Maryana Naumova has done something that no other girl has done. At the age of 13, Maryana has bench pressed 240lbs while weighing in at only 130lbs. There has never been a a girl younger than 15 years old, in any weight class, who has bench pressed what little 13 year old Maryna has benched. Let’s get to know her in  this interview.

CRITICAL BENCH: Maryana, tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Maryana. I’m 13 years old. I’m from the Russia, Moscow region. I was raised in the small city of Khimki, a suburb of Moscow. My height’s 173 cm 5’8.  My weight is 64 kg, 140lbs. Last year, in May, my heightwas  164 cm which means that in less than 1 year I have grown about 9 centimeters.

My best RAW bench press is 110 (kg./240 lb.). I was doing a bench press with a board height of 7 cm with a weight of 287lbs. for 2 reps.

Many call me “Red Princess of Barbell” or “Red Bench Monster.” I like it.

CRITICAL BENCH: Maryana, at 13 you benched 240lbs RAW as a female. This is INSANE. (hahaha.) How do people respond to your insane bench pressing ability? How do younger people respond? What about females? What about males who are your age? what about males over 20?

Everyone gives an absolutely different reaction.

I have a lot of fans and people supporting me who write and tell me kind words. They tell me how they see me as an example and that I motivate them.

However, there are a lot of haters who are envious.

CRITICAL BENCH: What do the haters say to you?

They write nasty things about me such as I use steroids, that my parents force me to do the bench press and I that I’m hurting myself.  These are bad people.

CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any gym stories involving haters? Do the haters bother you?

I notice that  when I come to train, the guys who bench less than me, get frustrated and they leave the gym. They completely stop training.

It’s cool.) This motivates me to lift more weight.

CRITICAL BENCH: Maryana, you need to help some of the guys out it looks like, haha. What are your top 10 tips to a bigger bench press?

mhpI do not have Top 10 Tips))))).

I recently read a book by Arnold Schwarzenegger and I realized that I’m doing everything the way he advises.

The most important tip is to have a goal and achieve it by any means necessary. You also have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that anything is possible. This goes for any goal you want to achieve.

If your goal is to bench press more than others, you have to understand that you need a good coach and a gym that has everything you need. You need to eat adequate food and get good sleep & rest.

CRITICAL BENCH: What are the 5 reasons why lots of people aren’t hitting their full potential on the bench press?

There are several reasons for which people do not achieve success in the bench press.

  • improper training.
  • too frequent changes in the training program. People read too much on the Internet, are constantly changing training plans as they think that would be better. And as a result, they do not progress with their goal. Any training program requires time.
  • poor nutrition.
  • too much training and not enough recovery.
  • bad warm up – this leads to injuries.

This are things that are necessary to avoid.

CRITICAL BENCH: When did you discover you were so strong? What got you started in bench pressing?

My father is an athlete. His friends are also athletes and champions whom all got me started. I have known them since childhood and I liked them. I watched films with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he is my idol.)

My father competed in the bench press competition. He took me with him when I was 10. I wanted to try it and that is how it all started.

CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?

I do not want to be the strongest woman. The sport of female powerlifiting will require that you  take performance enhancing drugs which I do not want to do.

Perhaps when I am 18, I will not set a bench press record.

I want to try body fitness. I have many girl friends who compete in this sport. I want be an example to their peers, not only in Russia, but all over the world.
I fought a lot on TV, I go to schools, meeting with children and I propagandize a power sport. It’s cool!

CRITICAL BENCH: Maryana, do you have a favorite bench presser?

I have a big dream – to get acquainted with Ryan Kennelly. I am familiar with all of the coolest benchers. I still want to meet him).

CRITICAL BENCH: Hopefully, you and Kennelly can one day meet. What do you enjoy doing away from weight training?

I study at school. I enjoy doing photography, and I have pets. I have rabbits that I love and a younger sister.

CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any crazy stories that you would like to share?

I have a story about my classmate who I gave some of my protein chocolate bars to.
He ate it and then his parents promised to take my parents to court. His parents believed that the boy will have health problems, and they are blaming sports nutrition.  Now I will not give protein chocolate bars to classmates. I eat them myself.)))))

CRITICAL BENCH: What a story. Maryana, way to make history in the iron world while being so young! It has been a pleasure getting to talk to you today. In Closing is there anyone who you would like to thank?

Yes, I have recourse to the iron world.

I want to thank my parents, they help me a lot.  I also want to thank my coach Vyacheslav Solovyov. Without him I would have failed.  He – a great coach!

I want thank the company ProMeraSports and my friends – James Stoppani, Dan Onishuk and Mike Bridges. These are very good people, they helped me a lot in the U.S., the Arnold Classic. I’m very grateful! I would like to thank Critical Bench for the interview and I also would like to thank the company, which helps me with air tickets.

Thank you!


Interviewed By Ben Tatar