OUTLOOK - Joe Luther of Outlook broke his own state record in the professional class bench press for competitors in the 148 to 165-lb. weight division.
Luther accomplished the feat last month during an Iron Gladiators event in Pasco. Luther previously set the mark at 481 lbs. in 1987, and then smashed it last month with a bench press of 485.7 lbs., nearly three times his body weight.
The event also marked the first competition in which Luther attempted a bench press of 500 lbs. or more.
"When I came down I flared my elbows too early," Luther said of the unsuccessful attempt. "But I got over the jitters of trying 500 lbs. for the first time in competition."
Luther, a construction worker, ended up winning the competition in his weight class at the Pasco competition.
For awhile, he wasn't even sure he'd be able to finish the event, let alone set a state record in the process.
"When I got there they were an hour ahead of schedule," he said. "I only had five minutes to warm up. When they called me up, my spotter wasn't there."
With a fill-in spotter and little time to prepare, Luther's first bench press attempt was scratched because "...I wasn't centered on the bench correctly and I raised my butt off the bench," he said.
Luther's spotter showed up just in time for his second lift, a bench press of 462 lbs.
That set the stage for his state record bench press.
"I don't know whether it was that my nervousness subsided about disqualifying, but 485 was my easiest," he said. "It felt like I could have done three reps (repetitions). It felt like a very easy press."
The results of the Pasco event qualified Luther for the world championships, which will be held in Reno, Nev. this November.
Luther is well familiar with the world championships, having won six first-place trophies in his weight class.
But he's still excited to be advancing to worlds.
"I'm really, really looking forward to it," he says. "I want to shoot for 520 lbs. at worlds. If I can even break 500 I'll be happy with myself."