A general perusal of Ken Cooper’s competitive resume and social media platforms will make his Instagram display name “Gingercules” quite appropriate — a play on words concerning Cooper’s hair color and the famed Roman mythological hero Hercules, known for otherworldly strength. He lived up to this public moniker again with a recent upper-body training accomplishment.
On Nov. 28, 2022, Cooper shared an Instagram clip of himself completing lateral raises with 100-pound dumbbells. Per the caption of his post, Cooper’s initial aim was to do 10 reps for a personal record (PR), but an urging from his coach had the athlete complete a 13-rep PR instead. Cooper’s lateral raise set might be even more impressive, considering he detailed that it came near the end of an extensive overall shoulder workout.
Cooper’s training updates these days could hold more significance given what he’s endured health-wise. The athlete suffered a freak injury to both knees during the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) West Coast Classic in October 2021, while going for a 337.5-kilogram (744-pound) back squat. He tore two tendons and six ligaments while needing a total of 70 staples and was confined to a wheelchair for part of his recovery.
A little over a year later, in October 2022, Cooper shared a video where he deadlifted 412.5 kilograms (909 pounds) raw. Its purpose was to seemingly commemorate all the adversity he overcame on the anniversary of his unfortunate injury. Now, as the 2022 calendar year comes to an end, Cooper appears to be back in the full swing of things, displaying various other powerful sample sizes of his leg strength — like a 310-kilogram (683-pound) raw deficit deadlift for six reps in mid-November 2022.
Knowing that, his recent dumbbell lateral raise PR might just be another noteworthy footnote in the growing career of a potentially dynamic lifter.
Regarding competitions, Cooper doesn’t have an extensive history, featuring in just a handful of career contests at the time of this writing. He does, however, have enough of a quality picture that illustrates how he could fare in the future on sanctioned lifting platforms. According to Open Powerlifting, Cooper won the 2022 USPA West Coast Classic event while competing raw and in the 140-kilogram weight class.
Here’s an overview of his top stats from the contest:
Ken Cooper | 2022 USPA West Coast Classic Top Stats
- Bench Press — 257.5 kilograms (567.7 pounds)
- Deadlift — 410 kilograms (903.9 pounds)
- Total — 667.5 kilograms (1,469.8 pounds)
*Note: Cooper did not squat at the competition.
With his power and strength apparently returning back to a high level, a bright competitive outlook could be on the horizon for Cooper. Regardless of what happens next, what seems clear is that he won’t let an unforeseen traumatic event stop him from aiming high with his ambitions in the gym.
About Robert Zeglinski
Robert is a seasoned and adept editor and writer with a keen, passionate penchant for the writing craft. He’s been a leader in newsrooms such as SB Nation, USA TODAY, and WBBM Newsradio, with various other content and art production teams, and first made a name for himself in his hometown of Chicago. When not knee-deep in research or lost in a stream of consciousness for a thorough piece, you can find Robert inhaling yet another novel, journaling his heart out, or playing with his Shiba Inu, Maximus (Max, for short).