I love powerlifting. The act of testing your strength fuels my blood. And nothing more fuels my blood than seeing powerlifters accomplish what people think is impossible. Some people think that benchers or bench specialists aren't "real" powerlifters. But from my experience, they are as real as powerlifters are. Its just that they are more talented on the bench press than the others. This month, I would like to introduce the "benchers" in our sport. But take note over 25 lifters from around the world has broken the 700lb barrier and joined the 700 club. Now some of these guys are heading to the next plateau...the 800!!!
I've mentioned this guy before and there's an interview on him that was done in Monster Muscle Magazine. Check it out. Mendelson burst out on the scene benching 716 and with strength to spare.
He then continues his run with 766, with a torn quad to boot. Scot competes in the 308s and he is a true monster in every sense of the word. He's one of the guys that will be joining the 800 club soon.
Would you believe that this guy used to be an bodybuilder before he became a powerlifter. Yep, its true, but Bill has been around the sport for a long time. This guy benched 750 @ 275 which is monsterous. I'm almost 260 and he's benching beyond twice his bodyweight.
Bill pauses between sets getting ready to break one of his record lifts!
Among the 800lb club, he may be the first 275 lifter to hit 800. Bill also carries his weight well. Much like Mendelson, Crawford is very thick and massive at 275.
Ok, I can't talk about this guy enough. He is another monster in the sport who isn't as heavy as the other lifters. George benched an amazing...unreal 733 at 220.
Even though he hasn't hit 800, he's the first lifter in the 700lb club to bench beyond three times his bodyweight!! I promise you folks...he won't be the last.
Ken was one of the more muscular lifters...who I believe was one of the best built benchers. He was a superheavyweight cracking into the 700lb club with 722 at 308 and then drops waay down into the 242s and hits 655 which as incredible.
I remember reading about this guys' diet back in Ironman. He consumed about a dozen of eggs with cheese with some steak on the side. Glen is also a very muscular lifter who breaks one record after another. Glen started out benching 385 at 198 which was amazing at 19 years of age!!!
Now, he has done 722 @ 308 and has since focused on breaking Bill Kazmaier's record which he has done....RAW!! Kaz benched 661 @ 330 and Chabot done 665 @ 308 raw which was amazing. If he ever gets back into a bench shirt, he will crack the 800 barrier.
This is a strong short guy who has every advantage a short lifter could have. Clay is about 5-11 at 398 and is one stocky bastard. He has done 775 and has "tasted" 800 a few times and has come close to being the second man to bench 800.
Trust me, 800 is not that far for Clay. Also, Clay consumes 2-3 steaks daily which a lot of red meat...meat that I wouldn't mind consuming and probably one of the healthiest 398 pounder in the world!!!
J.M. is an awesome lifter and inspiration. Above all of my favorites Mendelson, Chabot, Halbert, and Kennelly), he's the best. I've gotten his bench video and if it wasn't for it I would be out of the gym with an shoulder injury. J.M. has hit 710 @ 308, but has slimmed down to compete in the 275 class and recently attempted 722 this year. J.M. is built much like Kennelly who has a bodybuilder look in the offseason which is best for a powerlifter.
The author, J.M. Blakely benches 710 at the 2001 York Barbell Strength Spectacular. Photo by Jake Jones.
And last but not least... Ryan Kennelly
Ryan is only 28 years old (Clay is about the same age as well) and is every young. Ryan has hit 780 , 786, and then hits 800 on the bench at 290. But the weights this guys uses is anything but superhuman.
Ryan doing his 800 lbs bench!
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Ryan has his sights set on 850 and plans on being the first lifter to surpass the 800 mark. Ryan build is also impressive and shows that the line between bodybuilding and powerlifting is rapidly diminishing.
Now, those are just a few names in the sport as far as the bench is concerned. Kenny Patterson, Anthony Clark, Rob Fusner, Tom Skiver, Jim Voronin, and more. But all these guys want to achieve what Ryan has achieve...the 800 mark. But for the time being we can safely say the Ryan Kennelly is the monster of benchers. He has a website at benchmonster.com, check it out when you get a chance. Well, that's its from me this month. Next, I'll talk about how you can get involved in powerlifting more. Until next time, stay big.