Interview With Bench Press Rep Star Andre Girley Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - April 2008
Bench Press 315 lbs X 22 Reps Video
Andre Girley bench pressed 225lbs for 46 reps, which is more than all the guys in the NFL! Larry also bench pressed 225lbs for more reps than 700lbs bench presser Larry Allen did. It's definitely going to be interesting to learn who the man is behind this bench monster! Without any further ado Critical Bench presents you with Andre Girley!
1) Critical Bench: Andre, tell critical bench readers about yourself!
My name is andre girley, I'm a 37 year old african american school teacher residing in Stockton, CA. I've been married for 12 years. My wife and I have raised two children together. Our son is 15 years old.
2) Critical Bench: Andre tell critical bench readers how many times you can bench press 225lbs and 315lbs? (You benched 225lbs for more reps than rep champ and 700lbs bencher from the NFL Larry Allen can!)
I've bench pressed 225lbs 46reps and 315 22reps. The 225lbs has received over 115K view in a year. I was at my heaviest weight ever which is 275lbs when I attempted that feat. I slimmed down about 4 months after Charles and I shot the 225lbs video to 250lbs and tried it again. That time I emphasized full lockout movements and got 42reps. Now that I'm stronger than I was when i was 275lbs I believe I can better my initial 46reps. I'm proud of the 46 reps because although it wasn't fully locked out if you look at the video it was very close to where I initially picked the weight up from its resting point. Many people on youtuble have told me that my 315lbs mark is in the same class as Arnold's. One comment came in and stated that he had done 25 @315lbs which was news to me.
3) Critical Bench: That is strong! What got you started in weight lifting? Were you always very strong and athletic?
I initially started lifting weights in high school, which was just for the summer going into football season. I was average in strength until my sophomore year in high school. I started high school at 5'3" 115lbs, and graduated at 5'11" 175lbs. My senior year was good because I did more sit ups and push ups to the point I was able to do 400 of each in a 30 minute time span. I left football for good and participated in track in field at Stanislaus State in Turlock, CA. This is where power lifting came into play. I was introduced to cleans, jerks, snatches, step ups, front squats, and good mornings. This gave me the base to excel in my events. I did the long jump and triple jump events, as well as relays, but I was only an alternate in the relays. I still hold the record at Stanislaus State in the long jump with 24'0 half inch, my personal best is 24'9" my triple jump was 51'5" my teammate at the time triple jumped 54'. He was a great help to me and that is why I help people out to this day because he was better than me in the triple jump but never failed to answer a question or help me out. So, back to the question after my senior year in high school yes I was always considered strong. In college I was and still am, 6'0" I weighed 196 benched 350lbs and had 6% body fat. So I was always a well built mesomorph.
4) Critical Bench: Very impressive feats in track, weight lifting and everything! Give us your bench routine! What rep range do you usually train?
I use a varied approach to the bench. My warm ups of 135lbs, 225lbs, and 315lbs are all 12-15 reps, then I do 81%(405) of my max of 500lbs 5sets with 5 reps. Every other week I'll make my last set 90% of my max and do 450lbs for 1rep.
I also do 515lbs for singles and 475lbs for 4 reps.
5) Critical Bench: In your opinion, what do you think are the important factors for a bigger bench?
This is going to sound strange to most but the most critical factors in bench is to have stronger secondary muscles, which are the deltoids, lattisium muscles, trapeziums, biceps, and most importantly the triceps muscles. Why? Because these muscles stabilize the bar, and push it up after you have touched your chest. And please don't arch your lower back to get more power, this strains you back and only will hurt you in the long run.
6) Critical Bench: What are your 5 favorite assistance exercises when building a bigger bench press?
Seriously only a few pertain to actually benching (flat bench) the rest concentrate on the secondary muscles; shoulders, triceps, lattisium , and trapeziums muscles. Decline because it really allows the shoulders into the exercise, weighted bar dips, military press (front&back) upright rows, tricep push downs and reverse tricep push downs.
7) Critical Bench: What was the best and worst advice you were ever told?
The best I was told was to allow yourself time to grow, and feed your body with natural foods, because once you get off of supplements you lose what you've gain, which I've found true with powder protein. The worst I've been given is to arch your back while you are doing bench for more power, and to bounce the weight off your chest.
8) Critical Bench: Tell us about your diet! What supplements do you take?
I eat fruits in the morning, two mega men sport tablets. Peanuts throughout the day, along with 64ozs of water by the end of the day, a balanced lunch of vegetables(mixed) baked chicken, and close to the same for dinner. two or three pieces of Hershey kisses for after working out to stimulate the growth of the muscles(glucose) and whatever I didn't finish for dinner after i workout.
9) Critical Bench: What other forms of exercising do you enjoy doing away from bench pressing?
I love training my legs and back. I have my leg routine that usually makes people sutter up on youtube called Dre G's leg explosion. I also bought a road bike. currently I'm up to doing 20 miles in 1: hour and 17 minutes. I currently average 16.4 miles per hour. My goal is to make that 20 miles in an hour, which means I have to average 20 miles per hour. I love it. Plus my cardio and anaerobic gets worked at the same time, there is no jarring like in running and I'm getting nice leg development from my legs and calves. My legs are measuring out at 30" now. The camera man (my cousin charles) does it and he said that he's put on nice size on his legs doing cycling. I'll stick with it for a while.
10) Critical Bench: Great advice for anyone who wants to get stronger, more cardiovascular fit, more explosive and who wants to get huge/ripped at the same time! I'm gonna say a strength feat that you achieved and tell us how you trained for them!
225lbs bench press for 46 reps-
Well for my first 225bs bench press I did sets heavier than 225lbs so when I was issued the challenge of doing 225lbs 40 or more times I knew i could do it because I had gone to competitions where you put your body weight on the bar and go for reps. My best is 38reps @240lbs. I've been up to 275lbs in body weight so I knew that I could bring a lighter weight of 225lbs 40 or more reps because it's 15lbs lighter than 240lbs, and I always train within 80-90% of my max bench press so I knew I could bring it.
315lbs for 22 reps-
For 315lbs I would do sets of 315 for 5 sets of 12 so I knew I wouldn't be facing muscle fatigue if I warmed up and then did 315lbs for reps.
405 for reps-
The same goes for 405. Which is 82% of 500lbs. I usually do 405lbs 5sets of 5reps. My personal best is 12, but I did 315lbs for 22 reps 20minutes before I brought the 405lbs for 8 reps. I thought it was a sufficient amount of rest, but it wasn't. Currently I know I can bring 10 at 405lbs.
500lbs plus for reps-
I would do reps of 12 @ the heaviest weight that I could do, which is usually 365lbs like in the compilation video. Then I would increase the weight by 10lbs every two months. That's how slow maxing heavy weight goes. Your tendons have to be ready to support the weight, which is why I do a light/heavy combination because it rest my tendons, but prevents atrophy(shrinkage of the muscle) by pumping blood to the muscles on a light day.
11) Critical Bench: Now that was interesting! What was harder for you, doing your 225 reps for 46 video or your 315 for 22 reps bench rep max video?
What was harder...humm well I would say 315lbs because I knew I had to do a full range of motion with this weight, like I said I didn't lock fully out on the 225lbs because the competitions that I've been to for reps have always said, "no bouncing off the chest, but you must come up high enough for it to count, but locking out isn't required." However, some people are from the school of thought that if you don't lock out it doesn't count, and I can respect that. If you look at the video of 225lbs 46reps you see that where the weight rest, and where I came to on the way up are even each time, so I didn't chop it short, I just didn't lock out fully. Locking out is a resting position meaning there is no stress on the muscle. Now, I will be the first one to admit locking out fully is very difficult. I only did 42reps when I locked out fully, butI had also lost 20lbs due to the fact that my wife loves a six pack and I had a keg. For me, weighing more has always meant heavier possibilities maxing out and bringing reps with weight. Right now I am at 255lbs and I am still strong. I dropped weight because I just increased my cardio and didn't modify my diet at all.
12) Critical Bench: How many reps can you bench 100lbs dumbbells for? Do you do rep out maxes for any other lifts?
Well, I don't know. I'll give you an example though. I have these videos for upper body 225lbs, 315lbs, 405lbs, and a compilation video where I'm doing sets of 12 reps @ 315lbs, 335lbs, and 365lbs on the flat then I went to the incline bench and grabbed the dumbbells and pyramided up from 130lbs(10reps), 140lbs(10reps), and 150lbs.(7reps). I don't do dumbbells on the flat. The dumbbells at my gym only go up to 150lbs and it wasn't a challenge for me, so I stopped years ago.
13) Critical Bench: How do the kids at your school respond to your amazing bench feats? Do they like your 225 or 315 bench rep feat more?
My school age students are very young 8-12 years of age. However, this past summer I taught geometry at a high school and I had many athletes in my classroom, so they inquired about my lifting skills, and invited me to workout with them bragging that they could show me something about lifting. Well, the next day I brought in my portable DVD and showed them my compilation, 405lbs, and 315lbs videos and they changed their tunes quickly, and then came to visit me at my elementary school later during the year, and brought friends with them, so I guess they were impressed.
14) Critical Bench: What are your future goals?
My future goals are to just maintain what I've gained shred down to 240lbs to get more vascular since I'm doing more cardio, but to still stay in the 500lbs benchpress club, and gain 2 more inches on my legs. I love my road bike. I want to be able to do 20miles in 1 hour(averaging 20mph) and get up to doing 120miles per week throughout the year. And, to finish reading the bible by October of this year.
15) Critical Bench: Amen to that! Seems like you're doing great and thanks for leaving a mark in the industry of strength sports! It's been awesome! In closing, is there anyone who you would like to thank?
I'd like to thank my cousin Charles Lloyd for thinking that my workouts were worthy for the world to see. I knew nothing about youtube at all. It started all with us talking about sports and him commenting how impressive Larry Allen's 43reps of 225lbs was, and I simply stated, "I can beat that." He was surprised that I said that and challenged me to go to his gym down the street to do it. Charles being Charles always wants documentation and proof, so he brought his camera along, and once I surpassed 43, he immediately put up the video, and a year later 118,000 people have view it. You can tell the difference between the 225lbs videos compared to any of the other ones I have done. The 225lbs video featured me in street clothes at a gym. I warmed up, and did what I said I could do. People at the gym were very impressed and I got a lot of congratulations afterwards. The other videos were all shot at my gym in Stockton, CA in workout clothes bringing my best.Then we started talking and Charles inquired about my total body approach to weights and asked if he could film my whole workout, so I said sure. Who would have thought it would turn into this, and an interview inquiring about how I lift. I would also like to thank my family, and my high school and college coaches for really taking their time with me.
Critical Bench: Well, a lot more people will be watching your video than 118,00 people! Soon to be millions! What a story!