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2016 Arnold Sport’s Festival featuring Ben Tatar | Critical Bench


By Chris Wilson, Head Strength Coach

Arnold-50Cent 1. Chris Wilson: Ben Tatar AKA, Tatar Monster, you have been to every Arnold Sports Festival Event. Of ALL the Arnold Sport Festivals you’ve been to, name the THREE best years of the event and why?

 BEN TATAR: Wow, so many have been amazing and the best in their own way. It’s hard to pick a favorite because, in a greater sense, they all become one, all part of a bigger journey.  However, I will pick three Arnold Sports Festival Events which I feel were special:

3rd place:  The 2007 Arnold Sports Festival! 2007 ASF gets 3rd place because it was before the whole world knew about it through social media which made it more personal. The WPO was in full blast on the main stage; they had incredible celebrities, and I have so many memories with old friends.

2nd place: The 2009 Arnold Sports Festival!  I set some records and did the first ever human barbell.  I picked the booth girls for booths. The expo and parties were just hotter than ever, and the magazine industry was still really booming. It was just an incredible ASF trip from start to finish.

1st place: The 2011 Arnold Sports Festival!  This was the peak. Everyone I knew from multiple periods of time attended. The stars were at an all time high. The event had a hardcore edge, and most of the Critical Bench crew was even there. It was just the perfect Arnold.

I would say the 2016 Arnold was probably one of the biggest Arnold events along with last year’s Arnold. The event had more events, greater attendance with more booths than past Arnolds. I really liked some of the Arnold’s new features like the NFL Hall of Fame.

There were so many things happening, from the Kids Expo to the WWE experience. The event just expands. This was also an amazing year for me as I met so many great people at the Hyatt, Phil Heath Autism Charity Event Party and reunited with old friends. This year’s event reminded me that the opportunities at the Arnold never run out; the friendships are forever.

The 2016 Arnold also had many big name celebrities. Some of the celebrities at the 2016 Arnold included: 50 Cent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Bones Jones, Royce Gracie, Larry Fitzgerald, Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, the Ohio State Buckeyes, HHH, Kai Greene, Kurt Angle, Orlando Pace, Andre Reed, Apolo Ohno (from the Olympics,) Randy Couture, Justin Timberlake, the World’s strongest man competitors, the WWE locker room and most booths had a sponsored champion or athlete.

On top of the celebrities, the 2016 Arnold had a huge list of freaks, thousands of female models, mascots and the event was loaded every aisle you walked. The event also had more events and booths than ever.

People from over 80 different countries and people from everywhere were there. I feel like every Arnold event has been a world victory for me that goes beyond setting world records.

At this years Arnold, I set a record for benching a 235-lbs bandbell bamboo bar 36 times (more than anyone else my size.)I also set a world record at the 2014 Arnold for doing 40 pull-ups while wearing a 50-lbs vest. This achievement made my Iron Man Magazine bio and is featured on the walls of restaurants from around the globe.


The victory of each Arnold surpasses breaking records as each Arnold breaks many different personal records to me in so many different ways. That’s another reason why there must be many favorites.

The Arnold is always a huge victory as a reporter and as a reporter I feel like I’m setting a new personal record at all times in new ways! When I pick the 2011 Arnold as the best ever it’s like me saying “This championship win is my favorite championship win!”

The details of the 2011 event wins like the crazy after parties, the hotel parties,  stars at the top, the more personal/yet more hardcore vibe of the fitness culture, behind the scenes stuff and the crazy details which you actually would have to experience in person to really understand.

I am proud of my perfect Arnold streak and I look at every Arnold I have ever attended as an incredible victory & movie. I feel like it continues on during the off season in the hearts with other friends.

2. CW: What’s new and cool at the Arnold, and what’s old and dull?

 BT:  Lots of things were new at the Arnold. Some include: Baton Twirling, Indoor Cycling Charity Ride, Indoor Triathlon, Tae kwon do, the Arnold Wheel Chair bodybuilding contest and the NFL Hall of Fame.  Other events that returned for the second straight year were the Kids’ Expo, Soccer and the WWE Experience. Another cool addition to this year’s Arnold was having 900 booths.

This is a big jump because in 2012 the Expo had 750 booths. There were some negative aspects in regards to the 2016 Arnold. For example, they didn’t have a Bodybuilding dot com booth, BEAST booth or GNC booth.

What is old and dull? Well, I use my creativity to prevent that from happening. I always find ways to create my own fun. It’s not just about the Arnold, but it’s what you bring to the Arnold.


For kicks and giggles, when I survey people about what gets old, they occasionally tell me that they watch a competition to see which girl can get her breasts out the most without showing her nipple. They complain about having to stand in an hour line for one sample or being stuck shoulder to shoulder in a huge crowd.

Others think that it gets old how the Arnold keeps adding sports that have little to do with lifting.

They are like, “what’s next Guinea pig racing?” Then at the same time, the Arnold is doing a great job at putting outside of the box events in other venues. For what does and doesn’t get old is really a perspective thing.

I would say what gets old is the fact that many people are attending these events almost every single month on a smaller scale.

It’s not like ten years back when there was just the Arnold and the Olympia. Today you have an Arnold sports festival event right after the Los Angeles fit expo or less than two weeks before the Arnold Australia. There seems to be a fitness event each month, but the Arnold USA event is the Grand Daddy of them all.

Every time I step on to that expo floor, there is a huge energy that I feel, and it gets bigger each year. I feel satori, metanoia and numinous eudaemonia! I know that each Arnold Sports Festival Event will always be unique because it has the best of the best in everything! The Arnold is an extravaganza which in its own way is bigger than the Olympics. History is made here.

3. CW: Name the 3 Hottest Women you saw in person at this year’s event and the 3 Most Impressive Guys you saw in person?

BT:  Who were the three hottest booth babes? I will have to let the fans vote on that one! In a generic sense I don’t think the fitness models are in their prime overall because before the models were competing for magazines as today it’s more about selling oneself on social media.

On the other hand, there are more types of models today than the past. The good news is, there will always be nines and tens in the fitness culture. There were way more models at the 2016 Arnold than most Arnolds because there were a lot more booths!

The 2016 Arnold did a great job of using models from everywhere! The 2016 Arnold had everything from small town girls from the mountains in the middle of no where to city girls on the beach!

One of the biggest bodybuilders I saw this weekend was definitely Paulo Almeida. This guy is just a true genetic freak from 5%ers. Another choice of mine is Jon Bones Jones because I think he is the most dominate UFC fighter. We actually have developed a friendship over the years. Another incredible person was Orlando Pace from the NFL Hall of Fame.  It’s hard to come up with just three because there are so many.

4. CW: Who gets this year’s FREAK award and who is the ALL-TIME Freakiest Guy ever at the Arnold Sports Festival?

BT:  Well, there are two freak award winners this year. The biggest freak at the 2016 Arnold was Glenn Ross. Glenn is the biggest strongman competitor of all time. He weighs 578-lbs and placed third at the 2005 Arnold Strongman contest.

He has a 881-lbs deadlift, 881-lbs squat and a 650-lbs raw bench press. Glenn also has done crazy strongman feats before.  He is the most massive strongman/freak in the history of Arnold events.


The other freak award this year goes to Brandon Lilly. I put a shirt on him that you gave me that says “Body Weight Beast Champ,” with the Critical Bench Logo on the back. He is not only enormous, but super strong with a 2204 power lifting total which is getting bigger by the minute.

Obviously, for greatest freaks ever…… I’m going to say that in the massive monster category there has been nobody like ED RUSS!  Unlike, Glenn Ross, Big Ed has less body fat and has much more muscle mass in his arms. Anytime people see old pictures of us, they can’t help but laugh or have an OMG reaction!

Whenever I’m with Ed Russ, I feel like I’m in a movie like no other, meaning you’re like on another planet. Everywhere fans just line up for pictures!  I give a big shout out to Ed Russ because I know he is reading this.

For bodybuilders–My all time King of Freaks king goes to Kenny Gipson from back in 2006. Kenny was just a breed of his own beast. He was like Zeus from the movie “No Holds Barred,” but way freakier, thicker and more ripped. He was Zeus personified.

5. CW: Has the Arnold become TOO big….does the event feel overwhelming like you just can’t get to everything?

BT: I could see where someone could think that. From a person to person perspective no, but from being able to watch every single event perspective, yes.  The Arnold has over 70 events which is more than the Summer Olympics with people from over 80 different Countries competing. As the Arnold has grown, the events have gone to many different locations.


For example, if you want to attend the Arnold swimming event, you would have to travel in traffic to get to the Courtyard by Marriott in New Albany Ohio. That is over an hour drive. If you want to attend soccer, you would have to travel to Stars Indoor Sports in Columbus, OH. If you wanted to attend the Pro Boxing, you would have to go to the L.C. PAVILION.

The Arnold Sports Festival weekend has become so big that they now even have a separate Expo for kids! As you can see, just having me list the different locations makes it seem overwhelming, and you’re right that it has gotten physically impossible to get everywhere. They do give you maps and have made an effort to help people navigate.

I must admit there have been times when I wish the Arnold Sports Festival was two weeks long like the Olympics and didn’t just go from Thursday to Sunday. This would allow me to actually compete or attend and cover everything.  However, at this point it doesn’t matter because I know where I should be during every single Arnold event and if there is anything I miss, I can see what happened later!

The event has just gotten so huge, and there is actually something for everyone! It doesn’t matter if you’re a nine year old boy singing in a “Kids Got Talent Show,” or playing chess or if you’re a beast competing in the MAS wrestling event.

6. CW: It appears that Arnold himself truly loves this event…he’s always present and the first one to congratulate the winners.  Does his celebrity and enthusiasm for his own event make it that much bigger and better for those in attendance?  Is Arnold himself the driving force behind the events monster success?


BT: Excellent question, but I feel there are so many other factors to the success of the event than just having Arnold there. For example, where else can you find friends from around the world all located under one roof at the biggest iron extravaganza?  Think of the booth models! Where else will a guy enter one venue with thousands of booth models who have something in common with himself?

Think of the other celebrities, whether it is UFC fighters, WWE wrestlers, NBA players or movie stars? Fans who aren’t bodybuilders appreciate this. There are so many big bodybuilders, strongmen and Olympic athletes who are in their prime, and fans like engaging with them.

It’s in our blood to compete, and people will compete even though most know they won’t be going out for lunch with Arnold during Arnold weekend. I think the event now has so many different driving forces behind its success that goes well beyond Arnold.

At one time, I do think Arnold was a huge factor for the success of the event! Arnold got the ball rolling but once he did, the success just grew off of everything else!

7. CW: We’ve talked about this before but who cares…if you could choose an ALL-ACCESS pass for either the Arnold or Olympia, what would you pick and why?

BT: The Arnold because it has four times the amount of people and seven times the amount of events. The Arnold has 190,000 fans and the Olympia has 45,000 fans. The Arnold and the Olympia are such different monsters.

If you have an ALL-ACCESS pass to the Arnold, it’s far more beneficial because your media credentials can help a greater range of people. You’re there for the people in anything and everything you want! This means you can be there for people in the 5k run and pump or the Powerlifting competitions.

You’re there for the families….. You’re a whole support to the whole entire Arnold Sports Festival Nation and not just the bodybuilding nation. I think the ALL-ACCESS pass to the Arnold runs a lot broader and a lot deeper.

The Arnold and the Olympia bring in different types of people. The Arnold brings in true iron fans and the Olympia brings in more socialites or social climbers. One of the Arnold Booth workers said “The Arnold fans are more impressed with everyone they engage with and feel like they are in for something special.

The Olympia fans are more competitive social types and even if they didn’t have a pass they would tell people who have passes that they are more famous than or successful than them. It’s just a different mentality.”


I think the pass is more relevant during Arnold Weekend. I think the Olympia has more bodybuilding freaks, maybe hotter booth models and bigger name celebrities than the Arnold. The Arnold has way more energy and intensity because you have the World’s Strongest Man contest going on the main stage, loud music, The WWE experience on another side of the expo, way more people and the intensity of the Arnold just destroys that of the Olympia!

The Arnold also has more random freaks and a higher powerlifter-strongman culture than the Olympia. The Arnold also has way more NFL players and Olympic Athletes than the Olympia. The pass at the Arnold mostly is more important than a pass at the Olympia because the lines at the Arnold are way worse!

The Arnold pass is also instant access to the after parties and at the Olympia you don’t need a press pass to go into any of the Vegas parties. For the Vegas parties…you just need to get tickets early to avoid the lines.

8. CW: Will the new attention paid to the “Men’s Physique” division help events like the Arnold and Olympia going forward?BT: We live in a changing society which I will discuss in my future article, “The metamorphosis of the fitness industry.” I don’t want to just comment on “Men’s Physique,” but as a whole you see changes in philosophy when it comes to physique.


Ten years ago the mentality was “Bigger is better and if it’s easy, it has no value.” Back then there would be big lines for the freaks and the 6’1 160-lbs fit lifters would be labeled as peons.Today you have 5’9 300-lbs bodybuilders with only about eight people in their lines.

There are fitness models who are almost 6 inches taller and over 100-lbs lighter with very-very long lines! Some old school bodybuilders have expressed anger because they had to get known before social media existed and they aren’t getting the attention today. Some people feel the new motto of the industry is “if it’s easy, more people will do it and more people are doing it.”

This statement is in reference to being cut, fit, aesthetic and not super big or strong. Fitness models and fans at the booths often take pictures, use hash tags, and post on social media. That’s huge publicity!Perhaps this is healthy because it promotes health, gives mainstream people hope and keeps people connected.

So, the answer to your question is that it’s subjective. Part of the reason the industry is growing is that it’s open to more types of people who possess different fitness interest.

9. CW: Who’s the NEXT big star in the world of Bodybuilding?  Who’s the new, young hopeful emerging?

BT: All the winners were people who I have heard of before. Most of the freaks at this year’s Arnold were freaks who I already knew from past events. Akim Williams from the Muscle Meds booth could possibly be the next Kai Greene or a true bodybuilding freak of the future. There are a number of people who are emerging in different fields of fitness.

10. CW: Name your three favorite events at this year’s Arnold Sports Festival?


BT: I enjoyed way more than three events and it’s hard for me to compare events that are so different and that are a part of me in very unique ways.Three of my many favorites are: The NFL Hall of Fame – I just loved the athletic skill competitions, the question & answers with NFL Hall of Famers. I felt that it was a new feature that really added to the event.

The Arnold strongman contest – In my eyes, this is always unique because the events are creative, world records are set, and it’s more based on brute strength than the WSM you see on TV. They did a great job even giving Eddie Hall who placed last in the strongman competition a chance to break a record and Brian Shaw a chance to break a record by creating fan interested events!

The WWE Experience – The reason I choose this one is because it really helps the event grow. Many kids would like to be the next big WWE star; here is their chance.  I love all the events. Even when I’m 80, I will probably be playing pickleball at the Arnold. Maybe I will be setting a world record as an 80 year old man and competing in multiple sports as well as covering the event!

11. CW: As we wrap up this interview, is there anything else you would like to say?

BT: I would like to say that I’m impressed with how much stronger everyone keeps getting. At every Arnold, it seems like a New World Record keeps getting broken.  The top powerlifters keep getting stronger! I feel that the present isn’t just competing with the present but also with the past. It’s also always an amazing adventure each year that brings in powerful memories that you can’t get from anywhere else.

In closing I would like to thank Mike Westerdal & Chris Wilson “Coach Chris,” from Critical Bench for the press pass. I have to thank Rob Jones from the GLC2000 booth and New Age Performance Booth who I shot some past and future stars with. Rob introduced me to so many incredible people all weekend.

I would like to thank Grace Grimes for the hook up at the Phil Heath Makeitfit Autism charity event who was a big factor in regards to why the Arnold weekend was so special.  I give thanks to Lindsey and Janice McLaughlin who are incredible people and for helping me with some of the transportation!

Special thanks to everyone I partied with at the Hyatt, you know who you all are! There are just so many great people in the industry. There is more that happens at these events than I can possibly write. I had quite the agenda. On Thursday I did shoots with old stars and stars of the future.I also partied with many booths and I bar hopped downtown. On Friday after the Expo, I went to the Phil Heath Make it Fit Charity party for Autism and then partied with the stars at the Hyatt. On Saturday I went to the Party with the Pros event and it was a spectacular event.

There wasn’t a dull moment at the expo and at the Hyatt Hotel it all just continues without the fans there! The whole weekend was incredible.With all that said, I know that my next ASF USA event will be even better! Why you ask? Ed Russ will be back, the King of Freaks!

I will see most of you again and the moments, experiences and all will just expand with history included and beyond. Critical Chris, thank you so much for the great interview questions.

25th Arnold Anniversary Interview with Ben Tatar

25th Arnold Anniversary Interview with Ben Tatar

By Mike Westerdal

CB: How did this Arnold compare to others?

BT: Wow, they are all so different. Every year the people change, so Arnold events are never alike. Every year the Arnold creates new surprises and spontaneous fun.


CB: What’s the VIP after party like?

BT: There are 2 Main VIP after parties. There is the Official Arnold after party at the Hollywood Casino. This event is probably the biggest and fanciest one. At this party, there is lots of free food. Many people are dressed up in outrageous costumes and this party takes place in a glamorous environment. Some of the hardcore competitors attend this one and Arnold gives a speech.

There is another after party at the Old Boma. This one is more hidden from the general public and attracts many celebrities, supplement sponsors and the booth girls.

Caitlin Hixx and Jenna Webb Magazine stars

I was at charity events and parties every single night during Arnold weekend. All of them were a blast.  I only slept 2 hours each night, but I was fired up the whole time.

CB: Who got the biggest freak award from this year’s Arnold?

BT: Well, that’s an interesting question. There are a few divisions of freaks. You have some of the World’s Strongest Man competitors who are the height of NBA Centers, who have the thickness of SHW powerlifters. I also saw a 6’5 amazon woman who was jacked like a male bodybuilder with tattoos. Another category of freak would be the 5’10 400lbs powerlifting freaks like Ed Russ who are the thickest of all the freaks.

Then there are people who are freaks because of their performances and not because of their looks. Speaking of which, what was really funny was that the World’s Strongest Man winner at the Arnold was Vytautas Lalas who is 5’10 (short) and 300lbs which is lighter than the rest of the World’s Strongest Man competitors. The bottom line is that there are freaks all over Columbus. I’m going to give my freak award this year to Mark Felix though for deadlifting 1,128lbs in the Arnold deadlifting competition.

This is an all time World Record, and Mark Felix did this at nearly 50 years of age!!! Yup, with the combination of Mark Felix setting an all time deadlift record with such ease and being around 50 years of age is what gives him my Freak Award for this year!

CB: Was it more crowded than last year?

BT: Last year the reported attendance at the Arnold was 175,000 over a four day period. This years attendance was also 175,000.


CB: Were there any big name attractions that people could meet this year?

BT: The Arnold always has celebrities. There are always movie stars, WWE champions, UFC Champions, NFL Super Bowl champions, Gold Medalists, top pro boxers and the greatest athletes in the World. In addition, there are world record holders, iron champions, freaks of nature and magazine models.

CB: Tell us about the 2013 Arnold competitions.

BT: What is interesting about the Arnold Sports Festival is that people are competing in lots of different events ranging from: World’s Strongest Man, Pro Boxing, Scottish Highland Games, Mighty Mitts, Amateur MMA Festival, DanceSport Challenge, 5K run and pump, Archery, Arm Wrestling, Art at the Arnold, USA Boxing, Cheerleading& Dance, Fencing, Grappling, Gymnastics, Jump Rope, Cross Fit, USA Powerlifting, XPC Powerlifting, The World’s Strongest Hands, Survival Race, Table Tennis, Ultimate Teen Challenge, Track& Field, Weight Lifting, Bikini, Figure, Bodybuilding and so much more.


With all these events going on, you’re going to obviously get a crowd for every single event. Each event that you attend has its large following of fans with hundreds or thousands of competitors. Even the cheerleading and dance competition has a total of over 4,000 competitors. The Arnold 5K and Pump had over 850 competitors.

Over 1,500 people competed in the Archery competition. In the Joust, hundreds of people compete and fans are allowed to participate as well. Over 285 fighters are competing in Boxing. Athletes from 25 different countries are competing in Strongman. In total there are athletes from over 60 different countries competing at the Arnold. There is no event in the planet that is like the Arnold!

CB: Do you have any final thoughts about your trip to the 2013 Arnold?

BT: I was fired up from start to finish. I remember feeling so high on life when I got on the airplane after the Arnold. I have positive memories from this trip that will live on with me forever. If I could sum up the 2013 Arnold in one word, that word would be. VICTORY.

UFC Heavy Weight Champ, Cain Velasquez


Critical Bench Interview – Doug “Smash” Yurovich

As told to by Ben Tatar.

Critical Bench: Tell us about yourself.

Doug “Smash” Yurovich: I am a retired Marine Colonel, 55 years young. I’ve flown F4 Phantoms and F/A-18 Hornets most of my career and I’m a graduate of The Ohio State University.

I was a test pilot, and on 1 October, 1992, I ejected from an F/A-18 Hornet that was experiencing hardware and software difficulties. I left the airplane, inverted at 380 feet above the ground, obtained about 80% of my parachute. The ride was swift, the stop hitting the ground a little more sudden and violent. I incurred a broken leg, six cracked discs, displaced my left rib cage, with shoulder and hip impact injuries.

The doctors felt my upper body strength kept me from sustaining more injuries. After October 1992, I flew combat operations over Bosnia in 1994, 1995, and 1996 and over Iraq in 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2005. I retired from the Corps in 2006. I now train and compete in the Arnold Pump and Run, as a way to “stay in the game.”

Doug_Arnold 2013

CB: What a story and what a strong person you are. I’m glad to have you with us today. Doug, you compete in the 5K Pump and Run. Tell us what exactly that is? How does it work and what are the rules?

DSY: The Pump and Run according to Arnold, “Is a true test of one’s fitness as it combines both strength and endurance.” Before the runners start their run they spend the morning weighing in and bench pressing to reduce their running times. The weigh in starts at 0700, and the benching lasts from 0700 to 0930 or so. The 5K started at 1030 AM.

The lifting rules are: Men 39 and under bench press 100% of their body weight, (you have to be 18 to enter), men 40 – 49 bench 90% of their weight, men 50 and over bench 80% of their weight, men 60-69 do 70% and men 70 and over lift 60%. Women 39 and under bench press 70% of their weight, women 40 – 49 bench 60% of their weight, women 50-59 bench 50% of their weight and women 60 and over lift 40%. For each lift a runner’s time is reduced by 30 seconds up to a maximum of 30 reps.

CB: What are the average winning scores in the different age groups/genders?

Here are the stats from the Arnold Pump and Run 2013. These event finishes are taken from an email sent by Matt McGowan from ten.eenull@oihonur, Co-Race Director.

Fifteen of the top sixteen men benched the maximum 30 reps. Waverly’s Zach Holbert (26) lifted his body weight 30 times and ran the fastest time (16:15) of the day to defend his title and win men’s gold with 1:15. New Jersey’s Joseph Norton (28) lifted his weight 30 times and ran 16:18 to move up a spot from 2012 to capture the men’s silver in 1:18. Wisconsin’s Vaughan O’Brien (37) lifted his weight 30 times and ran 16:46 to move up a spot from last year and take home the men’s bronze in 1:46. Westerville’s Nathan Aichele (31) lifted his weight 30 times and ran 17:16 to move up three spots from last year to place fourth in 2:16. Chesapeake’s Eddie Neal (29) lifted his weight 30 times and ran 17:36 to place fifth in 2:36.

Donna & Ed Corney

Cincinnati’s Robert Messmer (37) lifted his weight 29 times and ran 17:15 to move down one spot from 2012 as he placed sixth in 2:35. Galloway’s Joey Enright (31) lifted his weight 30 times and ran 18:25 to place seventh in 3:25. Columbus’ Blaize O’Brien (42) lifted ninety percent of his weight thirty times and ran 18:30 to repeat as the eighth place finisher. Lyndhurst’s Sean Joseph (28) lifted his weight 30 times and ran 18:32 to finish ninth. Michigan’s Tony Ketchmark (50) lifted 80 percent of this weight 30 times and ran 18:40 to place tenth in 3:32.

Ten of the top fifteen women bench their required weight 30 times this year. Columbus’ Tina Husted (40) benched 60 percent of her weight 30 times and ran the fastest women’s time (18:30) to win the women’s gold with 3:30 and placed eighth overall. Six time winner Lisa Veneziano (48) formerly from Dublin, now living in Michigan, ran the second fastest women’s time of the day (19:05) and lifted 60 percent of her weight 30 times to take home the women’s silver with 4:05. Cincinnati’s Meghan Ward (30) lifted 70 percent of her weight 29 times and ran 19:55 to take home the women’s bronze with 5:25. Columbus’ Cookie O’Neal (60) lifted 40 percent of her weight 30 times and ran 21:00 to move up three spots from last year to place fourth with 6:00. Athens’ Janalee Stock (58) lifted 50 percent of her weight 30 times and ran 21:16 to place fifth with 6:16. Hillsboro’s Tara Beery (40) lifted 60 percent of the her weight 30 times and ran 22:06 to move up two spots from last year to finish sixth with 7:06. Columbus’ Kathryn Kelley (44) lifted 60 percent of her weight 30 times and ran 22:16 to place seventh with 7:16. New York’s Rachel Gregg (32) lifted 70 percent of her weight 26 times and ran 20:35 to place eight with 7:35. Worthington’s Mary McHugh (52) lifted 50 percent of her weight 28 times and ran 22:20 to finish ninth with 8:20. Columbus’ Molly Disabato (48) lifted 60 percent of her weight 30 times and ran 23:31 to round out the top ten with 8:31.

CB: Let’s consider two athletes; let’s say the first guy can easily bench press his body weight for 30 reps. He then runs a 35 minute 5k. The second guy benches his body weight 3 times and runs a 20 minute 5K. Who wins? What is the difference in their score? Maybe create some examples of your own.

DSY: Guy 1’s score is 20:00 minutes, since you subtract 15 minutes (30 reps) from his time of 35:00. Guy 2’s score is 18:30 since he gets a 90 second reduction of his run time for the three reps. In this case Guy 2 beats Guy 1, but as you can see from the 2013 results, a competitor must do well in both events to be in the top 50, top 10, or even win the event.

CB: How do you sign up for the 5k Pump and Run ? Is there drug testing and how does that work? Does it cost money to enter?

DSY: With 850 athletes registered for the Arnold 5K Pump and Run from thirty-two States, Washington D.C. and Canada, this event is the largest of its kind in the world. Register on-line starting the first of November. You have to get in early since there is a limit of 850 athletes. Last time that limit was reached in just under twenty hours. I registered at 4 AM on the first of November. There is no drug testing, and the registration costs $60.

CB: What do participants get for competing?

DSY: Upon registration, you get an Arnold Pump and Run t-shirt, size selectable and your number. You get this package when you check in for the event.
Upon completion of the event, you get a medal handed to you right after crossing the finish line, and the opportunity to buy a photo package from the photographer at the event.

CB: What is the 5k part of the Pump and Run like?

DSY: The run is outside in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Last time, it started on High Street at the north end of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, ran towards downtown, by the Nationwide Arena, around Goodale Park, through the Short North, North Market area, and the Arena District, and finished behind the Convention Center.

CB: What are the rules for the bench pressing? Does it matter if one benches with their elbows out or in to decrease the stroke? is an arch back acceptable if the butt remains on the bench?

DSY: Arnold 5K Pump and Run Bench Press Rules

  • No Bench Press Warm-up will be provided.
  • Lift starts with the bar in the extended position.
  • Bar must touch the chest and be fully extended on each press or the rep will not count.
  • Stopping during a press terminates the lift (You may stop in the lock-out position).
  • No bouncing bar off the chest.
  • Shoulders and rear must stay in contact with the bench during the lift.
  • Feet must remain in contact with the floor during the lift (no hooking bench support with feet/legs).
  • If necessary plates may be placed under lifters feet.
  • No belts, wraps, gloves or lifting suits.
  • Judging by U.S. Marines is final, no exceptions.


Bodyweight will be rounded to the nearest five pound increment. Example: 181-182 round down to 180, 183-184 round up to 185. Weigh-in with running shoes on, shorts on and shirt on.

CB: Do you usually use a wide grip or close grip?

DSY: Over the years, I have brought my grip in from a wide grip, to approximately a shoulder width grip. I use the same grip I train with. I also bring my own chalk to the event.

CB: Do you have a workout routine that has helped you or others prepare for this event?

DSY: Yes, I do. While I workout all year, this year was a bit difficult. I had PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections in my left shoulder for some degeneration and arthritis, and also a L5 disc issue that kept me from some aspects of my training. I train for bench strength until 1 November, then I start working on the rep aspect of the bench press until the competition. This has served me well for the last two Arnold’s. My personal best bench is 365 (a few years ago), but as age has set in, and despite lots of shoulder rehab, the ejection injuries do cause problems, I am happy, though, to be able to complete.

CB: How long have you been doing this event? Is it different every year?

DSY: I have competed in the last two Pump and Runs. This last was the 25th Anniversary and it was special to be there. I now live in Fairfax Station, Virginia; so my wife Donna and I drove back for the weekend and the Expo. The last two have been very similar.

CB: What usually happens before the event starts and what happens after the event finishes?

DSY: The weigh in and the gathering of the athletes is kind of a non-event. You weigh in, get your number and a sheet that tells the judges and spotters what weight they should load for you. You warm up on your own, although no bench pressing, remember.

Then you go to a bench, there were twelve benches I think, and you perform your benching. They tally your score, then you wait for 10:30 and the run.

Post run, you get your medal and take some pictures, then it is over. For those individuals that won, there might be an awards presentation. I have not done that well. Donna and I went to the Columbus Bluejackets hockey game that afternoon.

CB: What are your top 5 pointers for a bigger bench press as far as repping your weight goes?

DSY: A lifter might be strong, but you have to train for reps to get the 30. Last year I got 30, this year, I slid back on the bench and hit the support twice on the 28th rep, and could not recover enough to get that 28th rep, so I got 27. You must train for reps to get to that 30 mark, since it is bench press conditioning.

CB: What are your 5 pointers for a faster 5K time?

DSY: Run, run, run. There are a lot of 5K running plans out there, pick one and stick to it. Also, staying healthy helps.

CB: What is your favorite part about the 5K Pump and Run? Are there any parts that you dislike?

DSY: I enjoy the whole event. I have discussions with a couple marathon runners, who have limited benching abilities, and I kid them that they should just run the 5K and not worry about the bench press. It is an Arnold event after all, there is going to be strength involved.

CB: If you could describe the 5k Pump and Run in one word what word would you pick?

DSY: Challenging.

CB: So far in your 5k Pump and Run experience, list for us:

A) your favorite moment:

DSY: Getting 30 reps last year, 2012, and finishing the run after not being able to run for 6 years or so, then getting a picture with my wife, she was there to support me.

B) a crazy moment:

DSY: Not really any, unless you count the number of times on the run you have to dodge the vomit left on the road ahead of you. I guess you don’t have that problem if you are out front.

C) a funny moment:

DSY: In 2012 at the start, Arnold almost got run over by a camera truck, I think. This year, they made sure he was out of the road at the start.

D) a moment that changed you:

DSY: I think just getting back to a physical level where I could compete and complete was a changing moment.

CB: Doug, thanks for taking the time to share useful information about the Pump and Run event during Arnold weekend. What an intense story your life has been. You’re a true warrior and we wish you the best with everything ahead.

More About Douglas:

Colonel Douglas Paul Yurovich USMC entered the Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Class program in December 1975. Graduating from The Ohio State University in June 1979, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, with a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate. Commissioned in June 1979, he completed The Basic School in December 1979.

2ndLt Yurovich was assigned to TACP training at Little Creek, Virginia and was ordered to the 1stBn 8th Marine Regiment as a Forward Air Controller. In July 1980, he reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training, and received his wings at NAS Beeville, Texas in September 1981. 1stLt Yurovich reported to VMFAT 101 at MCAS Yuma, Arizona for F-4 Phantom conversion training. In March 1983, 1stLt Yurovich reported to MAG 31 and was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312. He was promoted to Captain on 1 December 1983. During his three plus years with the “CHECKERBOARDS” he completed two western pacific tours and was a forward air controller for the 3dBn 4th Marine Regiment. Also during this tour, he was designated an Air Combat Tactics Instructor, a Weapons and Tactics Instructor and graduated from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN).

Colonel to Command a Navy Carrier Air Wing. Colonel Yurovich served as the Deputy Commander, Carrier Air Wing 9 from August 2004 to January 2006. During this tour, Carrier Air Wing 9 deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom with the USS Carl Vinson Strike Group. Colonel Yurovich served as the Commander, Carrier Air Wing 9 from January 2006 until June 2006. He retired from active duty on 31 August 2006.

His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with five strike flight awards; four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, one with combat V, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He has logged over 4100 hours in 40 different types of aircraft.