How are Ben Johnson's PR's in the weightroom?

Actually, Ben’s brother was a powerlifter and did around 500 in the dead and he was much smaller than Ben.

Powerlifting isn’t a very lucrative business. Costs upwards of $100 to enter many meets. That plus the fact that everyone in powerlifting claims to be a WR holder or world champion.

May I ask what were bens initial numbers when he first started lifting ( if you can remember ) Also what age did he begin with weights?

Many thanks

Canadian Powerlifting in the late 1980s was pretty tough. IPF rules, and not a lot of allowed equipment.
For the bench, in addition to the pause, you have three judges watching to see if your ass moves at all. Lots of big gym benchers gave up when they realized how much would be left under strict rules.

The squat depth was very deep. That 500 deadlift of Bens is probably a good indication of what he might have squatted officially. Also there were guys in Canada at 181 back then with 661 deadlifts.

Plus after '88 we saw a new enthusiasm (and funding) for testing us into oblivion.

im sure bj could have squatted more then 500 in a meet esp with all the suits etc…

The Canadian Federation only allowed a single ply suit back then. It was good for maybe 30-40 pounds. The depth requirement would have been a HUGE adjustment for him (red-light Joe would fail you on an ATG).

Of course if he stuck with it for a while, then who knows…

Same for the squat as the bench- totally different and much harder than what we did.

Charlie, just to give us a little more history of their development, when was serious weight training incorporated into the programs of your core group (Tony, Angela, Ben, Desai, etc.)? What kind of training background did they have and for approximately how long before the weight training really started to be emphasized?

I remember you commenting years ago (I think it’s also in CFTS) that you didn’t do a lot of weight training yourself in the early part of your running career, but then when you started lifting as a way to stay fit when you had a quad injury, your strength levels shot up pretty quickly. This seems like another example of sprint performance leading lifting performance.

The topic of what leads what has popped up again recently, and I think it’s a good point, because I have a feeling a lot of people are putting too much emphasis on the weights, which might be hurting their performance overall both on the track and in the weight room.

I think its pretty evident by now that sprinting leads gym/plyo strength expression.
Good post Flash.

If you are good enough. It’s a delicate balance that shifts over your performance timeline. You can’t go out and run 13s and expect to get a 300 bench out of it. Might need to focus on weights initially to kickstart the machine.

We did as much med ball as I felt we could as base prep due to the large size of my group and started weightlifting as the needs arose (a good base of strength in place) The lifting started out with a more extensive schedule and ws whittled down to the few core exercises once high levels were attained- in Ben’s case 1985.

Hah, it’s funny that you mention Joe, he just did a competition my dad was telling me, 70+ years old, and did a 207kg deadlift I beleive. Wow.

That’s over 700lbs 1 rep max.

Charlie addressed the issue of rep conversions on several occasions and stated that he seriously doubted Ben could have squatted 700. Ben developed a lot of strength endurance at relatively high percentages, and Charlie estimated the 600 was closer to 90% for Ben. If you do a search you might find some of his posts.

the video showed him doing 600 butt down onto a bench and bouncing off of it. charlie called them “half squats” not parallel. Tremendous amounts of strength for sure, but not a true 700 parallel squat.

Also, he does them in a proper athletic stance, not a wide power lifting stance.

That video was not 600 but 495 and when he was passed his prime and not working with Charlie

+1 Interesting, thanks.

i stand corrected. didn’t someone post it on here, though, saying it was 600… :confused:

oh well, who cares

As an additional clarification, Charlie often spoke in terms of a strength pyramid. The rep conversion charts tend to assume a fixed relationship between the base and height of the pyramid. However, high level power lifters and olympic lifters might have a relatively narrow base relative to the peak, while sprinters tend to have a wider base relative to the peak due to the strength endurance requirements of sprinting.

Yes i believe someone did, but after looking over it realized it wasnt 600 and Charlie also clarified that the video was from after he had worked with him :slight_smile: