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Will bench record fall on Saturday

Chip Stewart will attempt to do the unthinkable this Saturday — bench press 800 pounds.
Stewart will participate in Money Mike’s Bench Press Challenge, which will be held at the Bar of Charlotte on Saturday.
The 30-year old, who works out at All-American Fitness, has been lifting weights since he was in the fifth grade. He started participating in bench press competitions when he was just 15 years old.
Stewart believes he holds the American record with a press of 755 pounds. He claims to have lifted 775 in a non-sanctioned event. Saturday he’ll weigh in at 235 pounds and attempt to bench 800 pounds.
The world record is 767 pounds for men 242 pounds and under.
“It’s something I’ve been shooting for, for awhile. I attempted to break the world record that day and missed it by a matter of inches,” Stewart said of his latest bench press competition, which was held last month.
“I’m trying to regroup and go after it again. I’m trying to break the world record, closer to the 800-mark than just barely beating it,” Stewart added.
The bench press extraordinaire believes the specially-made bench press shirt he wears adds between 100-150 pounds to his lift. But he’s quick to point out it only helps you the first four or five inches and ‘you have to be strong enough to control the weight.’
Stewart, who once weighed 300 pounds, bench presses only once a week. His workout regiment consists of training 3-4 days a week.
To lift such heavy weight, he does six sets, anywhere from one to five repetitions. His first set typically begins at 650 pounds with the last set near 750 pounds.
“It takes a lot out of me to do that much weight and it takes more recovery time when you do those heavy weights,” he said.
So is he confident he can bench press 800 pounds?
“My other goal is to be the lightest person to bench 800 pounds. After I try 760, I’ll tell you. You’re talking about having one of the best days of your life,” he said.
He will clean up his diet and try to lose as much water weight as he can before Saturday’s competition. Then hours before, he’ll try to put back as much as 15 pounds of water weight.
Stewart said he participates in local competitions and sanctioned meets, where they drug test.
What will be going through his mind as he attempts something that’s never been done before?
“I try to stay calm and not even think about it until about 2 hours before. Once I get in that competitive atmosphere, it’s time to turn it on and meet whatever goal I set for myself.”
Saturday’s challenge is not sanctioned and will be ‘just for fun,’ in Stewart’s eyes.
Of course the estimated $2,200-4,200 he could possibly earn helps too. Oh, and a world record.

by John Mark Brooks

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