by Tomás Cuddihy uploaded 17th Feb 2014


On the 9/2/14 Brian Forbes was inducted into the IDFPA Hall Of fame. Brian, along with John West, Mark Lane and Tom Coyle, is one of the people who set the ball in motion for the rest of us and kept the standard high in powerlifting. Brian, like the others mentioned, finds PED’s abhorrent and has proved by all he has achieved that great strength need not be allied to the abuse of drugs.


Brian’s training is interesting because he went his own way. One work set, all out, reminiscent of the high intensity approach. Brian thought about what he was doing and developed a method of training that suited him. We would do well to learn from him. Blind adherence to a system followed by the multitude may not be the best approach.


Most reading this will be new to the sport

and unaware that a history beyond our

span in the IDFPA exists. The men, for it

is all men up to now but that will change,

in the Hall Of fame were instrumental in

building an association that rejected

performance enhancing drugs and pursued

the sport of powerlifting for the purest of

reasons. That is the joy of fair competition

and the betterment of oneself and ones fellows.


We congratulate Brian on all that he has achieved in and for the sport of powerlifting in Ireland and hereby immortalise him in our Hall Of Fame.


This is his story:

Brian was one of the founder members with John West of the IDFPA in 1997, and the drug-free ethos of the association has been the inspiration for a powerlifting career spanning some 24 years and including National, European, and World Championships .Brian had been interested in weight training since his teens, but did not begin powerlifting until his late twenties when in 1986 he met Andy Bonner, George and Ben Stoneman, and Peter Bedford, thefounder members of the Basingstoke Powerlifting Club in Hampshire in 1986.


With their coaching and drug-free approach he learnt how to lift and compete. He became the first club member to qualify for a BAWLA British Championships, where he lifted equipped in the 52 kg class 162.5 –95 – 185 for a 440 kg total. At this point the club became disillusioned with the ineffective drug- testing policies, and moved to the newly-formed BDFPA. The move gave members new motivation,and Brian went on to lift equipped in the 52 kg class 170 – 97.5 – 192.5 for a 460 kg total (440 Schwartz points) in the 1997 World Championships. He also managed to lift 182.5 – 102.5 - 197.5 for a 482.5 total at 56 kg in the 1999 Wold Championships.


He gradually changed to unequipped lifting, and at the National Championships in 2002 lifted 150 – 107.5 – 190 for a total of 447.5 kg at abodyweight of 60 kg. He produced a 400 kg total at the 2008 European Championships in the 56 kg class comprising 130 – 95 – 175. At his retirement competition in the 2010 National Championships and on the eve of his 52nd birthday, he set new senior world records for the 52 kg class including a120.5 squat, a 160.5 deadlift, and a 357.5 kg total.


His early training was based on working up to one working set of 5 repetitions, then dropping back to one light set of ten repetitions. Squat and bench press were worked twice a week, once as heavy as possible, and once with relatively low effort. The deadlift was done only once a week. Assistance exercises were narrow bench press, triceps reverse curls, heavy shrugs, and some very light sets of ten repetitions on the auxiliary muscle groups.


Competition preparation was usually about four weeks for equipped lifting. Dieting to make the weight class would start about eight to ten weeks prior to the competition day, and was based on maintaining the proportions of low fat, medium carbohydrates, and high protein but stepping down the quantities over the weeks. When he moved to unequipped lifting, he experimented with lower volume training, and favoured once weekly training, working all three lifts together for singles as if in a competition. This allowed a longer buildup, synchronised with the required dieting, and gave time to psychologically prepare.


It also allowed for hard sessions of up to two and half hours to be performed with sufficient recovery in time for the next session. Fifteen minutes of stretching was done each day and an aerobic activity, usually a cycle for one to two hours, was done once a week. Following retirement, the regime is a once a week whole body workout of three to six sets of between ten and twenty repetitions with light weights. He also cycles between two to four hours a week.He attributes his long career in powerlifting to the existence of the IDFPA, the BDFPA, and the WDFPF, which provided a drug-free environment and competitions where dedicated athletes could learn to train and compete.


Brian feels he received enormous encouragement from the women and men he lifted with over the years, and is particularly grateful for the work by the referees, officials, and administrators who make the IDFPA run in a professional manner. He says that it is their work which lets lifters lift!




Tomás Cuddihy PT

The story of Hall of Famer Brian Forbes