Why Samantha Calhoun Is Someone to Watch At USAPL Raw Nationals

Last week, we wrote about the epic battle that’s unfolding between Amanda Lawrence and Daniella Melo in the -84kg weight class at the 2018 USAPL Raw Nationals. Another epic battle that’s been quietly (or not so quietly) setting itself up over the last few months is taking place in the women’s -63kg weight class.

This weight class hosts some of USAPL’s best raw women’s athletes, and includes athletes like powerlifting legend Jennifer Thompson, Jennifer Millican, and of course the focal point of this article, Samantha Calhoun. This past March we got the chance to see Calhoun lift at the SBD Pro American held at the Arnold Sports Fesitval, and she’s not only a fun athlete to watch, but she’s continually getting closer to being one of the world’s best -63kg athletes.

In June, Calhoun took home second at the IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships finishing a mere 3.5kg behind first place Thompson. On top of that, Calhoun deadlifted a strong 221.5kg IPF Open World Record deadlift at the Championships, which topped powerlifting legend Kimberly Walford’s previous -63kg world record.

Being a top contender in the -63kg weight class, we wanted to highlight and learn more about Calhoun’s current prep and goals for this year’s Raw Nationals.

BarBend: How has prep been for Raw Nationals been compared to the SBD Pro American [the last time we saw you lift] and Worlds?

Calhoun: Training for the Arnold Sports Festival is always the easier prep of the competition year. This is due to the amount of time between Nationals and the Arnold Sports Festival. It gives me plenty of time to rest and recover from Nationals and then slowly ease back into training.

From the Arnold to Worlds, I did not have that luxury. Training volume and intensity had to pick up quickly due to the amount of time in-between competitions. During preparing for Worlds, I experienced an adductor strain that made squatting very difficult. On top of that, I was dealing with added life stresses, which included unexpected travel and that’s never conducive to training.

So far, the hardest part of prepping for Nationals was overcoming the emotional high after Worlds. My training motivation was extremely low for various reasons, which I think is normal. Taking a couple weeks off from programmed training allowed me to regroup and focus. Now, I’m ready to finish what I set out to do since I started powerlifting.

BarBend: Stemming from that last point, what are your main goals for Nationals? 

Calhoun: I’m pretty sure the goals are pretty obvious [haha], and that’s becoming the -63kg National Champion, setting the -63kg American total record, and being Best Overall Lifter. I believe the latter will come as a byproduct of the original goal.

BarBend: We wish you the best, and we’re pumped to see you lift! 

Feature image provided by Samantha Calhoun. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master’s in Sports Science and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,300 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake’s bread-and-butter.

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