Mike Tuchscherer Finally Hits a 500-Pound Bench Press

Mike Tuchscherer’s bench is back.

After years of training to bring his bench up to the mighty 500-pound mark, the founder of Reactive Training Systems (who usually competes in the -120kg weight class) posted the remarkably smooth, wraps-free, grunting-and-cursing-free lift to his Instagram yesterday.

Tuchscherer had said in previous posts that he had “a lot of lost ground to recover after a vacation and sickness threw me off pretty badly,” and said in the post above:

500 pound #Bench, baby! Did this just before I left for Belarus, but there wasn’t much time for posting. I knew this was the last day of the block, so I just went for it. Definitely a limit lift. This is the best my bench has been in AT LEAST six years, maybe ever.

Indeed, we have seen Tuchscherer benching more than this but not for a very long time, and it’s awesome that he’s building his strength back up. Check out this 2010 clip of him hitting a single of 535 pounds below.

Also FYI, if you’re looking for Tuchscherer training tactics you can mimic, South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club coach (and Reactive Training Systems collaborator) Paulie Steinman told BarBend that Tuchscherer likes to crush an entire loaf of bread with peanut butter and jelly at his powerlifting meets. Sounds like a good time even if it doesn’t improve your bench.

It’s worth noting that in the Instagram post, Tuchscherer appears to be using the bulldog grip. It’s a little like the opposite of the standard “break the bar” grip where your hands are trying to puling the bar apart as you bench. The bulldog grip is when the two hands rotate toward each other and push inward, with the bar winding up sitting in the lower palm near the thumb. Here’s a video that goes into more detail.

Tuchscherer is truly one of powerlifting’s greats and his career is littered with records, including an IPF raw world record deadlift at the 2014 Arnold Sports festival: 371.5kg (819lb) in the 120kg weight class.

In 2009, he became the first American male in history to win a gold medal for powerlifting at the World Games in Taiwan, and he’s coached 12 national champions and 2 IPF world record holders.

Of course, after posting his 500-pound bench, Tuchscherer’s Instagram feed was inundated with athletes hungry to hit the lift themselves, and he commented that it was a “good idea” to make a video or podcast on how his bench training has evolved over the years. Watch this space.

Featured image via @miketuchscherer on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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