Meet Team PRS’s Newest Member: Paul Key

By: Morgan Colling

“Who is Paul Key?” I asked the team when I went to Jacksonville for our SWOT session. The silence in response to my question was deafening; now in my defense, I am extremely uncultured when it comes to equipped lifting. Little did I know, though, that in the short amount of time that I’ve personally known Paul, he would completely turn my bench around in addition to a number of other PRS team members.


Paul – like many other lifters – started his athletic career playing football. After graduating high school with multiple offers to play on the collegiate level, he ended up playing for Valdosta Sate University in Valdosta, GA for three years. “That was where I was first introduced to a programmed style of lifting,” Key said. “I found that I excelled at the bench press and had the biggest bench on the team.”

After college, Paul moved to Ohio and was encouraged by a friend to compete in a bench-only meet at a local gym. He competed raw and was hooked from there. Just a short year later, Paul was introduced to bench shirts and entered an equipped meet, where he benched 585 and drew the attention of Louie Simmons. He was invited to train at Westside Barbell and that’s where things started taking off.

A year later, he was benching 755 and before relocating from Ohio, 800 pounds. Eventually, Paul completely ruptured his right pec tendon from his upper arm at the WPO Bench Bash, where he was attempting to qualify for the Arnold Classic. He rehabbed this injury on his own and resumed his competitive career. After moving to Georgia, Paul met Jon Grove and Steve Goggins, who invited him to train at North Georgia Barbell. He continued to bench well over 800 in competitions and came very close to a 915 attempt.

At the peak of his benching, Paul endured another injury, which ended up forcing him to retire from competition entirely when he completely ruptured his rotator cuff tendon in his right shoulder. Now in Jacksonville, FL, Paul is on the other side now – helping coach Team Samson and Team PRS lifters in the bench press. “I want to continue training and work my way back to a 500 raw bench at 242,” Key said. “With the injuries I have accrued during my career, I think that this will be a good goal to set for myself and give me something to train for.”


Paul has been powerlifting competitively for 16 years and brings a vast amount of meet experience, training knowledge, and coaching ability to our team here at Power Rack Strength. “Competing at some of the biggest meets and lifting and learning at some of the most elite gyms in the country, I feel like my knowledge of bench press training will be unique to Team PRS.”

Paul has been training with Team Samson for four years now and although he hasn’t been actively competing, he has been training and working with Brian Carroll and Jon Byrd and has recently had the opportunity to meet and talk with several of the other team coaches. “I am impressed with their professionalism and ability. Coaching can be a difficult endeavor,” Key said. “There are obstacles that, as a lifter, you just don’t see. I enjoy my role as a coach.”

[When asked how Team PRS differs from competitors]: “This team has a great group of lifters that encompasses all aspects of the lifting arena. Team PRS has great raw and equipped lifters that cover females and males, 114 weight class to 308. This diversity allows Team PRS to represent well at all levels of lifting. It shows that the 10/20/Life philosophy works for all kinds of lifters from the beginner to the elite, small lifters to big, raw and equipped, male and female.”

Paul’s current goals include continuing to coach lifters to personal records in addition to working his way back toward a 500 raw bench. “I have several injuries that will make this a challenge for me,” Key said. “However, I feel like it will give me a chance to work on new things in my training that will make me a better coach and lifter.


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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at
Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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