Doing the Heavy Lifting

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Brothers Nut and Nuk Suwanchote started a powerlifting club on campus to give UW Tacoma an athletic presence - they succeeded.

Nuk Suwanchote competing in the deadlift at the 2015 USAPL Washington State Championships. Photo courtesy Nuk Suwanchote.Nuk Suwanchote is strong. The University of Washington Tacoma senior has a can-crusher-like handshake.  This makes sense when you consider Suwanchote is an avid powerlifter.  Suwanchote spends as much as 10 hours per week training at either the University Y or another gym near his home in SeaTac.

Suwanchote isn’t physically imposing.  He weighs roughly 130 pounds and stands about five-feet-five-inches tall.  At first glance you wouldn’t think him capable of deadlifting more than three times his body weight – 505 pounds to be exact. 

Nuk’s younger brother, also a UW Tacoma student, is less compact.  Nut Suwanchote is taller and about 15 pounds heavier.  It’s worth nothing that he has an equally strong handshake.  The brothers are dissimilar in a number of ways.  Nuk is a little more outgoing whereas Nut is somewhat reserved.  Nuk, a videographer in his spare time, is majoring in communications.  Nut’s love of experimentation led him to major in environmental science. 

Nut Suwanchote competing in the squat at the 2015 USAPL Washington State Championships. Photo courtesy Nuk Suwanchote.The brothers come together in a shared commitment to self-improvement.   Each played sports at Mount Rainer High School in Des Moines and started weight training to better individual performance.  After graduation they transitioned to competing in bodybuilding events and eventually took up powerlifting.   “The first competition I got a bunch of state records and one national record,” said Nuk.

The pair has parlayed their success into something bigger. They recently got approval to start a powerlifting club here on campus.   “We want to give UW Tacoma some sort of athletic presence,” said Nuk.  The “Syndicate of Strength” – the club’s official name – competed as a team for the first time at the state championships, hosted by USA Powerlifting Washington State, and came in fourth.  Four members of Syndicate – including Nuk and Nut – were crowned state champions for their weight class.

Members of the Syndicate of Strength at the 2016 USAPL Collegiate National Championships.  Photo courtesy Nuk Suwanchote.The group also had success at the collegiate national championships, hosted by U.S.A. Powerlifting, in Rhode Island.  Nut won his weight class while setting an American collegiate record for bench press.  Nut came in sixth and six other members of the club finished in the top 20.  “The competition was exhilarating to say the least.  The whole team enjoyed meeting others and watching them lift crazy heavy weights,” said Nuk. 

Powerlifting is comprised of three different events: squat, bench press, and deadlift.  A competitor’s score is an aggregate of the highest weight for each lift.  The sport is organized according to weight class and so the Suwanchotes don’t compete against each other.  Each brother has his relative (no pun intended) strengths. Nut is best at squat and deadlift while Nuk excels in deadlift and bench press. 

There doesn’t appear to be much sibling rivalry between the two.  Nut cites his brother as one reason he started weight training.  The younger Suwanchote was a skinny teenager who saw what the sport had done for his brother and got involved.   “I see it as an embodiment of being your own shield,” said Nut.

The brothers recognize that powerlifting might not have universal appeal.  However, they do believe everyone wants to improve their health and performance.  “Once you can perform better than you ever thought you’re usually very proud of yourself,” said Nuk. 

The Syndicate of Strength is hosting an event at the University YMCA on July 23rd.  For more information about this event or about the club visit:


Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / April 26, 2016
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or