Angelo Samarripa, a 20 year old Samoan weightlifter and wrestler attempted to benchpress 725lb at Aloha Festival in Minneola on the 4th of October 2014. He was attempting to beat the current unassisted world record bench press of 722lb held by Eric Spoto at a SuperTraining Gym meet in 2013.

Nicknamed “The Beast”, Angelo Samarripa talks about the importance of mental strength over physical strength. However, it is extremely surprising that Angelo Samarripa would risk benching this weight when struggling with 400lb, especially given the high risk of injury. For example, Scot Mendelson was injured in March 2013 when attempting to press 716lb raw.

Watching footage of the festival, I expected that the entire lift would be assisted, but instead we got to watch the bar drop on his chest and fail. Not only once, but twice! Luckily he did not get injured but its hard not to cringe at his feeble attempts.



Arthur Saxon One Hand Snatch

Arthur Saxon (image citation:

In the late 1800s and early 1900s strongmen and circus performers would perform one arm snatches to draw crowds and demonstrate their impressive feats of strength. Above is a very early photo of Arthur Saxon performing a single arm barbell snatch. Authur was officially recorded performing a 195lb right hand snatch, but it is said that he could do as much as 210lb at around 205lb.

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Who is J.M Blakely?

JohnMark Blakely is a powerlifter most famously known for inventing the JM Press. The term was actually coined by Louie Simmons and George Halbert of westside barbell whilst he was training there. It was one of the only triceps exercises that JM Blakely did and he credits it for building all of his triceps strength for bench pressing.

jm blakley

JM Blakely in the 90s

JohnMark competed in the early 90s and  was a bench press specialist. He holds 6 world records, is a 4 time world bench press champion and was also the 11th man in history to bench 700lb (raw). JM Blakely was well known for being able to quickly gain and lose bodyweight. He was notoriously well know for drastically changing his bodyweight and competing in different weight classes within months of each other. The well known powerlifter and strength coach Dave Tate from Westside Barbell recalls how this ‘dude’ could just magically go from 198 to 308 and back to 275. When Dave Tate asked him how does he gain weight so easily, JM told him to come outside and simple explained that he needed to stuff his face with Mcdonalds, chinese and pizza etc. He listen and a few months later he grew. Continue reading

Cape Argus Cycle Race Start Line

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The race start was located in the centre of Cape Town and depending on what seeding group you are in, this means you could start start as early as 6.15 am if you are a pro rider or as late as 10 am if you are just riding for fun. Pro riders are let out very early to avoid the traffic (slow cyclists), sun, heat and wind! As I was an international rider I ended up somewhere in the middle (group JJ) and my seeded group set off was at approximately 8 am.

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