Building Long-term Functional Strength with World-Record Powerlifter Matt Wenning

In this week’s episode of Healthspan Academy, I chatted with Matt Wenning, who is a world class strength athlete and coach. We talked about the key considerations for sustainable strength training for overall health and longevity. Matt outlined the components of his infamous Wenning warmup that has help build world class strength. He talked about the importance of exercise and programming variance to reduce training mileage, wear and tear, and allow for successful training for the long haul. Matt also detailed his philosophy for nutrition, recovery, and the key principles for avoiding injury past the age of 40. 

Matt is one of only a handful of people to total over 2,600lbs in a professional competition, hold an all-time world record of 2,665lbs in the 308-lb class, and bench press over 800lbs in a full powerlifting meet. He is a three-time world champion powerlifter who has led over 6,000 troops in strength, conditioning, and wellness for the U.S. Army including Infantry and Ranger Divisions. He graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s Degree in Biomechanics.

Matt was raised in Indiana by a hardworking, middle-class family. His mother was a nurse, and his father was a Marine and truck driver. When he was six years old, Matt was hit by a car going 50 mph, which took a toll on his physical development. After undergoing 12 months of full leg casts and 12 months in a boot, his legs were underdeveloped. 

Four years later, Matt discovered lifting. It allowed him to see he was capable of anything, despite what he had gone through during his recovery from injuries. At the age of 13, Matt started lifting in competitions when his father passed away due to cancer. In the beginning, lifting was just a stepping stone to the goal of football. However, it became a much larger path in his life which motivated Matt to further his education and become a strength coach. 

Matt has been an adviser for the NFL, an international speaker for the NSCA, as well as a contractor for border patrol, airborne divisions, and the pentagon. He is currently a private strength coach at Ludus Magnus gym in Columbus, Ohio, and a personal trainer to many executives and professionals at Capital Club Athletics. He also works with firefighters, physicians, children with disabilities, and all forms of athletes in the Columbus, Ohio, area. 

Find out more about Matt on his website and on Instagram @realmattwenning

*** Please note that the content discussed in this podcast is intended for self-education and is not to be interpreted as medical advice.