Mar 1, 2013

The Unbelievable World Record
By: Tim Anderson, IPF World Champion and IPF World Record Holder
Iron Authority March Athlete of the Month



Heading into the 2012 NAPF Regional Bench Press Championships I had set some personal goals.  When I started training for this event, the Open IPF World Record for my weight class was 305kg/672lbs.  The record was held by Sweden’s Stefan Jamroz.  The master (age 40+) World Record was 285.5kg / 629lbs.  My plan was to open with 633lbs and break the Master world record.  Then my second attempt would be 673lbs in an attempt to break the open world record.


Training was on track and everything was going well.  Two weeks before the contest I learned that Ukrainian Vadym Dovganyuk had destroyed the world record with a monstrous 694lb lift at the IPF World Championships in Puerto Rico.  I was in awe that the record was broken by an astonishing 22lbs.  Since world records can be broken by just one pound, it is rare to see a world record broken by such a large margin.  I felt the goal of breaking this new world record was now out of reach, at least for the time being.  My training was leading up to a 673 attempt and I felt I could achieve that, but felt 694 was far beyond my abilities.


I arrived in Denver for the NAPF Regional Bench Championships and stuck to my plan.  I opened with 633lbs and got three white lights, next was the 673lbs, which was 12 lbs over my all time personal best of 661.  I pressed it out and again three white lights.  I had reached my goal, a personal best and Master World Record, although not an Open World Record.  Most of the USA World Team was in attendance and as soon as I came off the platform from lifting 673, they were encouraging me to go for the open world record.  I turned and said, “Go 315.5”, which is 695lbs one pound over the world record.  I thought to myself, “What the hell, I’ll give it my best shot”.


So the bar is loaded to 695, I go out and press it out.  Although I locked the weight out, as I sat up from the bench I felt like I would be red lighted for “something”.   I looked at the scoreboard three white lights come on and I realized, “Holy Sh*t” I just broke the World Record!  Words cannot describe how someone feels breaking an Open World Record.   Setting an open world record is one of the top achievements a lifter can reach in the sport of Powerlifting.  In the words of my friend and coach, Donovan Thompson, “You are the best in the World, EVER!”


Marcus Hirvonen, from the Sweden team, came over after the lifting was done and congratulated me on the record.  I told him to tell Stefan, “he’ll have to get his record back”, Marcus replied,  ” I already sent him a text telling him about the lift”.  Just shows the kind of sportsmanship we have in powerlifting.


The reason this article starts out, “My unbelievable world record” is because I could not believe for myself that I broke that record.  Even days afterword I could not believe the amount of weight I had lifted. It’s sometimes amazing what we are able to accomplish even when we feel it is out of reach.



“Where it all started”


I was born and grew up in Wisconsin.  Like many lifters, I started lifting weights to get stronger for football.  As a sophomore, I benched 220lbs at 155lbs, my junior year I made 270lbs at 165 and my senior year I made 303 still at 165lbs.  While in High school, I started competing at local powerlifting meets to stay motivated.  I had no coach and no powerlifting team, so many times I would travel to meets alone because I loved the sport so much and no one else around me did.  If you want something enough, just go for it, even if you have to do it alone. In 1992, I qualified and attended the ADFPA Teen Nationals, I placed 7th overall and 2nd in the bench.  It was my first experience at the National level and that is when I started to realize I excelled in the bench and just maybe the squat and dead lift  were not for me.  After High School, I moved to Minnesota to attend college and play football.


“What I accomplished”


I took several years off from lifting after college.  I started lifting again and looked into powerlifting and found ADPFA had changed to USAPL.  I had competed in other federations, but always came back to USAPL because of the competition and legitimate drug testing.  I always wanted to lift against the best, I did not want first if there was no one to lift against.


My first USAPL Bench Nationals was 1999 in Chicago.  I went in thinking I would do well.  I finished 6th at 198 with a 424lb bench. I realized Nationals was a new challenge and I needed to get serious if I wanted to compete at that level.  I returned in 2000 at the 220 class with a goal to win a National Championships and make the USA World Team.  I took 2nd to one of the best, Ralph Young.  It would be a long road to reaching my goal.  The next three years I competed against some great lifters such as Young, Dennis Cieri, and Tony Succarottte, but never won a National championship.



I took 2004 off due to my wife having our first child.  I came back for the 2005 Bench Nationals and again took 2nd Place, this time to Mike Landino.  However, my performance was good enough to earn an alternate spot on the US World Team.  I was on my way to my first World Championships in Stockholm Sweden.  It was amazing to represent the US at the World Championships.  I finished 5th at Worlds, but I was just happy to be there, attending Worlds gave me a new goal of becoming a World Champion.



I returned to Nationals in 2006 and won my first National Championships.  I went on to win six straight National Titles, with each title I earned a trip to the World Championships. It took almost 10 years but in 2008, I achieved my goal in Prague, Czech Republic, I became a World Champion.



“How I accomplished everything”


For those of you that are interested in my training and equipment.  I will be doing another article just on those topics, so I can go into more depth.  Look for the article soon at Iron Authority.



“Why I compete with the USAPL and IPF”


The main reasons I compete in the USAPL and IPF is for competition, drug testing, and strict adherence to the rules.  The IPF is where the best competition is.  I want to lift against the best and the IPF has the only true World Championships. I also support the IPF’s extensive drug testing and commitment to a drug free sport.  I personally have been drug tested 21 times since 2005.



“For the next generation”


Something I’ve noticed about the younger generation involved in powerlifting is how they either avoid competition or at least do not seek it out. My advice to new lifters is to look for competition, don’t always just go for a personal best. Take pride in being second if you know you where beaten by the best. To me that means more than taking first because there was no one to lift against me.  Don’t be worried about numbers, always try to beat the competition.  If you don’t have any go find it.  Work your way up from local, to state, to nationals and then to the international stage.  If you always go after the competition the big numbers will come. When I attend nationals or worlds I often get asked, “How much are you going to bench today” my response is always “Whatever it takes to win!”


“Where I go next”


I am both proud and honored to not only compete at the next world championships but also to be the USA Team’s head coach. I believe the team we have this year will do a fantastic job and give us a shot at winning a world team title.


Lastly, I would like to thank some people.  First, Pete Alaniz of Titan, maker of the best bench shirts in the world.  I would also like to thank Danny Thurman for being a great training partner for many years.  I was also fortunate to have the guidance, support, and leadership of Dennis Cieri and Donovan Thompson, thanks for all the great memories guys!



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One comment

  1. Great article Tim. Can’t wait for the next article to see how a world champ trains. Hope we can meet one day.

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