Interview With Awe-Inspiring Bench Presser Rock Lewis Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - March 2008
Chris Wilson of CriticalBench.com Congratulating Rock After A Big Lift
1) CRITICAL BENCH: It's Ben Tatar from Critical Bench and I am here with a RAW legend in the sport of bench pressing, Rock Lewis. Rock, how did you get started in the sport of benching?
Rock: My cousin, King McDuffy started me. He had about a 600lbs bench. I started when I was in the military and everyone thought I was strong. I took it from there.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Rock, you bench pressed 495 for three reps raw with your feet up on the bench the same day you benched 600lbs. How many reps can you do with 495 fresh with your feet down?
I can bench press 495lbs for 8 reps with my feet down. The other day I bench pressed 495 for 6 reps with my legs crossed.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: That is totally insane. Do you usually bench with your feet up or down?
Rock: I bench with my feet up and with my legs crossed.
Rock Lewis Bench Presses 495 For Reps Same Day He Benches 600 Raw
4) CRITICAL BENCH: What is the most weight you have ever bench pressed with your legs crossed before?
Rock: I've done 620 with my legs crossed.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: Oh My God! Ha-Ha! Rock, why do you always train with your feet up on the bench?
Rock: It gives me better upper body control. It takes much more upper body control to bench with your feet up which allows me to get stronger and ultimately bench press more.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: Rock, how did you get so good at unracking your own weight like you did with 560 at the 100% RAW Nationals?
Rock: I do everything by myself. I don't need a bench shirt, spotters or anything else. It's all me.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: You are one of the most naturally strong freaks this Earth has ever seen, no doubt about that. Rock, do you ever intend to compete with gear?
Rock: I do. I would like to compete with gear after I become the first heavy weight bencher to triple his body weight drug free and then I want to go to gear…
8) CRITICAL BENCH: When you go to gear do you think you will be able to succeed? You won't be benching with your feet off the bench and with your legs crossed. You will have to make major adjustments, like arching your back as high as possible.
Rock: When I get into gear, I will find a technique that works. If I can find a technique where I'm the strongest without a shirt, I will find a technique where I am the strongest with a shirt. Hahaha
9) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals with a shirt?
Rock: I want to be the pound for pound champ and have the highest number…
10) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any sponsors who support you on your quest to being the number 1 bencher?
11) CRITICAL BENCH: Rock, how do you train for that huge bench? I heard you train other people the same way you train yourself. Tell us about that!
Rock: Right now, I'm training so many guys. I'm training with endurance. During my first 4-6 weeks, I do 14-20 sets of 10 on the bench 3 days a week. We do this for 4-6 weeks.
I just did 460 for 10.
12) CRITICAL BENCH: Interesting. Why do you do so many reps, sets and bench so many times per week?
Rock: We do this for a mental thing! It's more of a mental thing than a physical thing.
You don't care what the weight is that you are using, you just know that however many reps you do you have to get it. When we train for 5 reps you know are going to do 5 reps. You must be mentally strong because you must get that weight 5 times..
Then after 4-6 weeks of training, we train 2 times a week. When we train twice a week, we do 4 sets of 10 and then 6 sets of 5.
13) CRITICAL BENCH: Very interesting. You don't train with singles or triples very much in your routine? If not, why is doing more reps, such as 6 sets of 5 better than singles and triples? What is your philosophy behind this?
Rock Lewis 560 Opener - No Hand-off!
Rock: Well, say your max is 350! The goal of this system is to see how strong you are at the END of the workout. If your 1 rep max is 350 from the start of the workout and if your 1 rep bench max is 300lbs at the end of the workout then you lost 50lbs of strength at the end of the workout. The secret to my training system is to decrease the gap of strength between the start of the workout and the end of the workout. As soon as this guy is benching 350 at the end of the workout instead of the at the beginning, he will start seeing himself benching 390 at the beginning of the workout, then 430 and so on and so fourth..
Another thing about my system is that the weights we hit at the end of our workout are our openers in competition.
My system seems to work for everyone. This system makes their confidence go sky high!
14) CRITICAL BENCH: Very interesting! Do you train this way year round? Do you have an off season during the year? Do you ever like to take time off?
Rock: After the Olympia in Vegas, I didn't train for 4 months. I lost endurance, but my strength stayed with me. Pretty soon I will be stronger than ever. My strength is back to 80% right now.
15) CRITICAL BENCH: Very interesting! What do you do for diet and supplements?
Rock: I eat what I want to eat. For supplements, I take MUSCLE TECH. I try to keep my weight as low as I can and that is a constant battle. I don't like the Creatine. I stick with the Nitro Tech and hydroxycut.
16) CRITICAL BENCH: Rock, do you think you are stronger than you look? Do you think strength and looks go hand in hand and what is more important to you strength or looks?
Rock: I'm stronger than I look! Looks and strength don't go hand in hand. You can get big without getting strong, but you can't get strong without getting big. I just want to be strong.
17) CRITICAL BENCH: Your training system was so interesting. Do you believe in speed benching or dynamic effort bench?
Rock: Well, I do control benching. I don't lock my elbows out. For 1, it takes the fatigue out of the joints and it keeps you in control of the weight. So, I don't feel pain. The less pain you feel, the longer workout you will have and the less you will regret working out and so forth!
18) CRITICAL BENCH: Rock, do you use boards, chains, or bands? Do you feel they are important?
Rock: We used bands and tiles. I put bands on with 500lbs and do 14 reps. I power train with the TILE, it's just like the board. It depends what phase we are in with our training.
19) CRITICAL BENCH: Rock, you're very strong! Do you get an audience who likes to come in, stop their workout and watch yours?
Rock: Oh yes we have an audience, hahaha! We keep our audience. They are waiting for us to come to the gym. The show we put on for them keeps me motivated.
20) CRITICAL BENCH: Do most people enjoy seeing you do extreme rep feats and your whole workout or watching you max out?
Rock: A lot of them like my workout. They see my workout more than my max. They like watching my workout more than just my max.
21) CRITICAL BENCH: What is the most you have ever benched in the gym? What about on the incline and decline bench? What about with dumbbells?
Rock: I've done 620 in the gym with my legs crossed. I've done 580 on the incline and 590 on the decline. I do dumbbell presses with 200lbs in each hand.
22) CRITICAL BENCH: Since you are so good with reps how many times do you think you can bench 225, 315, 405 and 500?
225--- shittt probably 100!!! Hahaha…
315--- for 40 reps…
405---20 reps with my legs crossed…
I train for a lot of reps……
23) CRITICAL BENCH: Wow, you might be the best bencher in the world pound for pound when it comes to reps. Do you think they should have rep competitions?
Rock: I wish they would have rep competitions. They are fun!!! I like rep competitions.
Nobody can beat me with my feet up, nobody.
24) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your thoughts in regards to the political side of powerlifting?
Rock: The equipment really takes away from weight lifting. I can't see the people who gain 300lbs out of a shirt who won't lift without a shirt. I don't know how you can do 500lbs raw and then do 800lbs with a shirt and how you can feel good about it. You know, I'm gonna take my weight off the rack. I took 660lbs off the rack. NOBODY touches the weight when I lift it, so if anyone needs to use a bench shirt then it doesn't impress me.
I think steroids put a black mark on the sport. Athletes shouldn't be using steroids. I don't care if people are making millions of dollars in pro sports because if it is illegal it is illegal whether you make 10 dollars or 10 million dollars. That is why I like raw lifting because raw is raw, no controversy.
25) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have a psychological philosophy that makes you as strong as you are?
Rock: I hate to lose! When I train for a competition I expect to win. I don't train for first place, I just train to be the best pound for pound lifter that there is!
26) CRITICAL BENCH: That's why you're one of the best! Away from powerlifting what do you like to do?
Rock: I love music, I love video games. I like coaching little league football and baseball.
27) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for other lifters to do and not to do?
Rock: You gotta do your workout, stick with the workout and go home. Work within your limits, work to your limits, but don't work above your limits.
You gotta lift right. If your form is poor, you are wasting your time. Form builds your confidence. When you start doing it right, you will then be more confident and the bigger numbers will follow.
28) CRITICAL BENCH: What do you think are the biggest factors for a bigger bench?
Rock: Form/technique, Genetics, Endurance and then it's all about the work.
29) CRITICAL BENCH: How can other lifters develop a "No Fear Attitude?" What is the difference between guys who fear and have a no fear attitude psychologically?
Rock: You have to be in an environment where you can improve. Many people are intimidated by that. You have to surround yourself with people who have that same drive. That is what you do.
30) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any stories?
Rock: I probably have a lot of them. Haha
I was at a competition at Chicago Illinois, 1996! I weighed in at 204 and did 561! It's in the record book! I lifted for the ADFPA. Everyone was talking about Rock Lewis and how he is on steroids because I was a big guy and then when I walked around at the competition, people were like "Rock, you are gonna win!" I was like "I knew I was gonna win," and they were right, I won!
Rock Lewis 580 2nd Attempt
31) CRITICAL BENCH: Awesome! How does your family feel about your powerlifting and success?
Rock: They love it! They love when people come up to me and point to me!!
32) CRITICAL BENCH: What gym do you train at and what is it like?
Rock: Right now I'm training at Lean Bodz in North Carolina. Not too flashy, just got enough nice equipment to do what I need to do to train!
33) Do you think people working out at a bigger gym rather than a barbell club distracts you?
Rock: I like to talk. When I'm in the bigger gyms, more people are more prone to come up to you. The bigger the gym, the more people there are to talk to.
34) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you like it when people are talking to you when you're training? It doesn't take you out of the zone?
Rock: I don't mind. I'll talk to them between my sets and help anyone out. It's cool.
35) CRITICAL BENCH: You're inspirational! Nice to see you give back to the sport. Do you have any advice for someone who might want to approach you but who might be intimidated by a huge monster like you?
Rock: I'm laid back. Just approach me and you will see that I'm as laid back as I am.
36) CRITICAL BENCH: Any advice for other lifters that you would like to give them here as they read your interview?
Rock: The more control you get with your upper body strength, the stronger you will be….. The more developed you will get, so bench with your feet up. Train with your feet up, develop more upper body strength.
37) CRITICAL BENCH: Rock, it's been an honor. You are truly a pioneer of benching and you will go down as a great in the sport. Keep dominating and reaching out! Is there anything else you would like to say?
I want to thank GOD and my family for supporting me. I want to thank my little brother Aaron Green, he got me competing. I owe so much to him.