Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Pilot Point powerlifter Matt Poursoltani looking to break state record in total pounds; 700-pound bench press will play big role
Editor's note: On Saturday at the state powerlifting meet in Abilene, Texas, Matt Poursoltani outdid himself. The senior bench pressed 700 pounds, breaking his personal best of 670 set at last week’s regional meet in Ponder. Click here to see the video.
PILOT POINT — There was no spring break vacation for Matt Poursoltani last week.
The Pilot Point senior instead joined a dozen of his powerlifting teammates in the fieldhouse behind their high school, working out for next week’s state meet.
A workout with Poursoltani, though, is far from ordinary. He stacks 335 pounds onto a bar for his warm-up lifts, then methodically increases the load for each subsequent repetition. The room goes quiet before each set, and onlookers watch with eyes wide and jaws agape.
At last week’s regional meet in Ponder, Poursoltani broke his own state record by benching 670 pounds. The 18-year-old is the only high school powerlifter in Texas to eclipse the 600-pound mark, and he’ll go for 700 during Saturday’s state meet in Abilene.
“It just blew off my chest,” Poursoltani said of his record-breaking lift. “Six-seventy is a lot of weight. The way it went up was smooth and had rhythm.”
Poursoltani, at 5-10 and 270 pounds, is short and stout. His rounded face is supported by a thick neck and protruding chest, and his legs are like a couple of tree trunks that get rooted in the ground with every deadlift.
His teammates and coach have taken to calling him “The Freak Show” because of his almost superhuman strength. The Converse All-Stars he wears are emblazoned with the Batman logo, but The Hulk would seem to be a more appropriate superhero.
“He doesn’t have a superpower,” Poursoltani said of Batman. “He just uses what he has.”
Poursoltani didn’t start lifting until eighth grade, benching roughly 255 pounds during his first year.
Pilot Point powerlifting coach Jody Allen was certain Poursoltani had peaked as a sophomore, when he benched 435 pounds at the state meet. The veteran coach said he has never seen an athlete with Poursoltani’s size and build continue to progress after such an impressive showing.
At the time, his bench was exceeded by a 530-pound squat and 500-pound deadlift. But his upper body caught up after Poursoltani, a defensive lineman, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a football game against Celina in 2011.
Going against a recommended workout regimen, Poursoltani started benching every day. Then, despite warnings from his doctor, he continued to do lower-body workouts in the winter. He took third at state last year and benched 570 pounds.
“I’ve actually seen young kids go and bench every day,” Allen said. “Theoretically it’s not good for you or healthy for you. It’s not the way you want to go. But I’ve seen a lot of kids get stronger for it.”
Adds Poursoltani: “I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.”
The senior eats six sunny-side-up eggs every morning along with whatever meat he can get his hands on. Bacon, sausage and cans of tuna have all become staples in his diet.
He eats protein-rich foods but eschews protein shakes. Lunch is usually a sandwich with cold cuts, and one recent dinner consisted of two 16-ounce steaks and collard greens.
He has been asked by friends, fans and even by his teammates if he uses steroids. He confidently tells all of them no.
“If you need something to help you work out, you need to get out of the sport,” Poursoltani said. “If you can’t drive yourself that hard to come in here and work out, then it’s probably just not for you.”
Along with his squat and deadlift, the senior is going to try to eclipse the state record of 2,005 total pounds set by Columbia’s Jordan Barret in 2007. Poursoltani scored a combined 1,900 at regionals, and he is confident he’ll surpass 2,005 on Saturday.
Getting there will require his 700-pound bench to be successful.
“I’m going to be totally amped up for that,” Poursoltani said. “That’s just crazy. Nobody is going to beat that for a couple years.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.
The best and the rest
A closer look at the best bench presses at Texas regional meets. Pilot Point’s Matt Poursoltani is way ahead of the competition heading into state.
Powerlifter School Bench press (pounds)
Matt Poursoltani Pilot Point 670
Byron Lara Lubbock Cooper 525
Albert Willingham FW Western Hills 520
Willie Hights Yoakum 500
Jacob Barton Callisburg 495
Andrew Billings Waco 480
Date Event Bench press (pounds)
March 5, 2011 Regional meet 410
March 26, 2011 State meet 435
March 3, 2012 Regional meet 590
March 24, 2012 State meet 570
Jan. 19, 2013 Whitesboro Invite 600
Feb. 2, 2013 S&S Invite 625
Feb. 16, 2013 Howe Invite 640
March 9, 2013 Regional Meet 670