Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wild Physique Unleashed : My Journey Into Strength PT 6 (Continued)

"I just have a fire inside that is not ready to be put out yet, so many things still left to do."
- Andy Bolton

By Coach Cj Swaby

Last the last entry I spoke about how getting expert advice can raise your game tremendously and shave some serious time off your learning curve. Last week I had the pleasure off interviewing Mike Mahler of Aggressive Strength, this week the man that helped me, and I had the opportunity to Coach along side, is the legendary Andy Bolton. If you don't know who this man is, either get to know (because you're in for a treat).

CS: Hi Andy, Thanks for agreeing to do this interview,

AB: No problem.

CS: Andy, for those who don’t know, who are you? And what have you achieved in your sport?

AB: I am Andy Bolton, a powerlifter from Leeds, England, aged 41, married with a 5 year old daughter. In powerlifting I have won the WPC World Title 7 times, WPO Champion 2007. I am the first man to deadlift 1000lbs and I have pulled over 900lbs in competition over 40 times, squatted 1214lbs and I think I am the only powerlifter who heltd the all time squat , deadlift and total record at the same time.

CS: How did you get into Powerlifting?

AB: I started in bodyb8uilding and after competing once I decided to switch over after being told by a small group of local powerlifters that I had some talent for strength! [laughs]

CS: In what way is training for Powerlifting different to Strong man training? And what is the carry over between the different sports as you see it?

AB: Ok, in both you have to be very strong in the basic lifts, the only thing in strongtman is you need more stamina and have to be able to move around a lot more, but powerlifting is also very technical now with the equipment we use. The carry over from powerlifting is a very strong back, legs and grip which will serve you well in strong man.

CS: Recovery is important when it comes to strength training, and a common mistake is to train too often, or with too much volume. What do you do to help you recover between sessions? And what is your typical training week, when preparing for competition?

AB: Its Monday – Bench, Wednesday Squats and Deadlifts, Thursday is assistance work i.e cable leg press, hamstrings etc, Saturday is grip work. As for recovery I like to sleep, and also get regular deep tissue massages and stretch after workouts.

CS: Andy, so the question I have to ask, seeing as you are a Man Mountain, what is your nutrition like, and do you follow any particular “diet”?

My diet has always been pretty good no matter what people think, sure I eat some junk, but for the most its a good diet, but as of the past 2 months I have changed things and now eat every 2 hours, small meals and I keep it as clean as possible.

CS: Which supplements do you use, and why?

AB: Supplement I have always used CNP professional, even before my sponsorship I used them, for me they are the best out there and great to work with thanks to Kerry Kayes.

CS: What inspired you to get into Strong Man and Powerlifting?

AB: I always wanted to be strong as most kids, and I got strong very fast so that went onto powerlifting and then in 1994 I got a call from David Webster from WSM [Worlds Strongest Man] asking me to go to Scotland and try Strongman, I was shocked and said, “Yes! Yes!!” [laughs] So off I went to give it a try, but I never really enjoyed it and missed the powerlifting.

CS: Could you see yourself doing any other sport, if it wasn’t this?

AB: No not really, powerlifting is everything to me, and it has given me so much.

CS: Who would you say are the top 5 people that have influenced your training?

AB: A hard one, there are so many, in no order I would say
Brain Batcholdor, Brian Reynolds, Roni Gordon, Dave Carter, Sangeet Dhillon, Dave Beattie

CS: You have had an extensive career, and achieved some great things so far, how do you keep yourself motivated?

AB: I don’t, I just have a fire inside that is not ready to be put out yet, so many things still left to do.

CS: Something Obviously separates you from the competition on a mental and physical level, what would you say that was?

AB: My heart. I will do whatever it takes and sometimes this is not good, when I did the 1000lbs pull for the first time, I shut myself off from all my family and all I would think about was the lift and doing that 1000lbs. After it I was so so tired, it took me months to recover, now I can manage things a little better. Also I have no fear of getting hurt, say squatting 1200lb plus, it does not scare me. Way I see it, if it breaks we can fix it.

What would you say are Andy Bolton’s 7 top tips to achievement?

AB: Again in no order, do not overtrain, listen to your body, don’t listen to too many people, write everything down, set yourself small goals, have long term goals, work harder than you have ever worked, but smartly. Always allow yourself to dream.

CS: Who is your Coach at the moment? And how did you guys hook up?

AB: Well I don’ t have a Coach, I have a good team around me, they pick me up on anything I might do wrong from time to time, but no Coach as such.

CS: Andy, I had the opportunity to Coach with you on our workshop , Training Day 2.0 earlier in the year, and your enthusiasm for teaching oozed out of you. Participants were breaking Personal Bests all over the shop. Which do you enjoy more, competing or Coaching?

AB: [Laughs] Lifting is number one, but coaching is a close second. I really do enjoy teaching and get lots from it.

For someone starting out into Powerlifting, How would you suggest they structure their training? And what common mistakes should they avoid?

AB: Easy, stick to a 3 day plan; Monday, Wednesday, Friday and avoid overtraining. Heavy singles in training, these are only testing strength, not building it. Stick to 5’s 3’s and train more speed and explosive power.

CS: Andy, what is your training philosophy, and what legacy would you like to leave behind for the Powerlifting World?

AB: From me it’s all based around speed and explosive power, this way avoids serious injury and is fun to do. As for legacy, well I just want to be remembered as a great powerlifter, someone who set the standards for others to follow, and to be known as a good man.

CS: Mr Bolton, Its been a pleasure, and thank you for doing the interview. I understand you also run internships that are open to almost anyone, tell me a bit about that?

Yes , they are full days with me, up to 5 people at a time, so a small group. I go through all the technical stuff in the morning on all the lifts, then we go away for lunch and do some question and answer, then in the afternoon we go back to the gym and we co a full assistance workout as I would do, can be hard or easy as they want [laughs] it’s a very enjoyable can. You can find out about the next available one on my website

CS: Thanks Andy.

AB: Thanks Cj, it’s been a pleasure.

Training with Andy Bolton definitely raised my game and helped me to rip the 240kg deadlift with plenty left in the tank. For those who have seen the video would have noticed the speed at which I ripped it of the floor. Andy’s coaching points where integral to that.

If you get the opportunity to train with this man do so, Andy Bolton is to Powerlifting what Roger Bannister is to athletics. For information on upcoming seminars, internship , special offer and free training info via his newsletter check out

To find out more about Training Day 2.0 read a report by the Crossfit Reading Crew HERE . Then watch the video below.

Training Day 2.0

In the next blog entry I will be showing you how I integrated what I had learned from both Mike Mahler and Andy Bolton, and synthesised that into my training, with actual examples. Plus, If I can find it, i will dig out the video and upload my 240Kg deadlift. This was the last time I was to test my deadlift before I managed to sustain an injury at Body Power 2011, in which I managed to fracture the small bones in both my hands, putting a end to my dreams of entering the Strength Power meet, and temporarily putting my goal of 300kg on hold.

Yours In Strength

Coach Cj Swaby

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