Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed
In almost every sport you can imagine certain athletes who stand out above all the others . . . boxing has its Muhammad Ali, football its Joe Namath, and golf its Arnold Palmer.
Well, powerlifting is no different, for Bud Ravenscroft is to powerlifting what Ali is to boxing and Namath is to football.
Though Bud is one of the best powerlifters in the country, it is not his outstanding performances or competitiveness which make him a standout, but as with Namath and Ali, it is his personality. Bud is one of those rare athletes who has a very outgoing personality and a great deal of charisma with his fellow athletes and the people around him.
Born in San Francisco of sturdy parents, Bud's father was naturally strong and used his strength to become the heavyweight boxing champion of the Navy. Off to a good start, Bud wrestled and played football while in high school. It was while in his junior year of high school that Bud was narrowly beaten out of the state high school wrestling title in the 177 lb. class. The following year saw Bud gain 50 lbs of bodyweight, up to 225 to play football.
Though always very competitive, once Bud left school his athletic endeavors and physical activities decreased to such a low that he found himself weighing a pudgy and out of shape 230 lbs. Out of shape because of an overactive social life and little physical activity. Bud decided that he wanted to get back in shape and be competitive at some sport again.
So he went down to the local YMCA and began playing handball. It's here that handball's loss became powerlifting's gain. One of the local bodybuilders at the Y spotted Bud and persuaded him to come down to the weight room and test his strength on the bench press.
To his surprise and everyone else's Bud managed a 315 bench without any formal training of any kind.
It was from here that Bud was taken to Pat Casey's gym, where after a little training he bench pressed 400. Seeing his progress, the master himself, Pat Casey, told Bud that he should take up powerlifting. Encouraged by his progress and Pat's advice, Bud soon joined a local health club where he met veteran powerlifter Ernie Thayor, and Rob Walker, then a novice like Bud. Ernie and Rob helped Bud tremendously with his training and gave him constant encouragement. Later on they were joined in their training by another veteran powerlifter, Tom Overholtzer.
It is to Tom Overholtzer that Bud gives credit for helping him develop proper lifting techniques.
To this group then came Ernie Steinkirchner, a big 242-pounder to also help inspire, train with, and provide competition for Bud. It's to this group of training partners that Bud gives full credit for the progress he has made in the 3-1/2 short years he has been training.
After training with this group for a short while Bud was persuaded to enter his first meet, which was the 1972 Junior Los Angeles Powerlift Championship. Though he almost quit before the competition was finished, his training partners managed to make him complete the competition. So in his first meet, weighing 202, Bud totaled 1270 lbs.
Realizing how much he enjoyed the competition at this meet made Bud train even harder now. Two months later he traveled to Fresno to capture the 198 class with a 1325 total at the Central California Open and Novice Powerlifting Championships.
Another hard two months of training followed this meet, right up to the Senior Los Angeles Powerlift Championships in May. Bud's total took another giant leap forward via a 425 bench, 485 squat and a 480 deadlift. Later in the summer of that year Bud traveled back to Fresno once again to capture the 198 class in the Fresno Open Powerlift Championships with a 1405 total.
Though his first year shows good solid gains and definite progress, Bud considered it a year of frustration, for he felt he should have done better.
Going into his second year of competition in 1973, Bud started off the year by winning the 198 class at the Junior Los Angeles Powerlift Championships with a 1470 total. This was 200 pounds more than he totaled the previous year at the same meet. A few months later Bud captured the 198 class at the California State Championships with a 1630 total to edge out one of his idols, Marv Phillips, who totaled 1625 for second place. Fantastic progress, to say the least, but 1973 was only half over at this point and Bud now decided to train for the Junior Nationals in Stillwater. In this meet Bud not only won his class with an impressive 1705 total, but also broke three of Larry Pacifico's longstanding records.
1973 saw Bud skip the Senior Nationals in Scranton to train for the world Championships in Harrisburg. It was for this meet that Bud decided to bulk up to the 220 class as he felt his only real competition would be from Bill Seno. After making a very good 670 squat to take the lead by some 45 pounds, Bud made the mistake that many lifters before him have made by starting too high. Bud failed to make his 490 bench three times, so was out of the competition.
Showing his persistence and love of competition, one week later back in California Bud totaled 1800, and benched 500. Though 1973 was an exciting year for Bud, 1974 was going to prove even better.
Finding his bodyweight up to 230, Bud decided to go back down to the 198 class this year, but in his first meet of the year, the San Francisco Open & Novice Powerlift Championships, he weighed in at 203 and totaled 1630 to win the 220 class on bodyweight over newcomer Jerry Toles.
One month later Bud tried again to make the 198 class at the Los Angeles Police Open Powerlift Championships, but again he failed to make the weight and had to lift against his training partner Tom Overholtzer in the 220 class while weighing 199. Though Tom beat him with a 1760 total to his 1720, Bud captured the Best Lifter Award because of his lighter bodyweight.
Shortly after this meet, a minor disaster struck Bud while on vacation in Spain. A serious bout of the flu cost Bud many pounds of bodyweight and several days in bed under the care of a doctor. A few short months later Bud was selected as one of the members of the first International Powerlift Team, which was going to England to compete against their best lifters. Bud not only enjoyed this trip and the many new and lasting friends that he made, but also feels that this first international meet gave powerlifting a big boost and made it more prestigious as a sport. And as many of you already know, Bud won his class over his English opponent in the 220 class with a 1669 total.
Upon returning the States Bud began training for the Senior Nationals to be held in Fort Worth, Texas. He put together his best ever total of 1725 in the 198 class with 630/470/625, but was topped by Paul Woods who out-deadlifted Bud by 100 lbs. Two months later this predicament was repeated in York at the World's Championships where, although he totaled a whopping 1774, Paul Woods once again pulled the dead he needed to win with a same-total lower-bodyweight.
Bud is a working man, self-employed, and owning a successful building contractor's business keeps him very busy. He still finds time to work out nonetheless.
Unlike many lifters, Bud considers a strict diet and proper nutrition just as important to the powerlifter as it is to the serious bodybuilder. When in training for a meet Bud's diet looks something like this:
2 poached eggs, piece of lean meat, fruit of some kind, supplements.
Fish of some kind, grapefruit, protein shake, supplements.
Meat or fish, salad, protein shake, supplements.
When not training for a meet, Bud usually includes more of the foods he likes in his diet, especially the 31 flavors of ice cream from one of those specialty stores. Keeping his weight down has always been a problem so he knows that if he wishes to make weight he has to watch his diet carefully.
As far as steroids go, Bud didn't start using them until this last year, and readily admits that they have fouled up his metabolism. Even after their use (in the amounts he uses) he only attributes 8-10% of his increase in total to them. Needless to say, Bud doesn't recommend the use of tissue building drugs or steroids to anyone who hasn't looked into their possible harmful side effects or proper usage.
YES. THAT WASN'T SO HARD TO INCLUDE. THANK YOU.
Like any thinking athlete, Bud has set goals for himself and his training for the new year. He considers the following his most important goals and has geared his training toward meeting these goals:
1) Improving his deadlift, as this is his weakest lift.
2) Give competition to Larry Pacifico.
3) Win the Senors and Worlds.
With goals like these, and knowing the only real secret to success is hard work, Bud has devised the following training routine to help him achieve his goals.
Training four days a week, his workouts look like this:
Bench Press -
4x4 touch & go, then
2, 4, 6 reps, long pauses, decrease weight each set
Incline Press -
Front Raise -
Roman Chair Situp -
Side Bend -
4x5 (no wraps) alternate with 4x2 (wraps)
adding 20 lbs a set
3x5 (wrap lower legs prevent fear of keeping bar too close to body with conventional style deadlift)
Same Roman Chair Situps and Sidebends as Monday
Bench Press -
1) Heavy - 4x2 (touch and go adding 20 lbs per set)
2) 3 sets, 2, 4, 6 of long pauses dropping weight 20 lbs per set
3) Close grip bench, 3x6
Same Roman Chair and Side Bends
go up to either 1x5 or 1x2 depending on Wed alternate workout schedule
work up to a medium or heavy single
Same Roman Chair, Side Bends, and Hypers.