Interview with Bench Presser Anton Kraft As told to Powerlifting USA by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - October 2010
Anton Kraft has the world record in his bench press weight class. Anton bench pressed 463lbs at 123lbs in the IPF in Orlando Florida. Anton is from Denmark and he is constantly leaving a big impact on the bench press. Let's meet the man who keeps redefining bench press history, Anton Kraft.
CRITICAL BENCH: Anton, the bench press has taken you to exciting places all over the world. Where are your favorite places to in America?
Anton Kraft: My favorite places in America are--- Las Vegas home of the Olympia and Columbus Ohio Home of the Arnold Classic.
CRITICAL BENCH: Those are top-notch events. Anton, what has been your favorite bench press moment?
Anton Kraft: My favorite bench press is each time I have set a new World Record.
CRITICAL BENCH: Anton the world record bench press setting machine Kraft! Gotta love it! Have we seen the best bench pressing of Anton Kraft yet?
Anton Kraft: My best bench press is still in the future!
CRITICAL BENCH: Anton, list us 5 accomplishments that you are proud of.
Anton Kraft: My world-titles, world records, my first US Nationals, My 2nd place at the TITAN BENCH BASH 2009 at the Arnold 2009
CRITICAL BENCH: Share with us a hardcore moment you've had.
Anton Kraft: When I did a 225 kg bench press in a new bench shirt.
CRITICAL BENCH: That is 496lbs at 120lbs body weight. Oh man! What makes Anton's mindset different from others allowing you to achieve such a feat?
Anton Kraft: I see myself as a winner in life as well as in the sport.
CRITICAL BENCH: Who are your bench press mentors? Also list 3 powerlifters who really impress you.
Anton Kraft: Pete. Alaniz, Titan and John Inzer, creator of the Bench Press Shirt and Brian Siders, great bencher and can do it all. Ed Coan one of the best powerlifters ever. Also, DEBI LASZEWSKI, she became 3rd at Miss Olympia this year.
CRITICAL BENCH: Anton, how do you want to be remembered by others in the sport of powerlifting?
Anton Kraft: I want to be remembered by--- positive effect on my sport and for all Power athletes.
CRITICAL BENCH: You are doing that all the time. What is your advice for other lifters and what is the biggest mistake you see powerlifters make?
Anton Kraft: Watch and learn from others and the biggest mistake I see other lifters make is they come to championships unprepared.
CRITICAL BENCH: Anton, tell us an inside secret that you never told anyone.
Anton Kraft: It is still a secret. Look what happened to Sampson when he told one person his secret!!!!!!!
CRITICAL BENCH: Give us four mottos' you live by:
Make each day better than the day before
Prepare - Perform - Prevail
Whatever it takes to get me there
I rather be riding shoot-gun for the devil, then become second on the platform.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is the best and worst advice you were ever told:
"Adapt - Improvise - Overcome!
"Turn the other cheek."
CRITICAL BENCH: Give us a quick bench press message to the world!
Shut up and BENCH!
CRITICAL BENCH: Well said! Anton, describe your personality in three words. I'm sure more people want to meet you after they read about you in this interview.
Anton Kraft: I am friendly outgoing and focused.
CRITICAL BENCH: Random question. Do you think you could bench press a female human weight for more reps in 30 seconds than the Tatar Monster can?
Anton Kraft: Let´s do it! I like the challenge. Bring it on!
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your bench press tips for the world?
Anton Kraft: my bench press tips for the world are..
Others will set limits for you. NEVER set any limit for yourself.
CRITICAL BENCH: That's some powerful advice! Anton, what are your 5 training tips to a bigger bench press!
Anton Kraft: My top 5 tips to a bigger bench press:
1. What is important to make a good lift? It is the foundation (The BACK)
2. What comes next? The shoulders. They link the arms to the body.
3. What comes next? The hands. They hold the bar.
4. What comes next? The chest.
5. And finally comes biceps, triceps and the legs.
CRITICAL BENCH: I must ask, how do people usually respond when they discover you are one of the best bench pressers in the world?
Anton Kraft: Some understand it immediately, while others are surprised, and then I try to explain it to them. It because, I am short, well built and very solid. And then I compare myself to hydraulic jack. And then they understand.
CRITICAL BENCH: Very interesting, Anton! You are intuitive and know how to make people understand. How was your childhood?
Anton Kraft: I had a good childhood, and spent the last 6 years of my school years at boarding school, because my father died when I was 12 years old. Which probably has helped me become the person I am today for better or worse.
CRITICAL BENCH: Did you ever get picked on for being short?
Anton Kraft. Obviously I did, boys picked on each other, and it will always be like that. And in my case, it helped me harden my soul. And I was not the last one to pick on others.
CRITICAL BENCH: In the world of powerlifting, name someone who was always there for you.
Anton Kraft: Robert Keller (USAPL) was there, when I needed him, and made it all possible for me.
CRITICAL BENCH: What Will It Take To Make Power-lifting, more mainstream?
Anton Kraft: Simple rules, shorten the flights, Speed up the event, better marketing and above all a change of attitude among the athletes who are competing today.
Bench Press and Power-lifting at contest level is not a hobby or lifestyle. It is a tough sport where it's about winning and moving boundaries.
Our sport is a product to be marketed and made attractive to cooperative partners in the sport and potential sponsors from outside the sport.
Otherwise, the sport has no future on TV
CRITICAL BENCH: Definitely! Anton, describe the atmosphere in the gym where you normally train!
Anton Kraft: HARD CORE. TAKE IT TO THE MAX!
CRITICAL BENCH: When you see a 6'5 450lbs strongest man type guy, what do you usually think?
Anton Kraft: I am stronger then you in bench and dumbbell press pound for pound.
CRITICAL BENCH: I have seen you on TV a few times. How do you like being on television?
You get used to it. The first few times you are a little nervous, but you get the routine, and then it becomes natural. Like so much else in your daily life. It´s a natural part of being an elite athlete. It is an exhibition platform for you and your sponsors.
CRITICAL BENCH: If you could be any animal what kind of animal would you be?
Anton Kraft: My choice, a tiger. I'm born in the year of the tiger.
CRITICAL BENCH: Right on. Give us a quick quote so we can all bench more!
Anton Kraft: Who dare wins!
CRITICAL BENCH: Anton has won and will keep winning because nobody dares like Anton does! Well, Anton, it has been great talking to you today. There are a lot of great benchers, but I have met a very unique one who can never be duplicated. It has been an honor. In closing who would you like to thank?
Finally, I would like to thank the following people and sponsors for making it possible for me to achieve my goals in my sport.
Laurean Powers (mental coach and motivator), Jorgen Bertelsen strength coach and owner of THE GYM, Robert Keller (USAPL), John Inzer (INZER), Pete Alaniz (Titan), Peter Thorne, Erik Rasmussen (ER euqipment), Ivanko, Adidas, Gatorade, CriticalBench.com and Powerlifting USA for this exposure.
And all my friends in powerlifting and bodybuilding around the World!