Freedom of the bench press

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Age: 14

Address: 22900 Trailside Way, Albert Lea

Livelihood: freshman at Albert Lea High School

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Family: father, Andy; mother, Cherie; brothers Christopher and Forrest; sisters Charlie and Morgan

Interesting fact: He likes to play pingpong.

When Alex Seuser first started lifting weights last fall, he had a hard time benching 135 pounds.

Now, Seuser can almost bench press double that.

Seuser, who turned 14 in May, can now bench 250 pounds, squat 335 pounds and power clean 175 pounds, which makes him a member of the 700-pound club at the Albert Lea High School.

To enter the 700-pound club, the total amount lifted from bench, squat and power clean must total or be over 700 pounds.

“It was pretty cool,” Alex Seuser said. “I was psyched. I didn’t even know I could get the board or anything. Then the weight room guy told me I could one day when I was maxing out on squat. So then I maxed out for out on everything for him and he said I could be on the board.”

For Alex, a freshman this fall, the journey started last fall when his football coach, Jeff Jimenez, told his teammates and himself to start getting into the weight room and start lifting.

“It was right after football, our coach told us to start lifting,” Seuser said. “So there was a bunch of people in the weight room. Then this one guy, he’s a ninth-grader going into tenth, he told me to try 135 pounds and I got it. It was pretty hard.”

Alex continued to lift and admitted that even though the bench press was easy to figure out, he didn’t learn the right technique for the squat and cleans until later on in the winter when he talked with Jerry Bizjak.

“Bizjak taught me,” Seuser said. “He taught me how to clean, how low to get on the squat and stuff like that. The bench press was pretty easy.”

And to help encourage their son to keep lifting, Andy and Cherie Seuser decided to buy a weight set for Alex to use at home.

Andy Seuser said he thinks it was one of the keys in Alex’s development in the weight room.

“I know we bought the weight set for him and I think that was key,” Andy Seuser said. “New toys are always fun. But so far, he’s kept it not as a new toy, he’s kept using it.”

“I really didn’t know too much about weights or anything,” Cherie Seuser said. “I was just supportive. If dad thought he should have a weight bench, then get it for him.”

Andy was also quick to point out that he is very thankful for the coaches as well for helping Alex along in the weight room.

“I thank goodness for all these great guys in the community,” Andy Seuser said. “Jeff Jimenez, Bizjak, Larry Goodnature and all the wrestling coaches that have helped Alex along.”

While Alex has reached some impressive numbers, he said his overall goal is to one day hold the bench press record, which is 315 pounds, and be in the 1,000-pound club.

Alex usually bikes to and from his home to the ALHS weight room and lifts everyday.

When he is not spending time in the weight room, Alex spends his time riding bikes, hanging out with friends and playing pingpong, among other things.

“Pingpong, that’s a big thing,” Cherie Seuser said. “He likes four-wheelers, hunting and fishing.”

And while Alex views his accomplishments as small, his parents’ tell him that if he keeps working anything is possible.

According to Andy Seuser, Jeff Jimenez kept telling Alex, “The world’s wide open for you.”

“Jeff Jimenez told him that during football,” Andy Seuser said. “If he keeps believing and knowing that if he keeps working hard, the opportunities are out there.”