Interview With Powerlifter Tony Bolognone As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - May 2010
Critical Bench: Hey, thanks for doing this interview, please introduce yourself.
My name is Anthony (Tony) Bolognone
Critical Bench: What are your best personal record's (PR's) right now?
1125, 900, 765 Meet 1125, 860, 765
Critical Bench: How long have you been into power lifting?
Approximately sine 2004
Critical Bench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting?
Normal kid, hated school, was not into sports. Ran around with the a crowd. I started power lifting when my cousin Chuck Vogelpohl asked me to start benching with him on Saturday mornings at Westside Barbell. Then over time I was asked to come in for the second bench day, then to start squatting, then to go to the morning crew.
Critical Bench: Who did you look up to when you were coming into power lifting?
I never intended to be a power lifter, when I started at Westside I had no intentions on doing a meet. So I really did not know any power lifters other than the guys from Westside Barbell.
Critical Bench: What is the craziest thing you have ever seen at a power lifting meet?
The worse thing I ever saw was Chicken Hawk breaking his arm. I have been at meets when I was warming up when people were taken away for cardiac arrest. I was at the Vegas meet when a guys finger was cut off spotting a squat. The craziest to me would be watching guys who are starting to squat and can barely get the bar out of the mono lift and getting a good squat.
Critical Bench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in power lifting?
Really think about it. To be great, it takes dedication to lifting above all else.
Critical Bench: Do you have a favorite out of all 3 lifts?
It used to be and always was the bench. Now it is starting to become the squat.
Critical Bench: What are your goals and when is your next meet?
My goals are always to make PR's. My next meet will probably be Iron House around June.
Critical Bench: What are some of the challenges coming into power lifting?
Always to beat the guy in front of you.
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.
Strength. The difference in trying to be pretty and training for something to compete that actually takes physical strength. Training is goal oriented, working out is a social club.
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 power lifter's have a lifestyle of their own?
I would tell them to be honest, it is a sport and like any other sport, some people have what it takes and others will never. For those who do have what it takes, try to learn all you can about what you're doing and how you are training. Find the best and pay attention to what they are doing and learn from them. Know more than any other person in the sport.
Critical Bench: How driven would people say you are about being a power lifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
Most people would say my motivation is good. It affects me outside of the gym by the simple things such as the clothes I wear. It also affects me because I am not able to go out and hang out with the guys like I would like to do.
Critical Bench: How has power lifting made you a stronger person away from the sport?
It has taught me the keys to most things in life, which is nothing more than hard work.
Critical Bench: Do you have any training partners? How has they helped? Tell us about BAMA BARBELL:
Yes, everybody at Westside Barbell, in the morning crew and even some of the night crew. They are some of the strongest men in the world. Guys such as Matt Smith, Greg Panora, AJ Roberts, Luke Edwards, and Lou Simmons. Plus many more.
Critical Bench: What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology do you follow?
My workouts come from the years of experience of Lou Simmons, the guys from Westside, and personal trial and error.
Critical Bench: What bench shirt do you use and why? Do you have any tips about how to et your bench shirt and use it to get the most of your lifting efforts?
I use a metal denim bench shirt. It is the first one I have found that ever works well for me. I would tell people not to have an over tight shirt, have one that can adjust as the lifts get heavier for the weight. Not one that it takes a PR to touch.
Critical Bench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
Train, stay away from drinking alcohol, try to eat as healthy as possible. Lots of protein and read some of Lou Simmons books.
Critical Bench: What drives you as a lifter? What is your mindset like during training?
Wanting to be the best and usually "God are we done training yet"? On the serious side, my mindset is on how well the lifts are going and what I have to do to make them better. I am usually really focused.
Critical Bench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
No, the only thing that changes is the amount of weight.
Critical Bench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear is cheating?
No its a geared sport. You do not have to compete that way if you do not choose too. Plus a simple point that Ryan Kennelly has the biggest shirt bench as well as the biggest raw bench of all times.
Critical Bench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
I think you should use your equipment no more than what it takes to learn it. Especially bench shirts even though this is an equipment sport, it is about strength. You need to always be developing and pushing your raw strength up so you can get the most out of your equipment.
Critical Bench: What do you think is the reason for all the big numbers as of latelike Kennelly's 1075 and Frankl's freakish total or Hoornstra's raw strength? Has strength training evolved?
I think all training does or should evolve constantly.
Critical Bench: Do you think the standards went up in the sport?
I think in some meets such as the SPF and Pro Am meets are starting to get stricter and have a higher standard.
Critical Bench: What is your nutrition like now?
Critical Bench: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
Train harder, lift heavier and eat better.
Critical Bench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
Westside Barbell, Lou Simmons, all my training partners and my cousin Chuck for getting me started.