Christina Ullman to defend world powerlifting records at national meet
“Next to the platform is Christina Ullman. This is a state, American, and world record attempt.”
Those are words Ullman never expected to hear from a powerlifting meet announcer. At age 49, she didn’t really plan to compete in powerlifting. It just sort of happened.
“I was doing circuit training to prepare for the ITU Duathlon World Championships and my coach wanted me to do some heavy deadlifts,” Ullman says, who is coached by Mitchel Wolfe at Reno Fitness Center. “He kept adding more weight to the bar until I maxed out, then asked if I ever considered competing in powerlifting. I said, ‘I’m game.’ The next week I signed up for my first meet.”
That was November, 2019. Eight months, four meets, and 24 records later, Ullman is competing in two powerlifting federations: American Powerlifting Association (World Powerlifting Alliance) and United States Powerlifting Association (USPA). She currently holds 10 APA-WPA world records in her weight class in the 45-49 raw division, which she intends to break again July 11 in Martinsburg, WV, at the APA National Championships.
“I’m confident that I will surpass the records I set at the APA Regional since I have done so in training multiple times,” Ullman says. Ullman competed in the APA WV Western Regional Powerlifting Championships held at the Bent Barbell Club in Parkersburg in March.
Ullman trains five days each week to prepare for her competitions: three heavy lifting days at Reno Fitness Center, and two days in her basement gym. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down gyms and other fitness facilities, Ullman and Wolfe had a plan to keep her training on track. With a basement large enough for weight equipment, Wolfe loaned Ullman a bar and enough weight plates to allow her to continue training at home until facilities opened again.
“I am very fortunate have a coach who supports me and who understands this is more than training to me,” Ullman acknowledges. “I’m very competitive with myself, so I would have been personally disappointed if I was not able to train and improve to compete at meets this summer and fall.”
The personal competition is what attracted Ullman to duathlon races and powerlifting, who says both sports share a sense of community and other similarities.
“They might seem worlds apart, but both are really about improving yourself and being your best–setting your best time or lifting your best weight,” Ullman observes. “Everyone at the powerlifting meets and at the gym is so supportive. They really want you to do your best.”
Ullman will have her chance to do just that in several meets this summer and fall: USPA Maryland State Championships on August 1; USPA National Championships on September 5; and the WPA World Championships on September 19.
What does Ullman plan for these competitions? Two words: Be fearless.
“I never thought I would be competing in powerlifting at all, especially at my age,” Ullman says. “I only have room to improve.”
Christina Ullman is the owner of Ullman Design and Sauced! Handcrafted Sauces in Marietta. She lives in Graysville, Ohio, with her husband Keith. She has two sons: Michael, 23, and Jonathan, 20.