Interview With Powerlifter James Hinson, JR By Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of IronBrutality.com - November 2010
Critical Bench: Hey, thanks for doing this interview. Please introduce yourself.
My name is James Hinson, JR. I'm 24 yrs old and married, my wife's name is Ashley. We have a beautiful 7 mos. old little girl, name Serenity. I work as a commercial plumber in Texas. I'm also the House of Pain Representative and moderator for the blog section of the HouseofPain.com website.
Critical Bench: What is your Best PR's right now?
Squat - 635x2
Bench - 375
Dead lift - 565
Up to now I have hit 635 in the squat with knee wraps and a belt. In the bench I have hit 375 raw and the dead lift is kind of up in the air with some technique issues, but I have pulled 565 all at 198. In the past I hit a 551 squat at 163 lbs. equipped single ply and 565 equipped squat at 181. People laugh now because my raw lifts are higher than my equipped.
Critical Bench: How long have you been into power lifting?
I have been lifting my whole life, but I have only been competing for about 3 years.
Critical Bench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting.
Well, I had a patchy childhood. My parents had divorced and I lived with my mother until I was 10 yrs old. After I met my Dad I went to live with him in Santa Fe, Texas. I didn't get into sports until I was 12. Thru school I played football, basketball, baseball and track, but I never power lifted. I went to meets to help some buddies from the football team, but I never actually competed. I did lift thru school to stay in shape for sports and continued after I graduated from school. I started to powerlift when I turned 21 yrs old and moved to Amarillo, Texas with my wife. When we moved to Amarillo, Texas we met Steve Cyranoski at Gold's Gym, at that point the journey that has taken me to this point, began.
Critical Bench: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a power lifter?
I would have to say I looked up to Ed Coan when I was shaping my technique, but when I wanted attitude, I watched Kirk Karwoski.
Critical Bench: What is the craziest thing you have ever seen at a powerlifting meet?
I would have to say Steve Cyranoski. That man is a beast-first he had a heart attack during a meet, but finished the meet hitting a PR total. When he went into the hospital he didn't come out until after they had performed 5 bypass surgeries. The man still had partial numbness in his chest and still totaled 1802 in his first meet back.
Critical Bench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in power lifting?
The one thing I always tell the guys in the gym is to check your ego at the door. There is plenty of time so don't rush it. Train for technique and the weight will come and eat, eat, eat, because your body needs fuel to recover and get stronger. Last, but not least-always check your ego but walk through the door with the attitude that you are the badest thing that had walked thru that door whether you are training or competing. Always, always be willing to help.
Critical Bench: Do you have a favorite out of the three or is it all 3 lifts?
Squats….But I was told a long time ago that your weakest lift is what makes you a champion, so I put the same effort into every lift
Critical Bench: What are your goals and when is your next meet?
Goals: Squatting 670 lbs, which will be the #1 squat in the 198 lbs. raw weight class in the world. Bench 385 lbs and Dead Lift 565+ all raw at 198 lbs. Next meet will be the "2nd Annual Unleash the Beast" at the Metro Flex Gym in Fort Worth, Texas on October 30, 2010 for details; call Rendy @ 817-891-6261.
Critical Bench: What are the challenges of coming up as a power lifter?
You know for me, life in general has to be the biggest challenge when it comes to coming up as a power lifter. Everything from work, family and money is a challenge as well as the fight to stay healthy. For me, I push myself so hard to be the best everyday and to get bigger, better and stronger that figuring out my training, diet and supplementation becomes a huge stress. I will say that I am fortunate that my wife loves to go to the gym too and works out hard too. I'm sure there may be power lifters that don't have their wife behind them and that only adds to the stress of trying to be the best. As a matter of fact my wife and I met at a gym. She has competed and she knows what I feel like when I get better.
Critical Bench: Tell everyone here the difference between someone who wants to look "pretty" and someone who does what we do? The difference between a workout and a training session.
Wow what a question and how funny too. I struggle with the explanation of this every time I go into the gym. I have guys all the time wanting to know how to get legs like mine or biceps like mine and it drives me nuts. Like I said earlier I idolize Captain Kirk and walk with the same attitude. I am on a mission man. To be the baddest son of a gun in my weight class. I am not here to look pretty. I am here to sweat, bleed and train-not work on my six packs or work on the striations in my Pecs (LOL). So get out of my way while I chalk up and hit some ammonia, slap the shit out of myself and do some work. I firmly believe there are people who go to the gym to train and there is a big difference. Anyone is welcome to experience the difference anytime, just give me a call @ 806-679-9930
Critical Bench: What would you tell a power lifter if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport? Do you believe that power lifters' have a lifestyle of their own?
There is an old saying "That no matter how hard you train, there is always someone training harder". There is only one way to get to the next level and that's hard work. Yes, I believe power lifting is a lifestyle just like body building or pro football. In order to be the best you have to take chances and make sacrifices. I have spent thousands of dollars in equipment, supplements, food and traveling for this sport. There is not a day that goes by that my body doesn't hurt or I am dog tired from work, but when I get in the gym, none of that matters anymore until I am done.
Critical Bench: How driven would people say you are about being a power lifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
LOL - Driven is not even the word. Most people would say I am insane when it comes to power lifting. It is crazy, because when I lift, everyone in the gym stops to watch to see what kind of crazy weight or lift I am going to do next. It's like that saying though; "You have to do what others will not in order to achieve what others do not". So when I walk out of the gym I have to tone myself back down because some people cannot handle people like us.
Critical Bench: How has power lifting made you a stronger person away from the sport?
Power lifting had given me the self control that I lacked for many years growing up. I have a short temper and power lifting has provided me with an outlet for my anger. Also it goes to show that if you want something bad enough all you have to do is work hard and you will get what you deserve for your hard work.
Critical Bench: Do you have any training partners? How have they helped? Tell us about them and who they are.
Training partners, while let's see. I have only had two true workout partners throughout my journey. Steve and Erick Cyranoski, and I owe them everything because they are the ones who got me in and taught me right. Now I have had a lot of people try to train with me since then but nobody has been able to hang. I do have some good people that help me though. My Dad who is 66 is still fit and he helps me out on bench day and Mark Davis on squat day when I am going extremely heavy. My wife is there any time I need her and heck she is stronger than about 90% of the guys in the gym anyway. When I train I have a one track mind, so training partners just don't last. I'm told I'm hard to get along with because I don't want to be talking when I'm training. I like staying focus.
Critical Bench: What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology do you follow?
My workouts are pretty crazy and pretty much ball to the wall. They are set up to be high volume high intensity and crazy. I don't really have just one method that I use. I have a few combos that I have found work for me. I train 4 days a week.
Squat on Monday, Bench on Wednesday, Dead lift on Friday and Shoulders on Sunday.
Bench is all free weight using the 5/3/1 program most of the time. Then I use free weights on squats and dead lift, incorporating a ton of chains and bands. You can email me, if you would like to discuss my workouts in greater detail.
375x1 Raw Bench at 200lbs
Critical Bench: What do you think attributes to a big bench now and days?
It's hard to say, because there are so many different ways to train bench now days. I would have to say consistency and technique are two things that are a must for a big bench. Also a big chest and triceps (LOL)
Critical Bench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
For someone that is trying to get stronger on all 3 lifts needs to be willing to take criticism. There are tons of training techniques out there, so just keep trying new techs until you find what works for you and train not to fail, but if your never fail you're not training hard enough.
Critical Bench: What drives you as a lifter? What is your mindset like during training?
I have this burn in me to be the best. I want to be the strongest so bad it hurts. When I go in to train I only have one thing on my mind and that is that it's time to work. I have a rage inside me when I train. Most people look at me as being unapproachable. But I am just very intense when I train. I guess that's why I can't keep a training partner, because when I get to the gym it's time to train, not talk. So either get with it or get out of the way.
Critical Bench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
Yes, I always worried about my volume. I always went light on my assistance work. Now I have gone balls to the wall and push myself to the max. Some say I push too hard, for example right now I can't lift my arm above my head, but I still go to the gym and bench and hit 345 x 3 on bench raw and paused. So I guess I border on the lines of stupid and crazy, but I love it.
Critical Bench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear is cheating?
I don't really like getting into the cheating debates, because there are so many issues out there. I started off power lifting in gear and no I don't think it is cheating. You should lift however you want to lift. After I got hit by a car on my motorcycle in 2007 I started lifting raw and I love it. I guess it's just the different looks you get when people are like WOW he lifted that and did it without any gear.
Critical Bench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
Well your equipment will own you for a long time before you master it. I think guys need to train raw more instead of training in gear so much. It's hard for me to comment on because I don't use it.
Critical Bench: What do you think is the reason for all the big numbers as of late like Kennelly's 1075 and Frankl's freakish total or Hoornstra's raw strength? Has strength training evolved?
There is only one thing to say on that subject and that's they are Freaks. Of course strength training has evolved. It has to, just like technology. It just keeps getting better and faster and we keep getting bigger and stronger.
Critical Bench: What is your nutrition like now?
Right now I am trying to get fat LOL. So I am just eating everything. I keep a high protein diet all the time and try to eat every hour.
Critical Bench: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
I am going to continue to do what I am doing now. My biggest struggle is staying consistent with my diet, but everything will need little tweaks here and there, but I will keep hitting it hard and praying to stay injury free.
Critical Bench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
Yes I would like to first of all thank my family who have always been there supporting me no matter how far the drive. My wife for putting up with me through the ups and downs. I would not have come as far as I have without her. I would also throw out a special thanks to Curt Dennis Jr for giving everybody the opportunity to meet me and understand me for what I do and what I am about. Also, I would like to thank Steve Cyranoski, Mark Davis, Erick Cyranoski, TJ Clark, Jim Moody and everyone else at Zachs Club 54 in Amarillo Texas that has helped me through the years.