OHHS senior breaks world bench press record

Nathan Wynkoop sets record at Kentucky competition


WEST BRANCH — Unlike many people his age, Ogemaw Heights senior Nathan Wynkoop can claim the title of world-record holder after breaking the previous bench press record for his age group at a weightlifting competition in Kentucky Nov. 3.

According to Nathan, 17, and his father Matt Wynkoop, Nathan raw-bench pressed 315 pounds one time at the American Powerlifting Association’s Bluegrass Open Championship in Greenville, Kent. Matt said the previous record for the 16-17 age bracket in the 165-pound weight class was one bench press of 310 pounds.

“It obviously felt great to break the record,” Nathan said.

Nathan said the raw bench press is different from a typically bench press because he could not use any sort of gear that would assist him in lifting the weight, such as gloves or a weight belt. He took first in the event for his age bracket and also won the Best Overall Male Lifter Award for his performance.

For the event, Matt said Nathan received three chances to lift. With multiple referees watching his every move, Matt said Nathan’s first bench press of 305 pounds was “red-lighted,” because he didn’t hold the bar down on his chest long enough.

But on the second bench press, Nathan’s form was prefect as he made his record-setting lift.

“I had to hold it perfectly still and hold it down to my chest before the referees told me I was clear to push it back up,” Nathan said.

With his record-setting bench press in the bag, Nathan said he tried to bench press 325 pounds on his final lift, but was red-lighted once again.

“There’s so many rules you have to follow,” Matt said. “You can’t bounce it off your chest, you have to hold it down by your chest for so long. The referees are standing there and they’re looking at everything.

“We were getting kind of nervous after the first lift, but he got it on the second.”

To prepare for the event, Nathan said he started training late this summer, training for three hours a day for three days a week.

Matt said he utilized 20 different workout programs to help Nathan prepare for the competition.

“You try to mix it up so that you’re not doing the same thing everyday,” Matt said. “Your muscles can get into a routine if you keep doing the same thing over and over, so you have to change things up if you really want to push yourself.”

Matt said to prepare for an event like this, you typically want to do between 260-425 lifts during an entire training period.

According to Nathan, he started his lifting career in 2010, where he said he set another record in the same event for the 15-16 age bracket at a national event. He said he broke the record for the raw-bench press for that age bracket with a lift of 185 pounds.

“About two years ago, we found these competitions online and when we saw what the records were, I said 'You can break that,’ so we just started keeping an eye on the records and started training for these specific events,” Matt said.

Looking forward, Nathan said he’s currently focused on his upcoming final season on the Falcons wrestling team, as he has no plans to enter any more competitions for the foreseeable future.

“I’m just focused on wrestling and graduating right now,” Nathan said.

He said he plans on wrestling in college and has had some interest from schools, but said he isn’t anywhere close to a decision on his wrestling future at this point.


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