Brad Gillingham: "Train Like an Animal, but . . ."

With his win at the recent USAPL Nationals in St. Louis, Brad Gillingham has racked up seven national championships titles (five USAPL, one USPF and one USAPL Masters), and now he's headed back to the IPF World Championships, where's he's already struck gold twice. At 41, what's Brad Gillingham's secret?

Two-time IPF World Champion Brad Gillingham will be back at the IPF Worlds this year. IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Brad Gillingham.
Two-time IPF World Champion Brad Gillingham will be back at the IPF Worlds this year. IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Brad Gillingham.

"My training this winter was very strong," Brad Gillingham said. "I do a different type of off-season training where I use a lot of Olympic lifting movements. The real meat of this program is the 1974 Soviet Union Front Squat Program. I was able to hit a PR of four sets of five reps with 490 pounds . . . not up to the standards of an Olympic super heavyweight, but for this aging powerlifter, this was a good mark for me to hit.

"I was prepared to pull the elusive 400 kg at a deadlift exhibition at the Arnold Classic in March. I had hit a PR 1,105 power rack deadlift from just above the knees in training. I attempted 876 and at my knees the collar loosened and the weight shifted. I got twisted and injured my hip and back. This really slowed up my training.

"I came back strong after recovering and hit a PR 5 x 5 with 601 in the back squat this spring, with no belt/no gear. I was pretty confident of my strength levels coming into the meet until I had a slight hamstring strain during my last light squat session. My hamstring was real tight leading up to the meet and I was not sure if I was going to be able to compete. My father's [Green Bay Packer great, Gale Gillingham] and Wade's [GNC Grip Gauntlet champion, Wade Gillingham] advice was to get after it in warm ups and see if it would loosen up. Fortunately it felt good enough to compete and I was able to win the gold at Nationals."

If you think Brad's been backing off lately, listen up.

"My training has actually become more intense every year," Brad said. "I am pushing myself harder and harder, knowing that my years of competing at a high level are numbered. With this being said, my advice to aging lifters is to train as usual, but know when to take a workout off when necessary. When I was younger, I always felt if I didn't push through an injury and I decided to go light on occasion, that I would get weak. I have learned that sometimes rest is the answer."

Summing things up, Brad said: "Train like an animal, but know when to take a break on occasion. Make sure to take in the proper nutrition," and knowing what it takes to stoke his engine, Brad added, " . . . I am fortunate to be a part of Team GNC Pro-Performance."

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