Missouri Bench Press Phenom Kole Cater is an anomaly in the bench press wars. No one makes gains raw past the age of 50 in bench pressing, but Kole smashes that myth with his continued improvement as he nears 60!
I was recently able to interview Kole and this is what I was able to learn:
Paul: Please tell the readers your age, and occupation.
Kole: I’m 59 years old, and have been a licensed professional counselor for 32 years, in both private practice as well as a local hospice as their grief counselor.
Paul: How long have you been lifting weights?
Kole: I started lifting weights at age 51, after training in Muay Thai and MMA fighting from age 44 to 51. An MMA coach of another fighter suggested I begin lifting weights at his gym with him, which I did. This is when my passion for lifting began. This coach was a bodybuilder, so initially my weight training was high reps sets, like 12 to 20 reps per set and 100 reps total for each body part or exercise.
Paul: How long have you been competing in strength athletics?
Kole: I did my first competition in when I was 53, and I did not know what I
Paul: What are your best lifts in Powerlifting?
Kole: I have benched 585lb raw on 7 occasions in the last 4 years. I have done 500 lbs for 7 reps raw and 825 lbs with a Mark Bell Slingshot. Due to my MMA training, I began lifting with 3 herniated discs due to all the kicking and rotational work I did. Due to this injury, I do not deadlift at all and I do not squat over 500lbs in order to preserve my back.
Due to this injury, I do not have much feeling in my right leg. Iam 5’8” tall and weigh between 365 and 385. I am as wide around my shoulders as I am tall! A self described meat block!
Paul: Any best lifts in Strongman style of events or training?
Kole: Due to my back injury, I do no strongman style training.
Paul: Have you ever done any other type of lifting events such as strict curl,
Olympic lifting, bear wrestling, or dwarf tossing?
Kole: I was the bear at my MMA gym with my size and stature. If anyone
got out of line, I would be brought into the cage to keep them in line!
Paul: What gyms do you currently train at?
Kole: I train at GP Athletics, a strongman and powerlifting gym.
Paul: Who are your training partners?
Kole: I have trained by myself since I was 53 years old. I have many gym
brothers at GP athletics that spot me and keep me from killing myself
on the bench press. It is a great gym family there.
Paul: Can you describe your current training system?
Kole: My system is modeled after the Conan the Barbarian Wheel of Pain. I constantly want to do more and more work, set goals, push past everyone and then set higher goals! Lift heavy, lift a lot and be the last one standing at the end.
Paul: How did you develop your training system
Kole: Once I was taught the basics and built a foundation, I just figured out what works best for me. I listen to my body and know what I need to do to get stronger. I tried having a coach before but that did not work for me. I learn a lot from YouTube! I watched what the best benchers did and I adapted that to me.
Paul: How would you train a 13 year old Kole?
Kole: I would not! Ha ha.
Paul: Any serious injuries you have overcome? What was your rehab like for those injuries?
Kole: During my MMA days, I snapped an Achilles’ tendon. I had an eye
injury in which I detached a retina in the back of my eye.
I cut a finger off with a chainsaw but it was successfully reattached. I almost lost a finger due to a drill bit accident, but they re-attached that finger as well. I had 12 stitches put in, kept the finger straight and was back in the gym 2 days later. I have torn both a rotator cuff and a labrum in my shoulder but I just worked around those injuries and did not get treatment or surgery. The Slingshot was helpful in order to come back from those injuries.
Paul: What is a normal week like in taking care of your family, work, and training?
Kole: I leave for work at 7 am, get home at 4 pm, and go train for two hours. I then come home and enjoy spending time with my wife. She is a recently retired teacher and at 120lbs she controls me. Happy wife equals a happy life. She is the love of my life.
Paul: Missouri has a long tradition of strong motherfuckers and bad motherfuckers. Who are some of the baddest mofos you have trained with?
Kole: When I trained MMA, my gym had Michael Johnson and Zach Cummins, whom fight for the UFC and I would spar with frequently. For bench pressing I train alone because I bench raw, with over 500 lbs for reps, multiple times per week and no one wants to play with me! I am a nice guy. Not many benchers can hang with me or train
like I do. I like to do 8 to 10 meets per year.
Paul: Are you sponsored by any products or company? What can you tell the reader about those products?
Kole: I am open to sponsorship opportunities.
Paul: What are your plans to support and grow the sport in the future?
Kole: I always speak highly of Powerlifting, giving younger lifters pointers and trying to recruit more masters age lifters into the sport and competition. Powerlifting is such a positive sport, in which you cheer on your competition to beat you and push you back.
Paul: What are you going to do to achieve your next goal?
Kole: My goals are to hit a 900 lb slingshot bench and a 600 lb raw bench in a contest before I turn 60. I just want to keep lifting heavier and heavier weight.
Paul: What do you do to recover from a bench session?
Kole: I do not take time off from the gym. I like very hot showers followed by very cold showers. If I have a meet on Saturday, I am back in the gym the following Monday, pushing myself again. I lift when I am on vacation. The hardest days for me is the three days before a meet that I take off before a contest.
Paul: Any hobbies of interest? What do you drive?
Kole: I collect fossils and antiquities. I drive a 2012 Volkswagen VW Bug and his tiny wife drives a huge Chevrolet Silverado Z71 4X4 Pickup truck.
As an extreme endomorph, Kole does not need a lot of food. The only day of the week he eats breakfast is on Saturday, his heavy bench day. He will have four eggs, toast, bacon and a protein drink. At work he is busy, so some days he eats lunch, some day he does not. He will have 3 to 4 protein drinks per day. Kole has a regular dinner of steak, 8 ounces, or a few slices of pizza. Kole will also eat a hamburger or spaghetti, just normal foods but not large portions. His fellow powerlifters cannot believe how little he does eat!
Kole has no training partners and feels somewhat isolated in Springfield, Missouri. He considers James Strickland, the famous bencher from Houston as a friend because they met at a meet. Julius Maddox sent Kole a tee shirt, so although they have never met, Kole thinks highly of the all time raw world bench record holder.
He has never lost a bench press contest in 7 years. He competes in the Open Division as well as the Masters Division because he seeks the most competition.
Kole has set 16 world and 20 national records since he began competing 6 years ago. Kole just loves to lift and considers it the cheapest therapy in the world. He is proud of his number one ranking in the world as the best over 55 bench presser.
Kole wanted to thank his wife who decides where he competes so they can travel to interesting places together. He also wanted to thank his GP Athletics gym family members who keep him alive.