What sparked your interest in powerlifting?
Well I first became interested in lifting weights when I was a kid. It was probably sparked by my fascination with professional wrestling as funny as it sounds. I saw all these larger then life guys on TV and wanted to be as big and strong as them. When I got to the gym for the first time in middle school I immediately fell in love with the bench press, not because I didn’t value the other big lifts, but I was obsessed with getting my bench higher and higher.
what lifter has inspired you the most?
I’m really inspired by Scott Mendelson, he’s one of the best bench pressers in the world and he’s also played a big role in the establishment of NLA performance supplement company. Two of my personal dreams are to hold some of the top bench press records around the world as well as start my own supplement line.
You’re training to break the Junior USAPL bench press record, can you tell us how it’s going?
It’s going more then great! I had some shoulder trouble since I played football in high school so up until December I was just doing my bench pressing on the decline bench, but for the past three months I’ve been able to safely transition back into a normal bench press. When I started up again after my shoulder injury I could only bench 315, now three months later it has already shot up to over 365. I’m really glad that I have three years in the junior division, I believe this will allow me to show my potential to powerlifting community and test my limits.
What weight class will you be competing in?
Right now I’m pretty set on competing in the 181 pound division. It would be awesome to maintain my strength and drop down to the 165 division, but I feel like I still have a lot of room to grow as a 181 pound lifter.
What does your current bench press routine look like?
I’ve made a lot of modifications through my years of working out, but currently my bench press routine is the best it’s ever been.
Bench press- Work up to 1 set of 1-3 reps, lower the weight 5% for 2 sets of 1-3 reps
Military press- Work up to 1×3, lower the weight 5% for 2 sets of 1-3 reps
Cable push downs- 3 sets of 12
Cable curls- 3 sets of 12
Bent row- 3 sets of 3
Lateral raise- 3 sets of 12
Abs- 3 sets of 12
Reverse band bench press- 3 sets of 5
Band close grip bench press- 3 sets of 5
Overhead dumbbell extension- 3 sets of 10-12
T-Bar row- 3 sets of 5
Lateral raise- 3 sets of 12
Rear-delt raise- 3 sets of 12
Abs- 3 sets of 12
On Sunday and Friday I use the exact same exercise/rep scheme but I replace the exercises and focus on pulling and lower body exercises. For instance, I replace the heavy pushes with deadlifts and good mornings, and replace the isolated tricep and shoulder work with high pulls and hammer curls.
What is your weak point on the bench press?
Definitely the middle of the movement, a few weeks ago I was actually stuck there for a good five seconds when i was testing some 1 rep maxes but I pushed through it.
Do you start to do pause benches when training starts to get close to the meet, or is it a constant staple in your training?
I’ve just started utilizing the powerlifting arch that is common in the sport so for me getting used to pausing at a different point of the movement has been tough. I definitely focus on it once a week, I utilize a cage style squat rack and set the safety pins in a spot that perfectly aligns with where the weight would be touching my chest and bench off of there. I do utilize “touch and go” work to get used to heavier weights as I try not to get stuck on one weight for too long.
What pl routine added the most to your total?
Without a doubt the Westside Barbell program has had a great influence on how I structure my programs. It definitely got me out of a big slump when I was having trouble making progress. I also like that they are high volume workouts because I love spending time in the gym. The Westside Barbell routines really push you and force you to make gains!
What are you squatting and deadlifting at the moment?
Unfortunately two herniated discs that I have been dealing with for some time, but I still train my lower body hard because I love the lifts. I have racked up a fairly impressive deadlift of 525 at age 18. For me it was a huge accomplishment since I basically had to start from square one to get there. Right now I’ve cut a decent amount of weight so I’m working on getting those lifts back up if I had to guess I’d say my max deadlift is high 400’s and my squat would be low 300’s.
Do you plan to ever go back to doing full meets?
I’d have no problem competing in a full meet, I think it would be a great experience and really allow me to push myself. I’d love to compete in a deadlift event one day especially, but the bench press will always be my go to lift.
Do you only compete in raw competitions?
For me training the raw bench press has been an awesome experience, but I do hope to one day train for suited bench press record. I really admire all those great powerlifters who excel using the bench press suit/shirts because they require tons of time, experience, and knowledge to know how to use correctly.
Have any cutting techniques you use to lose weight and maintain your strength?
I believe cutting is probably my strong point as I used to weight 260 pounds and I am now sitting at the high 180’s ( I guess bulking would have to be my strong suit to then haha). The best tool anyone can use to dial in on their nutrition and diet goals is a food scale. It is one of the best weapons in my arsenal and allows me to have exact nutrition plans to meet my exact training goals. Being consistent is key, and utilize a food scale is one tool that allows being consistent to become easy.
Supplements can help you achieve some of your fitness goals if your diet and training regime are in check. For instance some whey protein to help you meet your macro-nutrient goals for the day or when your in a situation where you cannot eat any food that will fit into your diet. A pre-workout can be another good tool especially when energy levels are low and you want to train hard during your workouts.
What other goals do you have for powerlifting?
At the moment it would be awesome to become a sponsored athlete and spread my interest of powerlifting, fitness, and nutrition around the country. I am also planning to start a powerlifting club on my college campus. Finally I really enjoy helping people achieve their goals, especially by helping them improve their technique and form. I picture myself as a kid wobbling around with the weights, and I’m thankful for all of those people who came over and took the time to help me out.
You can get in touch with Jonathan on his facebook here.