Powerlifter Natalie Richards is undoubtedly an athlete to watch in 2022. She hit three USA Powerlifting (USAPL) records at the 2021 USAPL Virginia Pro at a bodyweight of 58 kilograms, including her lifetime PR squat of 172.5 kilograms (380.3 pounds). Just over a month later, the 22-year-old took to her Instagram page on Jan. 10, 2022, to share a video wherein she scored a 175-kilogram (385.8-pound) squat at her competition bodyweight. The new PR came with a grind that could make even the most stoic viewers wince as she hoisted the weight cleanly to lockout.
Check out Richards’ squat PR below. She wore knee sleeves, a lifting belt, and wrist wraps for the lift. This lift is all the more unique because she hit it in the middle of her high-volume squat workout. Before her PR, she hit two triples with 145 kilograms (319.7 pounds) on the barbell, and after her PR, she hit two sets of 130 kilograms (286.6 pounds) for five reps each.
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As previously mentioned, Richards weighed in at competition bodyweight the day of her training session, which means the above squat PR is three times her bodyweight. Although it is valuable to know progress is being made when new PRs are hit, Richards did not seem fully satisfied with the quality of the rep:
Once I figure out my 45 problems with squat it’ll be fine. It is cool to bust out a random PR mid-volume, but also I’m so angry with this grind. We shall take it for now.
Despite being early in her powerlifting career, Richards’ competitive resume has only known the top of the podium, except for the USAPL Virginia Pro, which ranked all powerlifters by DOTs. According to Open Powerlifting, she holds gold medals from the following contests:
- 2019 USAPL Fall Festival of Power
- 2020 USAPL North Carolina Qualifier
- 2020 USAPL SC State Championship
- 2021 USAPL Carolina Primetime
The only athlete to beat Richards at the 2021 USAPL Virginia Pro was Ashton Rouska, who scored two USAPL records of his own at that contest at a bodyweight of 103.3 kilograms (227.7 pounds). Judging by her training efforts and awareness of flaws in her technique, expect another potential gold-medal performance decorated by new PRs when Richards steps into the spotlight at her next sanctioned meet.
Featured image: @nat_lifting on Instagram