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Staff Sgt. Christopher Ballance, an infantry unit leader and instructor in the Infantry Mortar Leader’s Course aboard Camp Geiger, trains at the gymnasium for an upcoming powerlifting competition, recently. Ballance, who is said to be very proficient at mortar gunnery and leading his Marines, currently holds six world records, six national records and eight state records.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

Combat instructor continues to amaze powerlifting, Marine Corps community

14 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

After his last performance at the 100% RAW Powerlifting Federation World Powerlifting Championship in Las Vegas, Oct 2., Staff Sgt. Christopher Ballance, an infantry unit leader and instructor in the Infantry Mortar Leader’s Course, School of Infantry – East, aboard Camp Geiger, left the challengers and his battalion in awe.

Ballance competed in the 160.2 pound weight class, squatted 441.5 pounds; bench pressed 297 lbs and dead-lifted 562.2 lbs. These outstanding lifts put him at a total of 1300.7 lbs., which is more than eight times his body weight.

Through months of hard work, dedication and motivation from his family and command; Ballance, went into the competition with complete confidence that he would do well.

“I felt pretty good. I really didn’t have a doubt that I wouldn’t win first place in my weight class,” said Ballance. “I weighed in five pounds less than I have to because I wanted to win overall best lifter. The lighter you are, the more the percentage you lift versus your body weight.”

Ballance had the help of Lance Cpl. Nathan Glines with his training efforts, who is a fellow powerlifter with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Glines also participated in the competition and won first place in the 198 lb. weight class, with a total of 1,482 lbs.

Ballance said that although he is slated to check into the Infantry Unit Leader’s Course in January, there is one more competition in December that he would like to join.

It is the Support the Troops Competition in Melbourne, Fla., hosted by an organization called R.A.W. (Redeemed Among the World) United. Ballance said that he would enter into the non-drug tested classification; with hopes of beating any competitors in his weight class who may be using drugs or supplements to enhance their strength.

“I think it would be funny, being a drug-tested lifter to beat a non-drug tested lifter,” said Ballance. “It would be a fun thing to do, and of course all the proceeds would go to Support the Troops.”

Ballance, on the other hand, said he will continue to train only using sweat, hard work and determination to sweep the competition of its feet once again.

“You can do anything you put your mind to,” said Ballance.

He added that in the past, he has known Marines to use the operational tempo of the Marine Corps as a crutch to not chase their dreams, such as play sports or achieve a higher level of education.

“I’m not saying take away from you work to pursue that passion, but there are 24 hours in a day,” said Ballance. “It’s very easy to find time within that day – an hour here, an hour there – to dedicate yourself to something you really enjoy doing, which is going to make your life a much more enjoyable experience. Don’t make excuses and your command is probably going to be behind you regardless of what you want to do.”

Staff Sgt. Brian Baker, chief instructor with the Infantry Mortar Leader’s Course, said that he thinks Ballance is one of the top five percent of Marines in the Marine Corps.

“He dedicates himself to everything he does; both to our students in the class and to weightlifting,” said Baker.

Lt. Col. John Armellino, commanding officer of Advanced Infantry Battalion – East, said that Ballance’s contributions to his family as a husband and father; as a combat instructor and as an enlisted Marine are very significant.

Armellino added that Ballance is probably one of the most technically proficient and athletic Marines he has ever met. He also said that there are few people who can master the complexities of mortar gunnery as Ballance has.

“His prowess is not limited to strength,” said Armellino. “He is a hybrid-warrior. He’s also very intelligent and he’s exceptional at cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. When the commandant built the Combat Fitness Test, he had Staff Sergeant Ballance in mind; the guy that could just as easily run long distances as he could lift a car.”