James Gregory Henderson, also known as Big James Henderson and James "Hollywood" Henderson (born April 9, 1965 in Roxbury, Massachusetts) is a former powerlifter from the United States, who specialized in the bench press. He competed in the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and was five times Super Heavyweight World Bench Press Champion. He is the first man to bench press over 700 lb raw and set numerous world records throughout his career, including the all-time world record in the raw (unassisted) bench press with 711 pounds (323 kg).
Henderson is a graduate of Mercer University, where he holds a Bachelors degree in theology and psychology. He also attended Albany State University where he played football from 1984 to 1986. His career as an offensive lineman ended when he blew out his knee. Now Henderson gives motivational speeches to groups such as students, business leaders, and prisoners. He currently tours the Georgia Prison System as a speaker for Heartbound Ministries. During his appearances he tells his story of how he became the bench press champion and performs feats of strength.
Henderson won five consecutive bench press world titles from the International Powerlifting Federation in the 1990s:
1994 Järvenpää, Finland
1995 Frydek-Mistek, Czech Republic
1996 Silkeborg, Denmark
1997 Leduc, Canada
1998 Amberg, Germany
Henderson became the first man to bench press over 700 lb raw in May 1996 when he pressed 705 lb in just a t-shirt and made it on the cover of Powerlifting USA magazine.
Powerlifting competition record:
done in official powerlifting meets
Bench press - 711.0 lb (322.5 kg) @ 390 lb (SHW) raw without wrist wraps and belt (July 13, 1997 USPF/IPF)
→ former IPF world record in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) for over 7 years; surpassed by Brian Siders's 712.1 lb (323.0 kg) (equipped in singleply bench shirt) in 2004
→ former all-time raw world record in SHW class (+regardless of weight class); surpassed by Scot Mendelson's 713 lbs (323.4 kg) (raw) in 2003
→ current all-time drug-tested raw world record in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since 1997
Gym record (unofficial):
done in the gym according to James himself
Bench press - 744 lb (337.5 kg) raw without wrist wraps and belt
James Henderson is the current world record holder for heaviest drug tested raw bench press in history and the highest raw bench press ever done in a full powerlifting 3-lift-meet (squat-bench press-deadlift). His record setting lift was 711.0 lbs. (322.5 kg) and was performed on July 13, 1997 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the 3rd attempt at the USPF Senior Nationals (IPF/USPF sanctioned three-lift-event) under strict IPF-conditions. On the same day, he pressed 683 lbs (310 kg) on the 1st, 699.9 lbs (317.5 kg) on the 2nd and even went for 722 lbs (327.5 kg)on the 4th, but barely missed it. Henderson bench pressed unequipped in the strictest meaning of the word - without belt, without elbow bandages and even without wrist wraps - in just a t-shirt and a singlet. Although Ted Arcidi was the first man to bench press 700 pounds, Henderson has his place in the record books as the first ever to press 700 pounds raw, without a bench press shirt.
The current all-time raw bench press world record of 722 lb (327.5 kg) by Eric Spoto was performed in an open single-lift-meet (bench press only) at the 2013 SPF California State Powerlifting Meet in Sacramento, California on May 19, 2013.