Don’t mess with this corrections officer.
Thomas "TD" Davis lifted 622.5 pounds while competing at the International Powerlifting Federation’s (IPF) World RAW Bench Press Championships in South Africa on Saturday, setting a world record in the process.
The 24-year-old beat five other competitors to take the gold medal at the event as he surpassed the previous record of 617.5 pounds, according to the IPF.
The 6'3”, 410-pound Davis did the lift at three weights in the event—567.5 pounds for his first lift, 600 pounds for the second lift, and then the record on his third. Davis said to WNDU in Indiana that his “ultimate” goal is to compete in the Olympics one day.
Thomas may have his sights set on Olympic gold, but for the rest of us, it's enough of a challenge to keep developing in this all-purpose powerlift.
Do you feel like you're stuck on your bench press? Ready to smash through that plateau? Try these two strategies to make progress in the gym and increase your lift weight:
1. Focus on secondary muscles: shoulders and triceps.
By giving some extra attention to those “secondary” muscle areas, you can help increase strength and your bench press weight over time. Decreasing the amount of chest workouts while also increasing the volume of workouts on the shoulders and triceps will help make for a more well-rounded lift.
— Double down on shoulder-focused exercises like overhead presses and tricep-builders like close-grip bench presses.
2. Put your back into it.
Having a strong back while doing the bench press can give your upper body the stabilization it needs as you continue to add weight. Increasing attention on the back and adding some power will give your body a better structure and in turn, a better bench lift. There are two components to this:
— Big, compound movements like the barbell deadlift and bent-over rows, which tax your overall strength. Try 3–6 sets of relatively low reps (6–8) and longer rest periods to build more strength.
— Focused back-builders like seated rows and lat pulldowns, which will help you stabilize the weight over your chest during a bench press. Do 3–6 sets of relatively high reps (12–15) with moderate rest periods of about a minute or less. Don't train to failure, though.
Check out our related bench press stories for more on how to get a great workout: