Interview With Bench Press Specialist Kenny Patterson by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
Kenny Patterson Benching 660 - Photo Courtesy of Eskil Thomasson
Kenny Patterson Has Held Three World Records In Three Different Weight Classes Simultaneously
In the bench press there are many "best" bench pressers. All superstar benchers train hard, shatter world records and leave their mark on the sport of benching in one way or another. When many people first became interested in the sport of benching the man they looked up to was Kenny Patterson. What makes Kenny unique is that he was a world record holder before the gear was as helpful as it is today. Kenny has held a total of 15 world records! What makes Kenny even more inspiring as a lifter is that he has held a world record in the bench press in the 275lbs weight class, the 242lbs weight class and the 220lbs weight class all at the same time. Very few men can set a world record in one weight class, yet Kenny as held 3 world records at the same time. Kenny is not done, Kenny Patterson is still a dominating force in the bench press and we look forward to watching him attempt to elevate the bench press to new heights once again. Kenny is a bench press warrior and here at Critical Bench we had the opportunity to talk to this legendary freak of nature and see what he had to say!
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Kenny, it's great to have you here at Critical Bench. Tell the Critical Bench readers about yourself?
I am 33 years old and live in Columbus, Ohio. I have been competing for 19 years and have broken the all-time bench record a total of 15 times in 3 different weight classes. I work as a Special Services Supervisor for a major pet food
2) CRITICAL BENCH: How is the bench press different today compared to back during the era when you held a World Record in the bench press? What are some of your thoughts about the changes in the sport of benching over the years and what are some of your thoughts about the direction that the bench press is heading?
The bench game today is much more gear oriented. I'm not going to say I'm for the changes in the sport,
but it's not up to me to control. You just have to roll with the punches. They don't play football with leather helmets
anymore either. You have to progress with technology or you'll get left behind. The one positive is that I believe the
people coming into the sport today will have longer careers if they choose to do to the support of the shirts.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you think that the bench press records will keep going
up? What do you think the all time best bench press will be in 10 years from now?
I believe they will continue to keep going up as long as the equipment continues to improve, however, at some point I
think the human body won't be able to keep up with the equipment resulting in some serious injuries. You already
see people trying to handle weights way beyond their capabilities.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: So, what is new in the life of Kenny Patterson? How's
your training going these days and how are you training?
Not a whole lot new, still training, trying to get stronger and figure out the equipment.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
To total over 2300 @ 220, and to break the all-time bench record in a full meet after squatting. I believe right now that it's
6) CRITICAL BENCH: Looking back at your bench press career, what were your 3
1st - Breaking the 275 record at the Greatest Bench in America. 712 @ 275 in 1995
2nd - Breaking the 242 record 701 @ 242
3rd - Breaking the 220 record 655 @ 220
These record might not seem like much now, but I actually held the world record in all three weight classes at the
7) CRITICAL BENCH: That's amazing that you held a world record in the 275lbs weight class, 242lbs class and 220lbs class all at the same time! Critical Bench applauds you. What was it like cutting weight and trying to be the best bencher in
different weight classes? What weight are you at now?
Losing the weight isn't as hard as I thought it would be. I really had to work hard at staying heavy. From a health
Stand point it was definitely a good decision on my part. Currently I'm about 232 and compete at 220.
8) CRITICAL BENCH: You were a big Westside Advocate. Today a lot of bench
pressers are big into Metal Militia training, which focuses mostly on lots of
volume, lockout work, and technique but has little to do with speed. You
have always thought that speed benching was key! What' are your thoughts about
Metal Militia training systems?
I take my hat off to Bill Crawford, he has taken to art of using the shirt to a new level. He is remarkable when it comes to
working with them, and making them work. He's definitely a shirt guru. To be honest, I have cut out some of the speed
work to focus more on using the shirt. And I believe that it's helped tremendously.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: For anyone who wants to become a powerlifter, before they
decide to compete in the sport, what message would you like to tell them
about the sport of powerlifting?
It's very demanding, very expensive, and more rewarding than anything sport I have ever been involved in.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: Who have been some of the most interesting people that you
have met in the powerlifting game?
This isn't a fair question because there have been so many great people that I have been fortunate enough to
meet in this sport. Let me list the 3 most influential people:
1st - Louie Simmons - not only one of the best people in powerlifting, but just an all around great person
2nd - Chuck Vogelpohl - most intense person I have met. Huge inspiration to never give up. True warrior.
3rd - George Halbert - great training partner, ferocious competitor
11) CRITICAL BENCH: What was it like training at Westside Barbell?
In one word: INCREDIBLE
12) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your training advice for lifters of all levels?
Figure out what works for you and the goals you are trying to achieve and listen to your body.
13) CRITICAL BENCH: What are the biggest keys for a bigger bench press (RAW)? And what are some of your biggest keys for the shirt bench presser? (Do you have any secrets?)
For RAW benchers I believe you have to work more heavy 3's and 5's and work that much harder on strengthening
not only the major muscles but the secondary ones as well. RAW lifters don't have the equipment to rely on when it
comes to stability so they have to focus that much more on their own core strength.
For EQUIPPED lifters the key to it all is to figure out the shirt and train hard.
"Both types of lifters need to know when enough is enough and not to over train. I would rather be 5% under trained
than 1% over trained."
As far as secrets go, there are none. Train hard and smart. You have to constantly increase your work capacity as you
continue to get stronger. Don't have tunnel vision, you have to continually try new things. That doesn't mean all of them
are going to work but you have to always look for new ways to shock your body as well as your CNS.
14) CRITICAL BENCH: Kenny, what was your favorite part about being a powerlifter?
You said WAS. I'm not done yet. Ask me that question in another 10 or 15 years.
15) CRITICAL BENCH: Good answer, that's what I wanted to hear. When you do retire how do you want people to remember you?
As an asset to the sport. Not for any specific accomplishment, just as a contributor to the sport.
CRITICAL BENCH: Is there anything else you would like to tell Critical Bench
Yes. To remember that you will only get out of something what you are willing to put in. Everyone needs to keep in mind
that this is Powerlifting and there are many different opinions and views on different federations, equipment issues, and
drug use. Bashing someone for a choice they make doesn't make you any better than the next person. Enjoy what YOU
are doing and let everyone else enjoy what they are doing.
CRITICAL BENCH: Great attitude! If only more lifters had the same mindset. Thanks for the interview and keep training hard.