Interview With Powerlifter Shae Jones As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - July 2009
Hey, thanks for doing this interview, please introduce yourself.
Well my name is Shae Jones and I was born and raised in the Permian Basin of West Texas. I grew up playing many sports and went on to play college ball at San Angelo State University. I currently reside in South Texas and lift for Bad Attitude Gym in Dallas, Texas.
What are your Best PR's right now?
At a meet: Squat- 661 Bench- 501 Deadlift- 661
How long have you been into power lifting?
My first meet was in fall 2005. In February 2007 I tore my meniscus and it wasn't until March 2008 that I continued my training.
Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting?
My dad was a bodybuilder growing up so I accompanied him to the gym often. My brother and I grew up lifting and training for our individual sports either football or baseball. After college I started training at a gym where a few power lifters trained and I out-lifted them just messing around. They came to me and asked if I'd be interested in lifting at a meet. I trained and put on my first single ply and totaled 1878. I have been hooked since.
Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a power lifter?
Gene Bell, Ed Coan, Sean Donagen, and Ray Pierce. I instantly respected all of these men because of their loyalty and love they had for the sport.
What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in power lifting?
Pay attention and listen to the guys that have been there. Respect the fact that you are a newbie and that there are different programs out there. Not one regime works for everyone and listening to many experienced lifters is a positive way to go. Keep your mind open and ask for help.
Do you have a favorite out of the three or is it all 3 lifts?
Dead lift, squat, and then bench.
What are the challenges of coming up as a power lifter?
Prevention of injuries, rehabilitation correctly, cycling max effort workouts. Choosing federations, raw or geared (single, multi, denim, polyester, canvas).
Tell everyone here the difference between someone who wants to look "pretty" and someone who does what we do? Also the difference between a workout and a training session.
In power lifting it doesn't matter what you look like, it matters what weight you can throw around. No one cares about leanness or correct conformation on the platform. They care about the weight on the bar and if you can lift it correctly. In workouts it's an isolation body muscle part; i.e. bi's, tri's and forearms. In a training session, you work toward a specific movement; i.e. bench - includes chest, lat's, front delt's and triceps.
What would you tell a power lifter if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport? Do you believe that power lifters' have a lifestyle of their own?
Develop your raw strength and raw form before trying equipment. Start first with loose light gear and try different training regiments to find the best fit for your goals.
I believe that power lifting is without a doubt a lifestyle. You along with your family have to make sacrifices for meets, training, etc. Just like any athlete you make your lifestyle fit to your aspirations.
How driven would people say you are about being a power lifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
I am very driven. I've left family holidays and events to go train. I've scheduled vacations around my training schedules making sure that there is an adequate gym close to our locale. If there isn't I improvise with what's around me. When we go out to the ranch 45 minutes in northern New Mexico, I make sure I bring my chains to drag the skidsteer or the dozer, toss fallen aspens for shoulder work, carry and haul rocks, and take hikes up the mountains on the property. My drive tends to leave a bad taste with many of my family members but my wife is my number one supporter so that's all that matters.
Do you have any training partners? How have they helped?
When I started out I was living closer to Bad Attitude Gym and learned great technique and form from those guys. Sean Donagen, Ray Pierce, and Phil Wiley were pivotal to my foundation and got my ass in gear when I was lagging. Since moving I still stay in contact and try to visit the gym as much as I can for form correction and pointers. I keep an online log with videos where I get critiques from certified judges and other active power lifters. At the gym, I lift with a few other power lifters and my wife. They're great for motivation and help out with calls mid-lift.
What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology do you follow?
I am currently training under Landon Evans and using his block sequencing system. This system is the same that he prescribes to Jeremy Frey. In the past I've used WestSide template, 5/3/1, Metal Militia, and many others.
What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
I would suggest changing or rotation of your workouts every 6 weeks. Applying full range of motion and identifying your weak (sticking) points and working on strengthening those areas. For me in squat I use a safety squat bar to strengthen my upper back and work on my arch. With bench I do floor presses to work on my transition and 3"-5" inch pin presses for my lockout. Dead lifts I apply a suspended safety squat bar good mornings and heavy bent over rows to strengthen my back.
What drives you as a lifter?
Achieving things that I was told I couldn't do. To prove to myself that I can lift that weight, to be the strongest in my weight class and to get that next record.
Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
Training building up to 2009 APF Seniors I did the 5/3/1 program. Since then I've started working under Landon Evans.
Do you think using bench shirts/gear is cheating?
I believe, to each their own. If you want to lift in gear then that's your preference. I've lifted in gear and when I meet my raw goals I will get back into it.
What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
If you plan on lifting in a meet equipped then you need to train in it. But also you need to build up your raw strength to increase your geared lifts. Like I've said earlier, you need to start with loose or single ply equipment and build up from there.
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?
Their training sessions, as well as their education of each lift, and how to overhaul their training to accommodate their goals. Strength training has evolved by not going max effort every day. Understanding more how specific general strength exercises, and special strength exercises tackle their weaknesses more, and more importantly, when to sequence them appropriately to ultimately peak at the right time. Understanding your body and where your debilitated points are in your lift.
Do you think the standards went up in the sport?
Yes. The engineering and science of the sport has made bigger, stronger athletes. Suits and shirts have gotten better. Workouts, diets, and supplements have been broken down and examined for the most optimal improvement.
What is your nutrition like now?
I eat 40-45% protein, 35-40% carbohydrates, while the rest is fats and sugars. I eat 8 meals a day including 2-3 protein drinks. I'm not a strict dieter and tend to have a hard time gaining weight.
What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
I'm in the process of making these changes now. I am seeking out and taking on an advanced training regime as well as contacting other power lifters who have valuable information.
Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
First, I'd like to thank my wife who has been there through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then of course I'd thank my dad who's always been my handler and in my corner no matter what. The guys at Bad Attitude Gym who helped me from the beginning and continue to support me through my progressions. Then I thank all the supporters that I've gained online and throughout the years. Thanks for the support.
APF Raw Nationals Best Raw Lifter, Shae Jones
Shae Jones 727lbs squat - 2006 APF Senior Nationals