Jen Thompson, known as "132 Pounds of Power," is a renowned powerlifter with a remarkable career spanning over two decades. She has been competing in powerlifting since 1999 and continues to excel at the age of 50. Thompson is an 11-time IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) world champion and holds numerous world records in the sport.
Her impressive raw competition lifts include a 353 lb squat, 327.5 lb bench press and a 457.5 lb deadlift giving her a total of 1,126.5 lb. In March 2023, Jen Thompson achieved a groundbreaking feat by setting the all-time world record for the Masters 50-59 age category in the 67.5-kilogram weight class with a bench press of 146 kilograms (321.8 pounds). This record is not only a milestone for her age group but also stands as an all-time record across all age categories. Thompson's enduring success and dominance in powerlifting make her a legendary figure in the sport.
We sat down with Jen to ask her some important questions to help you get better acquainted with her. For further insights and to stay updated on her journey, make sure to connect with Jen Thompson on her social media channels and YouTube.
When did you start powerlifting and why?
I started weight training in college. I wanted to give my body some shape and stay healthy in college. I didn't want to lose my athleticism just because high school/sports ended. I was encouraged by my college roommates to start lifting weights with them. They showed me the ropes, and I loved it!
What has been your biggest source of motivation?
My biggest motivation is to always improve myself. I feel like powerlifting is a big puzzle to solve. There are all these moving parts you can manipulate to see if you can gain a greater output. Plus, I always want to be a good role model to my sons and students. If they see how hard I work and the success that comes with it, they know they can do that too.
What is your favorite lift and why?
Bench press is my favorite lift. I am the best at it in the world. I think it is because as a female we don't start out with very strong upper bodies. It is something we have to work at. For this reason, I saw the biggest growth in my bench press compared to my squat and deadlifts. That encouraged me to keep working at it and see how strong I could get.
What is your athletic background and how has it helped you become the elite athlete you are today?
In high school I was a cross country runner, volleyball player, Marine Fitness athlete and track runner. I think that gave me the mindset needed to push hard and understand you can always do more.
When were you first introduced to AIRWAAV and how long have you been using the performance mouthpiece?
I believe I started using it last January. So about 9 months now.
What do you enjoy most about training and competing?
The training part I enjoy because it is something I do with my friends and family. It is like we have a big get together four times a week. It's a very positive environment where we are honest and push each other. The competing part is where you get to put all your training to the test. It is a little daunting to get on a platform and perform in front of people. You have to have a strong mental mindset and an understanding of how to run the numbers. I have won some championships because I was the strongest competitor.
Can you tell us about a barrier AIRWAAV has helped you overcome as an athlete?
Powerlifting is a very technical sport. You can't perform your best unless your form is technically sound. I feel the AIRWAAV mouthpiece is an important part of creating pressure throughout the lifts. It sets your head and puts you in a good starting position. It's an easy way to start off your form correctly and power through the lift with the tension in your jaw.