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Lisbon's Arremony sets powerlifting world record

Lisbon’s Matt Arremony didn’t put a lot of effort into training for the United States Powerlifting Association Drug Tested Autumn Classic, a powerlifting competition held Oct. 24 in Scituate, Mass.

Arremony still managed to set a USPA world record in the deadlift.

Arremony, 22, deadlifted 678 pounds, over four times his body weight (147 pounds) to win the 148-pound weight class as well as establishing the world record.

“I hadn’t really been able to train much because there’s just been a lot things going on in terms of applying for school, working, visiting my girlfriend, just trying to balance everything,” Arremony said. “It was more or less just a thing I was doing for fun to see how I was feeling.

“I just kind of wanted to do one to see how I’d do, but it wasn’t anything like I was going in with set goals or trying to set records or do anything like that. It was just sort of circumstance.”

Arremony became very good at powerlifting fast. The Norwich Free Academy and UConn graduate never lifted until he was 17. He had practiced taekwondo for 13 years and stuck with calisthenics as he considered going into the military.

“I started lifting weights because I wanted to get stronger for martial arts,” Arremony said. “Then I realized I liked lifting more than the martial arts themselves, so I switched focus.

“I didn’t even really think about (competing). I just liked the fact that I was getting strong. Some of my friends at the time were lifting weights and I was able to catch up to them really fast, which was also exciting.”

A year later, Arremony finished second across all age groups in the deadlift in the 145-pound division (451.9 pounds) at the 2016 USA Powerlifting Massachusetts and Rhode Island Open State Championships.

Arremony went to study biological sciences at UConn, where some of his friends encouraged him to seek out Ryan Gleason from Derby to help with his training.

“He pushed me to do more heavier work,” Arremony said. “Before I started working with him, I did a lot of repetitions and didn’t really do too much heavier (lifting). … I wasn’t conditioned enough to do that. He steered me toward that specificity angle.”

Lifting became almost a part-time job for Arremony, as he’d train four hours a day, five days a week.

“I would go four hours straight,” Arremony said. “I would even have food while I was doing a session. I’d have a shake or something like that. When I was at UConn, sometimes I would leave the gym in the middle of a workout, go to class still in my workout clothes, my workout gear, and go right back to the gym as soon as the class ended and kept doing what I was doing.”

Arremony pulled 639.3 pounds at the 2018 USAPL Raw Nationals to win the Raw Junior Division and set a USAPL world record, then took time off. More than two years later, he set another world record, but had mixed feelings about it.

“I was a little unhappy because I’ve lifted a lot more than what I lifted at the competition in training, but it was just a different day, different time,” he said. “Because I didn’t prepare as well for this competition, I just wasn’t that much stronger.

“It was nice, but at the same time the trade-off was I wished I was able to come in at my best because it’s not representative of my full capability, which is always disappointing because I don’t know when I'm going to be able to lift in the future because things might get a little more busy.”

Arremony is hoping to get into dental school. He has looked at UConn-Farmington as well as Boston University.

“You can really work with your hands and do a lot to help people,” Arremony said about his interest in dentistry. “The field is advancing so much in a technical aspect. I think in the next few years they're going to start incorporating a lot more things like 3D imaging and 3D printing to do things that they can’t do right now. I think it’s very, very interesting.

“I want to take a break from competition for now. … I’m just going to (lift) for enjoyment’s sake, but if I can get stronger and I can set PRs (personal records), I’m still going to try. I don’t think it’s ever going to stop in that sense. I’m never going to stop trying to get stronger.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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