In less than two years, Vicki Brackett of Hoschton went from deadlifting zero to over 400 pounds. This September, the 63-year-old will compete in the International Powerlifting Federation World Master Classic Powerlifting Championships in Sweden.
Brackett said she intends to officially set a world record for deadlifting among her class by reaching her personal best of 185.5 kilograms, which is nearly 409 pounds. She said the current amount to beat is 160.5 kilograms.
“I remember when I first started, and I couldn’t even see myself lifting 200 pounds, now I'm doing 400 pounds,” Brackett said. “To me, that’s crazy.”
Before moving up to the championships in Sweden, Brackett competed in the USA Classic Powerlifting Nationals. Her class includes those 60 to 69 years old. The powerlifting events include bench pressing, squatting and deadlifting — Brackett’s forte.
To those unfamiliar with deadlifting, Brackett describes it as loading a barbell with weights, bending down to pick it up and standing straight with it. For the lift to count, she said your shoulders have to come back and your knees need to lock.
Brackett prefers the “sumo stance,” which involves spreading her feet far apart and bending her knees more than she would for a conventional deadlift. She trains five days a week, three to four hours per session. Since beginning her journey in 2019, Brackett said she has lost 61 pounds.
Before diving into powerlifting, Brackett worked a corporate job with Equifax and ran her bakery, Sweet Delights, in downtown Braselton.
Brackett said she picked up the strength sport after she retired, initially to get in shape.
Soon after working out at her local gym, she said a lady around her age inspired her to try out powerlifting. Brackett ended up hiring a fitness instructor, who later directed her to a specialized trainer.
This is how she met James Townsend, the owner and head coach of Elite Iron Sports Performance in Buford.
“I’m excited. She has worked so hard,” Townsend said. “She’s completely different (compared to when she first started training). She’s night and day as far as her progress and technique.”
Brackett said she wouldn’t be competing in the world championships if it wasn’t for Townsend.
“You want to find a good strength coach because your form is so important,” she said. “It’s a good way to hurt yourself if you don’t have the right form.”
Brackett said setting an official world record in two months isn’t a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when.” The powerlifter said she feels confident she will reach her goal, especially since she has already deadlifted 185.5 kilograms.
When asked what she will do after the championships in Sweden, Brackett said she hasn’t thought that far ahead. One thing is for certain though, she will continue deadlifting.
“I love it, it’s a great way to get in shape,” she said.