Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
May 19, 2024
Interview With 800 Pound Bench Presser Mike De Laval
by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com

Mike De Laval Bench Press 1) CRITICAL BENCH: I'm here with Mike De Laval right now who is in his mid 40s and who is coming very close to an 800lbs bench press in a meet and who has bench pressed 825 in training! Mike, this is phenominal. Tell Critical Bench readers and the whole world of weight lifting about yourself ?

[Mike De Laval] I am 44 years young (45 in February), and have an awesome wife (Dianna) who is a fitness model with 5 kids ranging in age from 6-22. I have always been a strength associated athlete primarily focused on football and wrestling in my younger days. I played a bit of division 1 college football until I injured my back (hence, my bench only status). Post football I continued weight training and competed in a number of state and national bodybuilding events. I make my living as a Principal in a Commodity Fund named Bunker Hill Funds Management as well as act as a Senior Consultant for CRA International as an expert in Oil and Gas trading and risk matters.

2)CRITICAL BENCH: You hold 5 different world records! I mean holding one world record is a dream, but you have held 5 world records before! So, discuss setting all 5 records at every powerlifting meet that you set them at and tell us what the experience was like for you one by one ?

[Mike De Laval] I currently hold 3 active World Records, but have held 5 at one time or another over the past three years or so. My WBC Masters Record was a memorable one for me as this was the first National/World meet for me to compete in. My NAP Open and Masters National and World Record was significant as well. That fed is drug tested and that lift also qualified me for Bench America that year. But, my most memorable one was my APF National Record of 750 at 275 at the Mendelson Classic earlier this year. As you know, that is an invitational meet, and Scot was nice enough to take a shot at an old dude like me. It was quite cool as Ryan Kennelly, Tiny, Steve Wong, Jason Jackson, Kara Bohigan to mention a few all were there lifting; not to mention Scot's 1008 the night before!

3) CRITICAL BENCH: Not only are you setting world records but you are setting them at the age of 44! What's it like lifting so heavy and setting world records during"the middle age crisis" time of life?

[Mike De Laval] It is highly critical to listen to your body as you get older and be able to discern the difference between pain from injury, pain from fatigue, and pain from intensity. I have a very high pain tolerance and have, for the most part, been able to tell those differences. Focus on critical movement is something I focus on. By this, I mean that I use somewhat of a minimalist approach to supplemental work as I approach a meet. I will expand this as I am off season and incorporate a little more of a bodybuilding schedule into my training regimen.

4) CRITICAL BENCH: So you raise 5 kids! Tell us about your wife Dianna and 5 kids? Are they going to be powerlifters?

[Mike De Laval] My wife is in ridiculous shape. She is far and way the most fit in the family (sorry kids). Our family is like the old Brady Bunch contingent. We have been together for almost 15 years, but both came to the marriage with two small kids. We also have a 6 year old daughter, Riley, that we have together. The two oldest Lauren and Aaron have both competed. Lauren holds a few state junior records and Aaron is on the verge of really exploding on the scene. Ryan is an aspiring professional skateboarder living in San Francisco and Collin will be a senior in high school this year. I need to get him interested as he definitely has all the right genetics.

5) CRITICAL BENCH: You have goals to be the first man over 40 years of age to Bench over 800 (Which isn't too far away) and to compete in the Arnold Classic. What is it going to take to reach these goals?

[Mike De Laval] Let me clarify. Bill Gillespie has done it, but he is over 300lbs. I would like to be the first to post 800 + over 40 at a bodyweight less than 300. I have actually done 825 in the gym, but as we all know, means nothing. However, this gives me hope that I can put a good meet together in November and get this done. As far as the Arnold goes; I am not sure. KK has made this invite only. I have my WPO card now, but unfortunately cannot make it to the semi's in upstate NY in November. So, even if I put up a big number in Texas in November or another APF or WPO meet down the calendar a bit I am not sure this will do it.

6) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your training routine? Give us your training routine..what's your supplementation and diet like?

[Mike De Laval]

On season: This was primarily the design of Scot Mendelson with a little personal touch.


Flat Bench: 4-5 sets of 3 10 weeks out to singles 3 weeks out

Close Grip 2 Boards: 3 sets 5 reps

Cable push downs or skull crushers: 3 set 6 reps

Rowing Movement: 3 set 5 reps

Pull down: 3 set 5 reps

Shrugs: 3 sets 8 reps

Rear delts: 3 sets 8-10 reps

Hammer curls: 3 sets 6 reps




Flat Bench: 4-5 sets of 3 10 weeks out to singles 3 weeks out

Close Grip 2 Boards: 3 sets 5 reps

Rowing Movement: 3 set 5 reps

Rear delts: 3 sets 8-10 reps

Hammer curls: 3 sets 6 reps

Off season:


Flat Bench or Barbell Incline: 5 set (6, 5, 4, 3, 6)

Floor Press: 3 sets 6 reps

Dumbell Incline Flyes: 3 sets 6 reps

Close Grip Boards: 3 sets 6 reps

Push downs: 3 sets 6 reps

Skull crushers: 3 sets 6 reps


Shrugs: 4 sets 8 reps

Upright rows: 3 sets 6 reps

Lateral raises: 3 sets 6 reps

Rear delts: 3 sets 8 reps

Rowing movement: 3 sets 6-8 reps

Pull down wide: 3 sets 8 reps

Pull down narrow: 3 sets 8 reps

9-12 sets varying bicep work


Box Squats: 3 sets 6 reps

Leg Press: 4 sets 4-6 reps

Hack Squats: 3 sets 8 reps

Hamstring work: 6 sets 10 reps




Board Press: 3 sets 6 reps

Close grip boards: 3 sets 6 reps


30 minutes cardio


30 minutes cardio


I use very limited supplements. I use Free Life brand vitamins and Goji Juice that helps me recover, sleep well, and improve my immunity system. I use Nature's Best Pro Smoothie as my protein supplement of choice. My diet consists of 3000-4000 calories per day. I try to get in 400 grams of protein with less than 100 carbs if possible.

7) CRITICAL BENCH: What's your advice for beginners, intermediate and advanced bench pressers?

[Mike De Laval] To compete at very high levels in shirted competitions you must understand that it is as much technique as it is strength. For instance, I know I have lost to guys that cannot come near to my raw max of 575, but they mastered the shirt better than I. There are some big lifters out there that may be getting close to 350-400 lbs out of their equipment. I have been able to get somewhere around 200-250lbs which is not bad, but it is most certainly the place I need most improvement on.

8) CRITICAL BENCH: Who in the powerlifting world has inspired you?

[Mike De Laval] I have not been around the sport that long, but Scot Mendelson has certainly been a great coach and mentor to me. He is a very nice guy with a great family. Also, Dr. Rick Urso who convinced me to give this sport a try. Both he and his wife Stacey are great friends and have been big supporters. Stacey is world class in her own right…we need to push her out of retirement and back on the platform.

9) CRITICAL BENCH: Were you always this strong? What was your lifting days like back when you were a teen, in your 20s, and 30s? Why the big gains in your 40s!?

[Mike De Laval] I never really knew that there was such a thing as bench only so after I was hurt in football more bodybuilding style. I have always enjoyed lifting very heavy with low reps so invariably I was training probably more like a powerlifter than I realized. I have always been strong. I could bench well over 300 in high school and benched 500 when I was 23. I guess my focus and setting my sights on specific goals has helped me not only hang on to my strength, but increase it over the years.

10) CRITICAL BENCH: Is there anything else you'd like to say or anyone who you would like to thank?

[Mike De Laval] I would certainly like to thank my family for putting up with me, and my wife letting me continue to compete even after 775 dropped on my head. I really want to thank Ken Anderson at Titan Support for providing me with all my equipment and friendship and support over the last couple of years. Titan has always taken great care of me and been supportive through the hits and the misses and they are always willing to help make the adjustments to help the lifter that last 5 %. I would also like to thank my supplement sponsor, Free Life. Finally, I would like to thank Aaron Thorpe, Mike Jenkins, Miguel Garcia, and Tim Lamando that spot me and train with me (especially Aaron).

Mike De Laval Hits 804 LBS @ 301 Masters - 2007


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