Several major sports have had athletes that participated in another professional sport. Bo Jackson played professional football and played professional baseball. Michael Jordan played for the World Champion Chicago Bulls basketball team and then took a shot at playing baseball professionally too. However, the IFBB has seen a handful of athletes excel in both powerlifting and bodybuilding. Johnie Jackson, Ben White, Bev Francis and as of late, the current World's Strongest Bodybuilder, Stan Efferding. This past weekend Stan took to the task of bringing home more than bragging rights; he brought home world records.
Congratulations Stan and thanks for taking some time after such a huge weekend.
On September 19, 2009, you entered an SPF Sanctioned Raw Powerlifting meet in Sacramento California and totaled 2,221lbs in 275lbs category. This was just 29lbs away from All-Time American Raw Record, set in 1972 by Jon Cole. You nailed a squat of 821lbs, Bench of 606 pounds, and deadlifted 794.
How does that weekend compare to this past one?
This meet earned me two all time world records so it was special for me. Last time I wore knee wraps and John Cole has the Raw (with knee wraps) world record for the 275lb class with a 2,250lb total. This time I lifted Raw (without knee wraps) and Konstantin Konstantinov of Latvia has (had) that World Record with a 2,171lb total. Oddly enough, I actually squatted MORE this time with an 854 no knee wrap raw squat which set a new world record. The old record was 850lbs. Last time I injured myself attempting the 854 so I was unable to attempt it again or go higher.
The bench was the same in both meets with a 606lb lift but this time I attempted a 617 and missed it.
Last time I finished with a 794lb deadlift and this time I attempted an 804 and pulled a hamstring. The 804 would have put me past John Cole’s knee wrapped record but it was not to be.
So I set two all time world records. One for the raw squat with no knee wraps and one for the raw total with no knee wraps. I can’t complain.
How did you feel going into the event? Did you have your sights set on the new total or was it a series of good lifts working in your favor?
Training went well up to the meet and I was confident I could beat Konstantin’s record with my openers and intended to chase John Cole’s record with my max’s. I had doubled an 800lb squat off a box a few weeks out and sunk an 800 pretty easy a couple weeks out. I had deadlifted 700 for 5 reps with no belt and the bench was consistently strong with 550lb triples in training. I flew down a couple days early so I could rest and eat and be prepared for the meet. Unfortunately, I woke up Friday night sweating with 100 degree fever and couldn’t hold food down, possibly the flu, I don’t know. I kept trying to re-hydrate, rest and force feed myself all day Saturday but still felt like shit all day. I had been holding steady at about 280-285lbs for the last couple weeks before the meet and intended to drop a small amount of water and weigh in Saturday then rehydrate back up to 285 for the meet on Sunday but I couldn’t make it to early weigh ins and ended up weighing on Sunday an hour before I lifted at only 274lbs. I think that’s why I was so unstable under the squat. My body was weak but I just had to grind it out.
What is the feeling like today taking a record away from someone as phenomenal a lifter as Konstantin Konstantinov is?
We may want to change this question and replace John Cole’s name with Konstantin Konstantinov
It felt great to capture that world record. KK is already legendary for his lifting, especially his 900+ lb deadlift which is just extraordinary. But, as is the case with bodybuilding, it’s never enough, and I’ve had and still have my eye’s on bigger totals. I’ll be wrapping the knees and chasing John Cole’s 2,250 again next year.
What’s your take on equipped vs. raw? Raw orgs seem to be making a strong comeback and with totals like yours, do you think it will draw more lifters into raw orgs or scare them away? (Just kidding!)
To each their own. I enjoy what I do and I’ve trained with lots of geared lifters that love what they do. With my historical and ongoing pursuit of both bodybuilding and powerlifting I’ve never consistently powerlifted long enough to “learn” a suit. It can take months or years of practice to find the right equipment that works for you and to get use to the different groove’s that work with equipment. I think the best geared lifters already do a lot of raw training because they found that the gear can sometimes create imbalances in their strength development so they train both ways to minimize any weak links.
How are things at Flex Wheeler Fitness? I know you are from the Puget Sound area and Tacoma desperately needed a quality training facility.
I love our gym and I’m grateful to Flex Wheeler for allowing me to use his name and likeness to promote our gym and for joining me in creating this franchise opportunity for other interested gym owners. I couldn’t find any place that had the equipment to accommodate my kind of training, both bodybuilding and powerlifting so I created a place where I could train that has dumbbells up to 200 pounds, Forza powerlifting equipment that allows me to use bands and chains, a competition monolift and an environment that encourages hard core training. I added a crossfit area and plenty of cardio equipment so we could do pre-contest training as well as Olympic lifts with rubber plates and this has attracted a well-rounded membership base that includes as many women as men and all age groups. I also have a kitchen here so we can have our meals and post workout shakes. You just can’t find all that in any commercial gym.
How has your training changed over the years now that you are reaching your mid 40’s in powerlifting as well as bodybuilding?
I’ve been pushing myself harder and heavier than ever since I took 10 years off competing and my window of opportunity is brief at my age. Flex Wheeler has pushed me with more volume for my bodybuilding and my powerlifting coach, Mark Bell, has pushed me with more explosive powerlifting techniques for my strength. I’m very careful to listen to my body and to rest and ice more and Flex taught me to eat more frequently and consistently which has helped with my recovery and with carrying more lean mass in better condition.
And on that note… have you had any major injuries? How have you prepared yourself differently from say the mid 90’s when you competed in the Emerald Cup to prepping for both powerlifting and bodybuilding?
Nothing major, knock on wood. I keep saying I’m one good injury away from retiring and watching the sun set over the lake from my back patio. I’ve had some bumps and bruises, a few pulled muscles and some repetitive strain injuries but I’m careful to rehab, rest and work around them.
How has your nutrition changed over that time?
I use to just try to eat a lot when I was competing in bodybuilding and powerlifting in the 90’s and then cut calories to compete in bodybuilding. Now it’s completely different. It’s the first thing Flex changed when I sat down with him in Jan. of 2009 and this change has been the #1 reason for my success in both sports. Now I eat 6-10 meals a day depending on what I’m getting ready for and have improved the quality of each meal. I barely cut calories for bodybuilding contest prep, I just spread the same calories over more meals and my metabolism skyrockets. Flex also had me train my metabolism the same way you would train your muscles in the gym, adding weight or reps each week. We would start with a certain number of calories and meals and then gradually increase the amount of food and number of meals as my body became more efficient at processing the food. It’s been nothing short of amazing. I’ve pointed it out before, but in 2008 I was 224lbs when I won the Emerald Cup and after working with Flex and using his diet and training program, I was 254lbs on stage in 2009 when I won the Masters Nationals and earned my Pro Card.
Will you be contesting the World’s Strongest Bodybuilder again at the Olympia this year or is there no one willing to challenge you? After all, your total from last year was more than 100lbs greater than Johnny Jacksons’ best in 2009.
I intend to defend my title but we haven’t found anyone to lift against me yet. That’s the tough thing about powerlifting, the numbers talk. Bodybuilding is a little more subjective, you can improve your conditioning and someone else can come in softer or one person’s shape can beat another person’s mass. There’s some strong ass guys in the IFBB. Ben White’s in the powerlifting bench press hall of fame with a 605 bench press at 275lb’s bodyweight. There’s only 6 guys in history that have EVER done better than that. Unfortunately, most lifters tend to be one trick pony’s and are only insanely strong at one lift or another. Ben and I bench about the same but I out deadlift him by 100 pounds. Johnnie and I deadlift about the same but I out bench him by 100 pounds. The challenge is to find someone who is good at both lifts, or all three if someone wants to squat against me too but these pro’s have careers that could end with a bad day attempting a max lift under a squat rack so that might not happen. I approached Robert Burneika at the Arnold but he’s not interested. I thought Zach Kahn would have been great for the bench but I haven’t followed up on that since his injury. Ben Pakulski is an insanely strong squatter and deadlifter but I’m not sure about his bench. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
What’s next in powerlifting for you?
Next powerlifting will be at the Olympia World’s strongest bodybuilder. Next three lift meet will have to wait until next year. I still have my eye on John Cole’s record but I want to hit an IFBB Pro stage again before that happens.
What’s next in bodybuilding for you?
I’m looking at the Master’s Worlds in December or the Flex Pro next year.
Lastly, boxers or briefs?!?!
Posing trunks or a singlet, just depends on which stage I’m on ;-)
Thanks again Stan. I think this is a very powerful lesson to younger lifters out there that yes, power and size come from backgrounds like yours. See you at the Olympia!