Frankenstein's Perfect Powerlifter

TAGS: Frankenstein, frankenstien's powerlifter, Happy Halloween, matt ladewski

Working for elitefts over the last few years has given me access to some of the smartest and strongest people in the strength and conditioning world. In the last few months, whispers of a new project has been mentioned. Recently it has been the talk of the office. Once I caught wind of Dr. Frank and his new project, I had to learn more. With his permission, he has allowed me to discuss some of his top secret work.

I was told I could visit Dr. Frank at his lab and home gym. So I packed up enough stuff for a long weekend and was on my way. A few hours later I was driving into sheets of rain, the wind howling, and an eerie feeling that I was not in Kansas anymore. As my drive took me into a remote area, my GPS notified me I had reached my destination. But there was no house, or building that I could see. The only thing I saw was a very dark, tree-covered drive. I crept along for what seemed like hours before I came out to a clearing: an old farmhouse and a new pole barn with large tesla coils coming out of the top.

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By now, the rain had cleared and the moon was just bright enough for me to navigate the landscape without breaking my ankle. I approached the old house to knock on the door when from the corner of my eye I caught a shadow sitting in an old rocking chair. “Good evening" was belted out in a deep, bass voice. Before I could get a word out, the shadow continued, “I am Dr. Frank's assistant and he asked me to greet you. Allow me to escort you to him.”


Photo courtesy of Greg Ladewski

As we approached the pole barn, I could hear thunderous bangs as the ground shook. When the door finally opened I was relieved to see it was a muscled-up older gentleman doing deadlifts in his home gym. After he finished, we sat down for the interview.

elitefts: Dr. Frank, I would like to thank you for your time and allowing us to share some of your plans for the future. Can you tell all of our readers a little more about this unusual project?

Dr. Frank: It is my pleasure. It is my legacy to create life, something similar to that of my great, great, great grandfather Dr. Frankenstein, except I plan on rewriting the record books of powerlifting by creating the perfect powerlifter.

elitefts: Creating the perfect powerlifter is quite the undertaking and I want to discuss that in depth. But first, can you explain why do you go by Dr. Frank and not Frankenstein?

Dr. Frank: After he (Dr. Frankenstein) created his monster, my family felt it best we shorten the name. The story is famous throughout the world. We are trying to create some distance from that part of our past. Even though he was brilliant in what he created, the name brings quite a bit of trouble.

elitefts: So you want to separate yourself from the past but you are going to create your own monster. How are you going to do it without all the backlash?

Dr. Frank: Science and general understanding by the non-scientific community has come a long way. I won’t be cutting up cadavers; people frown upon that. And to be honest, I am not sure I would be able obtain the balance and strength I want from cadaver parts. I am going to grow my powerlifter from start to finish. With the advancement in DNA mapping, gene splicing, and genetics, I can design and create exactly what I want.

elitefts: How did you figure out what would go into your perfect powerlifter?

Dr. Frank: I have always been fascinated by strength sports. Recently I contacted Dave Tate to enlist his help. He was kind enough to put me in contact with Harry Selkow, Clint Darden, Mark Watts, Joe Schillero and Dave Kirschen. Each weighed in on the subject and they confirmed my initial thoughts. My team has also obtained blood work from a number of lifters in the top 10 all-time rankings.

elitefts: Can you describe your perfect powerlifter for our readers?

Dr. Frank: Not all of the details can be laid out in this interview but I will give you some of the main points that most will be able to understand.

First, we addressed body structure. We want someone in the 198-242 pound weight classes. This allows for larger weight cuts but also a thickness in the torso for big squats and benches. Long arms, long legs and a short torso have been chosen for advantages in the squat and deadlift. Weight gain can help improve the bench for longer-limbed lifters. It does not always improve leverage for deadlifting for those with a longer torso or the Vitruvian Man. Thick joints and big hands are also important.

After body structure, we looked at the mental side and personality. Introverts and extroverts each bring positives and negatives to the table. Extroverts typically need more stimulation and that could mean more reps, leading to a shorter career. More workout stress and life stress is never a good thing. Introverts handle the increase of life stress a little better. Stress typically makes people shut down and want to be alone. Extroverts recharge in groups and around other people, while introverts recharge while being alone. Stress can put introverts into more of a naturally-recharging environment while dealing with those life stressors. I will lean more toward the introvert side due to those factors.

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The last two pieces I want to address in this interview involve explosiveness and freak factor. First, we looked at top 10 all-time lifters on the scale of grinder to explosive. You have lifters like Ed Coan who make every rep look the same no matter how light or heavy, and he is on the grinder side. On the other end you have lifters like Chuck Vogelpohl who are extremely explosive. The problem with lifters on the explosive end is that they tend to get little pulls and injuries quite frequently. According to Dave Tate, speed and explosiveness is lost as a lifter ages. So starting with someone on the explosive side is important, but not so far down the scale that he is always injured. No matter where the lifter ends up, we will train both explosiveness and straining. 

Freak factor is a little more difficult to explain. The best way I can explain it is that little something that makes all legendary powerlifters a little different. It is that extra drive, their level of commitment, those extra reps, that mental intensity, and a little bit of crazy. Those willing to risk life and limb for the next five pounds. We are still compiling a list of these but we are looking at every possible combination to maximize the future potential.

I am not going to talk about genetics and other micro factors today; that would be too much for this one interview. This includes things like the myostatin gene and others that can be manipulated to take humans to a whole new level. 

elitefts: This sounds like a very in-depth project. How long before we see your lifter hit the platform? 

Dr. Frank: We are still compiling data at this point but we are hopeful to be started in early 2017.  Based on that timeline, we would expect 13-15 years before a platform appearance.

elitefts: I look forward to updates as you progress throughout your project. Dr. Frank, I want to thank you for your time and sharing as much as you have with the readers of elitefts. 

Dr. Frank: Thank you for the opportunity.

After the interview we talked about training and a few other items that he asked that I omit from the interview. Dr. Frank had to get back to his workout but did ask for one favor before I left. He gave no reasons why, he just said “for research." I complied only because he was so gracious in granting us the interview. A new smelling salts mist was sprayed at to me with no warning. I was told there is nothing on earth like it. He was right! Ever since then I've had the weirdest of dreams — but that is for a different article at a different time.


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