INTERVIEW: 1035-Pound Bencher Jimmy Kolb

TAGS: Jimmy Kolb, Chris Janek, bench press

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Today, I am fortunate enough to talk with Jimmy Kolb. Jimmy has become the third-heaviest bench presser of all time, regardless of age or weight class, with 1,035 lbs at a body weight of 273 pounds.

This has put him at the top of the lists for the bench press around the world. I planned to have a seminar with Jimmy at my facility, but we had to unfortunately cancel it due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I was excited, to say the least. I am interested in learning from someone who has gotten to a level of knowledge that I knew others could benefit from. Whether you train geared or raw, the information from him below may be the information you need to improve your bench press.

Can you please give the reader of elitefts some information on yourself?

I am originally from Bozeman, Montana, but spent the majority of my life in Northeast Ohio. I was heavily involved in sports my entire life. At 14 years old, I decided to start training with weights, originally for bodybuilding but eventually for powerlifting. I hit my first 600-pound bench at 18, and this really showed me that I could take the sport somewhere and do great things.

To date, what are your best lifts?

My best benches are 903 at 238 single-ply (ATWR), 950 at 235 multi-ply (ATWR), and 1,035 at 273 (ATWR). When I was 20 years old, I also achieved a 2,410-pound total in the 220 class, with 900,810,700.


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Could you provide a sample training cycle or weekly routine for the reader?

My training begins on Mondays with my prehabilitation bench press day, where I do a lot of light work for high reps for the chest and shoulders (bamboo bar pressing, face pulls,etc.,). Tuesday is my first back day of the week, involving about 5-7 different movements, mostly heavy rowing variations, and shrugs. Wednesday is my non-shirted bench day, where I hit a rotational max effort movement with heavy, heavy triceps work after. On Thursday, I hit the back again in the same manner as on Tuesday. Off on Fridays. Saturday is my above 100 percent shirted bench day, also with heavy triceps after. Then, off on Sundays.

What advice would you have for the up-and-coming powerlifter? 

My advice for the upcoming lifters is to learn from everyone and anyone you can. I’m still learning things after 16 years in the sport. You can never have too much knowledge. Be smart, and don’t be in a hurry to find out how much weight you can lift. Build a solid foundation. For the advanced lifter, I always say to keep training “weird.” And I mean always be doing things differently and in ways your body isn’t expecting. I can train at or above 100 percent at all times because I’m always changing what I’m doing.

During this strange time with the Coronavirus pandemic and most gyms being closed, what would you recommend for most to maintain strength?

During these strange times, it’s important to keep a strong mental fortitude and look to the future. This isn’t a forever thing; it will go back to normal. I’d suggest doing “maintenance” work with the materials you have available to you. Maybe take some bodybuilding-type training to gain some muscle. Keep the body moving. Don’t feel sorry for yourself and stop completely just because you can’t make it to the gym right now. Maintain what you have as best as you can so that you can jump right back into the heavy stuff once this bullshit blows over.

Please feel free to follow Jimmy on INSTAGRAM at @kolbstrong and and FACEBOOK at jimmy kolb-powerlifter. Check out the Kolbstrong power community through Patreon and on YouTube at jimmy Kolb.

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