700-pound bench press makes Cowboys OL Allen noteworthy powerlifter, too

Monday, July 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) _ Larry Allen is already respected throughout the NFL as one of the best offensive linemen. Soon, the powerlifting community may start taking note of him, too.

Allen recently bench pressed 700 pounds, 65 more than the career-best he lifted last summer and well into the world-class level.

Put another way, Allen lifted about 30 pounds more than the combined weight of Baltimore tackles Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams. It's also more than the combined playing weight of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

The truly amazing part is how easily Allen did it.

``I just got under it, hit it hard and got it off my chest,'' the 6-foot-3, 326-pound Allen said, shrugging his mammoth shoulders. ``I think I could've gotten more.''

A lot of players can do amazing things in the weight room, but not all can translate it onto the field. Allen can. And for an offensive lineman, there's no better drill to excel at than the bench press.

The motion and the muscles used to lift the bar are the same ones used to try keeping away defenders. The jolt of energy required to start the press is similar to the shove Allen gives linemen charging at him.

Brute strength has always been Allen's hallmark. Combine that with amazing quickness for someone his size and it's little wonder that he's been named All-Pro the last six years.

``He's a lot better than people think he is, and people already think he's great,'' said Ben Fricke, Allen's teammate for three years and his workout partner this past summer.

Allen decided to up his bench press after lifting ``only'' 635 pounds last year. Although that was his career best, it was only 30 more than he'd done four years earlier.

So Allen set 700 as this year's goal, then had Cowboys strength coach Joe Juraszek help map out a plan to get there.

They came up with a regimen of ``supersets'' to hone the chest, shoulders and triceps. It included four to five series of repetitions with 500-pound bench presses, 495-pound squats, 405-pound back pulls, 150-pound curls and shoulder presses with 100-pound dumbbells

On testing day, Allen started by lifting 305 pounds. He quickly worked up to 635. Then 675.

Then the 45-pound bar was really loaded up.

Each end carried seven 45-pound plates, a 10-pounder and a 2 1/2-pounder. With the bar sagging in the middle, Allen slid under it, settled in with his typical, narrow grip, then pushed until his elbows locked.

A room full of teammates whooped and hollered, but Allen _ whose actions always are louder than his emotions _ just smiled. He was probably already thinking about going for 800 pounds next summer.

``If I keep working at it,'' he said, ``I'll get there.''

Almost a month later, teammates are still amazed.

``He did it with such ease,'' Fricke said. ``It's obvious he's got much more in him.''

``It was awesome,'' running back Emmitt Smith said. ``He's not a freak, just a special kind of guy.''

``He did it like it was 315,'' said defensive tackle Brandon Noble. ``It was pretty scary.''

All the training made Allen's upper body a bit thicker, but by doing more running in the offseason he's trimmed his body fat to 11 percent.

``That means he has 300 pounds of just bone and muscle,'' Juraszek said. ``He's genetically gifted.''

Extra points: QB Tony Banks didn't practice because of sore groin muscles. The problem was caused by the short, quick strides the Cowboys want. ``I've never had any groin problems, but they have a different drop here,'' said Banks, who expects to return Tuesday. ... Other new, notable injuries Sunday: WR Chris Brazzell (strained hamstring), CBs Izell Reese and Sean Key (sore groin). OL Colin Sears left to handle a personal matter, while DE Bryant Shaw was excused for the birth of his child. ... WRs Joey Galloway and Raghib Ismail, both coming off knee injuries, aren't expected to play in the preseason opener Saturday at Oakland. RB Emmitt Smith isn't likely to be used, either. ... More feats of strength: Kelvin Garmon lifted 600 pounds. Nine more players raised at least 500 pounds.