An Interview With Dave Gulledge: A Young Gun!

Introducing Dave Gulledge. Pursuing his Masters at Kansas City and shooting for the title of youngest person to get a 700lb bench, Dave Gulledge is truly a young gun in the making!
I've seen some amazing things in this sport this past year. The all time bench record is now 875... the all time deadlift record is 933 and the all-time squat record is 1107! But amongst these accomplishments one sticks out in my mine as amazing indeed. Dave Gulledge did a 700lb bench this past summer at an unsanctioned meet. Now even though it's not in the books as of yet, Dave plans on doing just that.

He's going to do an APF meet sometime in the near future to get his name on the long list of 700lb. benchers and the first to do it under the age of 25. Yes, Dave Gulledge is currently 22 years old and competes in the 308's. What's amazing to me is what he's going to do next.

His brother, Kyle Gulledge, is just as much of a freak as his brother is. I hope to have a interview with him in the future. Kyle manages a 800lb deadlift in the 275's at 19 years old! But for now, let me introduce Dave Gulledge. You can email Dave Gulledge at ENJOY!

Curtis Dennis: Thanks for a chance to interview you, Dave. Please give the readers a description of yourself?

Dave Gulledge: I'm six feet tall, and weigh around 308 when competing. I'll drop down to around 290 if I don't have a meet coming up. I may go SHW this winter if I keep gaining weight though. I am from Kansas City and am now attending Kansas State, getting my Masters in Kinesiology. Right now my best lifts are an 800 squat, 700 bench and 735 deadlift.

CD: How long have you been into powerlifting?

DG: I have been into powerlifting for a little over two years. I did my first meet in the middle of 2000. I didn't even know the rules, or anything about equipment. I just showed up at a meet and competed.

CD: Have you always been strong?

DG: Well, until about three years ago I was a soccer player. I played two years in college before I stopped. So I did a lot of long distance running which kept my strength down. Whenever I would get a short break in the off season, I would focus more on weights and run less. During these periods I would quickly get much bigger and stronger.

So I wasn't strong by powerlifting standards when I played soccer, but I was still stronger than just about all of the kids my age that I knew. As soon as I quit soccer and began focusing on the weights, my strength began going up. It hasn't stopped yet so we'll see what happens.

CD: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting??

DG: As a kid I was always involved in athletics. I played basketball, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, track and even karate. I began lifting weights in high school because I figured it would help me with soccer. The more I lifted the more I loved it. After a while I got sick of having to run all the time for soccer because my strength would go down and I loved getting stronger. As my passion for weight training grew, I began reading anything I could on the topic.

Unfortunately, the only thing I knew to read was bodybuilding magazines. One day, I read an article on T-mag by Dave Tate. He was talking about all the things I loved, which was getting big and strong. I began reading up on powerlifting and loved what I was reading. I found out about PowerliftingUSA and saw there was a meet near my house. Not even knowing all the rules I went and competed. Everyone at the meet seemed to think I showed promise as a powerlifter, plus I had a great time, so I kept training.

CD: How did it feel to be hanging with the professional powerlifters at your age?

DG: I don't really hang out with professional powerlifters. I just hang out with my friends. Some of them don't even lift weights. I did hang out with Mike Miller and some of his team members at Nazareth Barbell for a day when I trained at his gym. I also stopped by Westside for a squat workout once. Both of those experiences were awesome.

CD: What does it feel like being as strong as you are at a young age?

DG: It's cool. I feel lucky to be good at something I really enjoy doing.

CD: Name some of your other feats of strength?

DG: I've never lifted a car off a child or anything. In the gym I really just squat, bench, deadlift, and do good mornings. All my best lifts are in competition except my squat. I think the best squat I've done is a 750 box squat with blue bands and mini bands on the bar. That's at least 850 in the bottom and over 1000 at the top the way we set our bands up. I did that at the end of a DE squat workout with my straps down in my old poly suit and briefs. I think my best deep goodmorning is a little over 600lbs. Other than that, I don't know of anything great.

CD: How do you think you stack up against other powerlifters?

DG: I've only done three full meets and haven't put my best lifts together yet. My best total is only 2050, so officially I don't think I stack up well. I think I have the potential to stack up well with most lifters in a three lift meet. I feel my squat and bench could be great. I struggle a little more with the deadlift, but if I can make slow and steady progress I should do well.

CD: Do you believe with the arrival of professional powerlifting, that powerlifting is moving in the right direciton?

DG: I think so. I think pro powerlifting is awesome. I hope it continues to become more and more popular. I think it can also. Many people I talk to about powerlifting seem very intrigued. If it gets airtime and the coverage is good, I think the sport will continue to grow. And I'm not really sure why it is not on TV more often. I see figure skating and jump roping much more often than powerlifting, and no one I know really likes that crap.

I'm not sure it will ever be a main stream thing, but getting more money in the sport would be great. I would be nice to make a few bucks in this sport. I just hope the camaraderie remains if money enters the sport. I love being able to call Mike Miller up and talk about benching, or just stopping by Westside, one of the best gyms in the country, for a squat workout. Things like this do not happen in other sports, and I hope this doesn't go away.

CD: I've always preached about having training partners. Do you have any training partners?

DG: During my time as a powerlifter, I've trained alone and trained with partners. Having good training partners is crucial to success in my opinion. My progress is always greater when I'm training with others that have the same goals as mine. When I'm at home, I train with my younger brother and a couple of his friends. They are unbelievable training partners that have surely made me a better lifter. Plus, having a younger brother always on your tail is motivation to never let up. When I was in college I trained with two friends and they were awesome training partners as well. I also think training alone is better than training with someone who isn't motivated and slacks. If you don't have a training partner, you should get one.

CD: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?

DG: I didn't really know anyone that competed in powerlifting when I started. I did always read about the Westside guys, and thought they were awesome and inspiring. I really just look at the strongest guys in the world and want to lift what they are lifting. I never really kept up with the lightweight guys. I was always intrigued with the big guys lifting the huge weights.

CD: What was one of the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?

DG: I love training so much, the things many might consider sacrifices or challenges don't bother me. I do have to keep things in perspective sometimes. I can find myself thinking the whole world should revolve around training, eating and sleeping. I have to remind myself there are things outside of lifting. I would say this is the biggest challenge.

CD: Tell us about your training/workouts and how you prepare for competitions.

DG: For my squat and deadlift I follow the Westside methods. I have been having great success with my squat just doing max effort and a DE day with bands. When I first started in powerlfitng, I followed Westside for my bench. Recently I've begun to incorporate some Metal Militia methods in my training. I seem to have success combining both of the methods to best fit me. I train in my shirt if I have a meet coming up and cut out speed day.

When I don't have a meet coming up, I do the speed day and drop the shirt work for a normal ME day or some higher rep training. I am always learning from past training cycles and trying new things. I start training for a meet 12 weeks out just train hard as hell. I push myself very hard, and if I need a day off I'll take one.

I listen to heavy metal when I train. Hatebreed is my favorite right now. I eat a ton of food when preparing for a meet. I have thrown up my breakfast before because I was so sick of food. When this happens I just make the same thing and eat it again. My parents think I have problems sometimes when they see this. I also like to set goals for my upcoming meet and write them down on my mirror in my bathroom.

CD: Does your training differ from in-season to off-season?

DG: I keep the same template, but do things differently. I keep my DE squat days, but in the off-season I'll use less band tension. I jack the band tension up when preparing for a meet. On heavy bench days I use my shirt if I have a meet coming up. In the off-season I'll just do normal ME work, or do some higher rep benching. I kind of do the same thing for squats. I do more rep work and volume in the off-season.

Then to prepare for a meet, I go back to the heavy ME work. My attitude is also different when training for a meet and when I'm not. I get way more fired up in-season. In the off-season I try to relax some and not psyche up as much. This seems to help minimize mental fatigue. I am still somewhat new to this sport, so I'm still trying to figure out what works best for me as far as an off-season goes. Just like my contest training, this will evolve over time.

CD: How did it feel to bench 700 at your age?

DG: It felt good. I didn't really expect that at my age. I just kept getting stronger and stronger on the bench. Everyone around me started telling me I should be at 700 soon. I didn't know what to think but finally I just made it my goal to do it at my next meet, and I did. It was a fun day when I did it. It was in an SLP meet which I know some discredit. I should have no problem doing that and more at my next APF meet.

CD: Any favorites in the gym?

DG: DE squat days, shirt work, loud heavy metal and puking.

CD: What do you think of the training systems like Metal Militia and Westside Barbell?

DG: I think they are both great. They have obviously proved themselves on the platform, and that's what matters. I use methods from both groups in my training. I have met people from both gyms and they are super nice and knowledgeable people. I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am today if not for the writings of Louie Simmons and Dave Tate. If not for them, I might still be reading some bodybuiding magazine.

CD: What other things are you into other than powerlifting?

DG: Right now, I'm into school. It takes up most of my time, but outside that, I like to hang with friends, my girlfriend and my family, read books, watch movies and of course talk and read about training.

CD: What supplements do you take?

DG: I take a lot of protein powder because I hate to cook. I take a multivitamin, and sometimes flax oil. If I want to put on weight before a competition I'll take creatine, and if I feel like crap before training, I'll take some ephedrine or caffeine.

CD: What do you think of powerlifters today? Any that stick out in your mind?

DG: The powerlifters I know and hang out with are some of the coolest and nicest people I know. The ones that stick out most in my mind are the ones I train with. We are a young group new to the sport. It's awesome to see everyone progress and continue to get better.

CD: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter whose just starting out in powerlifting?

DG: Read as much as you can about training. Talk to others that have done what you want to do. The internet is a valuable tool here. See what has worked for them and what has not. Do not be afraid to try new things. Keep a training log and find out what works for you. Get a training partner with the same goals as you. Eat a lot.

CD: What do you think of the sport of powerlifting and its lifters in general?

DG: I think powerlifting is one of the coolest sports there is. A big reason I think this is because of the people involved in the sport. I know there is some bickering that goes on, but for the most part everyone is very supportive, and friendly.

CD: Does strength run in your family?

DG: My Mom and Dad do not lift weights seriously, so I don't know their strength potential. My younger brother is strong as hell though. He deadlifted 700 in his first meet. A year later he deadlifted 800 at 19 years old. He also benched 510 at the same meet. So it seems that we both have a gift for strength. It's awesome having a brother so strong and dedicated to powerlifting. I wouldn't be a strong as I am today if it wasn't for training with him.

CD: What would you suggest to someone on how to getting stronger?

DG: Train heavy and eat a ton. Don't be overly worried about your six pack. Be patient because becoming strong doesn't happen over night. There is no secret. People get strong on many different programs, but the things they have in common is hard work and constant evaluation of progress.

CD: What's next for you?

DG: My next meet will be the Missouri APF State meet. After that, I want to go to APF senior nationals. If things continue to go well I'd like to compete in the WPO.

CD: Is there anything else you like to mention to our readers here at

DG: Thanks for reading my interview. Train Hard.

CD: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

DG: Thank you for interviewing me.