Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
July 30, 2014
Bench Press Articles

Exclusive Interview With Super Bencher Mike Witmer

Ben Tatar
ben_tatar@hotmail.com
CriticalBench.com Consultant
Mike benches 600 + pounds

BT: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.

Mike Witmer: My Name is Mike Witmer, Im 37 years old. Im a exceptional student teacher, and a football coach. Ive been competing at powerlifting and bodybuidling for 20 years. I currently live In Arcadia, Florida.

BT: WHAT ARE YOUR BEST LIFTS?

Mike Witmer: 825 Sq 600 bench 775 deadlift

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

Mike Witmer: Well, im kind of biased on this one, Ryan Kennelly because hes one of my best friends and training partner. and one strong song of a gun! But I also think Rick Weil ranks up there. He hit some high numbers with out a bench shirt at a lighter weight class.

BT: WHAT TRAINING STYLE DO YOU TRAIN?

Mike Witmer: I use westside training style, modified a little.

BT: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN POWERLIFTING?

Mike Witmer: 20 years.

BT: HOW IMPORTANT ARE TRAINING PARTNERS TO YOU?

Mike Witmer: very! I had retired from powerlifting because I couldnt find a training partner. Ryan Kennelly moved to my area, and got me out of retirement. A partner is not only important due to needing a lift off, or putting your bench shirt on, but to drive you. Sometimes, your just not mentally into it, then your partner can light a fire under your ass to get you going!

BT: WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A POWERLIFTER:?

Mike Witmer: I played football, and as a freshman in high school, only weighed 115! One of the coaches was a world master champion, and started training me, by my senior year, I weighed 220lbs!

BT: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASSISTANCE EXERCISE?

Mike Witmer: I like to do close grip, 5 board presses, and close grip benches with chains..

BT: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKES THAT BEGINNERS MAKE?

Mike Witmer: Almost all beginners over train. They get eager to get bigger and stronger and either do too many sets, or too many exercises. Another mistake they make is to change there routine , everytime they read an article by a world class lifter. And most of all, they ignore there diet!

BT: WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS?

Mike Witmer: I would recomend a beginner to stay basic! Dont try to get too fancy, listen to the advice of an experience lifter! Be patient, and realize Rome wasn't built in a day! Always change your routine frequently, and be consistent, and pay special attention to your diet. The gains will come!

BT: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE POWERLIFTING AND BODYBUILDING EXPERIENCES?

Mike Witmer Mike Witmer: One that sticks out in my mind was my first Nationals. It was the USPF Jr. Nationlas. It was in Shuanee Oklahoma. I was very inexperienced, and young, I was there by myself, no training partner or anything! I was warming up, and I heard a lifter say, "who's Witmer?" I looked, and he said, "Your in the hole buddy!" My mouth dropped, I had only hit 225 in my warmups! I sat down, started wrapping my knees, dropped the knee wraps, they came un wrapped, and I had to re-role them so i could wrap my knees. I get them wrapped, they are saying, LIFTER, YOU HAVE 1 MINUTE! Im running to hit the platform, I ask some spectator to pull my straps up, he couldnt do it, a lifter standing there gets them up. The platform was up on a platform, you had to go up a ramp. Im winded, from the running around, and nervous as hell! I run up the ramp, and see 100's of spectators! The head judge is saying 30 seconds! I walk out with the weight (750) no monlifts then., it feels like a ton with no warmups!

BT: WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?

Mike Witmer: Keep training as long as my body will let me! I would like to maybe qualify for a WPO bench meet. And continue to do some bodybuilding shows, when i need a break from the heavy Iron.

BT: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR WHEN IT COMES TO UPPING YOUR LIFTS?

Mike Witmer: Well, I feel there are two important factors. Diet and training variety. In my younger days, I would eat anything I could get my hands on. I felt i needed a lot of calories, and It didnt matter what I looked like, I wasnt a bodybuilder. But, an injury forced me to do some bodybuilding, I dieted, then put my weight back on with good foods. I felt so much better. I have ate better every since then! Your body needs the right carbs for energy, a high amount of good quality protien to recover, and healthy fats for long term energy and to keep your joints from hurting! You wouldnt get an expensive car, and put crap gas in it, and expect it to run well. Plus, you want to continue to have a long lifting career. You cant do that if you die of a heart attack! Variety in training is a must. Too many people do the same thing over and over! Your body will adapt! I switch my workouts up every week. It keep your body guessing, and keeps the gains constant.

BT: DO YOU THINK POWERLIFTING SHOULD BE AN OLYMPIC SPORT?

Mike Witmer: I fell it should be an olympic sport, due to a lot of countries are participating in powerlifting. But with all the federation bickering, and the gear issues, it will probably never make it.

BT: HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF BENCHING?

Mike Witmer: Well, bench press contests have come a long way since I started competing. You used to see local bench meets, but nothing big., If lifters were a "bench specialist" and wanted to break a record, they used to enter a full power meet, and squat and deadlift the bar to make the bench a legit lift. The future seems to be kind of gloom though. With all the inner bickering among the numerous federations, and the gear issues. One federation allows something another doesn't, and vice versa, this can only mean trouble for the sport!

BT: WHAT DOES YOUR DIET CONSIST OF?

Mike Witmer: I eat 5-6 meals a day. All of my carbs consist of either sweet potatos, oatmeal, brown rice....my protiens consist of lean red meat, eggs, protien powders, chicken and fish when I can stomach it! I take flax seed oils and olive oils for my essential fats. I drink one gallon of water a day. I have a "cheat day" every weekend! I eat a protien, and a carb with each meal.

BT: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES FOR POWERLIFTING?

Mike Witmer: I always like the quote my old training partner would say when making a light jump on an attempt, "come on, you just added a coat of paint!"

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

Mike Witmer: I feel genetics play a very important role. You see people train, train, and train, and look the same, and never get much stronger! BUT, the number one difference is attitude! If someone wants something so bad, he/she will go to all costs to attain it, they will achieve it. This it what makes a champion!

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

Mike Witmer: Well, I hate all the bickering! my opinion is, if you dont like the gear, lift in a federation that dont allow it, or only allows poly shirts, etc...and if you dont feel drug use is right, dont use them, and lift in a tested organization! All of the bickering and bashing isnt going to solve anything! We need to respect each other as athletes, not try to down someone because they used a double denim! One thing, people say so-n-so bench 700+, but he had a double denim on...usually the person that said this, couldnt do 500 in a double denim. 700+ is 700+, I dont care what kind of shirt you're wearing! It still takes tons of training, good diet and dedication! Same goes for drug use. People think that drug users are lazy or don't work hard. You could give a lifter all the drugs in the world, and if he/she isn't training hard, or being dedicated, they wouldnt exceed either!

BT: WHAT TRAINING STYLE DO YOU THINK WORKS BEST?

Mike Witmer: I really like westide training. It trains all the aspects of strength, speed, endurance. It also trains the lockout. and keeps a lot of variety in your training!

BT: DO YOU THINK BODYBUILDING EXERCISES SHOULD BE IN POWERLIFTERS ROUTINES?

Mike Witmer: Definetly yes! You need to hit all assistance muscles and stabilizers, not only to maximize gains, but for injury prevention. Plus, added muscle mass is definetly not going to hurt your powerlifting! A chain is only as strong as its weakest link! Besides, I like to look like Im strong!

BT: WHAT HAS POWERLIFTING TAUGHT YOU?

Mike Witmer: It has taught me discipline and integrity! Ive learned to be patient, and that hard work will always pay off, and to be mentally tough!

BT: WHAT DOES POWERLIFTING MEAN TO YOU?

Mike Witmer: It means competing against yourself. Meeting set goals, and pushing yourself past limits!

Ben Tatar and Mike Witmer
Ben Tatar and Mike Witmer

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