Interview With Teenage Powerlifter Ben Etringer As told to CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar - December 2007
1) CRITICAL BENCH: This is Ben Tatar from Critical Bench and I am here with Ben Etringer right now. Ben, give us some background information about yourself!
Okay, well I live in Mayodan , NC and am in the ninth grade at McMichael High school. I'm fourteen years old, and am in the top 5% of my class academic wise. I love to lift weights, but it's not the only thing I do. I am on the soccer, baseball, wrestling, and marksmanship teams.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Great to hear you are getting good grades Ben. It goes to show that powerlifters can come from all walks of life and some of them are very educated. Everyone should give powerlifting a try. Ben, now that you have gotten into powerlifting what are your best lifts and how "small" are you?
Well at a 120 lb body weight, I've gotten a 315 squat, 225 bench and a 345 deadlift.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: Impressive! When I was your age and size I couldn't bench 95lbs, yet alone 225! I'm impressed! Ben, where do you compete and how have you enjoyed competing so far?
Well, local meets are always fun, so I generally try to stay in the northern North Carolina area, but I have been to Richmond, VA and Seneca, SC to lift also. I plan to go to the AAU World's in Orlando, FL next week, the 100% Raw Bench Press Worlds in Currituck, NC, and the 100% Raw Powerlifting Worlds in West Melbourne, FL. Traveling is awesome! However, the friendships you make at meets and the environment at drug-free meets is just phenomenal. Iron Boy Powerlifting (IBP) is also a wonderful federation which is local, drug-free, and a great federation.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: You're very inspiring considering that you're very young and have a great attitude towards competiting. What advice would you give other individuals to motivate them and make them want to compete in the sport of powerlifting?
Just do whatever you can. It never hurt anyone to attempt one more rep. Sometimes it's that one rep that in the future that makes the difference in you getting that personal record.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: Right, we can always go heavier and push ourselves harder and eat more or do something better. Ben, how far do you think you will go in powerlifting considering you're so young and doing so well already?
I plan on going to college at one of the military academy's, (haven't decided which yet) and proceed to further my career in the military. Of course I will still be powerlifting. Stats wise, I want to get a 2,000 lb total at a bodyweight of below 198. Right now, I'm just working on Elite Status.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: What is it about powerlifting that you like so much?
Oh man, EVERYTHING, the environment, the adrenaline soaring through my veins, the camaraderie amongst the people, the loud music, and especially the feeling of success when you break a record or even a PR that you worked your butt off trying to get.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Give us your training routine!
Well I don't really have a completely established routine and the weights I use are very volatile.
Overhead Press 10 reps x 4 sets
Bench Press 3 reps x 9 sets
Dumbbell Press 10 reps x 4 sets
Incline and Decline Bench Presses 6 reps x 5 sets
Bench Press 8 x 1 set
Squat Thrusts 10 reps x 10 sets
Squats 8 reps x 5 sets
Good Mornings 10 reps x 4 sets
Dumbbell Lunges 10 reps x 4 sets
Shrugs 8 reps x 6 sets
Deadlifts 5 reps x 7 sets
Lat Pulls 8 reps x 5 sets
Push Ups 20 reps x 10 sets
Bicep Curls 10 reps x 4 sets
Close Grips 8 reps x 6 sets
Bench Overload 3 reps x 3 sets
8) CRITICAL BENCH: Interesting routine. If any of you Critical Bench readers want to try something new, give Ben's routine a try and see what works for you and doesn't. Ben, in your opinion, what do you think are the 5 most important factors when training for a bigger raw bench press?
Eliminate your weaknesses! If you need to work on lockouts, do board work; if start-offs trouble you, do paused benches. Supplementary exercises. Lots of overloads, motivation and determination!
9) CRITICAL BENCH: What's your diet and supplementation like?
Well I take protein whenever I can and really eat whatever I want. I'm not too much on the diet idea, eat what you want and burn it off in the gym is my philosophy.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: What goes through your head before attempting a new max?
I sort of meditate! I like to think that one of my friends just got it without any problem and if I don't get it I'll look like an idiot. =P
11) CRITICAL BENCH: Where and who do you train with?
I train at Iron Fitness in Mayodan, its nothing but pure adrenaline, loud music, plates rattling and motivational yells from training partners. James Gentry, LB Bullins, & Vern Sheppard are all great people to go to whenever I need a spot or tips on anything.
12) CRITICAL BENCH: That's cool! A big factor to getting a bigger bench is to train with someone who thinks that they are crazier than you! Very cool! In order what is the most important to you between strength, looks, health, and toughness and why?
Well health is certainly number one. If you aren't healthy then how are you going to be able to lift and live a productive life if you're sick every other day? Strength comes next, if you're stronger than any opposition you face, you will more than likely overcome it. Looks and toughness I'd have to say are about even. If you have looks then hey, you get the girl, and you can intimidate anyone enough to where they back down. But on the other hand, it never hurt anyone to be tough.
13) CRITICAL BENCH: Ben, how do you see the future of RAW benching? Do you think it has good potential?
The way that it's looking now, a new generation is starting to get involved in this addictive sport of powerlifting and I believe that it has a bright future ahead of it.
14) CRITICAL BENCH: You're helping. Ben, how does it feel to be a strongman in a world of weaklings?
Haha. Well even though I am not the absolute strongest guy in the world, I would have to say I'm pretty decent coefficient wise. I still get comments from the guys at school about how strong I am, and it's really amusing.
Shawn "Bud" Lyte is an absolutely outstanding person. For people that don't know him, he is easy to work with, extremely understanding, and a overall just great person. BMF Sports is a well organized company and is growing exponentially. He isn't just a sponsor, but a great friend as well.
16) CRITICAL BENCH: Critical Bench is glad that you are doing so well. Keep up the good work and keep getting better. You're the 2 nd youngest person, I've ever interviewed I believe. Benching 225 at 120lbs at 14, is truly nuts. Ben is there anything else you would like to say or people to thank?
I'd like to first of all, thank my parents. If it weren't for them I wouldn't be here. They support me in everything I do and they're just great. Next would be Vern Sheppard, the owner of Iron Fitness Gym. He's the one that got me addicted to powerlifting. He's a wonderful guy, and will do anything for you whenever you need it done. Robert Day and the Day family, they are the nicest, most humble people you will ever meet. I lifted with them during the summer and they treated me as if I were their own. God Bless America and Its Troops! And I'll just end this interview by saying that success comes from persistent determination. Never give up, even when things look bad, just keep going and don't stop.
CRITICAL BENCH: Thanks Ben and keep rocking the powerlifting!