Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
October 30, 2014
"Can Brandon Cass Break Ed Coan's All Time Deadlift Record?"

A Critical Bench Exclusive Interview With Brandon Cass

by Ben Tatar
ben@criticalbench.com
CriticalBench.com Consultant

BT: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF?

My name is Brandon Cass. I am 29 years old, 5'9", 229 lbs. I'm from Oak Grove, Missouri, which is a suburb of Kansas City. My nickname as many know me by is "C4", and was given to me by my good friend Jeff McVicar who recently broke Dave Waterman's bench record in the 198lbs class. Also, my website is www.cassstrength.com. Come and visit!

BT: WHAT ARE YOUR BEST LIFTS?

Squat: 805, Bench: 585, Deadlift: 805

BT: WERE YOU ALWAYS VERY STRONG?

No, as a teen I worked during the summers and in the evening after school for my Grandfather's landscaping business. Requirements were a lot of lifting. I developed my base for strength training through doing this. There is no better workout than laying a truckload of sod or building a retaining wall.

BT: WHO DO YOU THINK THE GREATEST BENCHER EVER IS?

There are so many great ones. Ted Arcidi was the greatest bench presser ever, but Bill Crawford is the master of technique and art of benching.

BT: WHAT TRAINING STYLE DO YOU TRAIN?

I have my own style integrating several different types of training methods. Variation is a key for me.

BT: WHAT EXERCISES DO YOU FEEL ARE MOST IMPORTANT WHEN TRAINING FOR A BIG BENCH?

Obviously tricep strength and lockout power are a must but the most important is the flat bench itself.

BT: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN POWERLIFTING?

Off and on for about 7 years but I had a two year bodybuilding stint in there until I decided powerlifting, my true love, was where I belonged.

BT: HOW IMPORTANT ARE TRAINING PARTNERS TO YOU?

I normally train alone.

BT: WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A POWERLIFTER?

During off-season football my sophomore season in college I set many of the university strength records: squat, deadlift, power clean, push press. A good friend of mine, James Ragsdale, suggested that I go to a few meets with him. I did so and wound up winning the WNPF Teen Nationals in my first year competing! I enjoyed the sport and the people in it. The good Lord allowed me to have some success in something that I enjoy so much! Powerlifting is also a sport for everyone, people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

BT: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASSISTANCE EXERCISE FOR A BUILDING A BIG BENCH?

Close grip bench presses, rolling tricep extensions, and skull crushers are my favorite assistance exercises.

BT: WHAT ADVICE ON SUPPLEMENTS/STEROIDS?

I feel it is each person's right to put whatever they want in their body, however they should definitely educate themselves before they put any substance in their body so they know potential side effects and/or risks involved.

BT: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKES THAT BEGINNERS MAKE WHEN TRYING TO GET A BIGGER BENCH PRESS?

They sacrifice technique for poundage and then when meet day comes they bomb because they can't do the weight properly. It is best to learn technique first and the long term strength increases will be even more substantial.

BT: WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS?

Start slow, build a solid base with technique, then worry about weight. Don't try to become a huge bencher in a year or two. Pick up bits and pieces from experienced lifters and integrate what you learn into your own training regimen.

BT: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CRAZIEST POWERLIFTING EXPERIENCES?

Anytime I lift with Jeff McVicar the experiences are abundant. I remember after a meet he jumped out of the car going 60mph and asphalt surfed while he had a Karin Kline bench shirt on.

BT: WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?

My future goals include totaling 10 times bodyweight, breaking Ed Coan's all time deadlift record and win the national powerlifting championships in every recognized federation. I also want to bench 600 by the end of the year.

BT: DO YOU PREFER FREE WEIGHTS OR LIFTING ON A MACHINE?

Does a sprinter like running on a treadmill? Free weights, of course.

BT: HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF BENCHING?

I see an 850 bench within the next year and the numbers climbing higher and higher. Hopefully, with the WPO events and the Mountaineer Classic the sport will continue to get exposure and take off. I have heard that the Olympic committee is considering allowing conventional powerlifting into the Olympics as a trial sport. What a great thing that would be.

BT: WHAT DOES YOUR DIET CONSIST OF?

My diet consists of around 3,500-3,800 calories a day. I eat a high protein, moderate carbohydrate, low fat diet. I eat tons of lean angus sirloin, chicken, and fish.

BT: WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AVERAGE LIFTER AND A CHAMPION?

Champions have genetics and work ethic. Average lifters may have one or the other.

BT: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE RAW/GEAR DEBATE AND DRUG/DRUG FREE DEBATE?

I feel that without equipment manufacturers powerlifting would essentially be defunct. The manufacturers are where the money is in this sport. They not only supply cash flow but they sponsor many of the local, national, and world meets. Without the manufacturers powerlifting would become less recognized. As far as the drug/drug free debate, I feel that lifters should compete in organizations that meet their needs.

BT: WHAT TRAINING STYLE DO YOU THINK WORKS BEST?

Everyone is different. Some things may work for one that doesn't work for others. Remember all the hype about training styles is really a mirage. Many of theses so called styles are derived from training methods used long ago!

BT: DO YOU THINK BODYBUILDING EXERCISES SHOULD BE IN A POWERLIFTER'S ROUTINE?

Yes, the entire body must be sound in order to prevent injury and promote improvement. I feel there are bodybuilding exercises that are beneficial in powerlifting.

BT: WHAT HAS POWERLIFTING TAUGHT YOU?

It has taught me that an ex-athlete can compete for the rest of his life in a sport that is enjoyable and both physically and mentally challenging. Powerlifting has also taught me to compete against myself by striving to break PR's.

BT: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE YOU MET IN POWERLIFTING AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU?

There are so many to mention! Thanks to my buddy Jeff McVicar for teaching me how to bench. My great sponsors Rickey Dale Crain of Crain's Muscle World and Dr. Ray Vasquez of Advanced Health Care LLC. Also, my close circle of friends: Ken Ufford, Amy Vaughan, Ron Shirley, Cheryl Anderson, Al Baehr, Amy Morrow, Keith Parrish, Jim King, Cyndi Crossland, Melissa DeVeau, Nathan Gentges, and Bruce Stephens. I would also like to thank the owners of Total Body Fitness and World Gym in Blue Springs, Missouri for their constant support. In closing, I would like to express my deepest desire for the promotion the sport of powerlifting. Please, everyone help me in my efforts-let's make this the best sport it can possibly be. God Bless you all!

 

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