It’s not like Jennifer Thompson wasn’t already going to go down in history as one of the best bench pressers of all time, but this weekend she broke new ground with a titanic 142.5-kilogram (314.1-pound) bench press at the 2017 Arnold Classic, which was a new IPF World Record in the 63kg category. On the day of the lift, she weighed 134 pounds (60.8 kilograms).
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Didn’t she just break an IPF World Record in the bench?” then you’d be right. At the Reykjavik International Games in January, Thompson weighed in at 63.15 kilograms, so she wound up competing in the -72 kilogram class. And she still broke a world record, lifting 144 kilograms (317.5 pounds), or 2.3 times her bodyweight. Juggernaut Strength later named that single bench press as the number one greatest feat of strength of all time.
And even that wasn’t her personal record for 2017. Earlier that same month, Thompson lifted 147.4 kilograms (325 pounds) at Liberty University. It’s an understatement that she has had an incredible year, made all the more impressive that she’s 43 years old.
BarBend caught up with Thompson after she made her new IPF World Record at the Arnold this weekend, and as is pretty common for athletes of her caliber, she wasn’t that happy with her result.
“I’m sad I missed my 319 pounds,” she said. “But I got World’s next month to get it!”
When we asked her if she was planning to change anything about her training to help her crush yet another record, she answered, “I’ll drop back a little on my singles and work my way back up. I’m pretty sure I missed it because I didn’t set up well. I should have sat back up and reset myself but I was worried about time. Rookie mistake!”
As for advice for other female powerlifters who want to know what it takes to break their own records (or even some of hers), she told us, “I think it takes time, dedication and patience. I learned a long time ago to just be happy breaking PRs a little at a time. I think I took about four jabs at 300 in competition before I actually got it. So frustrating! Then I went back and hit 294, 296, 298 and then hit 300. So just try and chip away at me and you might get there some day!”
Featured image via @theipf on Instagram.