Tumbarello’s feet being off the ground is a fitting symbol for this feat that would make many levitate with joy.
Written by Robert Zeglinski
In terms of upper-body prowess and energy, powerlifter Joseph Tumbarello understands what he wants. If one were to peruse his general social media without any context of his career, goals, or ambitions, one would see an athlete wholeheartedly committed to maximizing his chest strength through the bench press by seemingly any means necessary. The chest-focused brick house of power may have outdone himself with his latest impressive feat in the books.
On Jan. 16, 2023, Tumbarello posted a video to his Instagram profile where he successfully locked out a 281.2-kilogram (620-pound) Larsen press while wearing a lifting belt, wrist wraps, and elbow wraps. Usually, a bench press of any sort over 600 pounds is impressive. That’s, understandably, a lot of weight to stack onto a barbell and lift off the chest. Except Tumbarello, who weighed 115.2 kilograms (254 pounds) at the time of the lift, didn’t perform a traditional bench press. He used the Larsen press variation — with the legs fully extended and feet hovering over the ground — and notched a personal record (PR) in the process.
What makes a Larsen press particularly difficult, and what should enhance the perspective on Tumbarello’s latest display of strength, amounts to fundamental physics.
Because an athlete’s feet hover off the ground in front of the bench during their set, a Larsen press removes any potential of using leg drive to help with lockout. In a normal bench press, athletes can harness their leg drive for added stability during the exercise with their feet firmly planted on the ground. With the legs taken out of the equation, an athlete must better utilize a combination of their chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles to finish their press and stay stable at the same time. That could make regularly implementing the Larsen press into a routine potentially all the more beneficial.
For Tumbarello, even while notching a new Larsen press, this showcase of upper-body strength appears to be another day in his barbell-laden “office.”
On a competitive basis, Tumbarello does have experience outside of showing off what he’s capable of on the gym’s bench press. According to Open Powerlifting, the powerlifter has participated in two career contests, the 2019 Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate (RPS) Heatwave 7 (H7) and, most recently, the bench press-only 2022 RPS Bench for Boobs (BFB). Tumbarello competed with wraps in the 100-kilogram weight class at the H7 and raw in the 125-kilogram category at the BFB. He can boast a respectable first-place victory in both.
(Note: Tumbarello competed in both the Juniors and Open Division at the Heatwave 7 contest. He won the Juniors portion and came in second in the Open.)
Including this massive Larsen press PR, Tumbarello has wasted no time attacking 2023 full steam ahead. Less than three weeks into the new year, the athlete has already shared 10 separate Instagram clips of himself performing some kind of staggering bench press training. With that kind of dedication to his craft, it’s no wonder he can lift over 600 pounds without having his feet rooted deeply into the ground.