Concordia alum breaks world bench press record

Concordia alum breaks world bench press record

UPDATED: March 5 at 9 p.m.

Former Bulldog football and track and field standout Matt Baller broke a world record on March 1 with a raw bench press of 563 pounds at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. While competing at the event as a member of the International Powerlifting Federation, Baller finished third with a combined total of 833 kilograms (equivalent to roughly 1,836 pounds) in the bench press, squat and deadlift.

"It's kind of a liftime achievement for me," Baller said of the bench press record. "I've always been better at the bench press. Once I found out how close I was to the record, I worked really hard to get there. I've been lifting since I was 12-years-old, so it's been a 15-year achievement."

While at Concordia, Baller reached the national championships seven times and earned all-conference honors eight times as a thrower on the track and field team. The 2009 Concordia graduate and Milligan, Neb., native also played defensive line for Bulldog football. Baller was a first team all-GPAC selection in 2007 when he came up with 8.5 sacks from his nose guard position.

While others have bench pressed more than 563 pounds, none have done so under the stringent guidelines of the IPF, which prohibits the use of any kind of performance-enhancing drugs or gear designed to improve performance. Baller and other competitors at the Arnold Sports Festival were tested for PEDs after the event.

Baller, now a resident of Alaska, says he works out strenuously about three times per week, typically between 10 and 11 p.m. after his wife and daughter have gone to bed. He currently works as a salesman.

Baller plans to compete again on April 20 at the Alaska State Championships. He believes he can break his own bench press record in the future. He said he went "conservative" in lifting 563 pounds at the Arnold Sports Festival and that he felt like he had another 10 pounds in him.

4 March 2013

View video of Baller's record-setting lift »