Bench pressing heavy weight is great for building muscle—and showing off in the gym, of course. But benching during a deload week can be a great feeling, too, since it takes stress off your shoulders and gives your body a chance to relax.
Deloading involves lifting with significantly less weight than you usually train with. So instead of benching three plates, you might just go for two. Unless you’re Janae Marie Kroc that is, whose definition of light weight is 415 pounds.
Kroc, a gender fluid powerlifter who is pursuing an IFBB pro card in the men’s category, recently uploaded a training video of herself benching 415 pounds for 10 reps with reverse bands.
View this post on Instagram
I haven’t posted much training in a while so here’s a little bench work from today. Today is my deload weak/high volume day where I do 5 sets of 10 on bench then some assistance work afterwards. I performed 3 warm up sets then did reverse band bench 415×10 for 5 sets followed by 3 sets of inclines, 3 sets of dumbbell bench, and one set to failure of body weight stretch pushups. I deload once every four weeks to prevent overtraining, give my joints a break, and to include some hypertrophy work. Since I know people will ask why I use the reverse band setup….. Right now the biggest reason I am using them is because it takes pressure off the shoulders and pec tendons at the bottom of the lift and helps prevent injury. Bands are also very useful for strengthening your lockout, teaching you to push explosively off the chest, and pushing past mental barriers by allowing you to use heavier weights than normal. They have been one of my favorite assistance exercises for increasing my bench press for a long time. #powerlifting #benchpress
Kroc doesn’t upload much training footage to her Instagram, so it’s unclear just how much she’s capable of lifting during a regular week. However, we know that one of Kroc’s top lifts was a 738-pound bench at the 2009 UPA Powerlifting Nationals. So while it’s not too surprising that 415 is a deload, it’s still pretty crazy.
Kroc, born Matthew Raymond, knows what she’s doing when it comes to lifting. Before her 2015 transition from male to female (Kroc currently identifies as non-binary), Kroc won several powerlifting championships and held numerous world records, including a 2,551-pound total lift (738-pound bench, 810-pound deadlift, and 1,003-pound squat).
Kroc very clearly knows how important it is to deload regularly. “I deload once every four weeks to prevent overtraining, give my joints a break, and to include some hypertrophy work,” she wrote in the post.
Kroc further prevents injury to her shoulders by using bands. “Bands are also very useful for strengthening your lockout, teaching you to push explosively off the chest, and pushing past mental barriers by allowing you to use heavier weights than normal,” she wrote.
In July, Kroc announced her intent to get an IFBB pro card in the men’s category while still identifying as gender fluid. It’s unclear when she’ll first try for that, but she is very clearly working hard toward it.
Although she uses female pronouns, Janae identifies as gender fluid—meaning her gender identity is not fixed. “I have a female gender identity, but … everything traditionally that describes being feminine doesn’t necessarily apply to me,” she told The Independent. “Sometimes I’m more feminine or more masculine, and there’s movement with that.