There are times where being at the right place at the right time allows you to see things that you would never see again.
In Spring 2001, I just happened to be walking through the weight room when Larry Allen bench pressed 700 pounds and what I remember that day was how easy he was able to do it. I had been through the weight room many times before and I remember then-strength coach Joe Juraszek working with Allen every day. It was clear that he and Allen had a plan for how they were going to accomplish this goal. On this day, there was Allen lying under the bar with what appeared to be the entire weight room stacked on each side of that bar.
From Allen there was no yelling or screaming to pump himself up. He looked calm and relaxed but focused. Allen was so relaxed that he had his trade mark dip of Copenhagen in his lower lip as he positioned his hands on that bar. With Juraszek standing behind Allen in a spotting position, Allen took the bar off the rack and put it in position. Allen was one of those lifters that used a very close grip with his hands together to generate a tremendous amount of power. As the bar started down, I remember seeing it bend from the massive amount of weight, but Allen kept it steady and balanced without stopping.
As soon as that bar touched his chest, it was starting back up. Allen just drove it as we all watched in amazement. Juraszek was in position to accept the bar once it became locked out. Allen continued to drive the bar into the waiting hands of Juraszek who safely guided the bar into the rack. When Allen got the bar to safety, the room exploded. I remember Rocket Ismail diving over the top of Allen as he still was on his back after the lift. Allen then raised up sitting on the bench with this huge smile on his face. As we all huddled around him, I remember looking at Joe Juraszek and how proud he looked of what we had all witnessed with our own eyes. Juraszek and Allen had a plan and together they fulfilled it.
In my many years in sports, I have been a part of some pretty amazing feats of strength and speed, but I don’t believe I will ever see a man bench press 700 pounds again. Right place, at the right time.