Interview With Bench Presser Travis Rogers As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - May 2009
CRITICAL BENCH: Thank you for doing this interview, please introduce yourself.
My name is Travis Rogers. I basically got into lifting for football as a young teen I was always a good bencher and after high school I started competing.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your Best PR's right now?
Raw Bench 665 in gym, 625 in a meet.
CRITICAL BENCH: How long have you been into power lifting?
15 years or so since my 20's.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting?
Like most guys I grew up with I played a lot of sports as a kid, around 13 or so I started lifting weights for football and have never stopped. I found out early that I was a strong bench presser and it's still my best lift.
CRITICAL BENCH: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a power lifter?
Man I grew up in a great era for power lifting. Some of my favorites, guys I looked up to, were strong men/power lifters like Caz and Rhienhoudt. I liked bench guys like Anthony Clark and James Henderson but my favorite was always Ted Arcidi.
CRITICAL BENCH: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in power lifting?
Raw strength is key. Too many guys fall on their ass without gear, so build up your raw power first then if you want to put the gear on be my guest. Nothing aggravates me more than 700 lb benchers that can't do 405 raw.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have a favorite out of the 3 lifts?
100 percent the bench press.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are the challenges of coming up as a power lifter?
There are many, it's a sport that takes a tremendous amount of dedication and work.
You need to train hard, smart and take care of yourself to avoid serious injury. It's also an expensive sport especially if you compete in gear without a sponsorship and there is really no money in it. You really got to love this sport because we pay for everything. I have been lucky enough to be sponsored most of my career, currently by Elite FTS and APT wrist wraps but even so all travel costs and etc fall on us.
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. Its like night and day. We don't train for vanity, we train for survival, those of us that are the real deal have to do this, it consumes us. We need to be strong at all cost. I'm not knocking bodybuilders, I envy them at times, but they aren't concerned with being strong and that's all we are about.
CRITICAL BENCH: What would you tell a power lifter if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport? Do you believe that powerlifters' have a lifestyle of their own?
Number 1, I think you need to surround yourself with quality people in and out of the sport to go to the next level. You need to be on the right path in all phases of life. Number 2, get with a good coach or training partner or partners. I believe this is key to success. Then just train you ass off and yes we have a bit of a different lifestyle.
CRITICAL BENCH: How driven would people say you are about being a power lifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
It depends on who you talk too and how close to the meet it is. I've mellowed considerably over the years. I'm 40 now but don't take the sometimes calm exterior as a sign weakness. I'm as determined as ever. So to answer the question, yes I'm driven, I've just learned to keep it in check so it doesn't make me insane win or lose. I know my family loves me and God willing I'll wake up tomorrow…
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any training partners? How have they helped you?
I've had some of the best training partners in the world over the years and have learned a tremendous amount form them. Gary Larson, Sean Sullivan, Joe Dougherty and the world famous Paul Childress to name a few, but truth be told I train at crazy times because of my job so unfortunately a lot of the time I train alone.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology do you follow?
Well there is a good question. I fluctuate between Westside type training and my own stuff. Usually I do a max effort bench day on Sunday, an assistance day Monday or Tuesday and Thursday or Friday and a dynamic effort bench day in the middle. I sometimes switch to benching once a week with the rest of the body broken up in 2-3 sessions. I do a lot of 2-3 board presses, floor presses and chain work.
CRITICAL BENCH: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
I can only suggest stuff for the bench but I feel that working all 3 phases of the bench is important dividing it up between floor presses, boards and full movements.
CRITICAL BENCH: What drives you as a lifter?
The raw world record, I want it and I want it bad. I feel that God willing it's in the realm of possibilities for me.
CRITICAL BENCH: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
Yes, I had a ton of arm issues so I trained much lighter than usual and it showed. I petered out at 635 and was a lot stronger 2 months out than I was at the meet.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you think using bench shirts/gear are cheating?
No, I just don't want to use them anymore. I found them to confusing. Raw, it's just me and the iron.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
I think if you compete in gear you should train in it. That stuff is so technical now you need to train in it all the time to be good. Look at Big Iron and teams like that, they are the best shirted lifters out there and they always train with the shirt.
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 Hornstra's raw strength? Has strength training evolved?
Absolutely training has evolved along with supplementation. The guys are bigger, stronger and faster in every sport, ours included.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you think the standards went up in the sport?
I'm not sure, depends on the federation.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your nutrition like now?
It's alright. I don't use many supplements. Some protein, I eat a lot and I am getting better at eating correctly.
CRITICAL BENCH: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
Well, I think now more than ever nutrition is going to play a huge role. I'm not 25yrs old anymore.
CRITICAL BENCH: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
I first would like to thank my girlfriend Carolyn for taking such good care of me. Thanks to Gary, Joey Groney, Sully and the boys at UB. Also, to my family for supporting me for all of these years. It's been a great ride so far and I'm still on it. I love this sport with all my heart and will continue to compete till I snap in two on the bench.