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Adam Mamola: World record strongman

On Nov. 17, Staunton resident and world renowned bench press specialist Adam Mamola set the world record in the 205-pound weight class with a lift of 664.7 pounds at a meet in Denver.

The previous record was held by Russian lifter Valentin Kiselev.

Nineteen years ago, Mamola weighed just under 120 pounds.  He was an eighth-grader at Luray High School.  The youngster participated in football and baseball and found his size a detriment to his play.  He needed to get bigger so he hit the weight room.  His brother Kevin convinced him the following year to enter a local power lifting competition being held between some local high schools.  He won first place in the 123-pound weight class.

As a senior in high school Mamola weighed about 150 pounds.  He squatted 385 pounds, benched 330 and dead lifted 485.  It was then he began concentrating on the bench press.

“A year after graduating, I started my job at Coors Brewing Company in Elkton. I decided to concentrate on bench only, because I was working a 12-hour rotating shift,” recalled Mamola. “Plus I really didn’t like to squat. It’s been a long, slow and steady road since then, for me to get to the point I am today.”

That steady road found Mamola representing the USA in 2008 as part of the International Powerlifting Federation World Bench Press Team.  The event was held in Prague in the Czech Republic in June of 2008.

The IPF is a drug free organization that follows the same guidelines as the World Anti-Doping Agency, the same organization that tests Olympic athletes.

“It was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Mamola said, “to compete against the best of the best in the world.”

The four-time national champion and Team USA World Bench Press Team member is quick to say his road has not been without pot holes and difficulties and credits several individuals for his successes.  After the 2006 national meet, Mamola bombed out with a lift of only 464 pounds.  He had always trained with people who were not as strong or as competitive as he.

“I finally started lifting with my friend, Jake Heglar,” Mamola said. “He was on the same strength level, within a few months he had me benching over 500 pounds.”

After an accident that saw Hegler being hit by a one-ton work van while sitting alongside the road waiting for help after a motorcycle mechanical problem, Mamola turned to Liberty University head strength and conditioning coach Bill Gillespie.  Gillespie was one of the top drug-free bench pressers of all time.  After 18 months of work with Gillespie, Mamola’s bench climbed to over 550 pounds.

Mamola is a seven-time American record holder and current record holder in the 181-, 198- and 220-pound classes and has won two bronze medals at the World Champonships.

He also holds the world record in the 181-pound class with a lift of 624 pounds in Atlantic City in July 2011.

Mamola plans to compete at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports festival March 2013 and then on to the IPF World Bench Championships in Lithonia in May 2013.

When not competing, Mamola enjoys camping and fishing with his wife Michelle, his daughter Michelle and son Logan as well as attending sporting events.  They live in Staunton.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press