Jerry Alaniz was introduced to weightlifting five years ago as a high school junior.
Since then, he’s dedicated himself to the sport, trained relentlessly and become a top-notch competitor.
“I just fell in love with powerlifting,” Alaniz said. ‘I went all the way to the (THSPA) state championships my first year (competing as a high school senior).”
The 22-year-old’s personal bests are fairly impressive with a bench press of 500 pounds, a dead lift of 700 pounds and a squat lift of 635 pounds.
“It’s ironic because when I first started, my dead lift wasn’t at all my best lift, but now it is because I really put some focus into it,” he said. “I at least want to continue competing until I’m in my 30s.”
This week, Alaniz, a 2013 graduate of Med High in the Mid-Valley, is making his third trip to the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters Championships (WABDL) in Las Vegas. The event starts Saturday.
He won gold medals competing at the last two WABDL Championships in the 165-pound weight class. This time he’ll compete in the weight class for 181-pounders since he now weighs 173 pounds.
“My ultimate goal is to be inducted into the WABDL Hall of Fame, and in order to do that, you have to win five consecutive years (at the Las Vegas meet),” Alaniz said. “My first two years I not only won, but I set WABDL records both times (for combined pounds in the two lifts).”
His total two years ago was a record 1,030 pounds (630 dead lift, 400 bench press) at the WABDL Championships. That mark was broken last year when he finished with a 1,079-pound total (644 dead lift, 435 bench press).
Alaniz trains at the Lean Fitness Centers gym in Harlingen and resides outside the city limits between Harlingen and La Feria.
“I may be at a little bit of a disadvantage this time because I’m now competing at 181 pounds and not 165,” he said. “But I’m going to do my best. You never know what might happen.”
Alaniz, who holds down a job while pursuing a degree in kinesiology at UT-Rio Grande Valley, said his main source of support is his family. He and his wife, Jasmine Alaniz, celebrated their first year of marriage in July.
“My greatest motivation is my wife and my family,” he said. “They’ve supported me a lot during the past years that I’ve been powerlifting by always encouraging me. I owe it all to my wife’s family, too, because they always help (also) with fundraising. They make sure we get to go to Las Vegas for these WABDL meets (with fundraisers).”
Alaniz said his primary influences to do well in powerlifting have been Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ed Coan, who is credited as the first person to dead lift 901 pounds.
It’s a matter of being dedicated when pursuing a goal, Alaniz said.
“I know people can succeed with their passions and goals in life,” he said. “All you have to do is set a big goal for yourself and follow through. Yes, it’s hard, but if you continue and continue and continue with it and put forth the effort, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. It takes discipline and my father-in-law (Santiago Quiroz of Harlingen) has helped me out with the discipline part.
“I just want to give my utmost and give my competition the best effort I can (in Las Vegas),” Alaniz added. “If I can win again, that will be another year in a row with a gold medal for the Valley.”