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Powerlifting Articles by Curtis "Natural Freak" Dennis Jr.


 An interview with 22 year old Power Lifter

By Curtis Dennis Jr.
May 2003

Josh Bryant's Powerlifting Site-- Check out Josh's great new power lifting site with his bio, powerlifting diet info, forum and custom programs.

            When people at my gym come up to me and make a remark on how big and strong I am for my age(22years), do you know what I think about?  I think about a guy like Josh Bryant, who is far stronger than anyone I know of at such a young age. Then I tell them that I have years and years of training left before I can  even considered to be strong!!

 If you havenít read any of my past articles, Josh Bryant is a power lifter that is to be watched in the future. Heís already squatting 880, benching 606, and deadlifting 740 at 5í11Ē, 305 pounds and 22 years old!!  Keep in mind, heís doing most of his lifts RAW!!   Heís also lifting weight that most professionals in their 30ís are doing now and remember folks, he has quite a while before he will reach his peak.  Heís what is called a Ďphenomí in the sport of Power Lifting and thereís a good chance that title could stay with him for a long time. 

 Josh is setting the example of what unwavering drive and determination can do and guys like myself and others around my age look up to him. If youíve never seen Josh lift, go to www.irongame.net to see some of his videos. He also has an email address at joshbryant@cox.net.  First, get to know him in this interview and let me know what you think at my new email address, extrmpowerlifter@aol.com.  Enjoy!! 

Curtis Dennis: Thanks for a chance to interview you, Josh.  Please give the readers a description of yourself?

Josh Bryant: My name is Josh Bryant, I am 22 years old.  I live in Santa Barbara, California.  I compete in the 308 pound weight class and currently weigh about 305.  My best lifts in competition are 880 in the squat, 606, in the bench, and 740 in the dead lift.  I aspire to become a strength and conditioning coach.

CD: How long have you been into powerlifting? 

JB: I did a bench press meet in 1996 at 15 years old in the AAU and did 308.5 in the 198 lbs. Class.  I did a couple more bench press meets, and in 1999 started doing powerlifting meets.  Before powerlifting I competed in boxing, football, and track and field.  Those were my main focuses, but I always loved lifting the most.

CD: Have you always been strong? 

JB: Yes, I have.  In sixth grade I set the school shot put record.  I benched 300 lbs in training at age 14.

CD: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into powerlifting? 

JB: One of my dadís best friends, Steve Holl, invited me to go to the gym with him.  He showed me how to train properly and helped me to develop solid technique.  Many of my current philosophies are based off of what I learned from Steve.

CD: How did it feel to be hanging with the professional powerlifters at your age? 

JB: Great!  Thatís what makes powerlifting so cool. When you lift in meets with guys like Ed Coan and Garry Frank, they are so humble and helpful.  In basketball it is impossible to play against Michael Jordan, unless youíre in the NBA.  I trained with Garry Frank for six months and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

CD: What does it feel like being as strong as you are at a young age?

JB: Good, but I have had to sacrifice a lot socially, but itís worth it!  The high of lifting huge weights and being on the victory platform is much greater than one you can get from drugs and alcohol.

CD: Name some of your other feats of strength? 

JB: JM Press-500X1, 455x3, 425x5.  Straight leg deadlift-495x5. 

Shrugs-880x15, 1005X5.  Squat walk out 1100 lbs. (bar can fit more weight.), Rack pull from top of knee caps-1005 (with straps), Pull-ups with 90 lbs. Over my bodyweight for a couple of reps strict.  585 bench press paused with no shirt.  570 touch and go close grip, 540 in a meet.  I have done some others, but this off the top of my head.

CD: How do you think you stack up against other powerlifters? 

JB: Great, I am getting stronger.  I want to be the best.  If I keep training harder and hitting PRís(Personal Records) the rest will take care of itís self.

CD: Do you believe with the arrival of professional powerlifting, that powerlifting is moving in the right direction? 

JB: Absolutely, it is not perfect, but I am 100% supportive of the Cup and WPO.  I would like to compete solely where the money is.  No matter what the rules, if thereís cash  involved, people will show.  I really like the showy atmosphere at the WPO, the girls and the smoke before big lifts, music and the way Kieran announces.

CD: I've always preached about having training partners.  Do you have any training partners? 

JB: I have done it alone and with training partners and made gains both ways.  Squatting alone is tough, deadlifting alone is fine and benching isnít bad as long as you have some one to hand off.  I have been blessed with great friends who are always willing to help spot or put on a shirt if I have no training partners to help.   Right now I have good training partners with my Dad, George Brink, Max Higgins, and Ryan Girard.  Once in a blue moon I go and Train with Paul Leonard at Yorba Linda Barbell or over at Manny Sanchezís gym.

CD: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?  

JB: Steve Holl since I was five years old.  Other people I have looked up to are Ed Coan, Garry Frank, Doug Young, Kaz, Jesse Kellum, Beau Moore, Anthony Clark, Dave Pasanella, John Gamble, OD Wilson, Andy Bolton, Bob Phillips, Shane Hamman, John Inzer, Ernie Frantz, Rickey Dale Crain, Chuck Vogelpohl, Billy Mimnaugh, and there are a ton more.  This is just real quick off the top of my head.

CD: What was one of the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter? 

 JB: The deadlift. It has been one of my best lifts, then my worse.  Up and down. Thankfully, since 2001 it has steadily improved.

 CD: Tell us about your training and how you prepare for competitions? 

 JB: I train my technique, absolute strength and speed strength and of course all the little stabilizer muscles.  A chain is only as strong as itís weakest link.  If any area is lacking the result will be not hitting a PR or in the worst case scenario, getting injured.  I used to train strictly progressive overload.

 I have added some stuff I have picked up from Garry Frank, as well plyometrics.  I think Westside is correct in their speed and max effort ideas; I just go about the way I do it differently.  Anyone interested in a custom training cycle I will make it out for $20, and $50 for all three lifts.  Interested parties please e-mail me at joshbryant@cox.net and if you want a generic non-personalized cycle, I will send one for free; the custom ones take a while.

 CD: Does your training differ from in-season to off-season?

 JB: Absolutely for the sake of not getting stale and most importantly laying a solid base.

 CD: What experience did you gain from training with George Brink? 

 JB: Training with George has helped my deadlift be consistent and go to a whole new level.

 CD: Any favorites in the gym? 

 JB: I train in my garage and at Maverickís Gym in Ventura, they are now opening up one in Moorpark as well.  Maverickís is a great place, I am lucky George told me about it.

 CD: What do you think of the training systems like Metal Militia and Westside Barbell? 

 JB: Westside is great. Louie Simmons is very smart.  I do not follow Westside training but have borrowed a ton of ideas.  Speed is essential, more important than technique even.  If you are fast but your technique is not great you can still drive right through sticking points. 

My friend Tommy Fannon(www.growordie.com) has luck with Metal Militia training, other people are as well.  I am not sure about it yet; I could make a better evaluation down the road.  I do know they base most of what they do on perfect technique in the bench shirt, this is important.  It is also important not to be totally reliant on equipment in case a shirt blows or something.  The best benchers in my opinion for the most part still use WS or periodization, this may change, but who knows?

 CD: What other things are you into other than powerlifting?

 JB: I have a very strong belief in God.  Spending time with my family and friends. I love to go on road trips with my friends.  I also am into women and love to eat BBQ.

 CD: What supplements do you take? 

 JB: Only legal ones, such as whey protein powder, bcaa amino acids in the powdered form, Vitamin C, Multi Vitamin, Flax Seed oil, Fish Oil.  I have tried Creatine more than once and it did not do anything for me.

 CD: What do you think of power lifters today? Are there any that stick out in your mind? 

 JB: The list is too long. There are some nut cases in this sport, but in a positive way.  I have had good experiences with 99.99999% of the power lifters I have met in person.

 CD: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who is just starting out in power lifting? 

 JB: Seek out some one with experience and learn from the mistakes they have made.  If you have any training questions I will do my best to help e-mail and Iíll try and help.

 CD: What do you think of the sport of powerlifting and its lifters in general? 

 JB: Great people, no complaints.

 CD: Does strength training run in your family? 

 JB: Yes my father was an All-American Hammer thrower.  He is a big man and just started training with weights a couple years ago, after a 30-year lay off he has bench pressed 410 with no shirt recently.  My brother was the California High School State Champion in the shot put, he threw 67-6 last year.  His name is Noah Bryant and he is a freshman at USC throwing.

 CD: Whatís your best advice on how to get stronger? 

 JB: Work hard. Being  consistent is most important and donít be afraid to try new training methods.  To get big, eat big!

 CD: What's next for you? 

 JB: APF SRís, and the USPF Mountaineer Cup meet in West Virginia.

 CD: Is there anything else you would like to mention to our readers here at Heavy Sports.com? 

 JB: Good luck with training and life.  Thanks for reading this interview.  Train hard; eat big, wear Inzer Gear and you will lift big. Also, chiropractic adjustments have kept me injury free.  I would like to
thank my chiropractor Charlie Bissell, for keeping me healthy. He knows power lifters and athletes in general.

 CD: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.  

 JB: No problem, thank you Curtis.  God bless you.


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