Swanson, Becca

Becca Swanson

5 minutes with: Becca Swanson, world’s strongest woman, “It’s all in the muscles and in the music (The VALiens ndr)”

Q ] Can you tell us about yourself?
A: I had graduated from UNL in 1998 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. But the desire to be a powerlifting athlete took over and now I own a gym with my coach (Rick Hussey), Big Iron Gym in Omaha, NE.

[ Q ] Any comments about the first time benching 135, 225, 315, 405, 500 etc?


       I started out as such a weak bench presser; it took me a year to bench 135 lbs!! No joke! I was training every week, twice a week, light bench day, heavy bench day.

It took another 7 years to bench 405. This lift has really been my nemesis. Once I crossed the 400 barrier, the 500 lb bench press came so fast, it was unreal!

[ Q ] How important are training partners to you?

     Training partners are a must. You must have consistent training partners with your same goals. They learn your patterns; they learn what key words are important to remind me of good form. They are the reason Rick and I keep Big Iron Gym alive, they are priceless!!

Becca Swanson
[ Q ] What inspired you to become one of the greatest powerlifters?

     I really don’t work off of inspiration. I work off of goals. I found myself close to some world records in 2001. My coach, Rick and I focused on capturing records. Then breaking barriers, 1600 lb total, 1700 lb total, 700 lb squat, and 800 lb squat. I am the greatest female powerlifter because of my 8 year consistent persistance!

[ Q ] Can you tell us about your training routine?

       I do heavy bench and chest assistance on Monday.

Shoulders are on Tuesday. Heavy deadlifts and back assistance work on Wednesday.

Tricep and bicep workouts are on Thursday. Friday off. Saturday is heavy squat along with

quad and hamstring assistance. Sunday is off.

We train 4 weeks of heavy 5′s, 3 weeks of heavy 3′s, 3 weeks of heavy 2′s, and then max two weeks before a meet, train heavy into the meet, but no max until the meet.

Becca Swanson
[ Q ] What are the biggest mistakes that beginners make when trying to get a bigger bench press?

       Sacrificing form for weight. Putting a bunch of weight on the bar, bouncing it off your chest and lifting your butt. What are you thinking? Learn correct form before trying to be good at something. Back the weight down and do each rep correctly. It will come.

[ Q ] What is your advice for beginners (Under 225 benchers), intermediate (315), Advanced over 500?


     All levels need to pick your goals within reason. After you bench 500 lbs, don’t look for 600, look for 530, then 560, etc. 600 will come.

[ Q ] Who do you think is the greatest bencher ever?

     The greatest bench presser I have ever seen is Scot Mendelson. He has beautiful form. He executes his lifts with great precision and explosive power.

[ Q ] Do you have any advice about how to choose a shirt, the differences, improving the arch, etc?

       Practice at setting the bar low, where your rib cage splits. In order to do this you must work on a good arch and driving the bar straight up. A good arch can be attained over time with weekly practice. I set my arch up, then wiggle my toes back as far as I can. This way I can feel my lower back squeezing down by my waist.

My best bench presses have been executed when I feel really tight and sturdy in my entire back. These things take time, don’t give up on them. If you tend to set the bar high, you should stay in polyester. If you can set the bar low, you will work well in denim. A lot of lifters work good with denims, I do not. I need the spring I get from a polyester to execute a powerful lift.

[ Q ] What makes the difference between an average lifter and a champion?


     A true champion would do anything to get their workout in; an average lifter will miss workouts. A true champion will not brag about accomplishments, they will be asked. A true champion encourages others to excel to his or her level, and thrives off the motivation.

IBecca Swanson
[ Q ] What are some of your most memorable/craziest powerlifting experiences?

       The first time I competed at the Arnold Classic, I don’t know what came over me. I had some sort of panic attack while warming up for squats.

My opener was 685 and 665 crushed me in the warm-up room. My coach was yelling, “What is going on?” My eyes were blurry, my heart was racing and I was breathing hard, aka panic attack!

Well, I went out there and squeeked out my first lift. From there it just got better and better and better and better. I got personal records in all lifts and in the end broke into the 1700′s.

[ Q ] What goes through your head before destroying a huge weight?


       Generally, I do not know what is on the bar. It is nice to have a coach that you trust 100%. We rarely discuss numbers; he knows what I can and cannot do.

What goes through my head? Keywords. Tight back, tuck elbows, set low, straight up. Other than that I tell my self if I get this lift I will have a chance to break this barrier and that total barrier.

Each lift is so important to get the total I need to improve from last meet. I constantly remind myself of that.

— original source: http://www.bodybuilding.com

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