Kevin Cornell Interview

On this week's Weightlifting House Interviews we have Kevin Cornell.

If you want to learn why Kevin believes Glenn Pendlay would be the last man standing in an all-out Cal Strength fist fight and why Donny would be knocked out early on, keep reading...

Kevin Cornell is well known for being part of two of the most famous teams in USA weightlifting - California Strength and MDUSA. At high school Kevin played many sports, including basketball, football, and wrestling, but it was during his time playing collegiate baseball that Kevin fell in love with weightlifting.

Now not only an athlete, but also a business owner, an actor, a salesman, and a husband, Kevin hustles every day to be the best version of himself...

Follow Kevin at the social media links below

Hi Kev, thanks so much for doing this. Can you give the people a little bit about you? What are some of your numbers? Didn’t you do a 120kg sots press once?

Yes, I did a 125 sots press as my personal best. I won the Arnold Classic Twice, and multiple times state champion.

  • Snatch 160kg
  • Clean and jerk 200kg
  • Back Squat 285kg
  • Front Squat 240kg
  • Push Press 190kg
  • Strict Press 135kg

Can you tell everyone a bit about what you are up to now? I know you have moved on somewhat from being a full-time athlete and you’re now trying to build a business.

I am the owner ofH4M Apparel (Hustle for the Muscle), and have a sales job. I am looking to get back into competition soon though and maybe make a run for 2020.

Kev, why did you leave MDUSA?

It just wasn’t the right fit for me. They had a great program with a lot of great lifters, but I felt I was better off moving home and starting a new life there. 

What are your thoughts on the current wave of weightlifters in the US? Back 5 years ago a 160kg snatch and a 190kg clean and jerk would have been enough to win for any 94. Nowadays that might not even podium. 

I feel with the addition of many international coaches and representatives of the sport, we are starting to learn the “secrets” of the champions of before. That coupled with an increasing wave of new gyms, more talent pool to choose from, and better incentives, leads to a lot better competition.

Now that you own a business, train, and work a job, you must be extremely busy. What changed? What motivates you to work so hard?

I just feel that I was born and gifted to standout, to leave a legacy if you will. I was never happy with a small life, and will never be. Doing “normal” things scares me. 

Do you have any untold Cal Strength stories you can tell us? Funny things that never got filmed?

The funniest story I heard was when Glenn left Donny in charge of training back in Wichita Kansas, while Glenn had to pick his son up from school. 30 minutes later, when Glenn came back to the gym, a group of 12yo kids were all crying. When Glenn asked Donny what happened, Donny replied, “You told me to make them squat, so I did.” 


Do you think you ever peaked in weightlifting and hit your best numbers? If not why?

Negative. I honestly think that had I trained in a much more calculated manor that I would have been close to 175/215 at my best. 

Who motivates you now? Which people get you up every day at 5am?

Myself, and my wife. Seeing my family grow and become more and more prosperous is inspiration enough. When you want something bad enough, you just do whatever it takes to make it happen. 

If you could train with any two athletes ever, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Tyson. 
They were two of the all-time best, and to learn about how they became the best from them would be priceless.

What does your perfect day look like and what have you got to achieve to get there?

Being one step better than the day before. You just have to take a calculated approach to your everyday goal and always keep the big picture in mind. Tactical, and tactful. 

If you could give 3 piece of advice to the intermediate lifter looking to become advance, what would you say?

  1. Make sure to always have a steady income to back up your training. Weightlifting, especially at the highest level, is very expensive. 
  2. Whatever you think you know, throw it out. Weightlifting cannot be taught from a book, or a blog. It must be taught from many hours in the gym. 
  3. If you want to be one of the best in the world, you must act like one of the best in the world. That means on and off the platform, weather you’re at school, work, or home. You must be disciplined like a true champion.

Last one - You, Jon North, Spencer Moorman back when he was a super, Donny Shankle, and an in-shape Glenn Pendlay all get into a fight. Who’s knocked out first and who is standing to be the champion at the end?

Donny was more of a lover then a fighter, so Donny would be gone first. Jon doesn’t know how to fight, so he is gone second. Spencer has a pent up anger inside him, but doesn’t know how to wrestle like I do, so he is gone 3rd. I don’t know Jiu jitsu like Glenn does, so I am out. Glenn would be the champion.