Mid-Ohio Valley powerlifter Steve Martin eyeing national records

Photo by Jeff Baughan Steve Martin takes the bar off the bench press support as he trains for an upcoming competition in Huntington. Martin was training with a bench press weight of 505 pounds

PARKERSBURG — Steve Martin paced the floor at the Bent Barbell Club like a tiger pacing behind the steel bars of a zoo while sniffing the handler’s meat wagon.

The weight bar checked in at 505 pounds; yeah, 505 pounds and Martin was looking for bigger weight plates. There was no yelling, no screaming, no growling. Martin lays down and benches 505 pounds, gets up and smiles. Just bench pressed a tag team, next.

Martin, by day, is an independent construction contractor. For two hours, five days a week, he is a United States Powerlifting Federation competitor. At 5-11, 240 pounds and 42 years old, Martin is one of the older USPF competitors and he has been competing, seriously competing, “for about a year,” he said. “I’m in the 40-45 age bracket. Records are determined by age and weight class, so I never thought of myself as a big strong guy but according to my weights at the Absolute Raw USPF competition in November, I am. I really hadn’t thought about it.”

That competition, his first competitive effort, at the Comfort Suites in Mineral Wells, Martin bench pressed 451 bounds, squated 450 pounds and deadlifted 545 pounds.

That was good enough to win his class. “Those weights would be good enough to rank me first nationally,” he said. “Just gotta do the paperwork.”

Photo by Jeff Baughan Steve Martin of Walker takes a break in training at the Bent Barbell Club on Seventh Street in Parkersburg. Martin is a former U.S. Marine and former member of the West Virginia Army National Guard.

His next competition is June 2-3 at the Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington for ther USPF Nationals.

His training schedule includes:

∫ Monday: Bench press and squat

∫ Tuesday: Incline bench press and deadlift

∫ Wednesday: Shoulder and biceps

∫ Thursday: Closed grip bench press and squat

∫ Friday: Deadlift and regular lifting

His calorie intake is approximately 4,000 a day “with most of that protein,” he said. “It’s about 300 grams of protein a day. There are a lot of eggs, and eggs are easy protein, and a lot of protein shakes. I go through a gallon of milk every two days.”

That’s quite a load of calories and protein for anyone, much less a man who weighed 155 pounds when he graduated from St. Marys High School in 1993. “I wrestled my freshman through junior years in the 130-pound class,” he said. “I was not a big guy coming out of high school.”

Martin became a United States Marine from 1994-1998 and then a member of the West Virginia Army National Guard from 2000-2009 when he was medically retired. Martin spent a year in Iraq beginning February of 2004. “I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2006 because I was having trouble sleeping and was medically discharged. I didn’t agree with it but I have found weights help me relax. I can get things out of my head and go someplace else when I’m lifting.

“I know my days of lifting competively are numbered because of my age,” he continued. “But there is the United States Powerlifting Association and the record there is 528 pounds so I am pushing for that. To set a record, you have to do it in a national competition. Technically, I’m tops in the USPF but someone has me beat by 20 pounds so I’m going after that.”

Martin said there are times where the heavy weight is an ego boost and a time when it is a sense of accomplishment.

“It’s an ego boost when some younger guy comes over and goes ‘did you lift all that?’ and is all bug-eyed,” he said. “I’ll tell him ‘yeah, I did that,'” and Martin walks with a smile and some swagger in his step. “Yeah, that’s the ego boost but when you have done it by yourself with no one around, that’s a sense of accomplishment.”

Martin lives in Walker with his wife Jamie, and children, Samantha and Gabriel. He said there is a big advantage to being a strong guy at times. “Samantha is a freshman at Parkersburg South and a pretty decent soccer player,” he said. “But sometimes these teenaged boys show up at the front door and I have to scare them off,” he laughed and smirked as only the father of a teenaged daughter can. “I mean, you can get a gun or get guns,” he said with a slang reference to large biceps. “So I got guns. I just want to scare them, not hurt them.”