BY COLLIN BROOKS
Some big weight gains are made during the Thanksgiving Holiday, but few were as big as the accomplishment that Daniel Boone strength coach — and now world record holder — Charlie Conner made just days before Turkey Day.
During the International Powerlifting Federation Open Championships in Orlando, Florida, the 105-kilogram Conner bench pressed a world record of 323.5 kilograms or 713 pounds. That was 41 pounds more than his lift last year.
“I kind of chipped away at it year-by-year,” Conner said. “A lot of people think about the bench press like an exercise to exercise your chest or triceps, I think about it as a skill set.”
The 27-year old says he enjoys the sport of powerlifting, not because of the physique it gives him — an added bonus — but because it is something that can only be earned.
“I really like it because it is something that no one else can give you, it is something that you have to earn for yourself, and that carries on into a lot of other aspects of life,” said Connor, who has been powerlifting since he was 16 years old.
World record holder isn’t Conner’s main job, he serves as a weightlifting instructor at Daniel Boone High School and also helps their athletic teams. He uses what he has learned in powerlifting to teach the kids about more than just lifting weights.
“I tell the kids that you got to have a why for what you do,” Conner said. “In my classes that is one of the first assignments that they have, you have to have a why and it has to be something bigger than yourself.
“It can’t just be that they want to get jacked and tan. That isn’t a very good reason, that isn’t going to make you do it on days that you don’t feel good.”
Conner’s why is to help America’s youth realize their strength potential and the Daniel Boone football coach and assistant principal Jeremy Jenkins says Conner is doing that and more.
“Charlie’s presence and his expertise is his field has had a tremendous impact not only in athletics but our whole school environment,” Jenkins said. “Charlie does an excellent job in teaching the fundamentals of lifting and using the proper technique and Daniel Boone wouldn’t be the same without him.
Conner helped strengthen the football team, which could have been one of the many reason that they jumped from a 1-9 record last year, to a second place finish in Region 1-5A.
“All I can really do is give them guidance, they are the ones that give them all the work,” Conner said. “The only days they missed from Thanksgiving to the season were snow days that we couldn’t get here. That’s it, those are the only days we took off. They were in here on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day; they were in here.”
With his only competition of the year out of the way, Conner said he was able to enjoy Thanksgiving, but healthy eating has become such a habit that he didn’t gorge himself like some might expect. He is always thinking about the next meet.
With his third place finish that included a squat of 380 kg and deadlift of 282.5 kg, totaling 986 kg with his bench press, he will now prepare himself for the World Games that take place in Poland in July 2017.
From now until then, he will try to add to his world record bench press, which is something that he said he thinks he can do.
He used a quote from a former Strongest Man Bill Kazmaier to sum up his thought process.
“‘If you want to bench more, you’ve got to bench more’,” Conner said. “And I think that is true.”