Matt Lamarque has changed the world of bench pressing accomplishing an amazing 771@220 on June 11th at the WABDL meet in Hawaii. He has also just achieved a 801lbs bench press in the 242lbs class and he believes he had more in him. He plans on benching over 800 at 220lbs. So, now Matt has the ALL-TIME records in the Bench Press in the 220 and 242lbs weight class.
At the age of thirteen, Lamarque was introduced to weight training by his father and competed in his first powerlifting meet by the age of 16. " I got so involved in working out that I lost interest in team sports. I love the individual competition. Getting bigger and stronger was my only goal. It was a good decision and certainly kept me out of trouble back then, told Lamarque. Even at a young age, Lamarque exhibited great strength, bench pressing 335lbs in high school, weighing 180lbs. Since then, Lamarque has competed for over 14 years. At 30, Matt has already won his place in the record books with competition bests of 600lbs in the squat, and 688 in the deadlift. His best total is 1932.
Matt, proudly talks of his supportive family. His wife DeAnna and his two beautiful daughters, Lexi and Sophia. They all presently live in Monterey, California working graveyard shift as a correctional officer at Soledad State Prison and running a private gym, he accumulates over 80 hours a week on the clock. "This makes my training very difficult, but I want to give my girls a good life. I have to work really hard to do that", Lamarque said. With balancing such a rigorous work schedule and raising two daughters, it would seem impossible to find time to workout, especially the motivation.. "I look forward to getting to the gym. Having the opportunity to train is like a gift and I don't dare take it for granted," he explained. "I don't seem to have a problem staying motivated. I just want to stay on top as long as I can because I know that can change any day", he added. He drives 45 minutes to work graveyard shift at the prison from 10pm to 6am . And then personally trains an average of nineteen clients at the gym, three days a week, from 7am to 5:30pm.
After serving a 15 hour shift, the opportunity to train arrives on Tuesday and Thursday. Lamarque heads to train at a private gym in Sand City . "I have several workout partners that I train with, but due to my work schedule, I have to train on my own time a lot", he explained. Whether it is by telling and pushing him to work harder, spotting and lifting off or just moral support, Lamarque attributes much of his success to the support of his team. "Everyone on the team is responsible for everyone else's success. One of my partners that are always there for me is Eric Ansberry, a great guy and a good friend," Noted Matt. "My teammates inspire me just as much as my competitors. I will do everything I possibly can to help a teammate succeed when he is lifting. When it is my turn to lift, I want to crush him whether he is my competitor or on my team. I think everyone should have this attitude when it is their time to lift, that they want to beat everyone, regardless of bodyweight".
In addition to his environment Lamarque cites his well developed neuromuscular coordination for his success on the platform. "I train to be better, not necessarily stronger. The more efficient you get at the movement, the better you come especially in the squat and in the bench press where the gear plays a big role. Sometimes there is too much emphasis on brute strength. That is what put me up so high- my technique and coordination. Power lifters are fortunate to be able to practice the exact movements of competitions unlike sports such as football. It is a great to have a lot of muscle, but if you can't recruit it, it's useless, "clarified Lamarque.
When asked, Lamarque explained that he has faced his share of trials and tribulation in life. "If you have had nothing to overcome in your life it's hard to reach your potential, because you have never been pushed by something that wasn't in your control", he remarked. A recently separated AC Joint has permanently affected his training abilities and program. "I have limits not and, despite personal pride, I have to pace myself", said Matt. When faced with adversity, he cites Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong as his biggest inspiration. "Injury is part of being an athlete. It is the true test- whether you will come back or throw in the towel".
Matt would like to compete in the IPF, but he is against the IPF because of one stupid rule. He said, "I would bomb out for being too low, I just don't understand the USAPL and IPF. They allow the Rage and Fury, touted as single ply shirts, they are false back shirts. Cut the back off, position it right, and you will be no different then the WPO. They are not single ply, they are split neck shirts, just hidden better and they function better than double denim. If they are going to allow shirts like that then it is stupid to have the bar rule. They are eliminating a lot of good drug free lifters with this rule.
Make a restriction of the range of motion but not the position. Technique has evolved- if you have your elbows out and are benching to the nipple line, then you don't know how to bench. If they didn't want to allow the same kind of equipment as Federations like the WPO then they shouldn't have allowed these kinds of shirts. Maybe the money coming from the manufacturers for licensing fees was too good to pass up.. In any case, it's unfortunate.
Although labeled a bencher, Matt's true love is the deadlift. "I give the deadlift the most respect. Equipment has very little to do with it, especially conventional. It is the ultimate show of strength. I would really like to get close to deadlifting 800lbs. I don't know how long my body will hold on the bench, but I will be deadlifting forever", pronounced Matt.
In addition to his success on the platform, Matt has invested his energies into his new business Bovine Strength Systems, specializing in high performance bench presses and other custom equipment. "It is a business I decided to start after making a few pieces of equipment for myself when I became frustrated with what was available for strength training. Our benches have a very cool design. They are very lifter-friendly with good pads and no cross bar in front of the spotter so he can get over the lifter for those heavy lift offs . We also offer a full fitting ice jacket that has 11-10x6 ice packets secured in pockets, covering all the major joints and muscle groups involved in upper body training. Ice treatments decrease joint inflation and speed up the healing and recuperation process if used immediately after training, he explained.
Look for Matt Lamarque on the platform this year and check out his new line of equipment at: