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Ernie Lilliebridge JR Interview

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As a member of “the strongest family on the planet”, Ernie Lilliebridge JR does not disappoint. With lifts such as an 800 Lb Deadlift, 750 Squat, and 500 Bench, Ernie’s on his way to the top of his class. We are proud to present: Ernie Lilliebridge JR.

LIFT: Can you tell us a little about yourself, give us a little background?

I started powerlifting when I was twelve with my dad. At that time my dad trained me on and off until the age of sixteen when I became very serious about powerlifting, and haven’t stopped since.

I have always lifted raw, but in 2007 I started to incorporate gear into my lifting when I began training with team Zenzen. I competed for a year in gear and stopped after I suffered a severe injury while squatting at a meet. I had 760lbs on my back when it happened. I herniated two discs and had one bulged disc in my back. This has impacted all of my raw lifts dramatically! I could not lift for two months, took off six months of squatting, went through two years of therapy, talked to many doctors who wanted me to quit powerlifting forever, and had to finally give into having three cortisone shots in my back. This is something I am totally against and did not want to do. I still have pain when I squat, could not arch as well, and lost grip strength in my hands. I have worked to overcome these issues for many years now by training as much as possible, therapy, changing my form while squatting, going to the chiropractor, and setting high goals for myself.

As I recovered from this injury I decided to quit geared lifting all together. When I lifted in gear I never felt proud of what I lifted. I always felt like I wasn’t the one really lifting the weight. Almost like saying I am bullet proof because I have on a bullet proof vest. Then when I take it off I no longer am. As of today’s date I have officially tied my best geared total RAW! I would have beaten it if I made all my lifts.

LIFT: What is your height, weight, and best lifts?

Height: 5’10 Weight: When I am not training for a meet I am around 230ish and when gearing up for a meet I get up to 240ish

Best lifts raw in a meet: Squat- 661lbs bench-435lbs deadlift-777lbs

Best gym lifts raw: Squat- 710lbs bench-500lbs touch and go deadlift- 780lbs

Best geared lifts in a meet: squat 744lbs bench 500lbs as a teenager 19 years old 220 weight class I always deadlifted raw.


LIFT: What made you decide to pursue powerlifting?

I grew up watching my dad compete in USAPL powerlifting meets. I was always amazed that my dad was competing raw and beating the geared lifters.

As a teenager I wrestled in high school. I wanted to become stronger so that I could beat the other kids. My dad helped me by teaching me ways to gain strength. As I continued wrestling and lifting at home I started to have conflicts with the two sports. As a wrestler I needed to stay at a certain weight or drop weight. I felt that I couldn’t get any stronger at the weight my wrestling coaches wanted me to compete at. I enjoyed powerlifting more then wrestling so I started to focus 100% on powerlifting. I really enjoy lifting with my dad and brother.

LIFT: What are your other hobbies or interests?

I am definitely a family guy. I love to spend time with wife and two children by going out to see movies, traveling, going to my son’s sports games, and going to amusement parks, etc. I enjoy racing. I have two 10 second street cars that I like to take to the drag strip. This is another sport that I enjoy with my dad and brother. I like racing and working on nice cars.

LIFT: Do you do any other forms of exercise outside of the gym?

Currently no. I used to do cardio and run a lot outside the gym. I ran 1.5 miles each day. I finally got my time down to 11min 52 seconds. It didn’t help my lifting at all. It made me lean and loose weight. I could maintain my lifts but could not make any gains.

LIFT: What does your training look like?

As of right now I only get to train two days a week: Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. I work a lot during the week and like to dedicate at least one day as a family day. I bench on Wednesdays and rotate heavy squats and heavy deadlifts every other Saturday. However, on my light days I do both light squat and light deadlifts on the same day. I also do a lot of accessory work on both days.

LIFT: How do feel training with your dad and brother has improved your lifting?

Honestly, if I did not have them I do not think I would be where I am at today. Not only has my dad coached me and taught me everything he knows; he has been a big support. He encourages me to set and achieve higher goals, he pushes me to be my best, and he has never missed one of my meets. My brother is my training partner. We grew up together so we know each other’s strengths well. He also encourages me to do my best, writes all of my training cycles, and calls some of my numbers at meets.

Ernie SR, Eric, and Ernie JR

Ernie SR, Eric, and Ernie JR

LIFT: What is your diet like?

Gearing up for a meet I try to eat anything and everything to keep and gain strength, drink about five gallons of milk a week, drink a lot of water, and drink four 16 oz. protein shakes a day. Off cycle I clean up my diet by eating lean meet like a lot of chicken, drink many small protein shakes throughout the day, drink a lot of water, and eat a lot of high fiber foods.

LIFT: What powerlifter do you feel has had the most influence on you?

My dad by far. He has been through many injuries and just comes back stronger. He has had many surgeries, blown out knees, detached tricep, numerous pec tears, hamstring tears, and like I said he is able to rehab himself and come back stronger. He is a warrior!

Ernie Lilliebridge deep squat

LIFT: What is your mindset before approaching a new personal record?

Before approaching a new pr I just try to get my mind in the right zone. It’s more of a mental thing. I am thinking about completing the lift. I try to get some aggression going and put that momentum into the lift.

LIFT: What is your most memorable moment thus far?

For sure my 777lbs deadlift! I suffered an injury during squats at that meet. During warm ups I had 525lbs on my back when another lifter threw the rack back in too early. I hit the rack and popped a rib out of place. My belt lodged under my rib causing it to pop. Dr. Rob was able to pop it back in for me after squats and gave me some pain medication so that I could compete. I would have had 800 in me for sure that day but even with an injury I was still able to finish the meet with a PR pull and a national record!


LIFT: What drives you as a lifter?

There are goals that I want to meet and records that I want to hold. I want to be the number one 242lber in the nation. As of right now I am currently ranked number 6 in the nation and I just missed the number 2 spot by missing my third attempt squat and deadlift at the last meet.

LIFT: What lift are you most proud of?

I would have to say my squat right now. Since my back injury my squat is finally coming around! I am finally hitting some of the big numbers that I have worked so hard for; for so long.

LIFT: What are your goals for the upcoming year? What meets do you have planned in the future?

My goals for the upcoming year are to total 2000 plus raw at 242lbs and taking the number one 242 spot in the nation. The meets that I have planned thus far are SPF Pro/AM meet in March and UPA Nationals in April.


LIFT: Give me 5 factors you feel every lifter should know to make gains.

1. Proper training

2. Proper forms for each lift

3. Eat and get enough rest

4. Supplements to take such as protein, glucosamine, glutamine, fish oil omega 3s, etc. I get a lot of my stuff from USP Labs and Gorilla Pharma

5. Have a positive attitude, set goals, and do not give up. Push yourself!

LIFT: What would you like to see change in powerlifting?

I would like to see it more unified. Having one federation would make things way less confusing. As of now there are a ton of federations and every federation has its own world champions with individual federation record holders. There really is no number one spot. There are many number one spots in each weight class when you count all the federations. I believe the only way the sport will get any credit or ever be considered to be in the Olympics is if everyone plays by the same set of rules and it goes back to raw lifting completely. Also, I would like there to be more money in powerlifting. It is a very expensive sport but very hard to earn any money back. You always see golfers, baseball players, football players, etc. that make millions of dollars a year but when it comes to powerlifting there is no money to be found.

Ernie’s Latest Meet Video – 11/17/2012

Ernie’s Youtube channel:

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