Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
April 13, 2024

Interview With Bench Presser "Big Willie" J.T. Hall, III
Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - March 2008

Bench Press Star JT Hall

1) CRITICAL BENCH: JT, tell us about yourself!

My name is "BIG WILLIE" J.T. HALL, III. I have an A.A. and B.S. in biology. I am the NASA KENTUCKY RECORDS CHAIRMAN & member of the NASA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. I have been a competitive powerlifter since 1994. I have competed in 10 different states: KY, OH, IN, WV, VA, IA, MO, NC, IL & TN. I have competed in more than 11 different federations: NASA, BENCH AMERICA II, USAPL, AAU, WDFPF, WNPF, APF, ANNPC, WEOPF, SLP, & APA. My best-equipped competition bench press is 523 lbs & raw bench press is 484 in the 220 class. I have missed 585 & 575 @ lockout last year in the summer/fall. My best training lift is a 625 3-board press, 635 reverse band bench press and an unequipped 495 bench press. I'm a member of the Omega Force Christian Strength Team.

I have won several NASA awards. These are the awards I cherish a lot: The 2007 April Co-Lifter of the Month, 2005 Bench Only Over-all runner up, 2003 & 2004 Bench Only Over-all winner of the Year and 2002 Powersports bench presser of the Year. I have been ranked by Powerlifting USA and Powerlifting Watch. My height is 5'11 and in a 13-month period, I was drug-tested 3 times.

I compete in the Inzer Rage X Bp shirt. I use AtLarge Nutrition Maximum Mass Stack. My pre-workout supplement is BMF Sport: A.C.T. Healthy Energy drink.

JT Hall Hits 625 Off A 3-Board Using Rage X

2) CRITICAL BENCH: Since your last interview, what have you achieved in the sport of powerlifting?

The biggest achievement for me is to continually give back to the powerlifting community. I enjoy being the NASA KY Record Chairman & on the NASA Executive Committee. This gives me a great opportunity to help lifters at the KY meets and vote on NASA Athletes of the Year. No award or title can compare to this achievement.

3) CRITICAL BENCH: A lot changed since your last interview from 04. Can you tell us what has changed?

I competed at the 2004 Bench America II and was the only KY lifter invited. I competed on the 2004 Team NASA against Team AAU in Richmond, VA. Team NASA did lay the smackdown on Team AAU. NASA is putting on the 2008 Pro Powersports and Pro Powerlifting with almost $40,000 cash giveaway.

4) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about the first time you benched 135? What was that like? What about 225? 315? 405? 500? 550? 600+?

I bench press 135 my freshman year in high school and was shocked because I weighed 100 pounds.

I bench press 225 my senior year in high school and was pretty excited.

I bench press 315 in 1995 and bench press 405 and 1997.

That's when I started thinking that I can eventually bench press 500 and 600 drug-free.

I bench press 500 in 2002. After I bench press 500, I jumped off the bench and took off running. I was really, really excited that day of the competition. I missed the mid and high 500 a couple times. I was a little frustrated, but I'll never give up.

I will become a member of the 600 bench press club using an Inzer Rage X bp shirt!

Bench Pressing Star JT Hall

5) CRITICAL BENCH: What's your powerlifting routine consist of today? What about your diet and supplement plan?

I use a lot of variety to help get me stronger and keep the workout fun. So, I never do the same workout every week. I always do a different bench press exercise every week. I have primary bench press exercise and a secondary bench press exercise.

Example 5-week routine


Bench Press, 4 sets x 3
Incline Bench Press, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Chest Support Row, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Seated-Overhead Tricep Extension, 5 sets, pyramid the reps

2nd- week

Pause Floor Press, 6-10 sets, pyramid the reps Decline Bench Press, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Pull-ups, 4 sets x 5
Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension, 5 sets, pyramid the reps

3rd week

Pause 3-Board Press, 6-10 sets, pyramid the reps
Dumbbell Bench Press, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Close Grip Cable Lat-Pulldown, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Tate's Press, 5 sets, pyramid the reps

4th week

Reverse Band Bench Press, 6-10 sets, pyramid the reps
Weighted Plat Push-ups, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
T-Bar Rows, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Standing Cable Tricep Pull Downs, 5 sets, pyramid the reps

5th week

Bench Press, 4 sets x 3
Incline Bench Press, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Chest Support Row, 4 sets, pyramid the reps
Seated-Overhead Tricep Extension, 5 sets, pyramid the reps

My diet mainly consists of a lot of egg whites, baked chicken breast, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, 1% milk, V8 juice, green tea and water. I use AtLarge Nutrition Maximum Mass Stack. The web site is http://atlargenutrition.com/nutrition.php This stack will help increase lean muscle mass, muscular strength and reduce recovery time.

BMF Sports

My pre-workout supplement is BMF Sports A.C.T. Healthy Energy Drink. The web site is http://www.bmfsports.com A.C.T. gives you real, long-lasting energy in a healthier way by generating energy at the cellular level with specialized energy catalysts, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phyto-nutrients, antioxidants, herbal ingredients, fruit extracts and guarana seed.

6) CRITICAL BENCH: What do you know now that you didn't know then?

Nutrition and recuperation is so important. This is one of the factors that will help you get a good bench press.

7) CRITICAL BENCH: How did you get so strong?

A simple answer is Philippians 4:13, prayer and time! Also, if you believe, you can achieve!

8) CRITICAL BENCH: JT, How do you feel the training differs from a single ply/ raw lifter to a mult-gear steroid user? How do they train different and why should a single ply/ raw lifter train differently?

I'm going to have to be very careful with this question because I have never used steroids. One of the biggest differences in training for single ply/raw lifter to a multi-gear steroid user is recuperation and volume. I'll leave my answer simple as that.

JT Hall 495 Bench Press Max Workout

9) CRITICAL BENCH: Where do you get your motivation from to be the best you can be?

My motivation comes from Jesus Christ because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Also, I want to show the powerlifting community that you can have a good bench press without steroids.

10) CRITICAL BENCH: Amen. Check out our Afterlife section. Since your last interview do you feel like powerlifting has made the appropriate changes? Why or why not? What will it take in order for them to do so?

Powerlifting has made some appropriate changes. Now, you have federations competing against each other. NASA competed against AAU and USPF from 2003-2006. There are more Pro meets from various federations. The only problem with Pro meets is that the lifters should have a guarantee of payment and the money is an escrow account. There is not enough coverage of all powerlifting organization by Powerlifting magazine,etc.

Finally, the gateway to the IPF Worlds should have all federations involved, not just one. This will help bring all federations together for one single goal. That goal is to bring home the gold every year to the USA! The Powerlifting forums/internet is talking about unite or unity. If all federations can compete for a spot at the IPF Worlds, this can help unite the whole Powerlifting community.

JT Hall takes first place!

11) CRITICAL BENCH: JT, What are your future goals?

I have several goals:

a. Continue to give back to the powerlifting community.

b. Bench press more than 600 in the 220 class.

c. Continue to promote the companies that support me.

d. Lay the smackdown at the NASA Pro Powersport in OKC.

e. More than 5000 myspace friends. I currently have 1930.

12) CRITICAL BENCH: Lets help you out with goal e. Everbody visit JT's myspace page here. How do you think we can make powerlifting a better sport?

Powerlifting can be a better sport without internet judges and warriors!!!!!! There are a lot of great companies that support the powerlifting community. It's just that powerlifting needs more support from more companies. Finally, if powerlifting was on tv regularly and part of the Olympics too.

13) CRITICAL BENCH: How are curl competitions different than bench competitions? Explain what the atmosphere is like when it comes to competing in different types of competitions.

Curl competitions have been around for several decades, but NASA popularized it. Now, there are several federations that have curl competitions too. Curl competition is fun because a popular gym lift is now on the platform. So, NASA has probably just as many curl competitors as bench press competitors. Both events are similar because it takes a lot of muscular strength and good technique to lift big weights. The atmosphere is the same. The audience cheer just as loud for curl competitors as for the bench press competitors. The biggest difference is that curl competition is easier to train for than bench press competition.

NASA KY State Chairman JT Hall 14) CRITICAL BENCH: How can one get strong before using a shirt? What are your top 10 tips?

The main way to get strong without a shirt is to increase your raw strength. I truly believe in doing 3 sets x 3 for the bench press will help increase your raw bench press strength. A good raw bench press can help lead to a big equipped bench press.

My top ten tips to increase your bench press:

a. Time
b. Nutrition
c. Recuperation
d. Motivation
e. Variety to routine
f. Rest
g. Technique/form
h. Training partner
i. Goals
j. Prayer

15) CRITICAL BENCH: In what direction do you think the future of powerlifting is headed?

I truly believe the future of powerlifting is good, but it can get better. Pro powerlifting meets are going to continue to grow and be a huge factor to help get more lifters involved in competing.

16) CRITICAL BENCH: What do you enjoy doing away from powerlifting?

I enjoy spending time with my wife & daughter, going to church and going on vacation.

17) CRITICAL BENCH: What lifts have you witnessed that have impressed you the most?

Seeing Tiny Meeker bench press at the 2004 NASA USA Nationals in Spfld, OH.

Powerlifter JT Hall

18) CRITICAL BENCH: What is the best and worst advice you were ever told? How would you describe the difference in groove between a single ply and triple+ ply shirt?

The best bench press advice I got was from NASA President (Rich Peters) and Vice-President (Greg Van Hoose). They told me to stop doing heavy max singles and do triples. So far, I have never received any bad advice towards training. I have never used a triple ply shirt, but I would guess the groove is a lot lower and the bar touches across the belly.

19) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your message to the powerlifting world?

a. United we stand and divided we fall!

b. Support the companies that support you!

c. Be a federation judge instead of an internet judge!

d. Build up powerlifting community, instead of trying to tear it down!

JT Hall supports At Large Nutrition

20) CRITICAL BENCH: JT. It's been an honor. In closing what would you like to say?

I would like to thank God for blessing me with great strength and sending his son to die for our sins. Thank my wife and daughter for their unconditional love. I would like to thank NASA for being a lifter organization and helping support the lifters.

I would like to thank Inzer Advance Designs for the best bench press shirts on the planet. AtLarge Nutrition for the great Maximum Mass Stack.

BMF Sports for the great A.C.T. Healthy Energy Drink and paying my entry fees. Thank my good friend, Clint Poore for uploading my youtube videos.

You can check out my competition/training videos at

Visit me at myspace here:


JT Hall Bench Presses 405 x 6 Reps


Ben Tatar and JT Hall
Interviewer Ben Tatar With Interviewee JT Hall



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