Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
October 20, 2014
Powerlifter Gary Frank
By Monster Muscle

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 done.

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 counts.

How much does technique contribute to your numbers? What techniques do you currently use?

powerlifter gary frank 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 a realist.

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 new sport.

How does your family influence your career?

Powerlifter Gary Frank 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

 

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