Chris Taylor

Joseph Brown sent  this question to the Strength List

 I was wondering if you would consider telling us about your past competitive history.  Now that your on the eve of a 700 pound Bench Press, I  think a lot of would like to know where you started, how old you were, how  you trained, etc...

 Any chance?

 and Big Chris replied thusly:


I started out weight training when I was a kid -   age 12. I  was a short kid and I played football.. I needed an edge because I would get the  crap knocked out of me.. So dad  bought me a weight set.... I learned how to bench press but I had no bench  so what I would do is set the barbell on the seat of a chair.. Then I would lay on the floor of my room  put my head under the chair and take the weight off the seat and bring it down till my  arms  hit the floor (does this sound familiar to any of you).  I didn't really know  about sets and reps i just would increase weight when i thought it was too light... 
        The next season I started to workout with my friends.. I was still struggling trying to get first string D tackle so i had to get bigger and stronger.. After a while I was out lifting all my friends.. I finally  got  the position...  The next season I was going to High School. In my town  we  have one school from 7th to 12th grade... This was cool  cause now we had the school weight room to train in.. 
        A couple of years go by and  I think I was in 9th grade. This new coach came to the school and he decided that we were all going to test out I was around 16 at the time. I was about  5'3'' and maybe 190 lbs. Well I never squatted in my life till that day. The coach showed us  all how and so I ended up with 350 squat. Then it was on to the bench press. I  never went that heavy when I trained I only did sets of 10 back then.. I  ended up benching 365 but it was a touch and go  no pause..  Then we 
deadlifted I deadlifted  350  and again I never deadlifted before .. My first 
total  LOL  .... 
        The coach  told me  about this sport called powerlifting and he thought i would be good at it...  He  gave me a magazine PLUSA It had Ted Arcidi on the cover with the words 711 lbs..  and showed me how to look up  coming meets... I said  ok and I entered one in the summer before football  started.. My first meet was when I  had just turned 17 . It was a bench meet. 
       I weighed in at 192 lbs.. I stared to see all these freaky guys walking around 
and I'm thinking  what the hell did I get myself into. I did a 315 opener and then went to 345 on my second got that.. Then went to 365 for my third I  forgot to pause but made the lift.. I took second place by formula to a kid named Louie,  Me and Louie have been friends ever since... He made that 365 that day and beat me. He never beat me again ...... 
        I had the great opportunity to see this guy named Chris Confessore  he was  going to be the guest lifter after all of us were done.. We were all waiting for him ..  He  was ready to  lift so here i am watching this human fire hydrant stomp his 
way to the platform... He was the biggest short guy i ever seen....  That day 
he weighed in at 181  He made his third attempt at  565.... That was over 
triple his weight.. I was in awe.. And right there I knew what I wanted to do. I was hooked.. 
        The next few years I did one bench meet every year.  Then I saw that there was going to be a meet at a new gym called Iron Island.. So I entered  in it.. I had grown now and I was around 205 and 5'6''. I think i was 19.. I went to the meet and I bought one of these blast shirts out of the magazine.. 
I made a third attempt with 501 that day... After the meet  I  thought to myself that it was time to learn how to squat and deadlift.. So  I joined Iron Island gym...  These guys at the gym took me in and  taught me all these new things and how to squat and deadlift .. Dr. Ken wrote me a program and  it was great.. I really have to tell you it was so cool to be amongst all these lifters that were there helping and giving their time..  Guys like Joey Almodovar  and  Frank DeMarco, Tom O'Riordan, .. So I did my first meet at 220.. I  squatted  445,  benched 480  and deadlifted 420... I  was finally a real powerlifter.. 
      Over the next couple of years my total increased and at the 96 IPA nationals I totaled 1830 at 242.. A month later we had a bench meet at Iron Island and I set a new world record at 242 I benched 590. It was a junior world record cause I was still 23 ...   In 97 I hurt my shoulder .. It set me  back some time.. I almost tore my  ac ligament in my left shoulder.. I did a meet in Nov. of 97 I came back to total 1835 but missed with 600 in the bench. 
        In  april of 98 I finally  did my 600 bench... I  started to train for APF seniors .... I went there and did 675 squat  573 bench i missed with 606 and 645 dead .. 
        The next month i went back to Illinois to do national bench meet.. I Made 606 on my second attempt to win in the 242.. I went to do the WPC World Bench Press meet In Austria.  In training for the meet 3 weeks before it i tore my supraspinatus.  I went anyway I opened with 551 because i had no idea how my shoulder was going to feel..  The bar  barely touched and it flew.. I went to 595 on second .. They gave me a 3 second pause and my shoulder was just tearing up with the bar on my chest.. I pressed it up locked it out and the head judge said rack it the spotters took the bar so fast that they pulled me with it and my feet came up...  So i get 2 red lights even though the lift was over with the rack signal.. I tried to dispute the call but without Ernie there  to back me up i had no leg to stand on ....  So i took it again on the third. As it touched it ripped my shoulder up more so i just let them take it.... The closest guy to me was from Austria   and he  squeaked out 560 on his third lift....  I usually open with 573 but since my shoulder was giving me problems i opened lighter  had i  done  it in the first place the gold would've been mine... 
        The next meet was the 99 APF Nationals.. My last meet at 242... Urchick rules this weight class in the APF... He's  unbelievable. Id like to see  him and Coon go heads up one day...  I took third place with 705 squat 612 bench and 683 dead.. After i got off the platform Urchick came up to me and shook my hand and said welcome to the 2000 club.  He's  a great guy...  That  brings us to the present.... I  just missed at
675 last weekend . I am going to do the IPA bench Nationals in york on Nov. 21...  I 
will open at 610 then to 650 then to 680-700 then maybe a 4th ;) .... God willing....  Thanx all for letting me tell my story.. 
Chris Taylor...

NOTE: Chris recently GOT HIS 650 BENCH ! 

Want to discuss this
with other lifters?
Then click here:

Reproduction of this article, in whole or part, for any purposed other than personal use is prohibited without written consent. Copyright ©1999