Eighth-Grader Weighs 119 Pounds, Can Deadlift 300, Wants Your Lunch Money

  • Rick Chandler

The only two things really Schwarzeneggerian about this 14-year old is his name — Jake Schellenschlager — and I guess his physique. Only in the eighth grade, Jake deadlifted 300 pounds at his latest powerlifting competition. That’s more than twice his own weight of 119, and just doesn’t seem right for a middle schooler with so many freckles.

When I was in middle school, there was a rumor that one of the eighth graders could bench press 190 pounds — and we thought he was a God. Jake deadlifts 100 pounds more, and enters powerlifting competitions all over the country. That’s a thing now, according to the Washington Post.

Jake is one of thousands of teens who compete across the country, according to USA Powerlifting, an organization responsible for sanctioning local and regional powerlifting events. Christy Cardella, a state chairman for the organization, said the youngest competitive powerlifters are 14, and there are several high school powerlifting associations across the country with several thousand members. But there are also youth programs, where children start as young as 8 to lift for fun.

Controversial? You bet. Some contend that all 14-year-olds should be lifting is groceries and leaf bags.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics supports strength training for teenage athletes, it cautions against teens who powerlift while their bodies are still growing.

“Powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting sports are different because they usually are involving maximum lifts — the squat, bench press and the dead lift,” said Paul Stricker, a youth sports medicine specialist at the Scripps Health Clinic in San Diego and fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“There is high risk to heavy maximal lifts or explosive lifts during their rapid growth phrase,” said Stricker, one of eight physicians who worked with the U.S. Olympic team in Sydney. “That is our biggest caution. We just don’t recommend they do maximal lifts or explosive lifts until they have finished the majority of their growth spurt,” especially if they aren’t being properly supervised

Jake has been weight training since age 12, and how could you not when your dad looks like this?