Now more are wanting to break the 900 bench and venture into the unknown, known as the 1000 bench. Shawn Lattimer is one of the four men in the world who are amongst the strongest benchers in the world and Shawn is not only going to join Gene in the 900 club but is planning on being the first at the 1000 bench! Shawn has made some huge improvements on his bench from last year until now.
I first met Shawn on a message board and was a monster back then and was absolutely impressed with how much stronger he has gotten and he's another product of Metal Militia training. There is a video of Shawn Lattimer on http://metalmilitia.net doing his shirted bench work which looked insanely easy! Seeing that video, I knew that Shawn would be one of the guys hitting the 900 on the bench. Find out what he's all about below and if you have any questions email me at email@example.com.
Curtis Dennis: Thanks for a chance to interview you, Shawn. Please give the readers a description of yourself?
Shawn Lattimer: It's my pleasure. I'm 27 years old, 6'3" tall, and I weigh around 400.
CD: How long have you been into powerlifting?
SL: I started powerlifting in 1997.
CD: Have you always been strong?
SL: I was always a big kid growing up, and I was stronger than the smaller kids, but I was mostly just big for my age.
CD: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into powerlifting?
SL: I got into powerlifting by accident. I started lifting weights as a freshman in high school when I joined the wrestling team. I kept lifting after high school. I tried out for the wrestling team in college, but never made the team. I got more heavily into lifting. One day, one of the older guys in the gym asked if I would like to go to a bench competition. I went, and I was hooked.
CD: Name some of your other feats of strength?
SL: I can squat around 600 raw, and I can deadlift about 600 raw, it's not great, but I don't train those lifts really hard. I can powerclean around 400 or so, and I can overhead press 350 or so. I once pressed a 225 pound log for 17 reps. My arms are pretty strong as well; I can curl the 100 pound dumbbells for 3 or 4 reps without cheating on form. I have curled 225 on an easy-curl bar also.
CD: How do you think you stack up against other powerlifters?
SL: Among benchers, I am about third or fourth in the world. I am the youngest man to ever bench over 800 pounds, and I am the only one to do so in a drug tested meet. I am also currently one of only four men to ever bench 800 or more. My current best lift is 810, at the WPO Bench Bash for Cash in Orlando, Florida.
CD: Do you believe with the arrival of professional powerlifting, that powerlifting is moving in the right direction?
SL: I think the professional aspect is helping a great deal to promote and legitimize the sport. The top powerlifters work just as hard as a pro in other sports, but we have yet to be able to make a living off our sport. It's very difficult to balance work, training, family, and still flit the bill for travel and whatnot for competitions.
Sponsorship in the sport is growing, and that is definitely a great thing. As long as we all remember where we came from, I think the sport is moving to a better place.
CD: I've always preached about having training partners. Do you have any training partners?
SL: I can't train without my partners. I have to have at least 3 people to spot, and they can't be just anybody off the street when I'm training with over 800 pounds. I have a great group of 4 people around home, and when I'm getting ready for a competition, I travel to Mike Miller's Nazareth Barbell on weekends. There are usually anywhere from 6 to 15 lifters benching there on Saturday and Sunday.
CD: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?
CD: What was one of the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?
SL: One of the big challenges is getting good info on training. There is a lot of bad advice out there. When I finally found the Metal Militia, I found out the best way to improve my bench.
CD: What huge improvements have you made since training Metal Militia Style?
SL: My bench went from 645 to 700 the first day I worked with the Militia. Over 5 months, I raised that to 810, and I am well on my way to 900 now. The Militia training has increased my strength and my technique to levels I didn't I think I could reach. I have also become incredibly consistent on my bench,
CD: What was your training like before you found Metal Militia?
SL: Before meeting the Militia, I trained on a basic progressive system, similar to a 5x5. I also used boards and bands, but I wasn't really doing anything correctly.
CD: What's your goal on the bench?
SL: I intend to break into the 900's this year, and hit 1000 before 2006.
CD: Would you recommend Metal Militia to any powerlifter or bench specialist?
SL: Definitely. If you use a denim bench shirt, Metal Militia is the way to go. Between the workouts and the technique, you are practically guaranteed to bench more.
CD: Tell us about your training/workouts and how you prepare for competitions?
SL: My training consists of a heavy day using the bench shirt, and an assistance day without the shirt. On my heavy day, I do full range bench, working all the way up to my shirt max, then I do 4, 5, and 6 board presses, then I do rack lockouts. On my assistance day, I work up to a 3 rep max raw, then I do 2 and 3 board presses, then close grips, and some tricep work.
Monday - Legs and
Tuesday - Bench assistance
Wednesday - off
Thursday - Deadlifts and upper back
Friday - Shoulders
Saturday - off
Sunday - Heavy bench day
CD: Does your training differ from in-season to off-season?
SL: The way I plan my meets, I really don't have an off-season. I do step my workouts down as I approach a bench meet. For example, I will quit squatting about 4 weeks out from a meet, and my last deadlift workout will be 3 weeks out.
CD: What other things are you into other than powerlifting?
SL: Lots of things. I spend a lot of time working on cars, repairing and upgrading. I'm currently teaching myself to weld. I install car audio systems, and I am a bit of an audiophile. I have a very nice system in my truck, about 1200 watts and crystal clear. I am also waiting for delivery of my 2004 Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide, so I will be spending a lot of this summer riding.
CD: What supplements do you take?
SL: I take glucosamine, condroitin, and MSM for my joints, and I take a multivitamin. I tried creatine and protein powders a couple of years ago, they just upset my system. So I basically gave up on supplements.
CD: What do you think of powerlifters today? Any that stick out in your mind?
SL: There are a lot of awesome powerlifters out there today. I have to give enormous credit to all of the Metal Militia, especially Bill Crawford, Bobby Fields, Jeff McVicar, Mike Miller, Joe Mazza, and Sebastian Burns. Great guys, tremendously strong, and downright crazy people to hang out with.
CD: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in powerlifting?
SL: A novice in powerlifting needs two things: An open mind, and a thirst for knowledge. The top guys got to the top by learning everything they could, and doing what nobody else thought would work. There is tons of information on the internet and in magazines. Be determined to always learn more, and practice what you learn.
CD: What do you think of the sport of powerlifting and its lifters in general?
SL: I think its one of the best sports around. Most of my friends are powerlifters; I met them all either at meets or in the gym. I also talk to a lot of lifters at meets, and over email. In general, powerlifters are just a great bunch of people.
CD: Does physical strength run in your family?
SL: Not particularly. My father is fairly strong for his size, but he's not a real large person. Most of my family is pretty average. In fact, I stand out like a beacon in family photos; I'm at least twice the size of everybody else.
CD: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger or a get bigger bench?
SL: I highly recommend looking into Metal Militia style training. If you want a bigger bench, find somebody from the Militia and learn from them. Work ethic is also extremely important. Very few people put in enough real work to succeed.
CD: Do you think that a 1000 bench is possible in the near future?
SL: It is definitely possible, and I intend to be the first lifter to do it!
CD: What's next for you?
SL: As of this writing, I am 1 week out from the Arnold Classic WPO Bench Bash, where I intend to win. I will be lifting at Bench America 2 in May, and I have plans to compete at least 3 or 4 more times this year.
CD: Is there anything else you like to mention to our readers here at Bodybuilding.com?
SL: If anyone here is interesting in a better bench, I do personal training in southern NJ, and I design custom workout programs for increasing the bench. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
I also want to say thanks to Bill Crawford for being my mentor, and the Metal Militia and my training partners for giving all the help I have needed.
CD: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
SL: No problem, it was my pleasure!