Interview with Alexander Eriksson

Interview with Alexander Eriksson
May 8, 2018 Desert Barbell

Who is Alexander?

Alexander holds World Records in both Classic (Raw) and Equipped powerlifting, he has won 2 World- and 5 European Junior Championships. As a Powerlifting Coach he has contributed to 52 international medals, and acts as Coach for the Swedish Sub Junior and Junior development team.

Fast Facts:

Full name: Alexander Eriksson

Age: 23

Club/country: Sundbybergs TK, Sweden

Sport:  Powerlifing, Equipped and Raw

Weight category: -74kg

Occupation: Industrial Engineering student and Powerlifting Coach.

The interview

1: So Alexander, tell us a little bit about how long have you been lifting and what kind of results you managed on international and national competitions?
I have been lifting competitively since 2011 where I started as a Sub Junior lifter (-18), already a year later I got to represent Sweden at the Sub Junior worlds where I took a bronze medal. From there on its been many ups and down, but I have always kept my goals in sight. 2017 I ended my last year as a Junior (-23) lifter and got away with the following:

  • 2x World Junior Champion
  • time runner up and 1 time bronze medallist at the Junior Worlds
  • 5x European Junior Champion
  • Nordic Champion
  • 4x Open Swedish Champion

The results I managed was:
Equipped Powerlifting – 320kg squat, 246kg bench, 295kg deadlift, and a total of 842,5kg. Where the Total and Single-Lift Bench-press are the Official Junior World Records.

Classic Powerlifting (Raw) – 240kg squat, 175kg bench-press, 287.5kg deadlift, and 697,5kg total. Where the Deadlift and Total are the Official Junior World Records.

2: What got you into lifting in the first place?
When I was a kid I always loved training, however as I had Asthma it was always though to keep up with everyone in conventional sports. I tried many sports from football, to gymnastics and swimming, but was most active in Wrestling where I could take advantage of strength and technique instead of aerobic capacity.
From that I knew I had a talent for strength, and I wanted to develop it further through bodyweight exercises at home and so on. When I turned 14 I first went to the gym, as many gyms here in Sweden have an age limit, and I loved it right away. A couple of years later, in 2011, I contacted a powerlifting club through recommendation by a training partner. From there on it was Powerlifting 100%!

3: What is your favourite lift?
I’m a powerlifter by heart, so the favourite “lift” is the Total. Still, off course there are weeks where I like one of the lifts extra, but that’s more dependent of what is feeling good at the moment.

4: How many workouts do you do in a normal week? (general preparation and peaking)
I generally do 5 weight room sessions per week most of the year around, except from the lasts weeks leading up to competition where I drop it to 3-4 sessions to recover. In addition to that I try to incorporate morning walks for recovery as many days of the weeks as possible, and during the off season I add 1-2 sessions of cardiovascular training each week. Generally performed in intervals with CrossFit/Strongman influences.

5: What is your main goal for the next 5 years in lifting?
As I just transitioned to the Open category the main goal is to get to the same competitive level in this age category, meaning I want to fight for the gold at the world level. That will take the time it takes, and there are many aspects of the competitors progress I can’t affect. So the goal is always to keep increasing strength in the long term and stay injury free.
The upcoming competitions will however be Open worlds equipped in November 2018 and Classic in the summer of 2019, both at home ground in Sweden. Thereafter I want to set the aim to compete at the World Games in 2021.

6: Do you have any role model(S) for the type of training you do and how you coach your lifters?
I try to keep an open mind when it comes to training philosophy, hopefully making me aware that the optimal training is highly different for different lifters. But there are a couple of role model coaches that have well proven knowledge about the field and produce great athletes. These are mainly; Boris Sheiko, for transitioning weightlifting knowledge to powerlifting and making the foundation work for powerlifting coaching; Dietmar Wolf, for building upon this knowledge with modern methods and an “all-around” athlete approach making powerlifting results not to depend on just brute strength; and Mike Ttuchscherer, for contributing with new insights and perspectives on training loads and planning.

7: If you had ONE tip to give to a Powerlifting beginner, what would that be? 
If there is one thing the above coaches has in common, is that they all work with their athletes towards clear goals. Therefore, as an athlete one of the most important thing is to set goals. Not just make them up in mind, but also to write them down and sort them in terms of time, function, importance, and motivation. This will help you find focus to work through those awful sessions, find the motivation for the boring prehab and rehab, find the arousal for the heavy sets, and keep on doing so until you reach your goals.