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Falla - Henson Family have 3 Generations of World Records!
Getting a lift from powerlifting
Written by Ben Duchesney
March 20, 2009
One strong family proves “The Incredibles” aren’t the only kin with super strength
Ben Duchesney photo
STRONG MEN, STRONG TIES – Dan Henson, son Ben, and father-in-law Dr. William Falla share a moment after record-breaking performances at the 2009 Masters Nationals Push-Pull-Curl powerlifting competition in Haverhill on March 15. The trio have been powerlifting together for several years, supporting one another in workouts and in competitions in their “family” sport.
With the strength to lift a small car and the wise mind of a 71 year-old man, and with two robust generations in tow, Dr. William Falla, an orthodontist from Hyannis, is pretty much part of a family of superheroes.
Falla, son-in-law Dan Henson and grandson Ben Henson attended the 2009 Masters Nationals Push-Pull-Curl Competition in Haverhill on March 15, ready to break a sweat and some records.
Though Falla did not have to bench press a small car to beat the world record for his 70-74 year-old/148 lbs. division, pressing 165 lbs is still a feat of sheer strength.
“I looked around during one of the meets and realized there was no one in the division I would be in except maybe one or two guys,” said Falla. “I thought, I can beat those guys.”
Falla lifted weights in his youth, but remembers that they were all Olympic Lifts, different from power lifting. Now after being convinced by his family to try power lifting, Falla competes merely “for fun, and to get healthier.”
In keeping with a developing family tradition, Dan Henson, who resides in West Barnstable along with his son and his wife, Victoria -- Fallas’ daughter -- broke the National Record in his 40-44 year-old/181 lbs. division in the bench press event.
Unlike Falla, however, Henson has participated in this sport nearly all his life. At the March 15 tourney Henson benched an impressive 350 lbs raw.
“Raw is 100 percent strength,” said Henson. “There are no aids like elastic shirts to help with lifting the weight, or other equipment.”
The family also said they only enter the 100 percent raw and drug-free divisions because the special shirts can add 200 lbs to a lift alone, and the steroid use among some lifters makes the competition unfair.
“I don’t see the point in the aids,” said Ben Henson, “because then it’s like ‘my forklift can lift more than your forklift.’ It’s that much of a difference in weight.’’
Ben, competing in the 14-15 year-old/123 lbs. division, benched 185 lbs. to achieve his record-breaking success. Only, an eighth grader, Ben says his friends at school never believed him, because he looks so small.
“When I used to go to Barnstable Middle School, all the guys liked to do arm-wrestling,” he said. “They would believe me after I beat them all.”
Ben has participated only since last May, and said he wants to try other sports like wrestling and football in high school, but will always keep lifting, because “if you are strong, it can help with so many things in life, not just sports.”
The family prepared diligently for this competition and for the previous competitions, where they have had equal success at record breaking. They all have state records, as well as many world records in their division, thanks to a workout called the “70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent” method.
“It was created by the Soviet Union after testing thousands of workouts for their armies,” said Falla. “And this is the one that fit the best for us.”
The method involves working with large weights, small repetitions and a series of three sets.
“First you lift 70 percent of your max weight, then 80 percent, and work your way up to your max weight,” said Ben.
Though the three may not have genuine superpowers, they have discipline and heart, and look forward to making it far in their favorite “family” sport.