Cody Courter was sick of powerlifters like himself being kicked out or mocked at commercial gyms for being too loud, grunting or using chalk. So, Courter took his passion of fitness to the next level and opened 949 Powerlifting in Lebanon, IL.
Most reading this will have no idea where Lebanon, IL is and we can’t blame you.
For the record, its part of the Greatest St. Louis metropolitan area in Southern Illinois and home to McKendree University, the oldest college in Illinois.
But for Courter, Lebanon offered an opportunity not only for his powerlifting gym but a chance to help young athletes in the area.
“(Lebanon) is a small town that has no strength and conditioning program for their middle school and high school athletes,” said Courter. “I wanted to give kids a chance to train and become better athletes and potentially go to college for sports.”
Preparing young athletes is a passion to Courter as he once was a young athlete looking for the type of guidance and direction he wants to offer.
Courter began lifting when he was 10 years old and by age 17, he had already benched 315 lbs. setting a then-high school record. After high school, Courter benches 500 lbs. raw at 19 years old and after college, began his career as a personal trainer.
Today, Courter has many accolades under his belt including three Illinois state records in bench. Last year, Courter ranked 11th in the United States with a 562 lb. bench at the 308 lb. weight class.
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Introducing the men behind 949 Powerlifting… @massjunkiee , @drtravisfleming and @ihviiimattvincent . Meet Cody Courter. Cody has been an avid lifter for 20 years. His passion for the sport began at the age of 10, and has only grown since then. Cody graduated with a Bachelors of Science and Healthcare from Quincy University in 2012, and received his Masters of Business Administration from Maryville University in 2015. After college, Cody started lifting competitively, and now holds multiple state records. In 2018, Cody was ranked 11th in nation in the 308 bench-only division in USPA. He’s been married to his wife, Elisa, for five year and resides in Lebanon, IL. Meet Travis Fleming. Travis graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic with a Bachelors of Human Biology and Doctorate of Chiropractic in April 2016. He opened Fleming Chiropractic/ Performance in May 2016, where his goal has been to keep athletes moving. He has competed in multiple natural bodybuilding competitions, and has a passion for all things fitness. He’s been married to his wife, Chelsea, for five years and has two little ones, Harper Rae and Leyton. Meet Matt Vincent. Matt is a two-time Highland Games World Champion and All-Around Strength Athlete who has competed seriously in strongman, weightlifting, and powerlifting raw and geared. His passion for the sport began at LSU, where he started as a shot-put discus and hammer thrower, and slowly made his way into strength sports. Matt pursued his love for lifting after college: In 2014, he began a workout apparel company called HVIII Brand Goods, and in 2017, he started the UMSO podcast, where he discusses training, business and life with popular guest from across the country. In addition to founding his businesses, Matt is also a content creator for other strength athletes looking to improve themselves. 949 is designed for people looking to get stronger. We wanted a place where lifters felt like they were at a home gym. A place with no limitations or restrictions. A place where chalk and being loud are expected… Where dropping weight isn’t frowned upon. A place where on any given day, you can be the best version of yourself.
What he’s more proud of, though?
“I have trained two clients that set world records in squat and another with a world record in bench,” said Courter.
As far as 949 Powerlifting, the Lebanon-based facility specializes in custom periodization programming for clients in all forms of competitive powerlifting. Selecting equipment that’s not only tailored to 949 Powerlifting’s specific needs but also intense weights was no easy task.
“I needed big and strong racks to support squats, incline bench and heavy rack pulls,” said Courter. “You need to show everybody its time to be serious and lift some weights!”
Courter visited nearby Show Me Weights in Fenton, Missouri and there found Body-Solid’s SPR1000 Power Rack.
“The biggest guys in the gym fit inside the racks and they’ve truly help up to being a solid and sturdy piece of equipment,” said Courter. “It’s been great.”
Still only a year into its formation, 949 Powerlifting has plenty of years to come. For now, Courter is keeping things simple.
“I just want to establish a strong lifting community that will teach and learn from one another in and out of the gym,” said Courter. “I want everyone push one another to get stronger mentally and physically every day.”