Interview With Powerlifter Dave Hoff As published in Powerlifting USA by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of IronBrutality.com - August 2010
CriticalBench: Hey, thanks for doing this interview. Please introduce yourself.
I'm Dave Hoff, I'm 21 yrs old, I'm from Columbus Ohio, Born and raised.
CriticalBench: What are your Best PR's right now?
My best Lift to date, I compete in 2 weight classes: 242's and 275's. Currently my best lifts at 242 are 1025 squat, 785 bench press, 790 dead lift with a 2600 lb total. In the 275's, my best lifts are 1015 squat , 825 bench press, 800lb deadlift with a 2615 total.
CriticalBench: How long have you been into powerlifting?
I've been in powerlifting for about 7 years, I started as a pup.
CriticalBench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into powerlifting?
I had a great childhood having very supportive parents that always encouraged me to do the best I could. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. How I got into powerlifting, well I started messing around with weights when I was, if you can believe it, probably around the 4th grade. I always wanted to be the strongest kid in my class, so I started lifting weights, then from there I would say around Jr High I started training with the football team.
That's where I had my first max out and from then on I was hooked on lifting. From there I lifted in a little gym called Murphs in Grove City Ohio and I met a guy named Travis Fletcher. He had this crazy thing I had ever seen before on (bench shirt) benching like 500lbs, I was amazed. I was like I want to do that, who the heck doesn't want to bench 500lbs. So from there I trained with him for 2 weeks, then I was brought to Westside Barbell at the ripe old age of 16 and that's when my powerlifting career began.
CriticalBench: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?
Hands down Chuck Vogelpohl. The 1st time I ever saw him compete was at the Arnold Classic, the guy is so freaking intense, has power and explosiveness unlike anything on this earth. That man is a one of a kind specimen. From the second I saw him walk out, I wanted to be just like Chuck Vogelpohl. I don't know any other 40+ yr olds that are still breaking all time world records.
He has done it over the course of 20 yrs and he has had the 220 world record squat and currently has the 242 world record squat and has also broken the 275 world record squat. Not to mention 800+ deadlifts in all 3 of those classes and a monster 2605 total... simply one word can describe him and it's a FREAK. So my whole career that's who I have tried to be like, because in my opinion, he's one of the best ever. Can't lie I still look up to him to this very day. .
CriticalBench: What is the craziest thing you have ever seen at a powerlifting meet?
Well fortunately for me I have had the privilege to train at Westside Barbell with some of the strongest lifters on the planet for well my whole career. So I've been to lots of meets and have seen a lot of strong lifters. I will just throw out a few because I have seen tons of crazy stuff. The one that mostly stands out is Chuck Vogelpohls 1150 squat. It was the fastest 1100+ squat I have ever seen. You couldn't have dropped it any faster, also his 1140 @ 242.
Another is Andy Bolton's 971 deadlift ,Vlad Alhazovs 925 deadlift and 1250 squat, Chuck Foughts 900lb deadlift, Frankls 850 bench @ 198 and that crazy 2630 total @ 198. DANG SHAWN LET THE FAT GUYS CATCH UP ! Probably one of the craziest benches I've seen was Jason Frys 770 @ 198 and Rob Luyando's 948 @ 275.
CriticalBench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in powerlifting?
Set goals and take small but consistent steps to reach your goal. Don't get caught up in a number, just do what you can do and build up. Be smart and stay injury free, it's hard to make any kind of progress with an injury.
CriticalBench: Do you have a favorite out of the three or is it all 3 lifts?
Well when I first started out I hated squatting because I knew nothing about it, but as I have gone through the sport I like all 3. But if I had to pick one I would say it's the squat because that's the biggest number,
CriticalBench: What are your goals and when is your next meet?
My first goal is to be number 1. I would like to achieve an all time world record. After that I would like to jump a class and have multiple world records at one time. Also I want to be number 1 at Westside Barbell. I just did a Meet on December 5th, I think I will take a little time and let my body heal. I'm planning on the IPA Worlds in York Pa in the summer of 2010.
CriticalBench: What are the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?
There are lots of challenges. I personally have faced a lot of adversity, tons of negative people, which we call them "HATERS". They are always out there and have nothing good to say about anyone or anything. Also you have to deal with numbers changing, and as soon as you think you are there, someone comes out of nowhere and sets the bar that much higher. So you get in this battle of getting to the top before someone else does, because there's always someone out there who is hungry and wants to be number 1.
CriticalBench: Tell everyone here the difference between someone who wants to look "pretty" and someone who does what we do? The difference between a workout and a training session.
I would say the pretty people try to look pretty, you know the beach muscles. As where someone like us, trains for strength, muscle, endurance and adapting our body to heavy weights.
CriticalBench: What would you tell a powerlifter if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport? Do you believe that powerlifters' have a lifestyle of their own?
In my experience going to the next level is a lot of little things, things that normal people don't look at or know what to look for. Shoring up all the loose ends will take you to the next level. Do all you can do and more constantly changing to keep your body guessing, everything from the way you train, what you eat, the calories you eat, your gear and how well it fits you.
Look at all the little things and break it down and go a step at a time. Powerlifting great Travis Mash told me powerlifting isn't a sprint it's a marathon, so go slow and pace yourself. You don't get brownie points for getting there fast. I've met a lot of powerlifters and they all have different lifestyles but in a way yes I will say they have lifestyles of their own because, all or most of your time is devoted to the gym .
CriticalBench: How driven would people say you are about being a powerlifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
I would say if you talk to someone who knows me personally they would say I'm a driven person. I have a passion for powerlifting, I love doing it and I have a lot of fun. I have met some great friends through powerlifting. I think outside the gym, it carries over into my lifestyle I'm very goal oriented I have expectations for myself and I try to live my life the way I'm supposed to live.
CriticalBench: How has powerlifting made you a stronger person away from the sport?
It's taught me to bounce back from adversity in powerlifting. You have a couple bad meets in a row, do you give up or go back to the drawing board and try and fix? What you are doing wrong, same in life, when life throws you a left hook that you didn't see coming, it's taught me to bounce back and move forward.
CriticalBench: Do you have any training partners? How has they helped? Tell us about WESTSIDE BARBELL.
Training at Westside Barbell my whole career has allowed me to train with the best. I have had the honor to train with Chuck Vogelpohl, John Stafford, Louie Simmons and Matt Smith. The list goes on and on and on but currently I train with Joe Jester, Jason Fry, Brad Bishop, Bob Coe, Jeff "gritter" Adams, Louie Simmons on occasion, mike but we call him BULL, John Kerr, Amy Wiseberger and Arnold Coleman. For the most part I will say this, your training partners are everything and if you don't have good training partners, it will reflect on your lifting. They are the ones that tell you when you are doing something wrong and that's how you get better. I had Bob Coe bring me up through the sport and if weren't for his help I wouldn't be at the level I'm at now. Westside Barbell is a gym full of tradition and pride.
The second you walk in that door you better be prepared to go to work or get out. You are always reminded of what you have to achieve which is on the famous chalk board with the best weight class lifts, some of the best powerlifters in history are on that board, Chuck Vogelpohl, Tony Bologone, Greg Panora, the list goes on. Everyone in there is strong and wants to move big weights around, the environment there is unlike any other gym, you have to come to Westside Barbell to experience it.
CriticalBench: What are your workouts like? How are they setup? What training methodology do you follow?
Get the Westside book of methods it's all in there. Most of the training comes straight from Louie. A small, small percentage are things I have been taught by top lifters that I incorporated into my game plan, Westside training methods brought me to the level I am today I think that's the best way to train.
CriticalBench: How did you end up at WESTSIDE BARBELL?
After I left Murphs gym I went to a gym called Big House Powerlifting, I was there for about 2 weeks and Travis Fletcher told me that Louie Simmons wanted meet me so I was like heck yea! I went and met and talked with Lou and did a work out. I was nervously sweating bullets because he was watching me the whole time and here I am the 16 yr old kid thrown to the wolves. I learned really really REALLY quickly how things were to be and how things are. It was put up or get the F*&% out. So long story short that's how I came to Westside and have pretty much been there ever since.
CriticalBench: What bench shirt do you use and why? Do you have any tips about how to get your bench shirt and use it to get the most of your lifting efforts?
I use a double ply Karin's Extreme denim bench shirt. It's the only bench shirt I have ever used. It has lasted all 7 years of my powerlifting career and it's still running strong! If it isn't broke don't fix it! I never changed shirts because I always made continual progress so I just went with it and I'm still getting PR's today. Well sadly I can't even get another shirt because I think Karin stopped making bench shirts so it would be hard to obtain a Karin's. But I like denim, I think if you know how they work they are just as good if not better than anything out there now.
CriticalBench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
Pick your exercises right, don't go balls out every work out, be consistent and do a lot of volume work.
CriticalBench: What drives you as a lifter? What is your mindset like during training?
I just want to be the best, I want to be number 1. My mindset in training is very focused. When I start slacking I think to myself, who's training harder me or my opposition? Do they want it more than me ?
CriticalBench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
To be honest I couldn't even tell you because no training cycle is the same. I do something different every time.
CriticalBench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear is cheating?
No I think that's stupid to think. It's cheating when I enter a raw bench meet with a bench shirt on. To think using a bench shirt is cheating is shallow, it's a part of the sport that has evolved. To take it to the next level you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. If you want to bench raw, more power to you. I want to bench the biggest weight I can.
CriticalBench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
I think there is a time and a place for everything. I believe you should have good balance between geared lifting and raw training. I believe one compliments the other. Learning gear will help with better technique; better technique leads to strength gains and minimal if any injuries.
CriticalBench: What do you think is the reason for all the big numbers as of late like Kennelly's 1075 and Frankl's freakish total or Hoornstra's raw strength? Has strength training evolved?
Those 3 mentioned are special lifters they are one of a kind, they have had the genetics as well as the mental drive and will to do what they do, and that's what sets them apart from the rest. I never thought I would see a 1000 lbs bench but obviously anything is achievable. It's do you want it bad enough?
CriticalBench: Do you think the standards went up in the sport?
In a way I believe they have. Judging for the most part is impartial and fair. I would rather miss than get a gift and I'm sure most lifters feel the same way.
CriticalBench: What is your nutrition like now?
I had to lose some weight; I was too big and didn't feel too peppy. I dropped to 242's. I use a lot of Get Diesel Nutrition. That guy has some good test boosters I think are great, also at large nutrition. I have a high protein diet, usually eating a lot of red meat and fish. I bring in chicken when I don't feel like fish.
CriticalBench: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
New gear every so often and eventually I would like to grow to be a full 275. I was 257 lifting in the 275's so down the road I would like to be a solid 275 at that weight I think I will have better leverages.
CriticalBench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
First and foremost Louie Simmons. He gave me the opportunity to be what I am today and he has been very generous, giving and the road would have been a lot harder had he not been there. Bob Coe for keeping me injury free and the motivation and drive he instilled in me. That man put a lot of time into me. Chuck Vogelpohl, not only for inspiration, but if it weren't for him I would have never gotten out of my squat funk. He getting me on the right track contributed to my squat coming back. He also taught me how to deadlift the way I should. Phil Harrington taught me a lot about training and going to the next level. Also all my training partners and teammates at Westside Barbell, they keep me motivated and on track.