Interview With Powerlifting Icon Richie Briggs As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - February 2008
Critical Bench: Hey, thanks for doing this interview, Richie, Please introduce yourself.
I'm 23 years old, live in Omaha Nebraska,Train out of Big Iron Gym, I work as a personal trainer and loan officer, have been training about 3 years and Im ranked 2nd alltime in the 242 with an 848lbs bench and have three junior world records in the apf and two teenage records.
Critical Bench: First off, Congrats on the 848 bench recently...
Thanks Im really happy with it and I couldn't do it with out the help from my coach Rick Hussey, teammates and my sponsor Art Reed.
Critical Bench: How long have you been into powerlifting?
I had a subscription to powerlifting usa in highschool. My first meet was in 2004.
Critical Bench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into powerlifting?
I moved to Omaha from Norfolk after highschool and toured a couple gyms, but when I walked in to Big Iron I knew I was home and looked up to the gyms and wanted to get big to bodybuild, but fell in love with powerlifting and I like to eat, But when I first started to lift in highschool for football but keep after lifting even when I relized I was not good enough to play in college. Then I worked at a gym and Norfolk before I moved and liked the gym rat life.
Critical Bench: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?
Bran Hein, Kenny Patterson, Ryan Kennelly,Bill Carpenter, Bill Crawford and Brad Heck.
Critical Bench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter whose just starting out in powerlifting?
I would say to find a coach because I would know nothing without Rick Hussey.
Critical Bench: Is the bench your favorite lift out of the three?
I like to bench the most, the deadlift is my favorite to watch.
Critical Bench: You're a part of BIG IRON right? What is it like training up there? The standards?
Yes,we train with real weights year around and the only standard is to stay out of trouble with drinking and drugs and to help fellow lifters out when in need, their is no standard for strength in lifts.
Critical Bench: What are the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?
Money, friends and familly, it is not a cheap hobby and friends want to hang out late do things on Saturdays and sometimes go on trips or something which, Rick dose not let me do when getting ready for a meet, which you can't really do your best if your not with your coach and teammates. Family, it is hard to explain to your mom that you have to come home Christmas day cuz you have to train.
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.
The difference is that you have to give 100% you can't go light that day and its not a good lift if you buddys rowing it off you.
Critical Bench: What would you tell a powerlifer if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport? Do you believe that powerlifters have a lifestyle of their own?
Yes I do, and it is hard for people to understand that Rick has the first say in what I do all the time and if he dose not like it he has his way of letting you know, and the first step is too put yourself in the right place and with the right people. There are too many tricks and decisons to be made by yourself and a person with experience is always better than a book ,article or a certification.
Critical Bench: How driven would people say you are about being a powerlifter? How does it effect you outside of the gym?
I would say pretty driven, Im not the type of guy that talks about it all the time and I like to work my body in the gym not my fingers on a keyboard or my mouth at a bar. It effects my life by my eating schedule and activities throughout the week. I'm 23 and my roomate is a normal guy, dose not powerlift and is very normal. It is hard to explain to people that I have to do things in a certain order and have a tight schedule because of it. I can't go play football, go to bars, leave a workout early or not train on a Saturday because I don't feel like it.
Critical Bench: Do you believe in training in the methods of Westside Barbell?
Yes they have produced the most consistent and impressive lifters for years and never cease to impress me.
Critical Bench: What are your workouts like? How are they setup?
I would say heavy and heavy volume and consistant, sets are
from 2-15 reps.
Lat pull downs 5 sets prymiding from 200 for 15 to 325 for 8 to 10 reps
Standing chest pulls three sets of 100 to 120 for 15 to 10 reps
T-bar row 4 sets of three plates for 12 reps to 7 plates for 5 reps
Bent over rows 4 sets from 275 for 12 reps to 500 for 5 reps
Low cable rows 300 for 12 reps three sets
One arm hammer strength rows three sets 4 to 6 plates aside all for 10 reps
Dumbbell pull overs 100 pounds for 10 reps three sets
Hyperextensions three sets of 15
Deadlifts form 135 to 455 about 5 sets all for 10 reps
Deadlift rack pulls from right above the knees 585 for 8 to 900 for 3 reps
weighted abs up to 300 pounds for 15 reps.
Tuesday Triceps - Shoulders - Biceps
Deloaded lockouts( bands from the top) I do about 4 working sets of doubles and personal best is 1121 for two off three board
Dips on plate loaded machine usally 4 sets from six plates total to 12 plates total for 5 reps
Dumbbell two handed overhead extenison 150 (that the heaviest the dumbbells go) for three sets of 15.
Also on Tuesday I do shoulders and biceps. but nothting to special on those. I do shoulders and arms two times a week Tuesday and Saturday. Saturday is a light day I beleave that the blood flow helps with recovery. Wednesday is off, Thursday legs and abs and Friday is off.
Saturday Chest - Shoulders - Arms
Chest heavy the rest light. Right now since I don't know what meet I'm going to do next Im doing 2 board doubles 655 to 850. Then two down sets of 800 for two off one board and 775 for 2 off one board. I don't ever do any heavy raw work because the only time I have ever been injured was lifting raw. For assistance I do incline 315 for 3 sets of 15. Pec deck and dips both for 3 sets of 15, and that is enough we don't believe heavy raw chest work will help your bench only get you injuired.
Critical Bench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get a big bench?
Heavy back and tricep work that is why I listed it all out. I feel that most people don't really understand how much I do on those two days and why they are set up as far away from Saturday as possible. Those two days are what Rick has set up for me and works with me the most on and every once in awhile he adds and changes the exercises on the bench. The best advice would be leverage and to always keep your elbows under your wrist and to be consistent! Find a coach.
Critical Bench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
Single reps and was I was working mainly with the one board and chest doubles on the way down.
Critical Bench: Tell us about your experience at the BENCH BASH.
I try to do the same thing before every meet and thats is stay calm and soak up the moment.
Critical Bench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear are cheating?
No, it is like football to rugby, geared lifting is alot more finesse than raw lifting. Guys that play rugby usally dont have any teeth, guys who lift raw usally are hurt, or crippled when they are older. Rick is an example of it he walks around in pain all the time and I just don't see that with guys now that have used shirts and suits, but I would like to say I feel alot of raw lifters and "drug free" lifters only say that so they can say that they are the best in that divison. I like the A.P.F. because you have all your cards on the table and the only federation that is "drug free" is the USPL the IPF which is drug tested. This means they know some people will always get through the drug test.
Critical Bench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
It's a must you have to practice like you play.
Critical Bench: What do you think is the reason for all the big benches as of late like Kennelly's 1036 and Luyando's 914? Has strength training evolved?
Yes strength training has evoled, but for Rob has really worked his ass off meet after meet and week after week. He lives for it and I think when I beat him at 2006 APF Seniors that was his turning point. He looked at what he was doing wrong and fixed it and does that from meet to meet. He competes all the time which is why he is the best. Ryan said fuck this floating around 308 and went big and now no one will ever catch him. With both of these guys they listen to what people say don't have an ego and take constructive advice, I know Rick talks to them both and they listen.
Critical Bench: How do you feel about Shawn Frankl's 788 bench at the bench bash? Do you think the standards went up?
It was a good lift. Shawn is a true freak and one reason I don't like to take time off. He is capable of a 850 plus at 198, and I think Shawn, Rob, Ryan, Brad Heck and Greg Panora have done alot with the standards as they countinue to move the records up to were they can never be touched.
Critical Bench: What was your nutrition like prior to your last competition?
I eat about ever 2 to 3 hours and try to get fifty plus grams of protein in each meal. I always do a protein shake before bed and in the middle of the night. I try to eat 8 or more times a day.
Critical Bench: Any ideas on how you're going to make your trek to a 900 bench now? What changes are you goin to have to make to get there?
I got a new shirt and thats big for me because I am not sponsored. I plan to get up to 270, my heaviest weight was 261. I also did not take any time off from training.
The rest I let Rick take care off
Richie Briggs - 837lb Bench Press
Critical Bench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
Most of all I would like to Thank Rick Hussey my coach, my parents, Brad Heck, Brad Hein, my sponsor Art Reed and all of my teamates and everyone at Big Iron; the BEST gym ever.
And Thanks to you Curt for giving me the chance to do this.