Q&A: Powerlifter Matt Wenning

  • Photo by Jodi Miller
By Columbus Alive
From the November 10, 2011 edition

Matt Wenning is like a wrecking ball that can smile.

He has set powerlifting records at every stage of his career. He has trained Army Rangers, NFL athletes, stay-at-home moms and kids with developmental disabilities. He’s got a master’s degree in sports biomechanics.

In short: He’s strong, and he can help you be strong, too.

From his Ludus Magnus gym in Franklinton, Wenning shared more about a life of lifting.

When I was in first grade, I was struck by a car on my bicycle. I broke both of my legs. I was in a full-legged cast for a year. My entire first year of school, I was in a wheelchair. They were uncertain if I was going to be able to walk correctly.

I didn’t really discover that I was strong until I was in middle school. I started lifting weights for football. That’s when I noticed that I had a gift, especially in the bench press. I was able to lift above and beyond what most people could do with very minimal training.

At that point, I went to a local YMCA. Around Muncie, we had a couple of national-caliber weightlifters that lived in the area. They didn’t train at that level anymore, but they knew how to get there. They kind of took me under their wing when they saw me.

I’ve been in the top five of the world rankings for the past 10 years. I’ve been training hard for a long time.

Ludus Magnus means “training grounds.” It was the original training facility next to the Coliseum in Rome where the top gladiators trained at for 250 years. One of my buddies is Greek, and I asked him to look up a name for a gym. I thought it was pretty cool.

This facility treats everybody like a professional athlete. The major component of training smart is finding weaknesses and correcting them. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.

There are a couple reasons why I keep training. One: Don’t ever ask somebody to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself. If you want to be the best in your field, you need to prove to everybody else that you’re willing to sacrifice. Also, I want to prove to myself that I can do things that nobody else can do. A lot of it for me was just an internal drive.

The best advice I’ve ever received is be patient. Things that are good take time.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? Email John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.