Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
June 4, 2023
Interview With Utah Blaze Arena Football Player
& Offseason Powerlifter Chris Janek
Interviewed by Ben Tatar - January 2008

Chris Janek AFL Totals Elite at First Powerlifting Meet

Chris Janek, is one strong dude! He has bench pressed 585lbs raw, pressed 200lbs dumbbells for sets of 12, benched 315 for 27 reps and 405 for 14 reps. He has totaled Elite at his powerlifting meet in Dec 2007 at the SPF Record Breakers. What makes Chris Janek's accomplishments even more amazing is that he is a professional football player for the Utah Blaze Arena Football and only gets a chance to train for powerlifting during the off-season. Is Critical Bench giving you the first glimpse of this future powerlifting star?

1) Critical Bench: Chris, welcome to Critical Bench! It's great to have you here. Tell us about yourself!

I began lifting my sophomore year in high school with lots of heavy weight and bad from. During my sophomore year of high school I squatted 500 and benched 350. I went from 235lbs to 260lbs my junior year. I played football all through high school and I wrestled in the heavyweight division. I got all state my senior year in football and wrestling two years.

I went on to play at the University of Wisconsin playing nose guard all years. I went straight to college and played as a true freshman. I played every year and started 2 years. After my senior year I had a tryout for the Cleveland browns that didn't pan out and neither did any other NFL teams so I went on to the arena football league. This upcoming season will be my 8th season. I am now married to my beautiful wife Danielle and have two kids (Reide and Roman). I always have lifted heavy and decided this year to put something on paper. Steve Konopka AKA KONO and I played this year together in Utah and got to know each other well and he said that he and Mike would sponsor me to do a meet.

I am 6'1 (6'2 on a good day) about 315lbs and just turned 30. I have just totaled elite in powerlifting.

Chris Janek - Utah Blaze AFL - Powerlifter

2) Critical Bench: Chris, that's quite an accomplishment to total elite at your first meet. A lot of people work their whole lives to total elite and never do. What do you contribute your success to?

I didn't really focus or know what elite was until a few guys told me about it this off season. My total would have been higher if I didn't jump from 900 to 1000 on the squat and if I had practiced dead lifts. The one thing i contribute to the success in the meet is criticalbench.com ! I never would have done the meet if Critical Bench never asked.

3) Critical Bench: When you retire from football do you plan on competing more often?

Whenever I retire form football, I definitely plan on doing more meets. Right now I can only train heavy for 4 months out of a year so when I can truly focus and get used to all the suits and shirts, I feel like I will actually compete with some of the best.

Chris Janek of the Utah Blaze AFL Team 4) Critical Bench: What are you best gym lifts?

For gym lifts, I have done:

1. 170 dumbbells sitting military for 5 reps

2. front squat 531 x 1,

3. 405 seated military press

4. 585lbs raw bench press

5. raw squat (belt wraps 850)

6. 200 lb dumbbell flat bench x 12,

7. 200 lb dumbbell shrugs and I go over 800lbs on barbell shrugs

8. I use the whole stack on all sorts of equipment

5) Critical Bench: That is sick! You're strength is out of this world. How many times can you rep out 405 pounds? What about 225 and 315?

I can bench press 405 - 14 times!

I can bench press 315 - 27 times!

For 225, I blow out of steam at 44 reps. I suck and hate reps. I taped the 315 and I'll have it on film. I plan on benching 225 for 50+ next time I try and next time I do 405 for reps, I'll tape it and send it in to you guys.

6) Critical Bench: Awesome! Keep us posted on your incredible rep feats. How did you prepare for the meet? You must train differently for football and powerlfiting?

My training partner and I prepared for the meet by driving 30 miles away to get tips from Putt Houston and his boys at power body USA and Rivers edge YMCA in my hometown with Rick Fowler and his boys. As far as the equipment goes, I got my squat suit in form elitefts.com (those guys kick ass!) As for the bench shirt, I used the bench shirt 3 times prior to the meet.

Chris Janek CriticalBench

7) Critical Bench: You scored a TD last year against Orlando . How did that feel? Did you have the celebration planned out waiting for that chance to display it?

The 4th quarter touchdown I got last year really helped us win the game. I tried to do the robot dance in the end zone but it looked more like some sort of spasm. Running 50 yd at the end of a game with adrenaline takes it out of you.

8) Critical Bench: How well do you think Utah will do this upcoming football season?

The Utah blaze should do a lot better than last year. I'm not one for giving another team fuel but we loaded up probably more than anyone especially on the defensive line.

Chris Janek about to get a QB sack
Chris Janek Has the QB in his grasp!

9) Critical Bench: If you could train for powerlifting year round how do you think it would reflect on your total?

If I could train year round, I think I could really compete with the best. Over the next year, I'm going to focus on getting use to all of the equipment. This year I got 2255 and next year I want 2450 to 2550.

10) Critical Bench: What has been your most intense experience in bench pressing, football and life?

My most intense experience with bench pressing has to of been the day I did 315. I can remember as a kid always being amazed at the older guys doing that and it blew my mind. Football- probably winning two rose bowls back to back. And life- birth of my son.

Chris Janek 11) Critical Bench: What is your favorite thing about powerlifting? What about football?

My favorite thing about powerlifitng and football is the competition.

12) Critical Bench: What is your advice for kids who would like to succeed in football, powerlifting, and in life itself?

Surround yourself by good coaches. I have had the privilege of having great strength coaches such as John Dettman ( Wisconsin) Chris Doyle IOWA ), Tony Federico (Colorado state now Colorado crush) Lindsey Hassell (San Jose State and now Utah blaze) Joe Defranco (Parisis school of speed and strength now owns his own business,) and locally Rick Fowler, Tate mertin, Putt Houston and Jeff Lewis.

13) Critical Bench: What separates you from everyone else?

The one thing that separated me from everyone else is I'm going to work harder than you to get what I want.

AFL football - Chris Janek - Utah Blaze

Critical Bench: Sounds like a challenge! You're gonna be tough to beat, Chris! It has truly been a pleasure interviewing you. Is there anyone who you would like to thank?

Joe Defranco probably doesn't remember me but he had one of the biggest influences on my lifting. When i played arena in New Jersey for the Gladiator we trained at Paresis's school of speed and strength and I approached him on ideas. He turned me on the the west side barbell way of training. It opened my eyes and has helped me in all aspects of lifting. I really appreciated him for that. I always check out his site and elitefts.com too for ideas.

Chris Janek Supporting CriticalBench.com at
the 2007 SPF Record Breakers Meet With a 2250 Total

Chris Janek 900 Pound Squat @ 308


Chris Janek 675 Pound Bench @ 308


Chris Janek 680 Pound Deadlift @ 308


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