Interview With Powerlifter Treston Shull of Team Super Training As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - November 2008
TRESTON SHULL, I remember seeing pictures of him on APT's website and was like--"that's a great lifter with potential!" I couldn't remember how I managed to get a hold of him but I did. We talked off and on for a while and then one day out of the blue, he calls me. It seems after reading of my articles(motivational) he got a bit fired up about lifting again and was asking a lot of questions. This was awesome because there is nothing more motivating than bringing a lifter back to the sport. Told him about TST and he basically went on his own to seek him out. This was a year ago and Treston has grown a good bit and became a man. He has had his share of life issues but that fire for lifting has never died. You've all seen him on myspace/youtube, now read below on who the man is....
Critical Bench: Hey, thanks for doing this interview, Treston Please introduce yourself.
My Name is Treston Shull I live in Sacramento, Ca and I train at Super Training Gym in Sacramento, Ca which is owned by Mark "Jackass" Bell.
Critical Bench: What are your best lifts?
850 SQUAT - 575 BENCH - 650 DEADLIFT-- 2075 TOTAL AT 308
Critical Bench: How long have you been into powerlifting?
I started powerlifting when I was 15trs old and did it until 2004 when I was in a car accident where I was rear ended by a 30 passenger bus. I started again Nov 22nd 2007 with Super Training.
Critical Bench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into powerlifting?
I played football all through high school and just wanted to get stronger for football, I looked into strongman on the internet and did my 1st strongman comp at 15. One of the guys asked me to go to a Scottish games a few weeks later so I did and competed in that. That is where I met Mike Benton and he is the one who got me into Powerlifting, he even gave me my 1st bench shirt and squat suit.
Critical Bench: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?
I looked up to many lifters not just in powerlifting. I always looked up to people like Bill Kazmire, Anthony Clark, Phil Phister and since Vie got back into the sport now I look up to lifters like Mark Bell, Scott Cartwright, Chuck V, Chad Aichs, and even the little guys like Shawn Frankl.
Critical Bench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in powerlifting?
If you're just starting out don't even worry about the numbers you put up, worry about the basics and technique. I can't stress form enough, if you don't have good technique you'll never hit any big numbers anyways. Learn from as many lifters as you can and try everything because you never know what will work for you until you try it. Also don't get into gear to fast, stay raw for a few months 2-3 months then work on getting in gear.
Critical Bench: Do you have a favorite out of the three or is it all 3 lifts?
I like all 3 lifts but the Squat is my favorite by far. I just think there's something cool about putting alota weight on your back and being able to squat all the way down and then stand up with it.
Critical Bench: What are the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?
The challenges are it's not a very well known sport so getting sponsors that will actually give you money is very tough. Also we have so many diff federations and cry babies out there that no matter how good a lifter is you always have a bunch of haters out there.
Critical Bench: Tell everyone here the difference between someone who wants to look "pretty" and someone who does what we do? The difference between a workout and a training session.
Oh don't even get me started on this crap. PRETTY people only lift so they can either get people to like them or feel better about themselves. WE don't give a shit what people think about us. PRETTY people go to the gym when they feel like it and look at themselves in the damn mirror, WE don't go to the gym when we feel like it we go because we have to go. It's not just a hobbie for us, it's a LIFESTYLE and that's why there's so few of us because the normal person could never dedicate the time and sacrifice what we do. WE go to the gym when were sick, when were pissed, we go on holidays, on birthdays, we go because we are better then most and our numbers on the platform show just how dedicated we are.
Critical Bench: What would you tell a powerlifter if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport? Do you believe that powerlifters' have a lifestyle of their own?
This is what I would tell them. See powerlifting is like any sport you practice hard you get to play; you screw off you sit the bench. Now do you want to just be ON the team or do you want to be a STARTER. You have to stand out just like any sport, so do you want to just be ON the team means are you happy with a 500lb bench? Or do you want to be a STARTER and bench 800lbs.
and yes powerlifters (GOOD POWERLIFTERS) have a lifestyle. A normal powerlifter will stay home when he's sick, when he's tired or will even go out and party knowing he has to train in the morning. A GREAT POWERLIFTER will do WHATEVER it takes to not miss a training session. He will go in sick, he will go in dead tired, he will train hurt above all he WILL TRAIN NO MATTER WHAT even if that means losing friends or sleep he will train and let nothing get in his way. If that's not a LIFESTYLE I don't know what is.
Critical Bench: How driven would people say you are about being a powerlifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
Everyone I know knows I'm a powerlifter, they know it's who I am and what I love. My friends know not to ask me to go out at night when they know I have to train the next day. Hell, my friends know I don't do anything on tue, thur, sat and sun because they know those are the days I train. It's affected my outside life very much. I don't drink anymore, I even picked up a 2nd job so I can pay for my gym dues and pay for trips to Ohio and Vegas and to pay for my gear like shirts, suits, and wraps. Ill go on dates with girls and when I tell them I can only see them on mon and wed they get pissed but at this point in my life my training is more important than partying or girls. My social life has taken a dive bomb lol since I started Powerlifting again.
Critical Bench: How did you hookup with TEAM SUPER TRAINING? How has training there helped?
I actually heard from you Curt and my buddy Jay that there was a Powerlifting Gym here in Sacramento that I should go check out. Found them on the internet (www.supertraininggym.com) and went there the next day and have been 4 days a week ever since. I can't even explain how much ST has helped my training. Vie made gains there in less than 1yr that would have taken me a few yrs of training on my own. ST has 7 Elite Lifters, 1 - 1100lb squater, 2 - 1000lb squaters, 2 - 800lb benchers and 3 - 700lb deadlifters. If you can't learn from these types of lifters then you have no business powerlifting in the 1st place.
Critical Bench: What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology does TST follow?
Our workouts are tough but they work, ill be in the gym for 3hrs sometimes. Here is our basic setup:
Tuesday - Max Effort Lower body (Squats, deads, Good Mornings, Glute Ham Raise, Reverse Hyper) We change it up every week
Thursday - Max Effort Upper body (Bench Press, floor press, Reverse Band Bench, Rack Lockouts)
Saturday - Dynamic Effort Lower body (Same movements but with chains or bands for 6-8sets for 2reps and always for speed)
Sunday - Dynamic Effort Upper body (Same movements but also with chains or bands for speed)
We follow a Westside Method with a few changes here and there.
Treston Shull 900 Pound Box Squat
Critical Bench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
Watch and Learn from other lifters that are built like you and incorporate some of their training methods. Also practice practice practice, if you don't have the technique down your lifts will not go anywhere. If you ever miss a weight in the gym never miss it just once always try it a 2nd time sometimes you'll get it.
Critical Bench: You recently had a personal issue that occurred in your life but it never affected your outcome at the PRO-AM...Please tell us what kept your focus as a person and as a lifter and how you overcame it?
Yes, my father passed away July 29th of this yr. It was very hard for me since I'm just 23 and he was only 52yrs old I never would have expected this. I thought Id have him in my life for at least another 20yrs. The PRO/Am was just 3wks away from the time of my father's death.
We lived in California but were all from New Mexico so that's where the funeral would take place. I missed 2wks of training while I was in New Mexico and when I got back I only had enough time to train to see what I would open up with. At 1st I wasn't going to do the meet, between money and my family it all just seemed too hard. The day I got back from New Mexico I went to the gym, everyone just said they were sorry but to get focused and get my ass under the bar because my father would want me to do the meet.
At that point I knew I had to do the meet but after all the expenses I just couldn't afford it. Without even asking my team all the members from ST took up a collection to send me to Ohio and I can never thank them enough. I put 4 months of training into the PRO/AM and I didn't let anything stop me before so I wasn't going to let my fathers death stop me either, if anything it fueled me to go out there and do my father proud and show him that he raised a strong son and that he did a great job at teaching me that I can overcome anything.
Not only are powerlifters strong physically but also mentally. I went out there and took 1st place in the 308lb weight class open division as an Amateur. Squat - 850lbs, Bench - 575lbs, Deadlift - 650lbs, Total 2075lbs my 1st Elite Total.
Critical Bench: Sorry to hear about your loss, I'm sure your dad is proud. What drives you as a lifter?
What drives me as a Lifter is to always get better. Every meet you go to you should hit a PR, doesn't matter if it's small or big just always hit a PR. Also what drives me is to be the best in the world for my weight class no matter what it takes.
Critical Bench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
Yes, my training changes almost every week. But after a meet I see where I need to work and then try to concentrate hard on correcting it.
Critical Bench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear is cheating?
No not at all and people who think so are stupid. Are using cleats in track cheating? NO. Is our advances in technology supposed to help? YES. The thing with gear is you have to use it and train in it. You can't just put on a shirt and bench 100lbs more. Also you have to be stronger than your gear. You cant bench 200lbs and think your going to bench 500lbs, you have to train hard whether in gear or not. If your not strong raw then you won't be strong in gear enough said.
Critical Bench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
I think it's important to wear it and train in it all the time. Before you start wearing gear you should have a good amount of raw strength though. I wear my briefs every week and then I train in my briefs and suit about 6wks prior to a meet and I wear my shirt every other week. Training in gear makes you stronger; it allows you to lift heavier weights that you couldn't workout with raw. Also try diff things, vie tried inzer, titan and metal. I choose what works best for me but don't switch gear all the time it will make things much worse on you. Try something for a few training sessions and if it works for you then stick with it. Changing in and out of different types of gear is just going to put a bump in your training.
Critical Bench: What do you think is the reason for all the big numbers as of late like Kennelly's 1075 and Frankl's freakish total or Hoornstra's raw strength? Has strength training evolved?
Well id be lying if I said I didn't think some of it was the gear. The gear does make a diff but yes strength training has evolved so much just in the past 8yrs since I started. The internet allows us to speak with lifters all over the world and share our ideas with one another. We have learned so much more about our bodies and how to train them and how to train longer and harder and make bigger gains.
Treston Shull 585 (1-Board) Bench Press
Critical Bench: Do you think the standards have risen in the sport?
Oh of course, when I started at 15yrs old it was RARE to see someone banch 600lbs or squat 800lbs. Now if you don't see those kind of numbers at a meet then you're at the wrong meet lol. I know for me to be competitive in the 308's open class I have to squat 1000+lbs, bench 700+lbs and deadlift 700+lbs. If I don't hit those numbers then I'm just on the team in the powerlifting world and not a starter like I want to be.
Critical Bench: What is your nutrition like?
LOL to be honest it sucks ass. I eat ok but not really healthy at all. The only thing I really do right is eat a lot of protein.
Critical Bench: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
Well as stated above I need to clean up my diet a lot because Carl's Jr and taco bell doesn't make the best lifters in the world. Also I need to get more focused on what I want and how to get the numbers I want. I know I can train harder and and spend more time in the gym so I guess that's what I need to do. Eat better, focus and train harder.
Critical Bench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right?
Yes there is, I would like to thank Alan from APT Prowriststraps for sponsoring me he has saved me so much money over the last 8months. Also I would like to thank everyone from SUPERTRAINING for training with me and getting me to where I'm at today. I wanna thank LIFEWAVE cause there products rock and wouldn't lift the way I do without them (www.lifewave.com/shull) And Last but not least thanks to THE BRUTE because without him I would have never found the drive to get back into the sport that I have loved so much