Press Release – Iron Mountain Sports, St.Louis

Contact – Eric Eisenberg

Phone – 314-477-4243

November 28, 2005

Modern Day Rocky, Poe Uses Hard Work to Succeed
By Eric Eisenberg

Nashville native, Matt Poe says, “The key to my success as a coach and an athlete comes in precise training designs and hard work methodologies. I am a competitor and my tools are hard work and heart when trying to crush my opposition. This attitude leads to the confidence I need to push the weight.”

Push the weight he did as he placed 5th Overall, 4th Pound For Pound, and had the 3rd best overheaed press of the Atlantis Strongest Man in America Contest at the New England Powerlifting Championships. Poe, a four sport letterman at Montgomery Bell Academy and a University of Tennessee football letterman, has become one of the top Sport Performance Development coaches in the country specializing in speed. He has worked with over 60,000 athletes across America including several Titan’s players in the past 10 years like Chris Sanders and Derrick Mason. He is also a highly valued consultant for orthopaedists and physical therapists in the area of many preventative programs for athletes such as ACL protection.

At 33 years of age, Poe was inspired by his roommate Josh Bryant, his young clients, his past experiences with football, and his father who was former Mr.Tennessee in powerlifting and a former AAU lifting champion to compete in the Strongest Man In America Contest.

“I spend all day working with young athletes and professional athletes. I often sit and think about how I can be the best example and how some professional athletes do no justice for their sport or for the kids who look up to them. A lot of times I am stronger and faster than the professionals that I work with. Unfortunately, I was not the size I am now while at Tennessee. I often feel like my athletic career never met my true potential. I would wake up sometimes thinking that I have become a Ferrari with no race to compete in. Walking in my father’s office, with AAU and other national awards staring me in the face, made me often wake up feeling like I had something still remaining athletically to accomplish”.

Well, Poe decided to dedicate a two and a half month time period to train for the five event competition in Boston which included the trap bar pull, the benchpress,  the overhead press, the weighted pull-up, and the Thomas Inch Pull. Most competitors spend all year training for a competition like this one and have years of experience. “I did not need training for intensity”, Poe said. “I began my “fractional training” protocol.” This training is basically high intensity mental training done with visualizations of successful lifts and one rep maxes every workout. “I took pictures of every event with the weight loaded on the bars, so that when I was on stage and in front of the crowd, I could recall the pictures and the weights were of no surprise visually. Then I perfected everything from rack positioning, grips, and all lifting biomechanics”.

 “The lifting done in high schools, colleges, and combines is non competition lifting. The benchpress and others are often taught poorly and done incorrectly. For example, for a bench press to be “good” in competition the bar must come to a complete stop on the chest without pushing into the chest, an up call is then given, and a perfect extension must be executed with the butt anchored and feet never moving. A 500 pound college bench press may equate to a 400 pound bechpress or lower  in competition. The 225 test at the combine is a joke!. That is the worst strength test of them all!”

Poe feels strongly that the pioneers of powerlifting were true strongmen and what the sport is turning into today is rather discouraging. “With gear and equipment readily available and accepted, people are reporting numbers that disgust me and others in professional powerlifting.” Gear is defined as steroids and equipment is defined as benchpress suites, erector suites, and other compression shirts that aid in strength performance. Asked about steroids and gear, Poe responds, “There are many methods to get stronger and post great numbers. Steroids and gear is not included in my arsenal. Hard work and dedication are my weapons of destruction.”

Asked, “Why would you come out an enter into one of the hardest meets in America?” “I train to be the best, so I wanted to be with the best. The meet was “RAW” meaning no equipment. The meet director and Josh Bryant encouraged me that my weights were too high to enter with the amateurs and I would be better off with the professionals. I knew going in that I had a chance to compete in all lifts and felt as though my Overhead Press would earn me the respect that I needed from my other competitors on a national level.”

Respect he did gain from his competition and received praise from the head judge Ed Coan, considered by most in the sport to be the best powerlifter of all times. “I have to say I was very impressed with Josh Bryant (the winner) this weekend. The Overhead Press was incredible. Congrats to him and little Matt Poe at 255 pounds. Matt showed a lot a intensity and courage going into his first comp like this. He had great form on the Overhead Press and was a fast learner on everything else. He’s a great credit to his profession”.

“The most meaningful thing about this meet was Ed Coan’s remarks about me and my lifting. He was a great technician and one of the best champions who I have ever met. He defines a real man. With Ed Coan watching me break the 350 pound barrier in the overhead and encouraging me in the benchpress and the deadlift, I felt invincible. No one knew me when I got there in Boston, but all knew me when I left”.

Asked about being the lightest man in competition, Poe merely responded, “That’s ok. My intensity and heart were the heaviest”.

Poe feels strongly about multi million dollar facilities to train athletes which is becoming more popular today than ever.

“Champions were made in basement and garage style weightrooms, hills, water, and sand. The weather makes a champion adapt and learn how to use strength in various ways to survive and this type of training leads to confidence. I am not a fan of pretty facilities, climate control, machines, and so called academic experts who have never been on stage or trained to explode mentally and physically under intense competition”!

“I trained in my garage and my back patio with dumbbells, a rack, and barbells, Rocky Style”.  Rocky Balboa, always the underdog in the Sylvester Stallone Rocky movies, often had to “take it back” to the training that built his success. “I ran in the sand in the worst weather I could find from the hottest to the coldest. I trained the heart and the soul. I did not sell out to people telling me how great I was or used to be and how this would be easy. I never missed a workout and Josh Bryant and I never let down on intensity”.

To the kids, Poe says, “Watch Rocky. Get outside. Quit crying and don’t be fooled by a pretty facility and what mom and dad want you to do!”

It is scary, he not only trained like Rocky, but this guy even looks like Rocky, is Italian, and is called Stallion. The only difference is that he weighs 255 pounds. Laughing, Poe says, “I think Rocky would have been a great training partner. I think he would have beaten me in the boxing part and the swimming part. I could probably handle the rest”.

“Confidence comes from what you want to do and the hard work required to get there. If you get it by money, legacy, or self proclamation, it is no good.”

 “I want to thank Vanderbilt University’s John Sisk and his staff for their support in letting me use their
 weightroom for specific training days. I want to thank Wade Johnson too.  They are winners in my book”.

“Keep God in your heart and train to win”!


Matt Poe can be reached at (615) 668-8760 or Appearances and coaching can be scheduled by him or contact Eric Eisenberg at Iron Mountain Sports in St.Louis at (314) 477-4243.