2015 August Lifter of the Month
Lifter of the Month Jack DiBenedetto took a walk down memory lane when he recently drove past the racquetball club that held his first powerlifting competition, the USPF High School New Jersey State Championships, at the age of 15. The Paterson resident has since competed for 15 years and has carved out a series of remarkable accomplishments.
Having been raised by "the hardest working single mother ever", DiBenedetto has been able to translate the work ethic he learned from his mother into his everyday life and in the gym. To date, his best meet results include a 601 lb squat, 435 lb bench and a 584 deadlift, all adding to an impressive 1,603 lb total.
Despite his ability to rack up large numbers, he admits that they aren't his greatest achievements but rather, his most prominent accomplishment dates back to an inspirational breakthrough in 2009 after being sidelined by an injury. "After being out for almost 6 years," he explains, "[I] decided to compete again after not lifting for more than a handful of times in the past 5 years. I trained for 6 weeks starting with bar and finished the day with a 384 squat, 369 bench and a 446 deadlift."
Though DiBenedetto jokes that he "sucks at deadlift" he loves all three lifts. However, he describes that there's something about the squat that takes the top spot. "There's something so primal about that lift," he acknowledges. "Knowing that if you don't get it you can get seriously hurt or die is a feeling that either sends you packing to never compete again or makes you rise to the occasion. You have to be a little crazy to wanna get underneath a weight that can put you in the ground."
For the lifter, powerlifting isn't simply a sport but a way of life. Jack currently owns a personal training business, BRICKHOUSE Fitness and Powerlifting in Prospect Park that is geared towards a variety of fitness needs and is where he also trains. Though he describes BRICKHOUSE as a "small basement gym" , he wouldn't have it any other way. " [It] has more than enough weight and that old school HARDCORE feeling that was once common but now seems to be forgotten."
With his success on the platform and a successful business back home, DiBenedetto is altruistic in his desire to help other lifters. His best tips for those new to the sport are to "Learn proper technique! I can't stress this enough! And stretch! Keep a training log. No matter how insignificant something may seem, write it down anyway. If possible, get a good coach or at the very least, a group of lifters to train with that know what they are talking about."
You can find Jack training for the USAPL Bench Nationals and the USAPL Raw Nationals nowadays but at the roof of it all, the passion he has for the sport is what keeps this lifter coming back to the sport. " All records and metals mean nothing to me. I just love that I can still do this and now have the chance to teach others."
Article written by Ruby Liu