Feb 11, 2014

My name is Tom Murray I am 25 years old and was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I compete in the mainly in the USAPL in the SHW division. I am married and am expecting my first child in late March. I work at PNC Financial Services and really enjoy working there. Some of my interests and hobbies besides powerlifting include spending time with my family. Family is and always has been very important to me. I also am a youth leader at my church which I have grown into really enjoying it.  I like to keep myself busy so I work as a bouncer at a local bar on the weekends. I train at Cellis Fitness Center in Pittsburgh owned by world class powerlifter Ryan Celli. I have been training there for about 2 and a half years.


Ever since I can remember I have loved to compete and play sports. Growing up my dream was like most other young boys and that was to be a professional athlete and a football player specifically. I could not play football competitively until high school because of the weight limit they had for the midget league teams in my neighborhood. So at the age of 12 I decided to take up boxing. I never planned on competing in an actual boxing match but just train and get in shape. After months of training it was time to sign up for the PA Golden Gloves Tournament and I was still not planning on signing up, but the boxing coach told me I should sign up for it I might end up doing good, so I did. I will never forget the day of the fight, it was the most nervous I ever was up to this point in my life. I fought about 3 hours from my house and it was against a more experienced, bigger and older boxer. I still remember parts of the day and fight just like yesterday but the two things I will never forget is how bad my legs were shaking before the beginning bell and how proud I felt when my hand got raised in victory at the end of the fight.

So in the off season of boxing I decided to start lifting weights to stay in shape and get ready for my ultimate goal which was to play football. The first time I maxed out was of course bench pressing and I did 185lbs raw at 12 years old in my friends basement. After that I was hooked, something about lifting heavy weights is very addictive to me. My mom and dad bought me a really nice weight bench and that’s where it all started. I would workout every other day alone in my basement and loved it. My friends would come over once in a while to lift but nothing steady. By the time the school year came around and football season was ready to start I was already the strongest kid on the team. My squat was 375lbs my bench was 315lbs and my deadlift was 350lbs, all raw and I wasn’t even technically in the 9th grade yet.

During the football camp my 9th grade year I ended up tearing my meniscus in my right knee and missed about 6 weeks of practice. So I did not play much on the varsity team my 9th grade year mostly on JV. I couldn’t wait until the off season so I can start lifting again and this was even before high school powerlifting was big. Our season ended in October and we took the rest of the year off and would start our off season program after the New Year. My coach found out about a powerlifting meet with all the high schools in Western PA at the end of February and he put a team together and we all went to compete. This was my first official powerlifting meet and it was amazing. I ended up finishing 3rd overall and first in the bench as only a 13 year old freshman.

That football season I ended up starting on the varsity Football team at center and we made it to the City Championship but lost, and I also made the All-City team. We went back to the same powerlifting meet and this year I finished 2nd overall and again 1st in the bench. My lifts were 475lb Squat 415lb Bench and 425lb Deadlift for a 1315lb raw total at 14 years old. Later that year I did a NASA bench only meet and set a record with a 419lb raw bench press at 15 years old.


I ended up starting 3 years on the varsity football team and making All-City and also playing in an All-Star game my senior year. I got interest from colleges and decided to play in college but something was missing about my excitement to play football. I always loved training for the season more than the season itself. My true passion was powerlifting. The whole college football thing did not work out for me like I planned due to a few pretty serious knee(both knees) and neck injury.


But even in college I was still the strongest on the team being only a freshman. When I first go to college I was squatting almost 600lbs raw benching 425lbs and deadlifting in the low 500’s. After years of lifting heavy and tearing up both my knees and injuring my neck heavy squatting was really beginning to be unbearable for me. My knees would give out on me and there were days they would lock up and I could not bend them or fully extend them. So I decided I might have to back off heavy squats for a while, and that is the reason I compete in bench only meets now.


After I injured my neck the team doctor decided she wasn’t going to let me play anymore which was fine with me because now I could focus all my attention on powerlifting. When I got home I started hitting the gym hard and wanted to find a meet close by to do. I found one it was a non-sanctioned meet. I ended up finishing 2nd in the open division with 445lb bench press and had the third biggest bench at the meet.  Since that meet some of my accomplishments include:


2009 USAPL Battle of the Great Lakes-457lbs 1st Junior, 2nd Open

2009 USAPL Bench Press Nationals-474lbs 1st Open, 1st Junior

2011 USAPL Battle of the Great Lakes-485lbs 1st Junior, 2nd Open Best Junior lifter award

2011 100% Raw Quaker Classic- 501lbs 1st Junior, 3rd Open

2011 IPA Bench Nationals-510lbs 1st Open, 1st Junior Best raw bench award

2012 USAPL Battle of the Great Lakes-520lbs 1st Open, 1st Junior Best lifter award

2012 100% Raw Quaker Classic- 523lbs 1st Junior, 2nd Open

2012 USAPL Kings Gym Meet-545lbs 1st Junior, 1st Open Best lifter


At this point I wanted to compete in bigger meets so I decided I wanted to Raw Unity 6. I trained so hard for this meet and I was stronger than ever going into the last few weeks of training. I pushed my body so hard and a bit too hard. I ended up tearing my deltoid in my left shoulder 2 and a half weeks out and that was pretty much my 2013 year. I did compete 2 times in 2013.


After months of being in severe pain and recovering I decided to try my first single ply meet. I never really mastered the shirt but decided to do the 2013 USAPL Bench Nationals in single ply. My first attempt was 667 couldn’t get it to touch, next attempt was 672 touched and locked it out but lifted my head off the bench got turned down 2-1 and missed 688 on my third. If I would have got the 672 or even my opener I would have placed 3rd out of 14 lifters. After my first time bombing I decided that single ply lifting was not for me at that time so I went back to my goal of 600lbs raw bench press. I started training for the 2013 USAPL American Open. I ended up with a 534lb raw bench press at that meet just missing 551lbs.


Even though 2013 did not go as planned there were still many positives: Got my very first sponsorship from Iron Authority and honestly since then have gotten a lot more exposure. I also picked up a few more sponsorships from ATP Extreme, Primo Chalk and the biggest one and one I have had my sight on since my first meet in High School was Titan Support Systems. I always lifted in Titan gear and always used there products and it just still surreal that I am now a sponsored athlete of Titan.


I have very big goals for 2014 starting with the SSP Nutrition Raw Bench Challenge at the 2014 Arnold Sports Festival, by far the biggest meet of my life. I also want to venture out into other federations and plan on doing the bigger meets of 2014 instead of just local ones. I am even throwing around the idea of doing another single ply meet and trying to break the 700lb mark single ply. But more important to me is benching 600lbs raw, that is a rare mark in the sport of powerlifting that very few have accomplished.


First off I have to give all thanks to the Lord for the blessing he continues to pour out on my not just in powerlifting but in my life off the platform, also my family and friends that watch my videos, read my blogs and just take an interest in me.


I’d also like to thank Titan Support Systems, Iron Authority, and everybody at Cellis Fitness Center. Without all those guys there is no way I would be close to benching 600lbs or accomplishing anything else I set out to do on the platform.


Check out these websites:

www.youtube.com/tmurrayshw  (please subscribe)






Also add me as a friend on Facebook!


Thank you all for taking the time to read!!!



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