Interview With Bench Press World Record Holder Jay Fry Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - August 2008
Jay Fry has made bench press history benching an astounding 725lbs at 181lbs and breaking his previous 706lbs bench press world record.
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay you have just set a world record in the bench press and not only did you just set a world record in the bench press, but you just shattered your previous world record. You were the champ and you beat yourself as the champ! That is totally awesome!
Jay Fry: Thanks Ben.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, how does it feel to be a world record holder? Are the disadvantages of being a world record holder?
Jay Fry: Well, one of the worst parts about being a world record holder is that you are the one being chased. I like being the chaser more than being chased.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: It seems that being a world record holder would be the ultimate goal, but it's hard work just defending the title. Comments?
Jay Fry: Exactly! Another worst part about having the world record in the bench press is that every time I tell people how much I bench, nobody believes me.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: What do you tell people when they ask you how much ya bench?
Jay Fry: I usually just have to tell them "I don't know."
5) CRITICAL BENCH: Why wouldn't people believe you? Your 726lbs bench press is in the record books and it is official, done in competition!
Jay Fry: The biggest and strongest guys that most people will ever see in a gym in their whole life times only bench 405. So, most people think even 300 is a lot and when I tell them that I bench 725 in competition or (1000 in the gym with bands, boards, and a shirt,) they don't believe it even though I am always telling the truth. I tell them to go on the Internet and watch my videos but I get tired of proving it.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: It is crazy to compare the average gym go-er to a world record holder! Hahahahahah
Jay Fry: Exactly! Hahahaha! Exactly!
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Anyways, Jay, were you always this strong? How strong were you when you were young?
Jay Fry: I was just like everyone else. I remember in my freshman year of high school I benched 135lbs. I wasn't always strong, I was the scrawny kid who got picked on. I was like the opposite of Mike Wolfe.
8) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, that makes your world record even more amazing! Here you are holding a world record and you don't even have the perfect genetics for having the biggest all time bench! AMAZING, WOW!! Jay we both know that you aren't short and that if you had shorter arms you would be bench pressing even more! So, Jay, if you were 5 inches shorter what do you think you would be benching?
Jay Fry: If I was 5 inches shorter and if I was 5'5, I would be benching 800+ and maybe even 900lbs. I really do wish I was shorter and had shorter limbs!
9) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, are you sure that you wish you were shorter?? If you were shorter do you still think you would have the amazing girlfriend that you have?
Jay Fry: Ben, that is a crazy question! hahahaha hahaha hahaha... I think that I wouldn't have her since she is a little tall herself! hahaha, that is funny.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: There are other great benchers in the game who compete at 181. One being Damian Osgood who just benched over 600lbs and who is the youngest 600+ pound bencher ever! What separates you from someone like Damian?
Jay Fry: The difference there is time and training. I have been at it longer than him! Give Damian another 3 years and he will probably be doing 700 at 165. I have been working at it for a long time. Damian is awesome.
11) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you believe anybody can be super strong and what is your number one pointer for a bigger bench?
Jay Fry: I believe anyone can be strong if they train their nervous system and if they put their years into this sport. My number 1 tip is to train your nervous system more than your muscles.
12) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, you have weighed the same amount for 5 years and you have put 350lbs onto your bench in the last 5 years. You added more to your bench in 5 years than what most NFL athletes bench! Haha! It goes to show that looks and strength don't always go hand in hand. Tell us about your progress over the past 5 years!
Jay Fry: I have weighed 193-194lbs for the past 5 years and competed at 181lbs. Obviously, I haven't gotten heavier. When you bench 350lbs more than you did 5 years ago and you aren't getting any bigger you are obviously training something other than your muscles.
13) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, tell Critical Bench readers the difference between Central Nervous System (CNS) training and muscle training?
Jay Fry: The big difference between muscle training and CNS training is that muscle training is time under tension. That is why bodybuilders do 4 sets of 12. Their muscles have more time under stress and that is why they get big. Powerlifters know how to fire their nervous systems. That is why they train very heavy with low reps and do very fast reps with lighter weights to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. They have less time under tension. I have learned to train my nervous system and make my muscles have more fire!
14) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you use bodybuilding lifts on days that you aren't training your CNS?
Jay Fry: I don't really do bodybuilding anymore. When I am not training my CNS, all of my training is geared towards injury prevention.
15) CRITICAL BENCH: Can you give us your shoulder routine? That is probably the exercises you use the most to prevent injury..
Jay Fry: My shoulder training is definitely to prevent injury. I do a lot of standing dumbbell and barbell presses. (I go pretty heavy.) Then I do a lot of side lateral raises and front delts. I will get a pump. I do a lot of shrugs on Monday night with heavy back and auxiliary back. I believe if you have a weak back you won't be able to support the heavy weights.
16) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, what do you do for back training?
Jay Fry: For back I do Front pulldowns.! I do 2 sets of 12 to warm up. Then I do 2 sets of 5 really heavy. I then do pulley rows. I do 2 sets of 5 with as much weight as I can and then heavy shrugs.
For auxiliary back to prevent injury, I will do behind the neck pulldowns. I will do straight arm pulldowns and I will bring the weight down to my waist. I will do sets of 20 on my auxiliary and I will do behind the neck pull downs and pulldowns up front. And t-bar rows. I will then lay on my stomach on a row machine and shrugs. I don't pull the weight, I just shrug the weight.
17) CRITICAL BENCH: Interesting. Do you do squats and deadlifts?
Jay Fry: On Thursday Nights I squat. I do straight leg deadlifts. Anytime I do legs, I use a safety bar. I do safety bar squats and straight leg deadlifts. I don't go heavy and I don't do a lot of reps. I can make 181 without squatting too heavy.
18) CRITICAL BENCH: How long do your workouts last?
Jay Fry: I don't train any longer than an hour. My workouts are short.
19) CRITICAL BENCH: Since you bench pressed 650lbs, how has your bench press workout changed?
Jay Fry: I quit working floor presses. Floor presses use to be the core of my program and now I don't do them.
20) CRITICAL BENCH: Why don't you do floor presses anymore?
Jay Fry: I don't do floor presses because I want to work my set up on the bench press. When I am on the floor my arm angle is 90 degrees... When I'm set up on the bench with a little arch, I'm actually arched so much that my arms and chest are at a 45 degree angle. That is why I quit doing floor presses.
21) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your favorite exercise for a bigger bench and what exercise do you now use in replacement of the floor press for that bigger bench?
Jay Fry: I work heavy 3 board press lockouts.. I go ultra wide, I work an inch and a half past my normal grip wider. Anytime you are benching with a close grip for a lockout, your arms and triceps are resting off your lats. If you got an ultra wide grip you take your lats out of it. When are you locking it out you are using your triceps. When I go back to my ultra grip, my normal grip, it feels a little bit easier. I do more lockout work with my competition grip and ultra wide grip. I do wider grip lockouts now so I don't rely on leveraging off my lats for the lockout...
22) CRITICAL BENCH: Have you found any exercises useful to help strengthen your mind to bench press 700+ since we last interviewed you ?
Jay Fry: A lot of overload techniques. a few years ago on the phone you told me to try to bench 900lbs. So, I was benching over 900lbs with a shirt, the reverse band press and boards. That has really help strengthen my nervous system and bone density which has allowed my arms to handle heavier weights. When I am supporting 900lbs in training, the 700lbs bench presses no longer feel so hard in competition.
23) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, in the last 3 months you have made history. At the Arnold in the animal cage you benched 710 (an unofficial world record,) but still very exciting to watch. Then you broke the world bench press record benching 706.5 and setting an actual bench press world record in the 181lbs class and then recently you benched 725lbs at 181 and broke your very own world record! In order what was your favorite moment between your bench bench 710, then breaking the world reocrd with your 706.5 and your most recent bench 725@181lbs (4 times your body weight or 3.999999 specifically?)
Jay Fry: The 706.5 In Columbus Ohio was my favorite....
24) CRITICAL BENCH: Why did you enjoy benching 706.5 and setting the record more than benching 725lbs?
Jay Fry: Well, when I I did 706 it was just too easy. I just surprised myself. It was so easy I thought they misloaded it! Also It was my favorite moment by far because my girlfriend was there to celebrate it with me! That was by far the best!!
25) CRITICAL BENCH: How did 725 feel? Was it hard?
Jay Fry: It wasn't hard at all. I pushed as hard as I could and it went up pretty easily.
26) CRITICAL BENCH: What goes through your mind when you are bench pressing 700+ ? How is your current bench press mindset different than your mindset from years ago?
Jay Fry: I just stare at the ceiling and see what my body is doing and I make the adjustments as I am benching. This is a very different mindset than I had a few years ago. In the past I use to be afraid that my arms will break.
27) CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, you use to say that you were "The Laziest lifter." Do you still want that title and feel you claim it?
Jay Fry: hahahaha! Not anymore. I work my butt off now. I am fortunate that I have never been injured. I work a lot harder than I use to and that is why I am stronger.
28) CRITICAL BENCH: Name one lifter who inspires you!
Jay Fry: Mike Wolfe inspires me. Mike was the first guy I grabbed and celebrated with when I set both World Records.
29) CRITICAL BENCH: Throughout the years of getting stronger have you noticed anything really strange happen to you physically or mentally in the process outside of setting world records?
Jay Fry: Yes, haha! My wrist and my forearm density has gotten bigger. None of my watches fit me anymore!
30) CRITICAL BENCH: hahaha! As far as the sport of benching goes, what interesting changes have you seen in the bench press throughout the years that stands out in your mind the most?
Jay Fry: The lifters, the training and equipment have really gotten better. Our openers are 50lbs heavier today than the world records were 2 years ago! It is just amazing how much the sport continues to change and evolve.
CRITICAL BENCH: Jay, well the sport will continue to change but you have definitely left your mark on the bench press! You have set a world record in the bench press and will always go down as the greatest bench presser at 181lbs during the year of 2008! Jay at Critical Bench we wish you all the best down the road with your bench pressing and everything else that crosses your path!
Jay Fry World Record Bench - 725 Pounds Weighing 181