Interview With Powerlifter Adam "Hulk" Hires As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - September 2009
Critical Bench: Thank you for doing this interview, please introduce yourself:
Thanks for allowing me this opportunity. My name is Adam "Hulk" Hires, I am 30 years old from Richmond Ky. I am a proud father of 3 and work as a Correctional Officer.
Critical Bench: What are your Best PR's right now?
My current meet pr's are squat 660 (w/o knee wraps), 450 on bench and 720 on dead lift. These are all raw. I consistently pull over 800 on dead lifts in the gym, but have not been able to show that yet. I don't do straight weight with a regular bar to a max on squat or bench in the gym.
Critical Bench: How long have you been into power lifting?
I have been lifting a total of about 5 years and competing 4 years.
Critical Bench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into power lifting?
I grew up in upper Michigan until age 14. I moved to Texas and went to 3 different high schools. We moved a lot growing up. I played sports growing up and always loved competing. I lifted weights for the first time in my freshman year of high school. The first time that I lifted, I got people's attention for being strong. But, as I said, I moved a lot, so I never got into much of a lifting program. At age 17, I started to lift again and had no idea what I was doing. I got strong quick and loved it. I read a lot of bodybuilding magazines. I always trained a lot heavier then prescribed though. I joined the military at age 18 and stopped lifting again. Then soon after, I began boxing and had an old school coach that did not believe in lifting. I stopped boxing and again started to lift. I came across Pavel T's, Power to the People book. I got a bar and 400 lbs and started lifting at my house. It was not enough weight, so I had to buy some more. Then, I came across some Westside Barbell articles on the net. This really caught my attention. Max every week! That sounded great. So, I started training this way, with no other guidance, until I ran into Robby Burns and his crew at his local gym. I went there because my garage was too cold. That ended up being a true blessing. I learned from him and others and picked a meet to do. I did my first meet with a little over a year's experience and totaled elite @ 242.
Critical Bench: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a power lifter?
I looked and still look up to Ed Coan. He is the man and I of course, aspire to be that good one day. He is amazing. I watch his videos and I am speechless. He is the best of all time. I also learned about Kirk K. in Pavel's books. His thighs are like tree trunks! You can just see the power that guy has. I love watching his squats. His raw 826 squat @242 is one of the most obsurd things I have seen! Those 2 guys know th squat! That's what inspires me.
Critical Bench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in power lifting?
I would say that you need to shut your mouth and open your ears. Surround yourself around people that have similar goals and have lifting experience. If it takes you driving out of your way to find that, do it! Read and then read some more. Set your goals high, but always respect those who have paved the way before you. You don't have to diminish others accomplishments to reach your own.
Critical Bench: Do you have a favorite out of the 3 lifts?
It is probably the dead lift, but I love the squat as well. The dead lift is just a brute lift and very barbaric. You can just go nuts on it and after you lift it, you can just stand there and admire your work. The squat with a walk out, below parallel, is such a great feeling. When you are in the bottom, not knowing for sure if you will be able to stand up with it. When you do, it is such a rush. The bench press is a lift that gives you a break from the other two. In all seriousness, I am really putting bench as a priority right now. I have struggled because of a serious injury but I am getting over that. So, no excuses, it is time to get that bench up.
Critical Bench: What are your goals and when is your next meet?
My goals are to total 2000 lbs raw, without knee wraps @ 220. My next meet is Nov 15th, the SPF Raw Pro Meet in Chatanooga, TN. After that, I plan on competing in the Raw Unity Meet in January.
Critical Bench: What are the challenges of coming up as a power lifter?
Finding good training partners and sifting through the bullcrap.
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.
There is a big difference between your average gym rat, showing up and doing his 2 hour session, (talking for over half of it), doing barbell curls in the squat rack and getting a cappuccino after. Then someone that would rather die, then let someone out lift them. HUGE difference. I think we all as lifter's, live and die by our last lift.
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?
Be honest with yourself. Do things right in the gym, even if it means missing a pr. Power lifters come from different backgrounds, work different jobs and have different challenges in life, but it's their desire for that next pr that sets them apart. You don't need to be a hermit to be a great power lifter, but you do need to make sacrifices to reach your potential.
Critical Bench: How driven would people say you are about being a power lifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
I would say those who know me would say I am obsessive about it. In fact, I have been told that. I never get into something, to be alright at it....what's the point of that?! I schedule a lot of what I do, in the day or week, to accommodate my lifting. Sometimes, I have to pull back and realize, that maybe I am overdoing or over thinking things. I have made job choices because of lifting. I was bumped from first shift at my job and could have went to second shift (where I sleep well and feel better) but chose third shift to be able to lift with the guys at GSB. I hate third shift!! I get done lifting and then have to work a double a lot of times. I do it because, in the end, it is what helps me lift better.
Critical Bench: Do you have any training partners? How has they helped? Tell us about GUERRILLA SQUAD BARBELL.
I have a great team around me @ GSB! I have had Robby Burns as my training partner for over 4 years. He is my go to guy and best friend. He will slap me down, if need be. I trust him with all my training advice. I may ask others opinions, but I run it by him. We added a bunch of talented lifters over the last couple of years. We have 4 elite members and soon to be 6. It is an awesome atmosphere. We train in Robby's garage. It is cramped, with old weights, different bars, a few essentials and looks like a dungeon...in other words, it is perfect.
Critical Bench: What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology do you follow?
Controlled chaos. lol. I lift 3 days a week. Basically, Mondays is a heavy movement to aid the dead lift or squat, mostly the dead lift. I like front squats, deficit dead lifts, low box squats, safety bar squats and pulling against chains. Those are some of my staples. Wednesday is bench night. I do some type of bench work and am currently in the process of changing my bench routine. But it is mostly 2 board benches, cg bp, floor press or bp against chains. Fridays, (my favorite night) is squat night! The atmosphere at GSB is awesome. We have our normal group and a lot of times have guests. It is quite a show. We pick a squat and go heavy. Not always a max, but heavy. Basically though, I go a lot by the way that I feel and what I need at the time. I push myself until I feel overtraining coming on and then I deload or just take off. For me, it is better a lot of times to just take a few sessions off. I don't believe in cookie cutter routines. I follow Westside principles and a few others but in the end, I do what works for me.
Critical Bench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
Lift heavy, rest and repeat. It always has and always will be the same. The rest is just details. I say this and people will say, there is a lot more to it. True, there are a lot of details. However, people (including myself) get so bogged down by all the stuff on the net, good and bad, that they lose sight of this.
Critical Bench: What drives you as a lifter? What is your mindset like during training?
I want to be the best. I attack the weights and am a very emotional lifter. I am a caged animal a lot of days just waiting to hit the gym. I was dubbed Hulk. Not just for strength but I get mad and hit weights that did not seem like I could hit. I live for those moments!
Critical Bench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
I have trained for 2 raw meets, and did not know what to expect the first time. The second go around, I had a little better grasp. For this last meet, especially the last part, I really trained my bench different. I trained the bench with lighter weights. I tore my bi/tri tie in a few years back and it has bugged me every since. I am trying to train smarter, to finally get that bench going where I feel I am capable of. I am constantly adjusting. I am just getting started and do not claim to have all the answers. It actually excites me that I do not. I feel that gives me room for improvement with pr's to follow.
Critical Bench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear is cheating?
Absolutely! I bet I just made a lot of people mad. Just kidding. I really don't get why that anyone would say that. If that is what the competition allows, then it's fair across the board. Cheating is having an unfair advantage over your opponent. Obviously, if I have a double ply bench shirt on underneath a baggy shirt, claim to be going raw and am competing in a raw division, I am cheating. While we are on the subject of gear....I don't know why that there is such a debate. I have done both raw and geared meets. I have respect for both lifters. The only thing that I see is that a lot of people really don't have a concept of what good raw numbers are. If you are at the top of either category, you are really doing something, plain and simple. I really respect the guys that do both raw and geared meets.
Critical Bench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
You need to practice the way that you play. That doesn't mean that you can't do raw work but you can't expect to throw it on the last week and get max results. You have to find a balance. I do think that too many people, go too wild on gear, before getting strong enough to handle it. They quickly top out and get injured.
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?
I don't think that training has evolved that much. Again, the formula is train heavy, rest and repeat. Yes, people have learned the equipment tricks more over the last few years. That is one reason. I think the expectations have risen is the biggest key. As for Hoornstra, I hate that guy and his bench. And Frankl, is a freak all the way around and I hate him too. I am joking of course, I am fans of both and follow them.
Critical Bench: Do you think the standards went up in the sport?
In geared lifting they have went up a lot. There is probably the same amount of strong guys (a lot more women) today as there were in the past. If you take the top guys off all eras together, they would battle it out and go back and forth for the top spots. So not really, just different times.
Critical Bench: What is your nutrition like now?
What's that? Let me say that I am not going to wow anyone by my nutrition plan, nor do I do anything that particularly special. I eat pretty clean. Moderate to high protein, moderate carbs and just try and keep my fat intake down. I eat 5 or 6 times a day. Nothing too special, just a good protein source with each meal. I don't rely on protein supplements, rather whole foods like egg whites, red meat, wheat bread, cottage cheese as a substitute for chips, greens, and too much peanut butter. I eat everything not glued down once a week, for a break and to trick the body. As a meet approaches, I cut my carbs down, so I can make the 220's. I am a true mesomorph, so I can gaIn and lose weight quickly. The one supplement that I swear by, is N.O. Explode by B.S.N. It really pushes me through a session, even when I am tired.
Critical Bench: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
Do a better job of harnessing my desire and focusing on the big picture. And let me say that, I am no expert and have a lot to learn.
Critical Bench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
First and foremost, Robby Burns for putting up with me all these years and being the best friend and training partner in the world. Everyone @ GSB. My girlfriend, for putting up with my temperamental attitude and supporting me. My friends and family for their love and support. To my kids, I love you and hope that I make you proud.