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The Bench King - An interview with Ryan Kennelly
Do you think your bench press is impressive? Maybe you bench the most at your gym or have a couple bench press competitions wins under your belt. Can you bench-press 405 pounds for twenty reps?
Yeah, that’s what I thought - you’re not so impressive are you?
There’s something special about bench-pressing 500 pounds or more, but there’s something even greater about someone who can press over 900 pounds! Meet Ryan Kennelly. At 6′2 and weighing around 300 pounds, this guy means business.
Wannabebig: Hi Ryan. Other than training, what do you do for a living?
Ryan K: I work as a drug rep for a major pharmaceutical company. It’s fun stuff.
Wannabebig: What is your best lift for the bench press?
Ryan K: I was the first man to bench press 800 pounds and my current best bench press is 902.5.
Wannabebig: Now that’s some serious weight! How long did it take you to get there?
Ryan K: Well, seeing as I started training at the age of 18 and I’m 31 now, you can do the math.
Wannabebig: What does your training week look like?
Ryan K: On Monday, it’s back and biceps. On Tuesday, I focus on speed bench. Wednesdays, I take off. Thursday is leg day. Friday is another rest day. On Saturday I go heavy on the bench, and on the seventh day I rest again.
Wannabebig: What kind of workout did you do when you first got into lifting and how old were you?
Ryan K: I was 18, and I bench pressed every day of the week for the first two years, and never trained legs, that’s no shit! Then finally I had to start training my legs to overcome my bench press plateaus that I was having. I didn’t know any better back then, and thought that benching all the time would work. Then again, maybe it did?
Wannabebig: Well, whatever it is you did, worked out pretty damn well for someone who is pressing over 900 pounds! So, what about your workouts when you first started competing? Did your style of training change?
Ryan K: I followed Ken Lain’s bench press matrix program.
Wannabebig: For those who are not familiar with Ken Lain, he was a former world record holder of the bench press at 708 pounds. What kind of power lifting equipment (bench shirt, squat suite, etc.) do you use?
Ryan K: I use Inzer rage-x, Inzer double denim and Inzer leviathan squat suite.
Wannabebig: What are your measurements?
Ryan K: My arms relaxed measure 21 inches, chest 54, shoulders 63, quads 28, calves–who cares, forearms 18 ½ and my wrists 10.
Wannabebig: Damn, you’re a big boy! In terms of the lifting advice given you, what has been the one piece that has stuck with you?
Ryan K: It has to be Louie Simmons on how to train with percentages, bands and chains. He turned my benching around for me and made me what I am today!
Ryan Kennelly - Big Bencher!
Wannabebig: What about the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
Ryan K: Honestly, a suggested drug cycle from an elite lifter that would have killed superman himself within a week.
Wannabebig: I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of injuries. So what was the worst injury you’ve had and what did you do to overcome it?
Ryan K: It was a pec tear. I had to rehab the son of a bitch and get art therapy on it for months. I started over with the bar and 135 pounds. Then I kept progressing back until I fully came back. In total, it took me 4 months.
Wannabebig: Where is your sticking point in the bench press, and how did you fix it?
Ryan K: It’s my lockout in the bench press. I overcame it by doing 4 board presses with 55% of the bar weight and the rest in band tension working up to 855-900 pounds at the top. It worked and as a result I hit my famous 800.5 bench press.
Wannabebig: What exercises do you believe have increased your bench press?
Ryan K: There are two movements I give credit to. One is speed benching and the other is 3,4 board close grip bench-presses with tons of band tension.
Wannabebig: Let’s talk about food. What does your diet consist of?
Ryan K: 4 solid meals a day, and 4 Kennelly shakes a day.
Wannabebig: What about supplements, what kinds do you use?
Ryan K: I use Eclipse creatine, glutamine, and ISS am/pm GH formula.
Wannabebig: Do you have any mentors?
Ryan K: Easy, it’s Louie Simmons.
Wannabebig: Any words of wisdom you’d like to share regarding training?
Ryan K: Eat, sleep, and live it. Give 110%, or just show up and get your free t-shirt and watch.
Wannabebig: It’s all go or no show, which is true of any competition. What are your future goals?
Ryan K: To help others bench big, and stay healthy. I also want to keep going up and up in all my lifts.
Wannabebig: Spoken like a true role model!
Written by Maki Riddington
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