Richard Hammer

Powerlifter Profile: Richard Hammer
If you think OWOWs are solely about women, think again. There’s a great group of men who share the platform with the spectacular OWOWs, and you guessed it, they are called the OMOWs. Today I had the exciting opportunity to speak with one of the OMOWs about his experience in lifting. Join me in welcoming Dr. Richard Hulk Hammer of Columbia, MO Optimus Performance as our Powerlifter Profile of the week.
She-Ra: “Richard, it’s great to see you. Why don’t we get started by you telling us just who is Richard Hulk Hammer?”
Richard: “Great to be here, She-Ra. Well, to answer your question, I started powerlifting in November 2015. As many of your readers know, I am friends and colleagues with Shelly Frazier. She invited me to start training, and at first I was fairly resistant, thinking I didn’t have time and so forth, but let’s just say Shelly Frazier wouldn’t give up on me. I used to lift weights in med school, but hadn’t done anything for years. It was how we dealt with the stress. We would go every afternoon. I got to be pretty strong, but didn’t compete.”
She-Ra: “Shelly has that effect on people. But tell me, how does the Hulk fit into all of this?”
Richard: “We’re getting there. Now lifting has become part of my life. I have to say I am addicted again. I can’t imagine missing and if I do, it feels wrong.”
She-Ra: “I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to know that several people who have sat in your very seat have said the same thing. It becomes second nature.”
Richard: “My body craves the exercise, and I am much healthier and fit because of it.”
She-Ra: “The before and after says it all, but the Hulk?”
Richard: “Okay, on to the Hulk story. My body has literally undergone a major transformation in the last year, and people notice. My friends in Texas where I lived a little over three years ago, like to tease me about it, and they call me the Hulk.”
She-Ra: “Obviously the strength was there, just waiting to bust through, like the Hulk.”
Richard: “Exactly. Your muscles remember, and all I had to do was wake them up.”
She-Ra: “You make it sound easy. Have you faced many challenges in lifting?”
Richard: “Of course. I doubt we would all do it if there weren’t challenges. One that I continuously battle is that the goal in my mind takes longer than I want it to. I want to progress now! Oh I am making excellent progress, and when you look back at it, it’s really been in a short time. But on a day to day basis it’s easy to lose sight that things take time. But persistence and a plan work.”
She-Ra: “That’s one of my biggest obstacles, wanting it yesterday, but patience and process are key at this time of life. There’s a reason it’s called OWOWs, and in your case OMOWs.”
Richard: “It’s true. As we get older, recovery and paying attention to injury prevention is key. I have struggled from a bit of biceps tendonitis that is on the mend.”
She-Ra: “I know many readers can relate. What does overcoming obstacles mean to you?”
Richard: “It means I have gotten to a level where I hope I can inspire others to start and improve their health.”
She-Ra: “Well, you certainly have done that already. I spoke with a pal and fellow powerlifter of yours, Stephanie Wells, and she had this to say: ‘I consider Richard my role model. He introduced me to powerlifting, healthy cooking, and the importance of taking care of myself. He has the best attitude about aging. Honestly, he embraces it. He not only lifts strong, he lifts smart.’”
Richard: “I have to say, there are a lot of smart lifters at Optimus.”
She-Ra: “No truer words spoken. So tell me, if you could spend the day picking the brain of any lifter out there, who would it be and what would you ask them?”
Richard: “Well Coach Tom is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met when it comes to training and lifting, and running and triathlons, etc. Not to mention he is an incredible athlete himself. He knows everything and everybody and is very invested in everyone’s success. I just enjoy talking to him to discuss new or progressive training ideas, which he already probably knows about as some aren’t that new and he lived it. Just the other day he was telling me about training for sprints (something new I am adding) and how athletes in the 1950s used to train. The historical perspective and his wisdom are irreplaceable.”
She-Ra: “So then is Coach Tom LaFontaine your powerlifting role model?”
Richard: “Sure, he’s certainly one of them, but I have to give credit where it is due. If Shelly Frazier hadn’t persisted, I may never have started back. She is truly dedicated and an amazing athlete. It’s been fun to see her break through some barriers too recently. And the thing about it is she really wants everyone to embrace the sport. There is no denying it is the way to healthy and functional aging.”
She-Ra: “I actually spoke with Shelly Frazier, and she seems to hold a similar opinion of you. Here’s what she had to say: ‘Hammer has come an impressively long way in a very short amount of time with regard to his strength, and obviously has a particular gift for bench press, but what I appreciate most about him is the fact that, from day one, he has been a huge supporter and promoter of the OWOWs. It is refreshing to have a like-minded colleague in the medical community who sees the value of health maintenance and disease prevention through diet and exercise.’”
Richard: “Well, we certainly agree on the health benefits powerlifting offers, and her own lifting certainly inspires success.”
She-Ra: “Yes it does. So tell us about some of your successes.”
Richard: “Well each PR is really a success! Sometimes I’m proud I just showed up! Those little things add up. When I look back from where I started and then to compete in SMSG in less than a year and beat records, one that has stood for 15 years and beat by 65 lbs., is pretty amazing testimony to what our bodies can accomplish.”
She-Ra: “It certainly is indeed. Do you find one lift more engaging than the others?”
Richard: “Well that’s a hard one. I think they each have their challenges for me and their attractions. But I think the deadlift is the ultimate powerlift. It’s a total body effort! There is nothing more fun that to watch someone grit out a 10 second DL and get it up!
She-Ra: “It certainly is a man verses himself moment. Speaking of, what kind of man verses himself moments can we expect to see in the future from Richard Hammer?”
Richard: “Well last year I set new state records at the SMSG for my age and weight class, so my goal is to beat myself and keep those records moving up! I am already beating my BP record, and hope to get over 400 lbs. on the DL. I changed my stance in August to a modified sumo to work more posterior chain, so it’s taken some time to get back to where I was, but did 175 kg a few weeks ago, which beats my record. Also I became a National Referee last year and hope to get my International certification soon.”
She-Ra: We certainly wish you well and look forward to seeing you on both sides of the platform. Any parting words of wisdom for our readers before we wrap it up?”
Richard: “Yes, get a plan, stick to it, and be patient. Also remember recovery time is just as important as the lifts themselves-so don’t rush it.”
She-Ra: “There you have it, a clean bill of healthy powerlifting from one of our very own OMOWs. I’m She-Ra, until next week, wishing you health, happiness, and heavy lifting.