Powerlifter Jim Hoskinson Uses Injury To Overcome & Excel Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - November 2008
Jim Hoskinson is a man of resolve who has overcome a serious injury and continues to excel at his chosen sport of powerlifting. While working for the Christian Power team in Alabama, he tore both of his quads and ruptured his patella tendons. He spent 13 hours without pain medication and worst of all, he was told that not only would he never squat again. Recently Jim squatted 1107lbs at the APF Alabama State Meet. Jim also totaled 2,500lbs and became a National WPO world champion in the 308 class! Critical Bench has the honor to share with you a motivational story that has touched many lives. Meet Jim Hoskinson!
CRITICAL BENCH: Jim, welcome to Critical Bench. It is an hour to have you with us today. Tell us about yourself.
First I would like to thank you for even wanting to do this interview and my hopes is that it will help someone in someway. I am a 43 year old gym owner of the better part of 16 years. I am a husband for the last 8 and father for the last 5. I compete in mostly full powerlifting meets in the 308 pound weight class. I get a great deal of self worth by training different kinds of people at my gym and helping them overcome obstacles in their way to achieve their physical and mental goals.
CRITICAL BENCH: Jim, while you were performing in Alabama, you tore both quads and ruptured your patella tendons. It took a two- hour ambulance ride to the nearest hospital and you had to sit there for 13 hours without pain medication. Explain that gruesome experience for all of us.
I'm not sure why so much attention has been put on the ambulance ride and the hospital, pre surgery stage. The experience as bad as it sounds took my life in a different direction and because of it taught me to be stronger mentally, more humble and more appreciative of my friends and family. It also made me hungry again to push myself and make a positive difference in the world I live in. I don't choose to look at it as a gruesome experience as crazy as it sounds, I am thankful for what happened (but I hope and pray that I will never have to go through it again). To make sure that I stay humble and focused, I keep a replica of the log that hurt me outside the front of my gym. It's been converted into a bench to sit on. It's the last thing I see when I close up the gym and the first thing I see when I open up in the morning.
CRITICAL BENCH: Jim, when you look at the log that hurt you when you arrive to the gym and leave the gym does it haunt you in any way?
The log doesn't haunt me, it gives me a feeling of peace knowing what I am capable of overcoming, but also being aware of what can happen when you are not focused.
Jim Hoskinson Benches 730 Pounds
CRITICAL BENCH: Then you were in a wheel chair with leg braces and you were told you would never walk again. How did you cope with that experience and what was it like?
I was told I would not walk the same or be the same again. I would like to tell you that I was very mentally tough and never doubted that I would overcome these obstacles. The reality is as I watched my body get smaller and smaller and I could not run my business to pay the bills, I started feeling desperate and sorry for myself. This was a very dark time in my life. I knew I had to have a goal, something to fight for. I picked being able to complete a competitive squat in a real contest.
CRITICAL BENCH: Then you came back and totaled over 2,500lbs in the 308lbs class! You became a National and WPO World champion! How did you do it? How did you overcome such severe adversities?
I could write a book on this and ironically I am. I would like to keep my answer simple but informative. I had to first realize what my weak point was and attack it and never look back. A man doesn't know truly how he will react when life knocks him to his knees until he is down on his knees so to speak. I realized I wasn't as mentally strong as I thought I would be. So I set forth a plan to train my mind as much or more while at the same time rehabilitating my body.
CRITICAL BENCH: Jim, your story has been amazing. I know this is just the basics and people will be looking forward to hearing more when they interact with you and read your future book. This has been very inspirational. Jim, what are your future goals in powerlifting?
My future goal in powerlifting is to continually improve in all 3 lifts and use my success to help others and myself in the other aspects in my life. I have no specific contest goals. I've tried to do as many federations as I could and their biggest meets. I will continue to do this. I want to make as many positive experiences as I can, while I can.
CRITICAL BENCH: Jim, tell us about Ironworks Gym and what you do there.
8 years ago I had an idea of operating a gym different than any other that I had ever known. Because of that idea and my ambition to see it come true, Ironworks Gym was created and operates today. My gym is centered around helping the members to become stronger physically and mentally. It is as much a community center as it is a gym. We have all walks of people and all the members are like clients. I have a private strength training and powerlifting room that is fully equipped with monolifts, powerracks, benches and everything that you would want. I have an outside compound with Conan's Wheel, tires, Yoke's, Farmer's walks, etc..I have a complete cardio and circuit training section and another complete plate loaded machine section and then a complete free weight with york powerack stations, D/B's up to 200Lbs. I have a room with heavybags, speedbags and a wrestling mat. My youngest member is 12 and my oldest member is 81.
CRITICAL BENCH: Wow, sounds like a great place to train. Jim, give us your squat, bench, and deadlift routine.
In order to keep it fairly short, I believe in rotating and putting a lot of emphasis on my assistance exercises. Good morning's, reverse hyper, plyo jumps, etc. . My style is mostly Westside. I believe in band and chain box squatting with minimal equipment until closer to the meet. I do mostly double and singles. I believe on ME movements separate from speed movements. I do my heaviest lift 3 weeks from the contest. I do not have a structured de-load except for the week before the contest. My ME squats are Friday nights.
My bench routine has evolved and for the first time, my bench is really moving. My ME movement is on Saturdays. I use my shirt every week on this day to different board heights with rep ranges from 3 to 1 as I get closer to the meet. My heaviest bench is 3 weeks from the meet to a 1/4" board. I always do my opener for a double to my chest 2 weeks out. My only de-load is the week before a contest. In the last 3 months I have started doing Brad Hecks close grip reverse band routine. I do this after my shirt work and it has improved my bench dramatically. I do a lot of shoulder work on this day as well, 15 to 20 sets. My speed day I do close grip chain or band multiple sets of 2 timed working off of 45% of my max with weight and then I do heavy D/B work and then a lot of Tricep and Rear Delt work.
My Deadlift routine I am constantly changing and struggling with. I love to deadlift but it has never quit hurting me. I refuse to use my injuries as an excuse. I pull conventional and made a vow to myself that would be the only way that I pull. It is like conquering a demon. I am not built to deadlift. Therefore, it is my biggest challenge. Nothing makes me happier than getting a PR in a deadlift.
CRITICAL BENCH: It's always interesting to hear how different elite lifters train, thanks. Please share your power eating and supplement plan..
I want to first say that I do not want to let my body weight get over 308. Therefore, my eating has become more strict over the past 2 years. I take in protein 6 to 7 times a day 30 to 40 grams a pop. My carbohydrates are clean and I eat them morning and mid day. In the evening and late night I add essential fats and or vegetables. I do not eat out very much nor do I use many condiments. I drink water, skim milk and energy drinks. My supplements are a good protein powder, ethyl ester creatine, a liquid multi vitamin, glycomaize, BCAA's and glutamine.
CRITICAL BENCH: You were involved with a Christian power team. What exactly did that entail?
About 6 years ago I traveled with Team Impact for about a year and a half. It was an evangelistic christian group using feats of strength to minister to people. I made several friends My life is better that I was part of this group for the time I was and I still keep in touch with some of them today.
Jim Hoskinson Benches 705 - Oct 2008
CRITICAL BENCH: What feats of strength have you performed with the team?
The reality is I did several but probably wasn't that good at any of them. The whole purpose of the group in my opinion wasn't to bring attention to the individuals or the feats of strength, but to use these things to focus the attention on helping people. They truly are a class act.
This is a very personal question to me. It's not that Jesus has changed my life, it's that learning and understanding more about him and believing in him gave me the power and discipline to change my life for the unselfish values that living with faith represents. I spent most of my life living without faith. I've spent the last several years trying to live with continually more faith. I've struggled twice as hard these last several years as I ever did before, but I've never experienced as much joy or accomplished as much as I did when living for myself. You can't out give life. Most of my life I thought strength was being angry and vengeful. Several years ago when I decided to change my life with the purpose of faith and the Christian values this represents I discovered real strength is in forgiveness and love not anger and hate.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for other lifters out there?
Learn as much as you can and don't stop. Learn from the successful lifters. Talk to and be around positive people, set realistic goals and DO NOT quit until you have achieved them. Realize it is a journey, a marathon, not a vacation and a sprint. NO excuses just lift.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you do any bodybuilding lifts?
I'm not sure what you consider a bodybuilding lift. I do Bicep's once a week, I do work my calves and I do a lot of abs. I guess that would be a yes but I haven't been on a Pec-deck for years and I've never benched with my feet up on the bench in my life. Do you think they help with your powerlifting? On a serious note, I personally think a major factor in making your 3 lifts go up is taking your assistance work seriously.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you enjoy doing away from powerlifting?
The number one thing that I enjoy is the time with my son. Powerlifting is not at the top of my list in life. My family then my business and a lot of times my friends come before powerlifting. If I'm not working or training my time will absolutely and always be with my family .
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you see the future of powerlifting?
I don't feel that I am educated in the dynamics of the structure of powerlifting to answer this intelligently. I have for the most part trained alone in the 6 years of my powerlifting. My gym and home are outside of the powerlifting circles. I have had nothing but positive experiences in the different federations that I have competed in. I have always been treated better than I probably deserve and the meets seem to be getting bigger and better. I know that there are a lot of disputes within the sport, but me personally I will enjoy it for as long as I can, give back to it as much as I can and accept the direction it goes in and set my personal goals accordingly.
CRITICAL BENCH: How does your family feel about your powerlifting?
My wife is very supportive because it is something I enjoy and am committed to at this point in my life. She enjoys being part of it with me and my son is too young to understand.
CRITICAL BENCH: Has the sacrifice you've made to become a great powerlifter been worth it?
Yes, because in my case powerlifting and the goal of being competitive is what I held onto mentally to push myself to get over my injuries. To continually push my body through powerlifting and overcoming the limits the medical field put on me, allows me to become a stronger human being physically and mentally. This allows me to help more and more people and live with a greater sense of purpose.
CRITICAL BENCH Jim it has been great interviewing you. No words can describe it and what an intriguing journey you are living through powerlifting and life. In closing is there anyone who you would like to thank?
I would like to thank my sponsors, ElifeFTS, APT and Powershack. I would like to thank my wife for her support. I would like to thank Lou Simmons for his advice and friendship and I would like to thank you once again Critical Bench for being interested in what I had to say.