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Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417

Jaden Bilal to compete for U.S. in world powerlifting competition

Jaden Bilal lifting in a gym.

Jaden Bilal

DECORAH, IOWA– Recent Luther College graduate Jaden Bilal will compete in Tartu, Estonia, with some of the best young powerlifters in the world from July 23–27 for the 2024 World University Powerlifting Championships as part of Team USA. 

He competes through Powerlifting America, an organization that organizes powerlifting events for students across the country. 

“For nationals in Powerlifting America, the goal was to gather any and all lifters who compete at the university level and from there gather the best of those lifters to represent the U.S. at the world championships,” Bilal said. 

At the competition, participants get three chances in the three lifting categories: squat, bench press and deadlift. The highest weight recorded in each category counts toward the final score. 

Bilal has an impressive personal record for powerlifting. The highest bench press he’s achieved is 295 pounds, while the most he has squatted is 535 pounds.  The most he’s ever lifted is 620 pounds in deadlift form. 

“In my freshman year I realized I was pretty strong for my body weight. During the summer of my freshman year I went home to my home gym and noticed a man powerlifting, and I thought that was pretty cool,” Bilal said. “I wanted to try that, so I began researching and training.” 

Bilal, an exercise science major from Charlotte, North Carolina, has learned about anatomy and nutrition and applied that to his training. He keeps a strict training schedule, lifting every day and working on his strength and form. He eventually wants to attend graduate school for nutrition, but is taking a year off to focus on powerlifting. 


Jaden Bilal Speaks with KTTC's Midwest Access

On July 3, KTTC in Rochester, Minnesota, interviewed Jaden Bilal about his upcoming trip to Estonia for the 2024 World University Powerlifting Championships. Jaden will be on Team USA.

A TV host and Jaden Bilal sit in the studio.

For the past two years, he’s trained and coached athletes through an Athletic Performance Internship at Luther’s Legends Fitness Center under the direction of Kendra Cooper, assistant performance coach and director of Legends. He works with athletics teams, including the Norse volleyball team. Exercise science majors complete the internship to gain experience for future careers. 

“Jaden has played a major role in our Athletic Performance Internship for the past two years. It has been fun to watch him grow as a coach and share his expertise with everyone,” Cooper said. “He is always the first to volunteer to help lead a team through a lift, and his energy is contagious to be around. I know that the athletes love his help in the weight room.” 

“Observing Jaden’s ability to lead and confidence grow over the last four years has been neat to watch. He works well with a wide variety of groups and helps people reach their full potential,” said Kris Franzen, director of residence life, who’s gotten to know Jaden during his time at Luther. 

During his first two years at Luther, he was a part of the track and field team, but during his junior year, he decided to focus on powerlifting and joined the Luther powerlifting club where he and other students would compete at meets. 

“I would love to see powerlifting grow at Luther,” Bilal said. “For anyone who wants to get into powerlifting, I’d say, just go for it,” Bilal said.

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Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417