A Look Back at the Arnold Sports Festival: A Day for the Record Books

A Look Back at the Arnold Sports Festival: A Day for the Record Books

Mar 16, 2013

Taking a look back on the things I have done in the sport of powerlifting, is quite surreal. Starting the sport as a high school freshman, I could have never seen myself doing all the things I have been able to do. It is really unbelievable to look back on things, and see the transformation and progress that has occurred from bombing out with a 275lb bench my first meet to setting the OPEN IPF World Record with a 331kg (729.5lbs) bench press. So much has happened in the past 7 years that has led to this momentous occasion in my life. Never in a million years would I have seen myself breaking the Open IPF world record while only 20 years of age. Honestly the first time I found out I was capable of performing on the world level was after being notified by USA Junior World Team coach Curt St. Romain that I had unofficially broken the Sub Jr. bench press world record by nearly 45lbs with a 550lb state record at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state meet in 2010. A lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline has been the means of reaching this level.

March 3rd marked my 2nd consecutive Arnold Sports Festival despite facing some odds and battling some doubts. Shortly after finishing Junior Worlds in September, I had partial pectoral tears on both pectoral minors. The whole fall was plagued with battling my chest. My training took a major hit and was unable to get solid bench training in until after the new year. I could see and feel myself getting weaker and losing mass. After getting the invite, in October, I thought that I could recover from the injury with plenty of time to recover and get stronger. Unfortunately, things did not get better for quite a while, and I began to seriously contemplate dropping out of the competition. I sought the advice of many people I look up to, and had mixed responses of whether or not I should do the meet. I went with my gut and decided that win or lose, there is nothing more fun than competing at the Arnold Sports Festival and I would go as a fun trip.

Starting from the bottom in early January, I started the road to recovery and prepping for a competition less than 2 months away. I started with low weight, low rep sets in order to ensure no chance of re injuring, while still promoting strength training. My recovery was fast and surprising and in no time I was back to benching big in training, in fact bigger! After the first time benching in a shirt with my buddies Ryan Carillo and Ian Bell, I hit an easy 705 bench to a 1 board. Honestly, I think it was that moment that won the competition for me. It set the pace for the rest of my training and boosted my confidence to new heights.

Meet day came and I was confident, healthy, and ready to smash some big weights. My competition was filled with the best benchers in the world, and It was going to take me being at my very best and hitting a huge PR. Thankfully that was the case for me. From the time I took my first warm up, I knew I was going to hit a big number. My opener was a 672lb attempt that was a piece of cake. A good and easy opener does wonders for confidence and hitting a big final number. My next attempt was 711lbs and like my first, my 2nd attempt was no problem. The 3rd attempt was all about planning. I had 2 really good competitors battling with me for first place. 331kgs was the magic number, and it paid off! I got the hand off, and 730lbs felt much heavier in my hands. It was a little over whelming at first, but I quickly focused and started to descend with confidence. Unfortunately I cannot really tell you my thoughts after that, because things just kind of black out for me during the moment. I have difficulty recalling exactly how things went, I just remember the rush of emotions after locking out those last few inches of the lift. That moment was unbelievable, and one I will never forget. I could not believe what I just did, and the fact that a few months prior, I was convinced I could not win and that I should drop out of the competition. I won by less than .5 Wilks points against an all star roster of some of the best bench press specialists from all over the world. The moment was incredible, and I could not have done it without the support of my friends, family and awesome sponsors Quest Nutrition and Athletics, and Iron Authority.com.


My next post, I will go into details about my training, and how I was able to recover so quickly and prep for setting a world record.



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  1. Amazing Preston! Sounds like the injuries/issues were a blessing. I wish I was there to witness this accomplishment. I know you worked your tail off for it too! Most of the time, training is never perfect, but emotion, passion, belief, and tenacity make us succeed more often than not. You Preston are an unbelievable force of power and I think that I can speak for the rest of the Iron Authority Team and the USAPL when I say ‘WE ARE PROUD OF YOU’.

  2. Absolutely amazing Preston! I know where your coming from when it comes to injury. It’s that one moment in the gym when you have been going back and forth in your head on whether or not to compete, then you hit a weight and everything feels right. That fire in your gut turns into an inferno. At that point there is nothing that can stop you!! Awesome job and an amazing feat of strength! Congrats!

  3. This is simply amazing, man. You’ve got a lot of years left to accomplish some great things. It’s awesome you got this lift!

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