5 Lessons Learned From Bench Press World Champion Leon Brown
On Saturday August 5th we had the pleasure of having World Champion and World Record Holder in the Bench Press at HeavyWeights Training Center for a Bench Press clinic and what a treat it was.
Leon is one of the strongest people I have ever met yet he is one of the most humble and most people at the same time, it was very refreshing to see and he is an amazing person. It was a great experience to learn from him.
It was a great day of learning and lifting and I wanted to share the top 5 things I learned from him.
1. Believe In Yourself
In the first few moments I met Leon and we talked about training and both of us competing at Worlds in Finland (where we first met) he talked about believing in yourself. He mentioned that in his bench press below of a CRAZY 515 lbs that he KNEW he was going to give it everything he had and that nothing could stop him. It’s important to believe in yourself and to know that you are capable of greatness.
Leon recently bench pressed 515 lbs at a bodyweight of 225!
This video was one of the highlights of the seminar and I am glad I got it on video.
Always believe in yourself
2. We Can Learn A Lot From Paraplegic Bench Press Athletes
One of the first things Leon asked me to do was set up a projector and show some male and female paraplegic special Olympic athletes bench press. He wanted to show how much weight they lift with NO leg drive and no big set up.
He showed how strong they were and how most of them un-racked the weight themselves with no lift off which I thought made a lot of sense.
He stressed the important that the upper body is very important in bench pressing which leads into point #3.
3. Get Your Upper Body Into Benching
Right now the trend in PowerlIfting is the set up, the big arch, leg drive etc. And while for a lot of people this can be very useful, it’s also important for a lot of people to focus on basics and getting the BIG muscles into the bench press and that is the chest, lats and then triceps.
The bench press IS after all an upper body exercise so it’s important to develop a strong upper body and use this when bench pressing for maximal strength.
4. We Can Learn A Lot From BodyBuilders
Something Leon said was that we can learn a lot from bodybuilders and that you are only as strong as your weakest link and weakest muscles. It said it’s important to train every muscle and get the whole body strong. He talked of doing a combination of basic power lifting lifts and then adding in lots of accessory work like leg press, machines,bicep and tricep training, forearm and calf work etc.
Everything needs to be trained to improve balance in the body which can maximize strength and minimize injuries.
5. You Can Get Stronger As You Age
Leon is 49 years old which I found incredible as he is getting stronger now than ever before and setting world records in Masters and Open Categories. He said that as you age you can continue to get stronger as long as you train smart.
You need to pay attention to recovery time, to listen to your body, and to not get hurt. He really stressed the importance of listening to your body and watching for warning signs for fatigue and injuries.
It was an amazing seminar and a great day of learning and lifting.
If you want a program to improve your bench press check out my six week Build A Bigger Bench Program.