Interview with World Record Holder Tiny Meeker (First man to bench press over 1,100lbs.)
Interviewed by CB reporter Ben Tatar
Tiny Meeker is the first and only man to bench press 1,100lbs. Tiny benched an astounding 11,02lbs and he gave 1,135lbs a ride. Tiny is also the World Record Holder for repping 600 lbs. for 14 reps. He benched 700 lbs. for 8 reps and 800 lbs. for 4 reps which is the most ever. Let’s meet the man with the biggest.
CB: Tiny you have set all kinds of bench press records. Which 5 were your favorite in order and why?
Tiny Meeker: My five favorites were as follows:
1) 1,102, I am finally satisfied with a lift. I will put my next top 5, but this meant the most to me. I am the first and only one to hit 1100.
2) Was benching 800 and 900 in a single. Man, I was battling Bill Gillespie to be the first to bench 800. I was really worried he would get the 800 first. He would do a Meet and miss it. Then I would do one and miss. And then finally I got it.
3) 1077, I cannot lie. I cried! I was going to do 1100 there, but I was too overwhelmed, so I passed.
4) This one is kind of funny. Gus Rethwisch asked me after my second WABDL World Meet what my goal was in powerlifting. I told him I wanted to bench 700. He told me that I would never do it, because I only benched 606 in the last two years at Worlds. Man, did that make me mad. I actually had the flu the year he said that.
I didn’t even take my training serious back then. The next year I hit 657 and broke Ryan Kennelly’s record by two pounds. I then missed 700. The next two years I missed 700, but the next time I lifted in the WABDL, I hit 843!!! I told Gus, he was right. I never benched 700. I did 843!!
5) My first 600 and 700, not in the WABDL. My first 6 was 606 and I did it in the APA. What made it special was that I also did it in front of The Great Anthony Clark. It was also my first real World Record. It put my name in as a serious lifter. My first 700 was 705 in the APF.
Another special moment was with my training partner was Bill Lobins. Bill had to move away to take care of his mother who was ill. I promised him that I would bench 700 before he moved away. I opened with 683 good, then missed, 705. On my third lift I hit it. I had tears going down my face halfway up, because I knew I had it.
I jumped up on the bench and hugged Bill and told him, I told you I would do it!!! He said, you sure did!!!
CB: What are your future goals?
Tiny Meeker: I have some much unfinished business in the single-ply. I need to nail 1000!!! Right now I know I can do 1140 in a Multi-ply. I know 1100 was the ultimate goal, but I do believe I can bench 1200 very soon.
After that, I want to lose about 40 to 50 pounds and stay at 280 for sometime. Not sure if I want to drop down to 275, but time will tell.
CB: Back when you were in college did you always believe you would be a world record bench press holder?
Tiny Meeker: I love these questions, NO, during my first year I was working in Night clubs and living the night life. I also was playing lots of basketball.
I was always in the weight room, but I had no idea that powerlifting existed after high school. I lifted in high school my sophomore and junior year, but my school dropped it my senior year.
I always loved to bench, but I was never really serious about my lifting until much later. When I was 22, I was benching 600 raw. I actually did it the first time in my old high school gym during the summer. At 28 I met a man named Bob Garza. He saw me benching over 500 in a Bally’s gym one day. He asked me if I wanted to powerlift.
The techniques I learned were way better when it comes to to bench. I used to flare my elbows, but not anymore. My benched dropped at first. A few months later I lifted in my first USPF Texas Meet. I took second. And that is when it all started again.
CB: How does it feel to have the biggest bench press ever?
Tiny Meeker: Very relieved. In 2010 I suffered a very bad shoulder injury. Thank GOD for GLC2000. Last December I was riding around in Vegas with my friend Hunter Hernandez. I was telling him 1047 was not a bad number. I really felt that I would never bench 1000 again.
I was good for 900, which is not a bad bench at all, but I didn’t think my shoulder would heal. After the WABDL Worlds I took a few weeks off and doubled up the dosage of my GLC2000. Within weeks the pain just stopped. A few months after that I benched 1077 in Corpus at the SPF Texas State.
CB: What is unique about your training partners and the equipment you use?
Tiny Meeker: They show up every Sunday!!!! Actually, they all want to be better and they are all great guys. I am truly blessed to have a great group of lifters such as Steven Kaufman, Mike Thomas, Keithyon Gunter, David Smith, Greg Brown, Harjit Kumar, Fateh Sihota, Bobby Leitz, and Chris Eason.
This is my team. We are all different in ages and weight classes, but we all want to be the best and help each other. As far as equipment goes, I have a very big hardcore gym which is about 13,000 sq ft. I have the best bars and benches you can use which includes a kilo set, bands, chains, and much much more.
CB: How do you want to be remembered?
Tiny Meeker: I just want to be remembered as a lifter that had no fear. And a lifter that never thought he was better than anyone else. I never wanted to be treated different from anyone else and a lifter that loved to help others reach their goals.
I just wish there was one day that everyone would see me lift or watch my video and say that was good. I wish!!
CB: What shirt did you use to bench the 1102?
Tiny Meeker: Inzer Advance Designs SDP. The Phenom is the most incredible shirt ever made. I can touch 600 in the same shirt I bench 1102 in. Yes, it was a 3ply
CB: One might wonder why the best bench pressers use shirts. Any explanation?
Tiny Meeker: Safety! The number one reason we wear equipment. I have much respect for Spoto and Mendy, but lifting raw is the only way I ever suffered a injury lifting. I want to lift for a very long time. That might not happen, if I get hurt again. I will take my chances wearing equipment.
CB: So far in your bench journey, list us a FAVORITE MOMENT, FUNNY MOMENT, and a MOMENT that changed you the most.
Tiny Meeker: Favorite, lifting in Russia. The people were so good. I really felt like a RockStar.
Funny, when I benched 1047 at the Biggest Bench On The River, I jumped up and asked the spotter why wouldn’t you grab the weight. We were all laughing, because no one could hear the call. I then stopped and said, was the lift good and they said yes and we all cheered.
Okay, maybe that was corny, but I got a good laugh. Another one, was at the FIT EXPO. I hit my opener 887 and everyone back stage went running to change shirts.
Changed the most? Super-lifting! Made me a much better lifter. Taught me to hold big weight longer and move much faster.
Another major change for me was when my sponsor Randy Risher bought me my first 1000 pound weight set and supplied me with my first gym. My sponsor Brian Welker designing and making my first ever custom bench with me.
CB: What is your advice for a young lifter who would one day like to be benching 1000+
Tiny Meeker: Be patient. It took me 30 years. Learn perfect, yes perfect form first. That means everything is perfect. From the warm-up to the max out. Nothing changes. Put yourself around good people who all want to be there. And will always be honest to you as a lifter.
You will never do this on your own. Don’t be afraid to fail. Always be humble. Help others, because you are going to need help too.
CB: Tiny it was great interviewing you today. In closing is there anything else that you would like to say or anyone who you would like to thank?
Tiny Meeker: Last please let me thank, GOD my Lord Jesus Christ. My sponsors John Inzer and everyone at Inzer Advance Designs, Shawn Madere and GLC2000, Power Sugar, Dr. Nerenberg, My team, My Monster Gym team, Tony Saraceni for giving me the means to go after my ultimate dream.
My brother Jason Meeker, Bert Brocker and the Texan Live Team. Dr. Hillborn and Bob Garrett for fixing my body regularly. And any training partners I have had over all these years and anyone who ever helped put a shirt on me or liftoff for me. Also, a big thank you to Lifewave and Labrada Nutrition.
And finally, thank you Critical Bench for the interview.