Interview With Powerlifter Jeff Telljohn by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
The World's Strongest 70-Year Old Powerlifter
Critical Bench: Jeff, it's great to have one of the strongest 70 year olds who ever lived with us today. It's truly an honor! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Jeff Telljohn. I am from Wapakoneta Ohio. I picked up free weights for the first time at the age of 61. I am now 70. I have been competing in the bench press for the last 9 years as 308 and now as a superheavy weight.
Critical Bench: Wow, that's interesting that you started power lifting at 61 and you are competing as one of the strongest 70 year olds today. Truly inspirational! What are your best lifts?
At age 64 in the 308lbs class I set a world record in the APF and WNPF at 420lbs at 70 years old July 8th, 2006 in Hamilton Ohio at 330lbs weight. I did a 400lbs bench. 8 days later on July 16th 2006 at an APF meet in Columbus Ohio, I benched 400lbs an American and World Record.
Critical Bench: Wow that classifies you as the world's strongest man in your age group. Speaking of world's strongest men, who do you think was one of the strongest men to ever live?
Critical Bench: How do you train?
I have tried most training methods. My methods change constantly.
Critical Bench: That's good to keep the body guessing. Too many people make the mistake of doing the same thing and staying the same. Do you think training partners are important when it comes to building a big bench press?
Training partners, I believe are the most important thing in making strength gains, besides ones desire, is training partners.
Critical Bench: Well, I have to ask, you waited until you were 61 before you started competing. What on Earth got you interested in competing at 61?
I became aware that power lifting has something for almost everyone! I was hooked right after my first meet.
Critical Bench: What is the biggest mistake other lifters make? Beginners especially?
Over training, too many reps, refusing to change or try something new. Change is necessary. Sometimes less is more.
Critical Bench: Very simple and very well said! I think beginners should write that down. Get a piece of paper and write down "Don't do too many reps, try something new, less is more." With that mixed along with intense training and good diet can help anyone make progress. Thanks John! More importantly, what are your FUTURE GOALS?
Maintain a 400lbs bench until I am 75!
Critical Bench: Wow, can any of you readers imagine benching 400lbs when you are 75? That's quite the goal! Next question: Do you think power lifting should be an Olympic sport and how do you see the future of benching developing?
Power lifting should be an Olympic sport and bench pressing will continue as long as equipment and hundreds of rules in too many federations does not cause destruction of the sport.
Critical Bench: We'll see about that. I hope the power lifting world can get along and just lift for themselves. What's your take on bench shirts and drug testing?
I believe bench shirts extend the number of years one can compete. For drug testing I believe the cost of and the fact urine tests used today, do not cover everything, 100 percent drug free lifting is not possible now. Maybe someday.
Critical Bench: You have to be highly motivated to be challenging yourself to lift weights that never have been benched at your age. What motivates you? Do you have a motivational quote for us?
70 is the new 50!
Critical Bench: hahaha, I like it. What do you think of bodybuilding exercises? Are they useful for power lifters?
For young lifters, may be some body building exercises are useful. For older lifters no.
Critical Bench: With years of experience what can you say that powerlifting has taught you? What lessons can you share?
It's never too late to start. Don't look back. There is a passion in life even for a 70-year old man.
Critical Bench: What does power lifting mean to you?
Power lifting has given me a new lease on life.
Critical Bench: Jeff thank you so much for your time. I'm sure your story will inspire many.