Powerlifter Chakera Holcomb On Self Improvement and Pushing Limits

That Chakera (CC) Holcomb — she’s so hot right now in powerlifting. Check out her list of accomplishments:

  • All-time world record squat in sleeves and wraps (82.5 kg class)
  • All-time world record total in sleeves and wraps (82.5 kg class)
  • All-time world record deadlift (82.5 kg class)
  • All-time best Wilks in sleeves and wraps for any weight class
  • US Open best female lifter for all weight classes

Most athletes would consider that a pretty impressive career resume. But that’s not Holcomb’s career accomplishments — those are just the marks she set in the span of one month!


Needless to say, Holcomb makes a pretty good bet for best raw powerlifter of all time, but she’s not stopping now. I had the chance to talk with Holcomb and ask her about her training, her future performances, and her motivations for lifting.

Congratulations on your performance at the US Open! When you have a big meet like that, how do you determine your goals? Is your first priority to win, to set records, or to just do your best?

“Thank you so much! When I’m in preparation for my competition, [whether] I’m looking to improve my numbers, technique, or Wilks, my goal is to always to perform better than my previous performance. I’ve found that I can’t focus on winning, setting records, or even being the best. You never know what can happen on meet day, so I focus putting my best foot forward every single day.”


One of the most impressive things about your lifting is how balanced your strength is across the squat, bench press, and deadlift. How do you structure your training to make sure that one lift doesn’t take priority over the others?

“My genetics contribute greatly to me being a well balanced lifter. I structure my programming around making sure I thoroughly work on all three lifts.”

You hold all-time world records in the squat both with and without knee wraps. How differently do you train for squatting in wraps versus sleeves?

“I started off being a wrapped lifter, but recently, I switched to sleeves to work on correcting technical [issues] that I was experiencing in my squat and to build raw strength. Now, I train more in my sleeves than I do wraps.”

Author’s note: if you’re just starting out with knee wraps, or if you started out as a sleeved squatter, remember that there’s a learning curve to wraps. If you’re not an elite lifter like CC, don’t expect to just train your sleeved squat and expect to smash records in wraps.


You’ve won meets and earned records in multiple weight classes. How do you decide what bodyweight to compete at? How do you change your diet when you want to move up or down?

“Determining what weight class I’m going to compete depends on my strength goals for that particular meet. If the weight cut will hinder my strength, I don’t cut. I fluctuate between weight classes through carbohydrate manipulation.”

What is your favorite thing about powerlifting?

“Powerlifting is not about what cosmetics, genetics, or social status. Powerlifting is about pushing yourself to being the best version of yourself possible, because the iron never lies!”


What is the biggest mistake you see beginning or intermediate lifters making?

“The biggest mistake I see beginning or intermediate lifters making is worrying too much about their bodyweight and Wilks score. In the beginning, I focused on being strong.”

CC’s next meet will be the USPA Tribute meet on August 25, in San Antonio, Texas. There’s no telling what kind of records she’ll smash there, but she’s sure to put on an amazing show!

Feature image from @c.c_holcomb Instagram page.