Former World’s Strongest Man winner Eddie Hall is never one to shy away from a challenge. His YouTube channel he has taken on a World’s Strongest Woman winner in a pound-for-pound contest, and he’s even worked out with his hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s also always game for tests of strength which are bound to end in embarrassment, like the time he tried lifting a kettlebell with his dick and balls, or when he leg pressed so much that he passed out and pooped himself.
So it should come as absolutely no surprise that Hall is well up for an afternoon of bench pressing and a chest day workout with the guy who just happens to have set a world record in the exercise.
Julius Maddox became the world record holder in the raw bench press after lifting 744 pounds in September 2019. (For contrast, the most Hall has ever benched in a contest is 285 kilograms, around 628 pounds.) Maddox recalls how, at the time, he felt he could have lifted as much as 760 pounds—but he was wise enough to stop before he strained himself too hard and risked an injury.
Maddox starts off the session by schooling Hall on his bench press technique. “When the bar is coming off the rack I’m already flexing my quads,” he says, adding that he “very rarely” does self-liftoffs in order to maintain tightness. Maddox also says that the barpath should be a “J” shape, to fully activate the triceps.
Maddox admits that he was hoping to achieve a new PR lift while shooting the video with Hall, but he spotted a few things with the gym equipment that made him reluctant to go all out—a sobering reminder that when you’re lifting that much, the slightest error can lead to a potentially life-endangering accident. “I want to live another day,” says Maddox, opting out of their bench press competition (if it can be called that) at 484 pounds.
This measured approach is something Maddox permanently keeps in mind during his training, and he always allows plenty of time to rest between sessions so as to avoid tearing muscles his muscles too much. After they’re done on the incline bench, Maddox does a series accessory moves like of lat pulldowns, which Hall notes are good for the recovery process “as it helps get blood through the muscle.” Maddox also does as many as 10 different back variations during his bench days, “simply because it all works together” and it aids his performance.
“As a strongman, I’ve always done a day of legs, a day of chest, a day of back, a day of shoulders,” says Hall. “Even with a deadlift, I’d just do the deadlift and then do my accessories on the same day, once a week, that was it. Julius has this method where for every push he does two pulls, and it makes sense, because you need those stabilizing muscles in the back to get you in that position to push forward.”