Interview With Powerlifter Billy Mimnaugh by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
My name is Billy Mimnaugh, I'm 39 years old and live in
Norwalk CT with my wife Yvette and my son Jalen. I've
been training for twenty two years and competing in
bodybuilding and powerlifting for 16.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST LIFTS?
My best lifts are at super heavy-942lb squat,606lb
bench and a 788 deadlift for a 2303 total.At 308 they
ANY COMMENTS ABOUT THE FIRST TIME BENCHING 135,225,315,405,500,600 etc?
I wasn't a natural at lifting. It took me two years to
hit 225 and another two years to hit 315.400 came
quicker and 500 was done quickly as well and 600 was
done soon after. As I've gotten older and my body has
matured, my strength has gone way up. I always had a
kid's body for years and it's only just in the past few
years that I'm starting to see some maturity in my body.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE TRAINING PARTNERS TO YOU?
I have the best training partners in the world. Ronny
Dayton is an APF senior national champ with a 2253
total at 275 and is the most inspiring guy I have ever
been around.Vinny Dizenzo is a 767 bencher at 275 and
has hit 730 at 308 and a 710 at super and he has been
a huge help in me trying to master the shirt. Joe
Sylvia, the owner of my gym is a tremendous guy who
thinks nothing of sacrificing his time and money to
help all of lift huge numbers. Rob Tonnini and Joe
Sylvia junior stay in the gym until I'm finished every
Tuesday and Wed. despite the fact that both have to
wake up at 3:00 in the morning. Training at Southside
gym has been the greatest experiences of my lifting
career. Those guys are the reason I have had any success
in this sport.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME ONE OF THE GREATEST BENCHERS?
Well, I'm not one of the greatest benchers, but I do feel
that I'm one of the most improved and have really done
a lot with the genetics the Lord has given me.To
me, consistency is the key to this sport. I never miss a
workout, I always train heavy and I'm always trying to
learn. In this sport, excuses like, "my arms are too long
to bench or my hands are too small to deadlight" don't
make it. You need to find a way, despite your
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR TRAINING ROUTINE?
I've been a follower of the Westside program for a few
years now, but recently have changed it up. I now do
shoulders and triceps on Tuesday and do top end
work[board press, rack lockouts etc].Friday I train
pecs. I bench in my shirt, then do inclines, db inclines
etc. It's more old fashioned but I'm really trying to
learn the shirt. The most important thing in training is consistency. Don't
miss workouts and
believe anything is possible.
Kids always want to max out. They don't train to get
stronger. The other thing is, many don't understand that
its the triceps that are your bench and they don't
train them hard enough or with enough volume. They
pound their pecs and delts and triceps are an
after thought, when, in fact it should be the other way
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS (Under 225 benchers) INTERMEDIATE (315)
Advanced over 500?
Under 225,learn your groove. Have guys who know what
they are doing to watch you. Don't develop bad neurological responses like
flaring elbows or hitting the bar too high on the peck and train your
315 should start learning the shirt. I didn't
use the shirt in training for years and never got much
out of it. I wish now I would have taken the time to
learn it and train for it. Start doing top end work to
get your lockout up.
Over 500 should be concentrating
on top end work and really training in the shirt every
week. If you can, try and get up to train with Bill
Crawford. LEARN THE SHIRT.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ABOUT HOW TO CHOOSE A SHIRT,THE DIFFERENCES,
IMPROVING THE ARCH etc?
I use a Frantz double denim, but I don't think it's the
shirt, it's how you learn to use it. The most important
aspect of benching is to keep your elbows in and push
up on your abs. Arching, in my opinion, is overrated. I
think its far more important to try and "sit up" on
your upper back and drive your traps and rear delts
into the bench. Arching kills my back for pulling.
WHAT MAKS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AVERAGE LIFTER
AND A CHAMPION?
Everyone thinks its genetics, but in my opinion its
your mindset. Vinny Dizenzo and Ronny Dayton are
perfect examples of this. Both guys were very average
genetically. They trained their way to being
champions feel I've done the same thing. I was a 150
lb bag of pooh when I started and just kept plugging
away year after year and just kept believing I would
get strong and be one of the better guys out there. It's
your mind that's they key. If you can really believe
it, you can achieve anything. At the same time, if you
don't really believe it you will achieve exactly what
you believe for.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE/CRAZIEST POWERLIFTING EXPERIENCES?
The day I hit 2303,I started screaming and cursing at
a guy right on the platform. I was disqualified by Russ
Barlow[the meet director]and thought to myself "I just
threw away a 2303 total for being an ass. Later Russ
had a change of heart and technically the rules state
you must give a warning so he let the total
stand. Another time, Ronny Dayton and a guy from our gym
were walking into a meet. Ronny spits a huge luggie
into his hand and slurps it up, the other guy, seeing
this, immediately vomits, Ronny seeing that, pukes as
well, the guy seeing Ronny puke, pukes again. It was the
most disturbing thing I have ever seen and pretty much
typifies the SOUTHSIDE attitude.
WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD BEFORE DESTROYING A HUGE WEIGHT?
I think of Chuck Vogelpohl and try and emulate how he
approaches the bar. He is a guy that has no fear and
just attacks the weight. I'm not a guy that is like that
inside so I use him as an example and it normally pays
WHAT DOES YOUR DIET CONSIST OF?
Over this past year, my diet is something that I have
totally revamped. I now eat like a bodybuilder. I take
in between 350 and 450 grams of protein a day and
alternate my carbs between high and moderate, my fat
intake is extremely low. I never eat junk EVER! This has
made a huge difference in my appearance and I've been
able to stay very strong despite loosing close to
thirty pounds. I feel diet is the most overlooked
aspect of powerlifting.I basically eat,protein shakes
from PROSPERITY NUTRITION, chicken, turkey, red
meat, potatoes, bananas, apples and brown
rice,oatmeal.Thats it.NOTHING ELSE.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?
I'm doing the senior nationals in June and possibly the
juniors in March. I would love to hit 2400 and squat
1000.If I stay healthy, I should be able to do both. I'm
then going to take a year off of powerlifting and try
and do a bodybuilding show in June 05.After that, I
will be 42 so I might start doing Master meets and let
the young guys have their meets to themselves.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR WHEN TRYING TO GET A BIGGER
Triceps, triceps, triceps. Train them up really good and
your bench will go up. There have been times when I've
had peck injuries and couldn't bench but just trained
my tris and I never lost a bit of strength.
COOL, GREAT ADVICE.EXCELLENT JOB- TIME FOR SOME FUN..LETS PLAY THE NAME GAME
TELL ME WHAT COMES TO MIND..FIRST THE BENCHERS-
Strongest raw bencher in the world. Terrible
technique, couldn't use the shirt, just the freakiest strength guy of all
One of the best technicians around. Probably the most
consistent guy in the history of benching.
A pioneer in using the shirt. Strong as hell and one of
the coolest guys in the sport. People misjudge him but
a great guy and good friend.
Freakiest bencher out there.Built like a Silver Back
Gorilla.Really not great with the shirt, just stronger
than everyone else.
First over 700.One of my favorite builds in
powerlifting history. His stomach was
tremendous. Distended with abs on the end of them.
Strong guy and freaky big. His segment on Powerlifting
video was the most entertaining thing I have seen in
Unlimited potential was the first to bench over 100 and just a Super nice
Great and even more impressive than the others because
he is squatting before he benches.
A guy who has trained his way to
greatness, he leaves no stone unturned in regards to
training, diet etc.
The most knowledgeable bencher ever. The master of the shirt
smartest guy in the game. but not as good looking as me.
Best drug free guy ever on the bench. Another guy with
an unlimited future, wouldn't be surprised to see him go
well past 900.
LETS PLAY THE NAME GAME WITH BODYBUILDERS..
A god[small g]like figure. The whole sport of
bodybuilding and powerlifting owes him a great debt of
gratitude as he made us more accepted by the
public, instead of being just seen as freaks. He is a
guy that accomplished everything he ever put his mind
to, despite people doubting him every step of the way. A
huge hero of mine.
I wasn't a huge fan of his type of physique, but I do
admire the fact that he did everything he could with
what God gave him. Incredibly bright and knew how to
hold himself on stage to show his strengths and hide
his weakness'. An all time great bodybuilder.
Money maker. I'm not sure he is really concerned with
winning or making a lot of money. Saw his training tape
and was very unimpressed. He never really pushed any
huge weights. Smart dude, great entertainer but will
NEVER beat Ronnie Coleman.
The greatest bodybuilder in the history of the sport
and other than Chuck Vogelpohl,my biggest hero.His
training tape is the single most inspiring thing I
have ever seen and his physique is like something from
another planet. I was ready to give up on this sport
because of injuries and I was just going through the
motions but after seeing his tape I rededicated myself
to training and dieting and it was all because of
him. NO ONE will be close to him for many years to
come. If he ever decided to go back to
powerlifting,there is no doubt his numbers would be
unreal. A true legend and a HUGE hero of mine.
Great potential, but is around during the Coleman era
and therefore he will never be a MR OLYMPIA. One of the strongest
bodybuilders in the sport but I wonder if he
is still motivated to put it all together.
One of the best built "older" men I have ever seen. So
much for the myth that once you get old your muscle
turns to fat. Way ahead of his time and the epitome of
the blonde haired blue eyed golden boy.
The first guy I idolized as a new lifter. A guy with
limited genetics but was like a pit bull in achieving
his goals. Took ripped to a new dimension and was the first guy to really
have the striated glutes and show