03 May GETTING TO KNOW TEAM PRS: KEN WHETHAM
What’s your name, where do you live, what gym do you lift out of, and why do you train and compete?
Ken Whetham. I live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) in Ontario Canada. I train at our home “Outlaw” gym, where we have a team of competitive powerlifters that train and compete together. I have always involved myself in competitive sports throughout my life; hockey, football, Kettlebell Sport, Firefighter Combat Challenge and now, powerlifting. I fell in love with powerlifting. It allows you to train and push yourself beyond limitations to the fine line of success, or failure.
Tell us your story-what brought you to this point where you are today:
I have always been involved in strength training to one degree or another for most of my life. I fell in love with powerlifting after attending the XPC finals at The Arnold’s a few years ago and was “awe-struck” at the strength of lifters like Brian Carroll, Al Mehan, Clint Smith, etc. It seemed like everybody was squatting 1000+ lbs and it blew my mind. I came home after the Arnold weekend and reached out to the president of the Canadian Powerlifting Federation to see if there was anyone in my area that I could train with and learn how to powerlift.
I was fortunate to get in touch with Clint Harwood, who is one of the best-equipped benchers in Canada. Clint ran a small home gym in Toronto called the Anvil. I started to train every week with a group of equipped lifters who helped me figure out how to lift in gear. I did my first meet and squatted 705, benched 429 and deadlifted 606 lbs – I was hooked. I continued to train with the Anvil Crew and did a few competitions; gathered more experience and kept progressing with my lifts. Eventually, Clint left Toronto for his profession and my wife Sheri, and I started collecting equipment for our powerlifting gym. A few lifters from the Anvil began coming to train with us at our new gym, and over the past few years, we’ve collected a great group of dedicated lifters who have brought our team to fruition.
What are your personal best lifts?
Switching gears, but we will come back to the lifting aspect in a moment. What are your interests outside of strength sports?
Spending time with my family is numero-uno. I also love music and playing the guitar.
What are two things you have learned over the last two years that have made you a better athlete and person?
I’ve learned how important it is to listen to your body and be flexible with training expectations. I work a screwed up schedule of 24-hour shifts as a firefighter and my work schedule changes every week. I’m always making adjustments to my training to accommodate work/sleep, and I don’t get upset if everything isn’t perfect. Another lesson I’ve recently learned is that doing the small things outside of the main lifts make the most significant difference in your training. Trying to do daily rehab and injury prevention movements allow you to do the main lifts more efficiently. Paying attention to the small things make the most significant difference.
What is the biggest mistake, or regret you have pertaining to training/competition?
I think the biggest mistakes I’ve made was pushing through training sessions when my body was telling me otherwise. I’ve made simple injuries worse and lengthened the time it took to heal up by being too ego driven. I recently rehabbed my back injury back to 100% with the help of Dr. Stu McGill and Brian Carroll, for which I am so thankful. I regret not going to seek Stu’s advice earlier.
Knowing what you do now, what would you go back and tell a younger version of you ten years ago?
Be patient. You will get stronger, but it won’t happen overnight. Seek advice from people who have accomplished similar goals to yours. Learn from as many people as you can. Everyone has something to contribute.
What do you bring to Team PRS that you feel is unique?
I am 53 years old. As an older lifter, I think I can give a different perspective to training and recovery that will be helpful to younger lifters. I hope that lifting into my 50’s would be inspirational to anyone who thinks this sport is for people in their twenties and thirties.
Who are your mentors/biggest influences-who do you look to for advice and help?
I have a pretty extensive list of amazing people I can reach out to for help with different issues. On the rehab side, I look to Dr. Stu McGill and Dr. Ken Kinakin for advice and guidance. For lifting, I’m lucky to have people like Brian Carroll, Louie Simmons and Chad Aichs that I’ve reached out for help and guidance. If I need to be talked off the edge of a cliff, I talk to my good friend Clint Harwood who is always a voice of reason. I also rely on my training partners that I train with. All that being said, nobody knows me better than my better half, Sheri.
When I was in my late teens, early twenties I played in a rock band for a living. Playing six nights a week doing a Rush/Led Zepplin tribute. I used to drag race cars and had a Top Sportsman 1932 Ford pick-up truck with 598 cubic inch nitrous big block, that went 7:70’s at 175 mph in the ¼ mile.
Thank you for your time! Anything else you’d like to add?
I have six amazing kids and four amazing grandbabies.
Make sure to watch for articles and weekly log posts from Ken every week on PowerRackStrength.com/author/kenwhethamprs/