Interview: Hunter Henderson Wants to Set 2 Powerlifting World Records and Qualify for the Olympia in 2024

It’s hard enough to dominate one strength sport, let alone two, yet Hunter Henderson has solidified herself as an elite powerlifter and bodybuilder. The current all-time world record holder in the raw squat (267.5 kilograms at 82.5KG) also won her IFBB Pro League Women’s Bodybuilding Pro card in 2021.

And she’s calling her shot for 2024: Two new powerlifting world records and qualification to the Olympia — bodybuilding’s Super Bowl — before the year ends.

Henderson caught up with BarBend to discuss her upcoming performance at the World Raw Powerlifting Federation (WRPF) Ghost Clash 3 in Miami, FL, on April 6-7, followed by her plans to step on the Olympia stage.

Editor’s Note: The following interview has been lightly edited for readability.

Image courtesy of Adam Rivera and Hunter Henderson.

BarBend: In early March, you were at the 2024 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH, to lift in the Animal Cage. How was that experience?

Hunter Henderson: That experience meant so much to me. I got to squat in the Cage with wraps. I took 650 pounds and did an AMRAP (as many reps as possible); I got three reps.

That was sentimental because the last time the Cage was up was in 2019 and I was on the outside watching. I was getting into powerlifting, and no one knew who I was. I watched them in the Cage and told myself that one day I would be the best in the world and lift in it.

So, that was a full circle moment, and other women were coming to me to share their stories. I met older women getting into the sport, and a little girl was sitting by the monolift. That moment was so important to me.

[Related: Power Cage Vs. Monolift Vs. Combo Rack Differences]

BarBend: You’re set to compete in the WRPF Ghost Clash 3 on April 6-7 in Miami, FL. You relocated to Las Vegas, NV and have been there for this prep. How has it been different for you to prepare in that environment?

HH: Yes, I moved from Kansas City, MO, across the country to Las Vegas. It has been life-changing. The training has been so good, and we’ve been doing well with it.

Image courtesy of Adam Rivera and Hunter Henderson.

BarBend: Who is “we?”

HH: “We” is my coach, Jake Benson, and my training partners are Joe Sullivan and Brianny Terry. They are also my best friends.

I have never trained around another woman at my level. Every day is a competition with Brianny; we push and want the best for each other. Brianny is a special person to me. She is my greatest friend. Even when she’s hitting big lifts in training, she’s texting me about my goals. Her ability to give and support others is special.

BarBend: What has been the biggest change in your training?

HH: I trained slower in Kansas City, and Brianny trains very fast, whereas I went at my own pace. Now that I am training with her, we are moving.

We’re in and out of that gym. Having Joe there hands-on to teach me has been a huge opportunity. I’m thankful for it. Also, the fitness community in Las Vegas is bigger and more established, which also pushed me to be better.

Image courtesy of Adam Rivera and Hunter Henderson.

BarBend: What are your goals for the 2024 WRPF Ghost Clash 3?

HH: Yes, I am competing in wraps in the 82.5-kilogram (181-pound) class, and the current number one squat in wraps for a female is 705 (pounds). That has been a long-standing goal of mine. I think I can either match it or beat it by a little bit. That is goal number one.

The current bench press record for my weight class is 381 (pounds), and I just benched 369 at the 2023 WRPF American Pro 2. My goal is to get as close as possible to that. The deadlift is not my best lift, so my goal is to PR; my best in competition is 573 pounds.

BarBend: You’ve been setting or in the running to break world records every time you’ve competed in recent years. What is training like at your level to be in that position?

HH: I train five days a week, including a squat day with extra bench and a deadlift day with bench. On the other three days, I don’t touch a barbell. Those are accessory or bodybuilding days with machines and super fun workouts.

We also have what we call a “creatine” day with active recovery movements like box jumps, medicine ball slams; explosive and athletic-type movements.

[Related: The 12 Best Barbells We’ve Personally Tested]

BarBend: Is it better to claim someone else’s record or break your own?

HH: That is tough because I think they are both so monumental. I believe taking a record back from someone, or if it stood for a long time, that would mean a little more.

BarBend: In 2021, you turned pro in the IFBB Pro League and then nearly qualified for the Olympia by placing second at the Tampa Pro. What are your plans this year?

HH: I haven’t shared this anywhere on my social media yet: I am going to go back to bodybuilding and compete in the 2024 Chicago Pro (July 18-20) in the Women’s Bodybuilding division. I am currently 15 weeks out from that show and excited to get back on stage. I am making my run and want to qualify for the 2024 Olympia.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hunter Henderson (@huntermhenderson)

[Podcast: Putting the Powerlifting World on Notice (w/Hunter Henderson)]

BarBend: How do you feel bodybuilding training has helped you in powerlifting and vice versa?

HH: The intention behind the movements has helped. I don’t half-ass them, but I take each of them seriously now. I think that has made a difference in all of my training.

BarBend: You’ve also competed in strongwoman competition, winning your debut at the KC Strong Fifth Annual Veteran’s Day Challenge in 2023. How do you adapt and succeed to the different sports so quickly?

HH: I started powerlifting and bodybuilding because I thought I could excel at them. So, I guess I have this faith in myself to go for things. That’s just who I am as a person.

[Read More: Hunter Henderson Wins Her First Strongwoman Contest]

Image courtesy of Adam Rivera and Hunter Henderson.

BarBend: Fans who follow you on social media have shared how you inspire them. People could read this with big aspirations to succeed in powerlifting, bodybuilding, or other strength sports. What advice would you offer them?

HH: Enjoy the process and take your time. You have to understand the long game. It won’t happen overnight. The most important part is to have fun. Enjoy the training sessions, too. If you’re not having fun with this, what’s the point?

That’s All, Folks

You can follow Henderson on Instagram @huntermhenderson. Stay tuned to BarBend for updates and recaps of the 2024 WRPF Ghost Clash 3, as it seems many elite athletes will call for world-record weights on the barbell.

Editor’s note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of the WRPF. The two organizations maintain editorial independence unless otherwise noted on specific content projects.

Featured Image by Adam Rivera and Hunter Henderson.

The post Interview: Hunter Henderson Wants to Set 2 Powerlifting World Records and Qualify for the Olympia in 2024 appeared first on BarBend.


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