The Reuben Simanu Interview

The Reuben Simanu Interview:

Holder of the all time biggest Bench Press in New Zealand 280kg!

Age: 33
Bodyweight: 152kg
Height: 1.88cm
Best Squat: 320kg
Best Bench: 280kg
Best Bench without a shirt(raw): 265kg
Best Deadlift: 285kg
Best Total: 882.5kgGS:  Reuben could you give the readers a little background about your life?

RS:  I was born and bred in Kawerau and I have two older brothers and a younger sister. I now live in Whakatane, married with a daughter and our second child due in October. My occupation is a control systems technician for Carter Holt Harvey Tasman where I have been since living school. In my youth I had a very active role in sports reaching national honours in soccer and athletics and also provincial representation in rugby.

GS:  How long have you been weight training?

RS:  I have been lifting since 1994 as rehab from a rugby injury.

GS:  How long have you been competing in powerlifting?

RS:  My first comp as a novice was in April 2000 in Hamilton where I benched 210kg raw.

GS:  How did you get started in powerlifting?

RS  :My older brother who is also my coach was a junior lifter back in the mid to late 80’s. Occasionally I would get to see him compete or train and I was always in awe at the amount of weight he could lift.

GS:  What has been your competitive history in powerlifting?

2001 – 2004 Waik/BOP Bench champ
2001 – 2002 Akld bench champ
2003 – 2004 Waik/BOP 3 lift champ
2001 – 2003 NZ SHW bench champ
2003 – NZ SHW 3 lift champ
2001 World Bench Champs – SHW 6th
2003 World Bench Champs – SHW DSQ
GS:  What goals do you have, short term and long term?

RS:  Short term goals:
900kg total
Post an official 300+bench
Deadlift 300+
Long term goals:
SHW deadlift record
Take the national SHW bench and 3 lift bench over 315kg.
GS:  The above lifts you were reached by what training innovations? i.e. Louie Simmons Westside barbell/ Russian training, Western methods etc

RS:  Depending on where we are in the yearly plan and what comps we are building for our training can vary. Mr Simmons Westside Barbell is certainly one of the innovations that our training template is based on (since Dec 2000).

GS:  What equipment do you use to train the bench/squat/deadlift? Ie Chains/bands/blocks/ etc

RS:  I have been a staunch user of chains since Dec. 2000 but just in the last year and a half introduced bands. This equipment is/should be used in all three of the lifts in our sport during training.

GS:  What would a typical training week for you?

RS:  Mon-Fri: Chest/back/shoulders/arms
Sun-Wed: legs/lower back/core
GS:  Do you have a training partner? or partners? And how important are they to you your training methods?

RS:  I have two training partners, Dave Bruce and Wayne Vickers. Myself and Dave have been lifting together since 1999 and Wayne since 2002. I cannot stress the importance of good reliable partners. Their support and encouragement when doing battle against the iron are essential.

GS:  What powerlifting apparel do you were?

RS:  Bench Press: titan NXG+
Squat: Inzer champion suit.
GS:  Do you train in the same bench shirt you wear on the day?

RS:  In the past I would only wear a shirt 2 weeks out from a comp to familiarize myself. But since the NXG+ has been on the market, things have had to be different. I haven’t had much success with this shirt because I cannot get the bar down to my chest and never worn an NXG+ in a comp to date. I am still using a very old titan fury. Pete and the titan team have been awesome in helping me out and we may have sorted the problem out. Off a 1 board I have comfortably pressed 320kg with the NXG+ but unless it touches the chest it don’t mean squat!!!

GS:  Do you have a special bench technique when wearing a bench shirt?

RS:  Set up a good arch, squeeze the shoulder blades and keep the elbows nice and close. The eccentric and concentric movement should be a straight line.

GS:  Tell us a little about your nutrition?

RS:  Being a shift worker my eating times are all over the place. I do however try and limit my fat and carb intake because I put on weight easily. As comps approach I always increase my protein levels and that is normally in the form of a shake but I try and get most of my daily protein intake through a food source.

GS:  What supplements do you take?

RS:  Thankfully I am sponsored by Miada. I take the Miada 100% whey protein and the multi-sport protein. I also take their creatine, l-glutamine, lean-xtremes, ZMA, and creasurge. I also take multivitamins and glucosamine.

GS:  How has the sport of powerlifting changed your life?

RS:  I have gotten bigger and stronger…

GS:  How do you see the sport of powerlifting in NZ in the future?

RS:  I would like to see it elevated in terms of participation and recognition. We do have world class lifters in the ranks right now and they will struggle to find funding for assistance because our sport is not seen as mainstream. How many people in the country know that we have a world champion lifter in Derek Pomana competing and year in and year out and each year he delivers by consistently finishing in the top 3?

GS:  Are there any tips on training you could give to beginner powerlifters?

RS:  Train smart and focus on good technique. If you are able to, try and get together with someone who has been lifting before and be prepared to learn. There is also some excellent information regarding training and equipment advice out there on the internet. Read as much as you can.

GS:  Are there any final comments you would like to make or people you would like to thank?

RS:  I lift because I enjoy it. The day I stop enjoying, then it’s time for me to drop weight and run that marathon I have always promised I would do!!! I would like to thank my wife for her unconditional support and encouragement and my coach Rona Simanu for his guidance and many hours of coaching. And I would also like to thank my family, training partners, Dale Shepherd and my many friends who have been behind me. I am blessed.

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