us a brief description of the powerlifting scene in Germany Tobi, TI - Let’s start with the scene we have here. Like in most, maybe all, countries, at first there was just the local IPF affiliate hosting powerlifting meets. Then, other feds started popping up because of differing ideas over the rules and regulations. So at the moment, I know about the BVDK (German IPF), GRAWA (has a lot of strongmen competing, single lift meets only, no testing, known as the IRP internationally), GDFPF (WDFPF affiliate, focus on strict drug testing) and what I would call the somewhat WPC-like federations. I feel like there may be 5 or more of those but I know little about them other than that they allow the use of monolifts, offer a myriad of categories when it comes to equipment (suits, wraps etc.) and, to my knowledge, don’t drug test. I have to add that I mostly just know the RAW lifting scene, so I can’t speak much for the situation in single ply or multi ply lifting here. And I am sure I left out a lot of federations that I just don’t know because I haven’t competed there. But the overabundance of federations is quite normal for powerlifting anyway, isn’t it? Basically though, it looks like in most parts of the world. The IPF has few lifters in local meets where a medal is almost always guaranteed but mostly some level of competition when it comes to national championships. And the latter have been growing over the last couple of years. The level of competition there is also tied to the weight classes. In some, you can easily get a medal, in others, not so much. Other federations host their championships as well but most of the time, those are just ways to get easy medals. I have had my fair share of international titles as well, just because I had no competition in my category. And then there are the unaffiliated meets. Until last year, I think there was only one, the Bembel Man. It was almost legendary among German lifters for its atmosphere and gathered the greats of many federations as well as absolute beginners on one platform (this is actually where Mostovenko broke the All-Time-Record last year). They’ve changed the name to Bembel 2.0 and I think the head organizer has stepped down (don’t quote me on that, though), this year. Apart from that there is the Insanity Meet now and also Andrej Mostovenko is working on his own meet to take place next year, for the first time. However, like in the rest of the world, most people in Germany who train the powerlifts don’t actually compete (yet). Many just do it and don’t even know about the actual sport. Now, the team came to be around 2012, I think. Basically, we were just a couple of lifters, some knowing others beforehand, who met on the platform, kept in touch via Facebook and talked lifting science (and a fair bit of trash) to get everyone of us better at the sport we do and love. The name ‘Team Insanity’ just appeared one day because some of us aspire All-Time-Record glory and other seemingly stupid and megalomaniac achievements. From there, we just went with it and gathered a couple more members, 16 at the time of this interview. The binding element of the team is not the region we’re from or what else we do in life, it is just to help each other improve and have some fun along the way. I like to think of it as a return of the iron brotherhood, at least in some regards. PLW – When did you start the Insanity Meets? What did you have in mind since then? Did you notice it attracting any special type of lifter? From anywhere in particular in Europe? Tobi, TI - The inaugural Insanity Meet took place just last year in Berlin with about 50 lifters competing. Originally, we didn’t even want to host a real meet. We had just planned to meet up ourselves, post about it online, so others could come as well, if they wanted and maybe get a little trophy for the best lifter of the day. However, as we kept having ideas on how to do it and heard that people were interested we decided to just go for it and make it a real powerlifting competition. We have thought about hosting other meets, e.g. a deadlift meet could be an interesting addition as the deadlift is usually the simplest but also the most fun part of a meet or maybe a pro-edition like an invitational event. However, for now, we’re concentrating on our main event. Interestingly, there is no special kind of lifter attending our meets. We have a lot of beginner and intermediate lifters but also athletes who compete on a national and even international level (IPF and others). I think that what we offer isn’t really catering to any special kind of lifter. You see, it is all about the lifters, the perfect platform, a great atmosphere and lifting as much as you can. Who wouldn’t enjoy attempting a PR on the platform while their own favourite song is playing at full volume and being surrounded by dozens of other lifters shouting words of motivation. If you add fair judging (we try to go by as few rules as possible, those that really make sense, but enforce them just right. Not too strictly, not too generously and when in doubt, rule in favour of the lifter), good equipment and the big flashy trophies in the end, who could dislike that? Concerning where our participants are from, most are German, simply because the event is still new and is hosted in Germany. But news of the meet is spreading quickly, so that may just change in the future. PLW – Insanity: why? What is sanity and what is insanity for you? You all look to be having a lot of fun: is powerlifting insanity sane? Tobi, TI - Of course we aren’t truly insane but some people may argue that, jokingly. Looking at it in an extreme way, sane would mean going the safe route, not daring to try too much, not going too heavy, keeping your ambition at bay and not causing any trouble or controversy. That may be a good way to live and lift for some but others just want something different. As fun as just doing the sport can be, what really drives us is our dreams of big achievements in the future, reaching for the stars and maybe a few world records here and there. And isn’t that what powerlifting is about for a lot of people? Beforehand, you never know where your limits may be. You may think that others are just born strong and that you may improve but never reach that level. But then there is that glimmer of hope that fuels your ambition that keeps you pushing for more and going forward. And before long you may surpass whatever you thought impossible for yourself and get to an entirely different level. For a sport as young and unpopular as powerlifting, this is just the kind of thinking we need to evolve and one day approach the real limits of human potential. If you think like that you are bound to be called insane once or twice (I know I have). But it sure is fun to surprise yourself with big lifts every now and then, if you keep working for that big dream. And who doesn’t like a few words of grandeur and over the top thinking to get excited about something? PLW – What are Insanity Meets’ highlights? Best moments since it started? Tobi, TI - I’ll have to think a bit about that one. What stuck in my head from last year was how one of our team mates, Fabian Gerritzen, pulled 300 kg/661 lbs for the first time. It may not sound like a huge lift compared to what a Belyaev or a Magnusson do but you don’t see a lot of people lift that kind of weight even in national competitions, regardless of bodyweight. Other than that I can think of a lot of great moments from this year. Mostly deadlift moments, though. For some reason, deadlifting is always the time to go nuts in any powerlifting meet I have been to. For example, when one of your team mates jumped from a 270 kg/595 lbs deadlift, which is 5 kg/11 lbs below his personal best, to 300 kg/661 lbs on his third attempt and pulled it to his knees, you were bound to get some tinnitus from all the shouting and yelling that was going on. Or when another team mate, Jaari Ott, did not even want to know what he was going for in his third attempt, let one of us decide what he was capable of and then pulled 22.5 kg/50 lbs more than his previous PR that he had just set on the platform to give him a meet total PR of 722.5 kg/1593 lbs, which is 107.5 kg/237 lbs more than his previous best meet total, without even knowing how much it was. That was quite insane. And then of course Andrej Mostovenko’s 11 good attempts for an inofficial (counting his fourth attempts) 820 kg/1808 lbs total at 84.9 kg/187 lbs bodyweight were just something to behold in awe. He also has a certain air about him when he is in powerlifting mode. Tunnel vision, intensity and a couple of shouted quips and taunts (well-meant, for sure). Andrej and Fabian had an awesome battle going on in the deadlift where Mostovenko pulled 320 kg/705 lbs on his third attempt (his fourth of 330 kg/727 lbs did not count toward meet results), 10 kg/22 lbs more than Fabian, but he weighed in 8 kg/17 lbs heavier, so Fabi took the overall deadlift trophy with a 4 x bodyweight pull of 310 kg/683 lbs @ 76.9 kg/170 lbs. There are a lot more stories like this. Huge PRs, people just about getting their third to not bomb out and the crowd going absolutely insane to support them or some competing despite still being injured and faring surprisingly well (there were a few 50 kg/110 lbs jumps in the squat and deadlift by someone who had planned to just squat the empty bar). I guess you just have to have been there to really feel the energy of what was going on. I wouldn’t miss any of it. PLW – What are your plans for the future? Tobi, TI - While we do have ideas like a deadlift meet or a pro meet, the main goal is to make the Insanity Meet we have even better. We are always surprised at how well it is received but there is still room for improvement, as well. For example, we had to use a power cage for squatting once again, which does work but takes a lot of time to set up. With a monolift or a rack with levers we could simply save a lot of time and let more people compete. Also we need to make sure to get thinner plates. Mostovenko’s last deadlift almost didn’t fit on the bar. There are lots of these little things that could be done better, all to give the athletes a better platform to lift on. Other than that, we just want it to become bigger, attract more internationally successful lifters but also to get more beginners into the sport to help it grow. We could add live streaming, too, or edit the footage we got adding some display graphics, so you could watch it like weightlifting on TV. Eventually, we want to make our meet a household name of international significance. But not just for the sake of being that but because we believe in our principles and, I see a recurring theme here, to give back to the sport we love. In the end, it’s just a meet hosted by lifters for the lifters. Andrej Jaari Mateusz Volk, who jumped from 270 kg to 300 kg on his last deadlift Fabi Contact information:


Submitted by Team McCloskey on