As soon as she retired, Vicki Brackett of Hoschton didn’t use her newfound free time for relaxation. She chose the life of a record-setting powerlifter.
In a matter of months, since starting her training in September 2019, Brackett said she went from deadlifting zero to more than 300 pounds.
“To be honest, it shocks me that I can do that at age 63,” she said. “I feel so healthy now. It just gives you so much confidence.”
In the five meets she has competed in, Brackett said she has set 25 Georgia state powerlifting records in her weight and age class for women, as well as 14 national records. The USA Powerlifting events include bench pressing, deadlifting and squatting.
In November, Brackett said she unofficially beat the 160.5 kilogram world record for deadlifting among her class. She deadlifted 180 kilograms, which is nearly 397 pounds. In order to hold the official record, Brackett said she would need to compete at a world powerlifting championship.
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 said she prefers the “sumo stance,” which involves spreading her feet far apart and bending her knees more than she would for a conventional deadlift.
Before diving into powerlifting, Brackett worked a corporate job with Equifax and ran her bakery, Sweet Delights, in downtown Braselton.
When she retired, she said her first objective was to get in shape. One day after working out at her local gym, she said a lady around her age started a conversation with her about powerlifting.
Brackett said she felt inspired and hired a trainer to help her decide if she was cut out for the strength sport.
“I really fell in love with deadlifting,” she said.
Her trainer later directed her to James Townsend, owner of Elite Iron in Buford, who started her official training as a powerlifter.
When Brackett unofficially beat the world record in her class for deadlifting, Townsend said he felt proud.
“It’s an example of working hard and being consistent about her good behavior, training and diet,” he said. “You’re going to reach your potential if you’re living it that way.”
Brackett said she trains four days a week for three to four hours per session.
When she first discovered her love of powerlifting, Brackett said her mother told her, “I don’t like it, but I’m proud of you.”
“She’s in her 80s, she’s old-fashioned,” Brackett said. “Women didn’t do that in her day.”
She said her sister was also critical at first, but since then, her family has become supportive of her hobby.
For now, Brackett said she has set her sights on attending the World Powerlifting Championships and setting an official world record.
“So many women are afraid of lifting weights and you see them doing cardio all the time,” Brackett said. “They don’t have to powerlift. Being an older woman, we get osteoporosis, and lifting weights will help with that. I encourage women to pick up weights.”