GROTON — Shannon Lang competes in soccer, basketball and softball. But her favorite competition is against herself, and she has four world records and four state records since September to show it.
Lang, 17, of Groton, is just 4-foot-11 and 114 pounds. Her sport? Power lifting.
“It’s me versus me,” she said. “There is nobody else in my weight class.”
Groton High School teacher and football coach Mick LeVick approached Lang last spring to see if she’d be interested in power lifting.
“I knew she was very active in sports,” LeVick said. “She has a good personality for this.”
“I like everything else, so why not try this,” Lang said.
Since September, Lang has set four International Powerlifting Association state records for the squat lift, bench press, deadlift and total for the 114-pound teen division.
She also set three association world records: in the squat lift, dead lift and total. Lang also broke the bench press world record with a 115-pound bench press, one pound more than her own body weight.
Diet and practice are the two most important aspects of Lang’s training. Lang’s diet includes a balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, LeVick said with plenty of greens, fish, chicken, meat and eggs.
When beginning her training, LeVick taught Lang the correct forms needed for lifting, he said. After that, Lang began lifting and slowly increased the weight.
It’s all in the hamstrings. By using her legs, Lang is able to lift up to twice her body weight. Lang started out deadlifting 95 pounds and it wasn’t long until that number began to climb. “She learned quickly,” LeVick said.
Lang received support from her coach, who she refers to her “fitness father,” and from her family, too.
Still, Lang didn’t want them at her first competition so she could concentrate. Both showed up, anyhow.
While her training has taught her how to handle and lift weights without injury, Lang has had one minor injury. In February she injured her hamstring, but after taking it easy during February break she was good to go.
“Shannon is one of the best (I’ve coached),” LeVick said. “She has no fear.”