Friday, 8 May 2009

Brad Gillingham Interview

Today is a very special day as we have an interview with one of my powerlifting idols, yes its none other than the powerful Brad Gillingham. For those of you who don't know of Brad Gillingham (there cant be many of you!) then his achievements speak for themselves:

  • 4 time IPF World Champion
  • 4 time IPF World Silver Medalist
  • 2001 IWGA World Games Silver Medalist
  • 5 time North American Champion
  • 9 Time USAPL National Champion
  • IPF Hall of Fame
  • North American Powerlifting Hall of Fame
  • 65 competition deadlifts over 800 Lbs
Now its time to get on with the interview and find out what makes Brad Gillingham the amazing strength athlete he is.


What made you start out in Powerlifting and how old were you?

My father Gale Gillingham is in the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. He played 11 seasons with the Packers and played in Super Bowl I and II. He did all of his off season training at our home located in the small town of Little Falls, Minnesota.

There were no health clubs or gyms to train at in rural Minnesota in the 1960's and 1970's when he was playing pro ball. All of his weight training was done at home in the garage or the basement. My brothers Karl and Wade and I grew up around weight training and began training with weights at an early age. We all played Basketball in high school and I was in track and field.

After high school Karl was the first to compete in Powerlifting and eventually Wade and I followed. Karl and Wade eventually turned into Strongman Competitors, and I have mainly concentrated on Powerlifting. I have also competed in 2 Arnold Classic Strongman competitions. Karl has become one of top Professional Strongmen in the World and Wade has become well known as having one of the strongest grips in the World.

How did you become professional?

I became a professional in the strength training industry when I signed my first contract with GNC Pro Performance in 2001. I am now working under contract with GNC in my 9th year. Karl and Wade have also signed on with GNC and we do several shows every year promoting GNC Pro Performance products. GNC has opened up doors for me that I never envisioned would happen though their support and the travel and work that I do for them.

I have also become a much stronger and healthier athlete by taking GNC Pro Performance products. All three of us attend the Arnold and the Olympia each year and run a grip contest called the GNC Grip Gauntlet in the GNC Pro Performance booth. It has been allot of fun to be able to continue to travel and hang out with the family promoting GNC and participating in strength events together.

What is your favorite exercise in the gym?

Partial Deadlifts out of the power rack. The weights that I use have continued to increase over time. It is a real mental rush to lift heavy weights out of the Rack. I pulled 1135 from just above the knee this past year with straps. This was prior to the 2009 Arnold Classic GNC Deadlift Championship. I knew I was ready for the 881-400KG pulled based on my PR out of the rack. Partial deadlifts have always been a great indicator of my strength level.

What are your personal bests:

Most of my lifting has been done in the USAPL and IPF. The IPF has very strict requirements to complete a successful lift, and a stringent drug testing program which now follows the WADA Code. I have been drug free my entire powerlifting career.

Squat- 870 lbs (395.5 kg)
Bench Press - 633 lbs (288 kg)
Deadlift- 881 lbs (400 kg)

What does your weekly training schedule consist of?

Monday- I train my deadlift and back movements. This also includes a light squat workout consisting of front squats or box squats. I may also do power cleans and pressing movements. I typically alternate my deadlift movement every other week with either full deadlifts or partial deadlifts out of the power rack.

Wednesday-Heavy bench training. I follow bench with biceps and triceps movements along with other assistance exercises and abdominal work.

Friday-Heavy Squat training. Squats consist mainly of training a 5x5 scheme with no gear other than knee sleeves. I also train a heavy shoulder workout and/or light benches after squatting.

There are various workout templates and training advice on our gym website. Please check these out on

Where do you see your future as you have already achieved so much?

I would like to keep competing and try to get stronger as long as I can. After I can no longer make strength gains then my focus will be to try and stay strong for life. I never envision quitting lifting weights. I may have to concentrate my efforts towards a different style of lifting eventually, but I will always will lift.

Do you have any words of motivation for our readers?

Find a good program that will work for you and make adaptations to work your weak areas as necessary. Train like an Animal! Don't set any limits on how strong you can become. Stay Drug Free! Use GNC Pro Performance products to get the most out of your strength training.