Frank is the strongest super heavy weight powerlifter in the world.
He has TOTALED over 2,800lbs! Gary will answer some of the questions
about him that we all want to know and he will answer more for us in
the upcoming months. Critical Bench presents you from Monster Muscle,
the STRONGEST man in the world, Gary Frank!
Q) What do you do physically and mentally to prepare before a competition?
Frank: Typically about two weeks out from a meet, I begin to get
agitated. I am always carrying a calculator around with me trying to
figure out totals. For instance, I will work on the number 777 but
after seeing it on the calculator long enough I begin to think that I
can probably do 787... I don't sleep much the night before the meet, I
try to relax and get my head straight. The morning of the competition
I usually wake up around 6AM to get the blood flowing. I eat breakfast
as soon as possible and then go look for someplace quiet to relax and
prepare. About 1.5- 2 hours out from lifting I feel relaxed. You have
to remember that you cannot get any stronger at that point or learn
any new tricks. I can usually tell how I feel when I get up how I am
going to perform that day. If something doesn't feel right, I try to
fight it, but won't be up to par on my performance. During warm-ups I
don't use a Walkman, I used to but it began throwing my focus off. I
like to focus on what is going on around me. I like to find a corner
where nobody is, lay my gear out and relax. If I can find another
room, that's even better. I find that listening to others can
influence my lifting and can even talk me out of lifting altogether. I
always set my first and second attempt ahead of time and look for 6
for 9 on my lifts. I expect to hit my total on my second attempt,
anything else is just extra. My third attempts are still within a
certain parameter, not any big stretch. It's all about the total, so
that is all I concentrate on when selecting attempts.
My mental preparation. My mindset is very strong. I keep it
simple in my mind. I have a keyword that I mentally focus on,
something that I decided during my training. Usually it is something
simple such as "SPPED". I tend to write them down on a piece of paper
so I don't forget. I typically have a keyword for each lift. Lately,
my keyword is "ATTACK". For the bench press it's "SHOULDERS BACK,
PUSHING OUT"/ every lift is a new day for me. I don't want a pat on
the back when the squat is over because it's now bench time. When you
are focusing on a total, there's no victory until all the lifts are
How do you categorize lifters?
There are two kinds of powerlifters in my book, 90%ers and 10%ers.
90%'ers are very conservative people looking for the sure thing. These
kinds of lifters put too much emphasis on competing and not enough on
winning. I guess it gets reinforced with the way most federations are
structured. You can have over 100 lifters and everyone gets first
place. How can that be? There isn't a real need to be a 10%'er in an
environment like that. With 10%'ers, nobody knows much about them but
that they are very consistent. They are on top of the world 10% of the
time and willing to take chances to break new ground. I know a lot of
good lifters that fall into that category. Elite lifters have to take
more risks; you have to be a 10%er to make history. You have to step
out on a limb occasionally and take chances. People usually only me
know me for my best marks, not for all the gambling I have done to get
there. I think I would classify myself as a 25% er, a little
conservative. I know a lot of guys that are very proud of the fact
that they totaled certain things over time, but only your best lift
How much does technique contribute to your numbers? What techniques do
you currently use?
I am known in the powerlifting world as a brute strength guy. That's
not what I am, and I kind of resent that. When it comes to technique,
ten different guys will tell you ten different things, but in the end
nobody benches over 800lbs, or squatted over 1000lbs because of
technique. I tend to focus more on speed and acceleration. I am very
proud of my deadlift technique but people will always me that if I did
(whatever technique) that I could pull 1000lbs. I don't personally
believe that, you have to be strong first. I believe in bread and
butter things, things that you don't change. Technique is a give and
take, and you most certainly have to use what works for you
individually. In my deadlift technique I like to drop and pull back. I
don't train any top-end for the deadlift. If I am hitting my hips
through, and my shoulders are back coming out of the hole, it is all
about speed. I am a conventional puller. I have a lot of snap and jerk
off the bottom. Sumo is more of a squeeze and I never felt suited for
it personally. In the squat, I typically like my legs underneath me
wearing a poly using a medium stance. I have been training with a
canvas suit and have found that widening my stance and sitting
straight down works better. In the bench press, I focus on keep my
elbows in, shoulders back and pure speed. I prefer my feet out in
front because it keeps my butt on the bench. I like to bring the bar
down slow because I do a better job of setting it up and then I drive
everything back towards my shoulders.
When did you first start lifting weights? Were you strong as a youngster?
Frank: I first started lifting weights when I was about 15. I was
focused on playing all the sports. I was a shot putter, participated
in football, baseball and basketball. I originally started lifting
weights to assist me in these sports and didn't start getting serious
until my senior year. I had a lot of basic strength. My best total in
high school was a 705 deadlift, 700+ squat and a mid-300 bench. Keep
in mind that there wasn't equipment like there is today and I was
benching raw. I firmly believe that my cross training significantly
contributed to my overall strength.
What kinds of food do you like to eat? What do you eat before competing?
Frank: I am a meat and potatoes kind of person. I work with a
nutritionist Anthony Rizzuto, from Toronto. I eat all the foods and
supplements that he puts on my list, but with being a SHW, I tend to
eat more. On contest weight, it's all about carbs. I don't care what I
weight because I am a SHW regardless. Typically the night before a
meet I eat pizza or spaghetti-- All carbs. The morning of a meet I
will have French Toast, pancakes and a protein shake. During the day
I will snack on protein bars and I enjoy 60 carbs, 40 grams of protein
kinds. I am a code red fanatic and I drink co red mountain dew
throughout the day. This is against my nutritionist's advice
because all the sugar isn't good, but I like it.
What are your current goals? Do you think you have enough left in the
tank to reach 3000?
Frank: Get to 300lbs. hmm. I don't know. I am hoping that I have
enough left in the tank to reach 2900lbs. The weight starts to get
heavy at a certain point. I don't know what I got left. That is the
magic number though it seems. That is why over the last few years it
has been all or nothing with me. There is not much time so I don't
want to miss my window of opportunity. That is why nutrition has been
so important finding my optimum weight also. It's all about the total.
My current goals are one, to achieve a 2900lbs total. I feel like I
never even got a chance to enjoy 2500 and 2600. While you are
celebrating, others are training. . Two I want to go ten years
straight having the top total...Three, another personal goal I have is
to still be a world-class lifter while my son is in high school. I
coach my son's 5-6th grade football team. I want him to be proud of me
and I want to be a good role model for him. I set training goals every
month and every workout, but the bottom line is what you do in a
contest. Seventeen weeks out I am a dreamer, the last four weeks I am
Are you interested in chasing down any "Raw" records?
Frank: I think raw lifting is very admirable but I don't see any
point in it for me personally because my competition doesn't lift raw.
I think I could surprise a lot of people, but it doesn't mean
anything. Not at this point of my career. It would be like starting a
How does your family influence your career?
Frank: It is absolutely essential that your family is behind you. My
wife is not a lifter but she is so strong minded and so supportive.
She goes to all the meets and contributes greatly to my training and
preparation. She always makes sure my supplements are right, reminds
me to take them, and helps makes my protein drinks. She also cooks
accordingly to help me gain or lose weight. You have to walk a thin
line, with powerlifting on one end and responsibility on the other.
They plan everything around my workout schedule. It takes strength to
be a powerlifting, but another kind of strength to have is that
balance. So many divorce people, but it doesn't have to be that way.
The best thing is that they will always support me regardless of how
well I do.
Do you lose your temper when you miss a lift or have a bad day?
Frank: No. The only person you can get mad at is yourself. You don't
have to take it out on others. I used to be a hot-tempered kid, but
eventually learned that it doesn't make you stronger. It only makes
others think, "There's that asshole again." Elite powerlifters are
ambassadors. We are role models whether we like it or not. You need to
be able to handle the responsibility that goes along with that. People
always look up to the top. You have to support your fans and maintain
a respectable level of dignity and humility.
Why do you lift in the APF/WPO?
Frank: First, because the camaraderie is incredible. I have been to
other organizations and enjoy lifting with them, but it's not the
same. In the WPO/APF, lifters are there to help other lifters. Also,
because there's no bigger show on earth. It is the biggest meet, best
lifters and most money. To be the best you have to beat the best and
the WPO attracts that type of lifter! I have a fondness for the IPF
because when I first started I was a USPF lifter and the IPF was the
only world championships at the time. I am a Pro powerlifter and at
the same time, I am a pro powerlifter. Anyone that can go through the
same pain, sweat and tears deserves respect. How can you not respect
them- world class or beginner, regardless of federations? The main
reason there is discretions between federations is because of the
people that run them. In general all the powerlifters get along.
Gary Frank Bench Pressing 826 LBS on Nov 18th 2006