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History of Warwick barbell

Foreword: The following is a compilation of our club's history, as written by the president as of 2024. It is important to note that some of the earlier pieces of information may be of limited accuracy (or may be incomplete) due to a lack of accessible information or material from that year. Much of the information here has been taken from either personal experience or through the history of the club as told through old and long forgotten posts on Instagram and Facebook. If you want to add any information to this page, please do contact us @warwickbarbell on Instagram.

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Warwick Barbell was founded as a club by Ollie Rising and Nick Lönnqvist in 2016. It began as a community of lifters from a variety of different strength sports such as Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman and Bodybuilding.  Pictured to the left are the first ever Varsity and first ever lifting seminar, above and below respectively.


Owen Spencer was president for 17/18. What little I know of this era comes from the club Instagram, with old videos and photos of some Barbell legends such as Will Jones and Sean-Paul MacKenzie, some of these lifters setting Barbell records that have not fallen since. This era was also one that saw many seminars, with bodybuilders and nutritionists coming in to give talks as the club grew in its earliest years. Unichamps 2018 saw almost all Barbell records demolished, with only a single male record from the year before surviving. 

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This year saw Hannah Hickinbotham as its president. During this year Warwick Barbell saw a large increase in total and female membership, as in representation at competition. This led to Barbell winning most improved club in the 2019, an impressive accomplishment and a testament to the hard work of the 2019 executive committee. Another point of interest was the Sports and Wellness Hub opening, providing Barbell with a new space to meet and train. 18/19 even saw Barbell members winning BUCS across different sports, including the swimming BUCS freestyle.


Sean Saw Jun Kyle was president in 19/20. New things introduced this year included an adoption scheme for Warwick Barbell freshers, as well as the club's affiliation with British Weightlifting. The latter part of this year was affected by covid-19, but thankfully not before Varsity happened. During a part of my research for this page, I was asked if "quiz night is still a thing" whilst finding pictures for this page. Whilst the tradition is sadly lost to time, it is clear it was still alive during Sean's time as president. Barbell Brunch continues as a modern spiritual successor to the Barbell quiz night.

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This year, Tara Pigott was the president of Warwick Barbell. Since graduating, she has gone on to compete internationally at Euros, and was the BUCS champion in 2022. Covid lockdowns meant that many people struggled to train this year, but Barbell persisted and filmed many videos of lifters training with makeshift equipment in their gardens. 20/21 also saw the launch of this website, created by Angus Gardner, who was the Publicity Officer for Barbell during this academic year.


21/22 saw Angus Gardner take over the role of club president. The year involved lockdown measures relaxing across the UK and lifters returning to commercial gyms, however it was very much still in an era of spraying everything down with disinfectant, and keeping two metres apart. Lifters returning to gyms meant that Barbell could train properly again, allowing our members to begin to soar to new heights and train harder than ever. This year also included a huge Varsity competition hosted at BTC in Warwick, and a strong emphasis on the women who were part of the club. 

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22/23 saw Todor Karadimov as president. During this year the exec worked to deliver a Barbell experience that was focussed around a greater social aspect for the club, hosted a great varsity at wildcards with Coventry, and created an intense yet balanced circling experience which the club is known for. The club in this year was socially active, and being a part of the experience was fantastic. The role of bodybuilding captain was also introduced, signalling the beginning of sports outside of powerlifting seeing greater support from the club.


This year Brandon Ring was the president. The year began with securing 25 custom A7 Barbell singlets and the usual running of the internal meet. It saw an increase in the frequency of circles, an increase in active membership from members of all strength disciplines, and a trip to Sheffield 2024. Further, Varsity was expanded this year to not only include Birmingham University, but it was also an official GBPF competition, with referees volunteering and helping to run the competition of 50 lifters. 

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