Interview With Powerlifter Charles Bailey Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - June 2009
CRITICAL BENCH: Let's get right to it. You have accomplished an 1102 squat, 705 bench, 782 deadlift for a total of 2551. Incredible. Thanks for the interview opportunity Charles. Tell us about yourself.
CHARLES BAILEY: Well there's really not much to tell I'm an average guy, single parent of a 17 year old who is the pain and joy of my life. I was born and raised in the West Indies up until I joined the navy. I spent 9 years there. It was good just not for me. I then left the navy and became a personal trainer and I have been doing that ever since. Damn that sounds boring as hell doesn't it?
CRITICAL BENCH: You're doing what you love, nothing wrong with that. What fed do you compete in and why?
CHARLES BAILEY: I compete in numerous feds and all for the same reason, the need to know where I stand in my weight class. There's also the challenge of having to perform in different situations that some how is exciting to me. There's also the fact that when I'm done with this I don't want to guess who was better than me I would like to be sure.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you enjoy about the feds that you compete in?
CHARLES BAILEY: Well here's the thing, the lifters make the fed if the lifters are a-holes then in my opinion the fed is crap. Perception is everything. If I had a good time at a particular meet, chances are I'll be back. That's what I like about the APF, APC, USPF and the IPA. I only have good things to say about my experiences with these feds.
CRITICAL BENCH: We mentioned your multi-ply total above, what are your best single ply lifts?
CHARLES BAILEY: My best lifts in single ply are 903 squat, 650 bench and 733 dead-lift. Best total 2221.
CRITICAL BENCH: Can you give us your power-lifting routine?
CHARLES BAILEY: I wish I could but I don't have a set routine that I follow. I'm really not disciplined enough to stick to anything that long. The best I can do for you is to say follow my log at EliteFTS.
CRITICAL BENCH: Charles, what is your training philosophy then?
CHARLES BAILEY: I have to have goals at all times for everything. I find it hard to get motivated to do anything if there's not an end result that I'm striving for.
CRITICAL BENCH: What drives you to train hard year round?
CHARLES BAILEY: I have only one thought in my head when I train, I want to be the best. Now it may never happen but that is what motivates me all year around. There's also the fact that my training partner (JEFFERY VAUGHN) is always trying to out lift me and he catching up so there you have it.
CRITICAL BENCH: So far in your powerlifting journey what has been your favorite, funniest, craziest, and most powerful moment?
CHARLES BAILEY: My favorite going back to back APF/APC nationals 2 years in a row. The funniest was watching my partner miss his opening squat because he was looking up the head referees skirt. The crazy and most powerful moment happened at the same time. Crazy Kieran Kidder, from a seated position, jumped and cleared the announcers table. This was because Andy Bolton had just done the most powerful thing in power lifting, a 1003 dead lift.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your favorite things about the sport of powerlifting?
CHARLES BAILEY: I like power-lifters on the day of the meet. They are the most helpful and friendly people on the planet. The best part about power lifting is the actual coming together when we are away from our keyboards.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you enjoy doing away from powerlifting?
CHARLES BAILEY: I like football, soccer, swimming and just doing nothing. It's great doing nothing. I enjoy spending time with my son, girlfriend and friends and sometime just be with myself.
CRITICAL BENCH: That's an interesting combination of interest you have. You're well rounded. What adversities have you had to overcome?
CHARLES BAILEY: I don't know if I would say I've had to overcome anything. I mean, any problem I have had to deal with I have always found away to work around it. The problems I have to overcome if I could call them was when I had bone spurs in both ankles and knees. I also have 2 bulging disc in my neck and lower back. The thing is though, I had all this before I started power lifting so I can't use them as excuses.
CRITICAL BENCH: What makes you different from everyone else?
CHARLES BAILEY: Well I guess the only thing that's different about me is I started later than most at 39, and now I am 45. I also don't put limits on myself. I'll try anything I don't factor fear into my lifting. The thing that makes me different from everyone else now that I've thought about it I would say it's me being who I am at all time.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about the gym you train at and what is it like?
CHARLES BAILEY: The gym I workout at is your typical fitness center. My training partner and I have, without permission semi, converted a section into a make shift power lifting gym. The music is random and half the time sucks but what can you do man. Like I always say it is better than the alternative.
CRITICAL BENCH: Good work. What are your biggest pointers for a bigger total?
CHARLES BAILEY: Train the upper back lots of shrugs/zerchers/good-mornings and hypers box squats. A must if you want to be explosive out of the hole.
For the bench press do floor presses in and out of the shirt, use bands and chains. Not using them is crazy. Cycle your bench shirt from easy to hard to help maintain raw strength. Do rack-presses at different heights. Last thing you have to train heavy to lift heavy.
CRITICAL BENCH: What was the worst advice you were ever told?
CHARLES BAILEY: I don't know if I have ever gotten bad advice. I have a stupid filter so if it was bad it probably didn't get stored in the memory bank.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you envision the future of powerlifting?
CHARLES BAILEY: I really don't know. It seems that power lifting is getting farther and father away from what it should be. I guess if the question is what would I like the future of power lifting to be? Then I would like to see a more unified community with more competitions that are meaningful. I would like to see the best of the best get together every 2 years and go at it in a battle royal. We should form a group that collects dues, a sort of lifters union. They would then use these dues to provide cash prizes at major events. These funds could also pay for trips to deserving lifters who would not otherwise be able to compete because of financial issues. I would also love to see strict judging across the board in every fed.
CRITICAL BENCH: I like the way you think. When you are all finished with powerlifting how do you want to be remembered?
CHARLES BAILEY: I want to be the guy that even if you didn't like me you still would have something nice to say on my behalf. I would also like to be remembered as the guy that was always willing to help his fellow powerlifter.
CRITICAL BENCH: It has been a pleasure. What a journey you have had. We can't wait to see what you do next. In closing who would you like to thank?
CHARLES BAILEY: I would like to thank first my mother (FALCONA FRANCIS) for raising me to believe I can do anything I put my mind to. Thanks to my sponsor ELITEFITNESS SYSTEMS they have always been there for me when I needed help. I also like to thank my girl-friend ALISON FRANCISCUS, my son who thinks I'm the strongest man on the planet, but is too cool to say so. Last but not least my training partner (JEFFERY VAUGHN) and all the others that have helped along the way.
Charles Bailey at the 2009 USPF American Cup: 650-lb 2nd Bench Press