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Corydon native Mike Tuchscherer, top photo, prepares for a lift at The Arnold. Submitted photo (click for larger version)

Tuchscherer powers way at Arnold

March 26, 2014 | 11:27 AM

The Arnold Sports Festival brings in 18,000 athletes who compete in more than 45 sports and events, but there is one that stands out for its raw might: powerlifting.

On Feb. 28, former Corydon resident Mike Tuchscherer came out on top in his raw powerlifting weight class (264 pounds), breaking an International Powerlifting Federation world record along the way.

"I've competed in the Arnold several times since 2008," Tuchscherer said in a recent phone interview. "This was most impressive."

Providing highlights from the event was a YouTube video posted by Tuchscherer of his final attempts at The Arnold.

The world record came with Tuchscherer's deadlift. The bar bent ever-so-gently as the wide-chested lifter lifted 819 pounds to his mid-thigh as his chest puffed out like the Incredible Hulk.

Celebration was simple for the humble Tuchscherer: a graceful tapping of the weights followed by a pump of his fist toward the audience.

"For me, that's about as much celebration I wanted to do," he said.

Lifting big weight started in high school for Tuchscherer when he was a member of the Corydon Central football program. The sport of powerlifting became a passion of his that continues to see Tuchscherer pull big weights in competitions.

While The Arnold took place in Columbus, Ohio, there was a long distance of travel to make the event. Currently residing on an Air Force Base in Aviano, Italy, Tuchscherer arrived in Corydon a few weeks prior to the event.

"It was great to get back to familiar surroundings," he said, adding that the visit included a stop at the school to see members of the football program and staff. "It was good to see those guys still putting in the work."

Training in powerlifting continued after high school when Tuchscherer entered the Air Force Academy. He was on active duty until August 2012.

Competing in the raw division, meaning competitors are prohibited from using specially made shirts or suits designed to aid powerlifters, Tuchscherer was much the best.

The IPF world record was also set for total (combined weight of squat, bench and deadlift) at The Arnold by Tuchscherer. He squatted 744 pounds along with benching 457. Combined with the big effort in the deadlift, his total was a record-setting performance, also earning Best Lifter honors among heavyweights.

"Things went better than originally hoped," Tuchscherer said. "Once we got there and started doing things, we could tell the strength was there. We loaded up, and it went well."

All competitions require drug testing, "as rigorous as Olympic standards," Tuchscherer said.

There was a level of comfort at The Arnold with the competition close to Indiana.

"It helped me because my dad was able to come with me," Tuchscherer said. "He helped me backstage and stayed appraised of the situation. He keeps track of where everyone is going. I think it's an important part of competition to have good people in that spot."

His father, also named Mike, has attended many of the competitions. He traveled to the Powerlifting World Championships last year, which were in Suzdal, Russia.

With The Arnold performance behind him, the younger Tuchscherer takes aim at a prize that has been on his radar for several years: World Champion. The competition will take place the first week of June in Johannesburg, South, Africa.

"My goal for every event is to win," Tuchscherer said. "That's my first, second and third goal, to win. What's cool about powerlifting is you are going to do all that you can do."

That's why rest was short-lived.

"By the time I got home from The Arnold, it was time to train for the Worlds," he said. "You have a day or two to enjoy it then get back to work."

Admitting he was favored his last two trips to Worlds, Tuchscherer most recently was a runner up last year in Russia.

"It didn't work out last year, but this year I hope to be champion," he said.

In Italy, Tuchscherer trains alone for the most part.

"It's going well," he said. "I train in my basement mostly. It works out well because it allows me to focus on things correctly. Training by myself comes and goes. If you are working alone or with a partner, you still need to get the work done."

Coaching powerlifting athletes continues for Tuchscherer.

Founding Reactive Training Systems, he offers various products from a manual book on developing custom training programs for powerlifters to DVDs and personal coaching options.

For more information about the products offered, visit online at

Twitter: @CoryDemSports

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email