Look at him now

Alex Jensen deadlifts his personal record of 507 pounds at a powerlifting competition in December. Photo by Adam Steiger.

Throughout his entire life, Alex Jensen was told the same thing over and over: “Wow, you’re really skinny.”

For some, that may be a compliment. But for Jensen, a Castleton freshman, it wasn’t. He was tired of it. Jensen knew he needed to make a change.

For most people, going to the gym and working out is just a New Year’s resolution that doesn’t sustain for long. But as a sophomore in high school, Jensen had heard he was skinny for the last time. So, he made the gym into a lifestyle.

In the fall of 2014, Jensen weighed just 128 pounds.

“My initial goal was to just gain weight. Obviously I didn’t want to get fat, but I wanted to gain weight, and put on muscle if I could,” explained Jensen.

Jensen started off by playing around with weights in his basement. Eventually, he joined a gym and started lifting weights after practices, unsure of what exactly he was doing. But it was his friends, Kyle Brackett and Matt Wargo that set Jensen on the right path.

“They were both inspirations. They definitely helped me out a lot with technique and eating, all that stuff that has to do with gaining weight and muscle.” Jensen said.

Jensen went into his junior year weighing in at 155 pounds. Although he had packed on 27 pounds, he attributed most of that weight gain to a larger appetite.

“During the first two years of just eating and messing around, it was, yes, muscle, and I definitely felt like I was getting stronger, but it was a lot of fat too.” Jensen explained.

Alex Jensen competes in cross country as a high school sophomore. Photo by Tim Jensen.

    When senior year came along, Jensen had packed on another 27 pounds, this time weighing in at 182 pounds. At this point, he knew he was building more muscle than fat.

In just two years, Jensen went from scrawny sophomore, to strong senior. During this time span, he tried out many different workout programs to achieve his goals, including one imitating that of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. But what really boosted his development was the help of his friends, Brackett and Wargo.

Three years since beginning his journey, Jensen found himself participating in local powerlifting competitions. Jensen competed in his first competition put on by the United States Powerlifting Association in June of 2017. By December of 2017, he’d competed in his second.

The competitions consisted of three different lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Each lifter gets three attempts at each lift. In June, Jensen’s maximum squat was 325 pounds, his max bench-press was 225 pounds, and his max deadlift was 440 pounds. Come December, he used the maximum weights from his first competition as his first attempts.

Jensen ended up squatting 370, bench-pressed 225, and deadlifted an incredible 507 pounds, a personal record. In just six months, he increased his max squat by 45 pounds and his max deadlift by 67 pounds.

    In November of 2016, Jensen could squat just 265 pounds, bench press only 195 pounds, and deadlift 365 pounds. A little over one month removed from his last competition, Jensen is now squatting 405 and bench-pressing 265, while his deadlift remains at 507. The strength improvement he’s had in just a three-year span is remarkable, but he is, by no means, done yet. Jensen’s goals continue to progress. In the short-term, he hopes to squat over 500 pounds and bench press over 300. In the long-term, Jensen wants to eventually be able to deadlift 700 pounds.

In addition to that, he hopes to increase interest and participation in powerlifting throughout the country and would love to someday start a powerlifting team. A few recommendations Jensen has for those who want to begin gaining strength: correct programming, correct eating, and training with stronger people.

Alex Jensen went from a 128-pound high school sophomore to a college freshman deadlifting 507 pounds in just three years, but he attributes these gains to his hard work and dedication most of all. Currently, Jensen continues to pursue his new goals while helping his friends train, much like his friends helped him. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for this 18-year-old powerlifter.

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