This week Bill Carne goes back to the ever-growing sport of power lifting to talk to Aaron Hoskings, a Pembrokeshire man who is already lifting huge weights and has four World Championship gold medals already as proof of his ability . . .

AT 31 years of age Aaron Hoskings is the proud holder of several gold medals from World Power lifting Championships and the holder of world records with his ability to lift huge weights in the squat, bench press and dead lift categories of his chosen sport.

To put things into perspective, Aaron has a personal best in the squat of 375kgs, or over 56 stone, which is treble his own weight, or the equivalent of 14 bags of potatoes. Throw in personal bests of 230kgs in the bench press and 295kgs in the dead lift for a combined total of 900 kgs and it is easy to see why top power lifter Paul Murphy described Aaron as a ‘real beast’!

It is an amazing statistic considering the fact the he only decided to compete three years ago after being previously involved in the gym just to keep fit alongside the afore-mentioned multi-world champion Mr Murphy and generally lending a hand. Aaron took to it straight away and one side product of his building muscle and being very fit is the fact that his weight moved up from 100 kgs to 125 kgs set in a 6 feet frame.

Aaron also provides ample proof of how commitment and hard work can reap its own rewards is that when he was a raw novice he was delighted to have personal best lifts of 210kgs (squat), 150kgs (bench press) and 220kgs (dead lift) for a combined total of 580kgs, some 320kgs below where he is now!

And it is commitment that has resulted in such remarkable results because he trains four times a week but as a crane operator has to work all over the country.

“It can be a nuisance but there is a great camaraderie amongst power lifters across the country so I just look up where there is a local club and find the nearest gym – and join in with whoever is there. In fact it can be quite beneficial because there is always plenty of advice from people in other areas who are not afraid to give me some tips.

On one such trip to Kidderminster, Paul saw the importance of having a set routine and willingness to keep to it.

“I saw one lifter who didn’t warm up much and didn’t devote much time to strapping his knees – and wasn’t surprised to see him get injured, which was such a pity. That wouldn’t have happened in Pembrokeshire because from the very start Paul Murphy insists that there can be no short cuts.

When he’s home Aaron sometimes trains at the SAW gym in Haverfordwest but overall he now joins Paul and the other lifters in the south of the county at a special facility at the London Road Mall which has a specially-designed machine capable of supporting the huge weights they need to deal with safely.

“Having good spotters, the people who stand each side of the lifter attempting big weights, ready to take the bar if he or she is unable to complete the lift, is also vital because of safety – and everyone does a good job in helping each other in training sessions here.”

Like all his colleagues, Aaron is very careful to warm up carefully because it is so vital to well-being.

“I like to start with some slow walking on a treadmill, sort out the weights, do a few exercises with an empty bar, just to get the feel of things and then build up carefully to what aI want as my maximum weight on the night, which depends on how I feel at that time.

“We usually do bench presses on Monday evenings and leave the squat and dead lift for Wednesday and Friday, with a necessary break in between to recover because fitness and a feeling of well-being is vital to staying on top form in terms of confidence and fitness.

“I also meet up with Paul most Saturday mornings for some heavy compound work and Paul is a great help with small tips that really improve my technique. It is then that I see why he is one of the world’s top power lifters and we are very lucky to have him in Pembrokeshire.”

To be so involved Aaron has been lucky to have the total support of his partner Louise and his children Elise, Keira and Aaron jnr, who is a Welsh junior boxing champion with Nathan Probert and Andy Edmundson at Pembroke Amateur Boxing Club. Aaron played football in his younger days for Pembroke Power Station and Monkton Swifts as a hard-tackling midfielder but then powerlifting came on the scene and inevitably there was little time for other sporting pursuits.

“I went to my first world championships in 2013 in Chicago,” Aaron told us, “and it was the most amazing experience because of all the glitz of the city.

“I was very nervous because of all the famous powerlifters there but Paul was a big help in seeing me do my best and I was thrilled beyond belief to win the world 100kgs powerlifting gold medal and doubled up with the gold in the deadlift category!

Aaron certainly showed his mettle by continuing this success when the world championships moved to Veron in France last year and despite having to move amongst the big lifters in the 125kgs class he again won double gold with victory in the powerlifting and then the bench press categories.

“Amazing!” was Aaron’s succinct comment on his double double gold.

It was at this time that Paul dubbed Aaron ‘The Bulldog’ after his canine friend, a nickname which has stuck, and Aaron’s pet dog has had pups since so there have been bulldogs aplenty in the Hoskings’ household!

Not content with that little lot, Aaron also won gold in the European Championships (again in France) and the British Championships – but might not have the chance of a triple gold because the world championships are to take place in Mexico and there is concern about competitor safety in the country.

“But there is an ‘Olympia’ Championship in Las Vegas,” said Tom, “which attracts all the top pros - and I might attend that instead if I can add about 35kgs to my personal best.”

“To be honest, some sponsorship would be great, although I have been lucky to have some help from Neil Findlay Cars of Broadmoor.”

It is a target that is set in Aaron’s mind and it is clear that he is a man who turns thoughts into action, as he did in Veron where he was under intense pressure throughout but fought off his challengers to stand proudly on the podium with the coveted gold medal as the national anthem played and the Welsh Dragon flag was raised.

He really does fly the Welsh and Pembrokeshire flags with distinction and we wish this modest, unassuming powerlifter continued success because Aaron Hoskings really does deserve to do well!