If you’re local to PA you may have already caught up with our AT Athlete and Competitive Weightlifter, Kevin Cornell. But for those not local to our home state, you may know him as the 25th in the country in his sport of Weightlifting — He’s kind of a big deal.
Kevin is the 2X Arnold Classic Champion and is currently ranked 3rd in the 105 kilo weight class and 9th overall in all weight classes in the country. He currently has his sites set on the Olympic team while he is training at Crossfit Habitat under coach Lorne Wilson for Team Blackout Weightlifting.
To see how much Kevin can really lift – check out these stats:
- Weight Class: 105kg
- Snatch: 160kg
- Clean and Jerk: 200kg
- Back Squat: 285kg
- Front Squat: 240kg
- Deadlift: 265kg
- Push Press: 190kg
- Military Press: 135kg
Watch Kevin defend his first title at the Arnold in 2014
Last week I had a chance to get a bit more personal with Kevin and learn that the boy-band loving athlete has more to him than what you see on his instagram account.
AT: Where did you grow up?
KC: I spent the first 10 years of my life growing up in the city in Carrick, Pa. And then moved to the suburbs of Baldwin and Lived there until I moved out with my wife a couple years ago.
AT: What, if any, athletics, did you participate in as a child?
KC: I played a lot of sports when I was a kid because I had a lot of energy and was hard to handle (So my mother says!). I played baseball, football, hockey, judo, wrestling, and then narrowed it down to baseball and football in high school. Ending my team sporting career with college baseball.
AT: When did you start training in your specific sport?
KC: I started training Weightlifting when I was 18yo while playing college baseball.
AT: Describe your first experience with powerlifting/Olympic lifting?
KC: At first I didn’t like it because it was so new to me. I had never done movements like the Snatch or Clean and Jerk before and didn’t like it because it was different. A lot smaller guys were lifting a lot more weight than me and that was frustrating at first. However, I learned technique and surpassed them a little later on. Then I was hooked!
AT: What is your favorite lift and why?
KC: I would say the clean and jerk because it is less technical then the snatch. It is more of a brute strength lift and one that I am good at when I am at full strength in training. There is an old adage that goes something like this in the sport, “Snatch for show, and Clean for dough”. Simply put, the snatch movement looks cool in competition, but the clean and jerk wins it all. This lift is where I win most of my meets. But don’t tell my competition that.
Check out Kevin’s 440lb Clean and Jerk
AT: What is your least favorite lift and why?
KC: I don’t really have a least favorite lift these days because I realize the importance of weaknesses, but If I had to pick the workouts I look least forward too, it is probably the back workouts with deadlifts programmed in. This is because I am a shorter lifter and it is harder for me to perform this movement correctly. However, as I mentioned before, I am getting better at my weaknesses so my deadlift is getting better, thus less torturous.
AT: What is the one lift you thought you would never progress with? Explain how you overcame the challenge.
KC: In the very beginning of my career I was very athletic, therefore I took to the snatch movement very quickly. However, I did not have the strength needed to perform the clean and jerk with proper form or execution. So I would have to say the clean and jerk was the most trying movement at first. It took many years to master this lift, which I never thought I would. Looking back on it thought I think that having to focus so much on the clean and jerk really gave me an advantage later on. One that I would not have had if It came naturally at first.
AT: What do you love most about your sport?
KC: I love the raw power of it all. Yes it is very technical, but once you get the technique you will never lose it. But the strength, can only be gained, and sustained with very consist, and hard work. That is why the strength world is so well respected. Because people realize this fact.
AT: Describe your current weekly training schedule.
KC: I do bodybuilding M-W-F mornings before I go to work, and then do all of my lifting at night. This keeps me from spending too much time in the gym and avoids me burning out. I will spend about an hour to an hour and a half in the gym in the morning, and an hour and fifteen minutes training at night on just the Olympic movements.
AT: What advice would you give to someone just getting started in powerlifting/ Olympic Lifting?
KC: I would say that you need to look long term with your goals and do not get frustrated if improvements do not come immediately. In the same token, do not too excited if they do come quickly. Strength training is an up and down sport and you will always have more bad days than good. The really successful athletes understand this and that is what makes then successful. If you are looking for instant gratification then you might want to look at a different hobby or sport, because it won’t happen here.
As an old mentor of mine once told me, “Strength does not come over night”
List 3 things about yourself that have nothing to do with your sport.
- I am very focused on being a successful businessman. I am getting into Real Estate and want to be recognized as one of the top businessmen in the country within the next 5-10 years.
- I love to read books and how to better perfect my craft (selling) and networking with high end people. I am always looking for new opportunities to grow as a real estate agent and can never put reading material down that helps me at that aspect.
- I have two animals that I really spoil, my pit-bull (Tyson) yes he is named after my favorite athlete of all-time “Mike Tyson” and my little cat named “Kit Kat”. When I am not lifting or working I am at home spending time with them and my beautiful wife!
AT: What’s in your gym bag – ALWAYS?
KC: Gym shoes, weightlifting straps, about time shaker cup, old weightlifting clothes, some protein bar wrappers that I haven’t got to throwing out yet, AUX pre workout, that’s about it. Nothing to crazy.
Fill in the blanks
- I like to eat…. Pierogis
- I like to drink….Milk
- I am happy when…I make a big lift, or a big sale
- I act like a kid when…All of the time
- I don’t….People talk to me with their mouth full
- My pet peeve is…Selfishness
- My happy place is…With my wife and animals at home
Favorite Song… Too hard to tell so I’ll give my top three:
- Back Street Boys- I want it that way
- Nsync- It’s tearing up my heart
- Anything by Celine Dion (not joking)
Favorite Movie… “Sherlock Holmes” with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law
Favorite Book…”The art of war” by Sun Tzu
Favorite Professional sports team…Pittsburgh Pirates
Favorite Collegiate sports team…The one with Bo Jackson on it
1 Thing you wish you could do…Golf better
AT: If you could have a super hero power what would it be?
KC: Eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight.
For an additional Interview with Kevin – Check out the Honor & Conquer PodCast ft. Kevin Cornell and Tom Duer
and subscribe to his YouTube Channel for more training videos.
and catch him in PA by following his IG @Kevin_Cornell