At Swindon Barbell our members are our greatest asset, watching them train and develop is one of the great joys of being part of this club. Today we are taking a deeper look into our membership and what makes them tick! We begin with Mark Townend, the clubs own man mountain who is charging full steam into the Powerlifting scene.

Mark started his sporting life with Rugby, playing at a very high level towards the end of his career. This gave him a drive and dedication to train hard and play harder, but also a fantastic foundation for strength sports. He came to Swindon Barbell in January 2018 and immediately found the same passion that he had enjoyed while on the pitch through his Rugby years for standing on the platform moving huge weights.

Victorious at the All England Championships

In very little time he was training regularly and making huge strides in both strength and technique, which inspired him to enter the Swindon Barbell Bitesize competition in March. He came away from this, his first comp, with an ENORMOUS 520kg total, and the determination to do it again. From the Bitesize he upped his training, learning as much as possible from coaches at Swindon Barbell, and entered the South West Open Championships with a view to qualifying for a much larger comp – the All England Masters Championships. Training hard paid off, and he easily qualified for the All England, walking way from that competition with a whopping 585kg total and a first place medal.

With the fire well and truly lit for competitions Mark has set his sights higher. Equipped lifting, a more technical experience which allows the lifting of even heavier weights. After six weeks intensive training with head coach Charlie he has found his true passion in the sport, but now as he puts it, he has something of a dilema on his hands when it comes to how to approach his training. He explains that “I was keen to focus on an event rather than just training for the sake of training. The competitive calendar didn’t provide any routes to an equipped event in the near future so I decided after consultation with Charlie to focus on the British Masters Classic to be held in Belfast on 20th October with a view to achieving a qualifying total for the British Equipped Championships in January 2019″

So now, with a view to gaining a qualifying total of 642.5kg at the Masters Classic, he is back to training hard under Charlie’s watchful eye. The program, which is spread over 10 weeks, has been challenging for Mark but massively effective. With routines changing every two weeks, and the introduction of new exercises such as tempo squats; first pull deadlifts; rack pulls; and front squats (which he despises) and huge quantities of regular suquats (a new found favourite) there is a lot to fit into each session. But, as Mark says, “all of this variation has kept my training interesting and fresh. The wave style of the program has also enabled me to manage accumulated fatigue, although as I enter week 8 of the preparation I can feel my body starting to cry out for a deload which starts next week.”

Now, with a goal in mind and the competition approaching we at Swindon Barbell are all cheering him on. Qualifying for the Equipped Champs would be a huge step and, if he keeps this up we could see Mark making his way to much larger competitions in the future. With his dedication to consistent training, his incredible work ethic and Swindon Barbell standing behind him, Mark Townend is a man to watch in the comping competition season.


Charlie Marillier

I love Powerlifting