International Powerlifting Champion

For Captain Mike Ferrantelli of the Pasco County, Fla. Sheriff’s Office, the answer to the question of off-duty activities is easy: bench press. He is literally a world champion at it. During the 2013 International Powerlifting Federation Masters Bench Press World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic, he won the Gold Medal. He won the championship by lifting 578.8 pounds in the 231-pound weight class.

In his powerlifting career, Ferrantelli has won five other world titles, 10 national titles, and broken more than 40 American, National, and World Drug Free records. However, he didn’t always have the competitive edge. Rather, he weighed only 125 pounds in high school, and was cut from the school football team. His dad inspired him to start working out, and his commitment to physical fitness has continued ever since.

Ferrantelli joined the Sheriff’s Office out of high school, and now at 47, has already served 28 years with the agency. He is currently the captain of the operations division for Court Services Bureau. He also mentors individuals at the local YMCA and conducts “Say No to Drugs” seminars at area high schools upon request.

To prepare for the Prague event, he tried to ensure that he ate five to six meals a day consisting of 60 percent protein, 30 percent complex carbohydrates, and 10 percent essential fats. He followed this 80 percent of the time, while he indulged in other foods he wanted the rest of the time.

Ferrantelli also went through a 15-week training camp. When he trains, he stretches the particular muscle groups he will be working. He breaks up the exercises by doing all pushing exercises on one day (chest, triceps and shoulders). The next day would be all leg exercises, the third day all pulling exercises (back and biceps), and then rest on the next day. He considers the first three days as his heavy training days, and the three days after his day off are light training days.

He varies the repetitions and the amount of weight utilized, feeling that the human body and all of its muscle groups should work in unison with each other. Given this, he trains all of the muscle groups equally, and this schedule gives him a 96-hour rest period between the various muscle groups.

Also when training, he always starts light and moves up in steps, increasing weight incrementally to ensure his body receives a significant warm-up for the amount of exertion it will endure when lifting maximum pounds.

It took a county-wide effort to finance his $8,000 trip to the competition. The entire community chipped in, so he feels it wasn’t just a personal win, but a win for the whole county. How does all of this training and physical fitness affect his law enforcement career? It gives him a sense of accomplishment, encourages respect, and helps with confidence. He also says that if he gets into an altercation, he knows he can hold his own.


Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park, Ohio Police Department and a frequent contributor to

Tactical Response. Mickey Davis is a California-based writer and author.



World Push-Pull Champion


Jason Dexter, a


County, Ind. Sheriff’s Deputy, earned two gold medals during the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In the 242-pound class, one gold was for the bench press, while the other was for the push-pull. The push-pull event is a combination of a bench press and a dead lift. He pushed 374 pounds and pulled 535 pounds.

Dexter has previously competed in two World Police and Fire Games:


in 2009 and

New York City

in 2011. The Games are held every other year. Like most athletes, he is calculating what and how much he eats. He takes in a lot of calories between events, cleans up the diet as the event approaches, and eats four to five meals the days he lifts.

Dexter is a frequent North American Strongman competitor. To prepare for these and other events, he works out four days a week doing bench press, military press, squat and dead lift. He follows a 5-3-1 routine: five reps at about 70 percent of the target weight, three lifts at 80 percent of the target, then one lift at 95 percent of the target.

The rural


community has come together each time to raise money for travel and lodging expenses. As a School Resource Officer, Dexter is popular with students, parents and teachers alike. The trip to


cost $6,500, and most of it came from community support. Dexter helps students with their lifting and coaches fellow deputies to meet state fitness standards.


In addition to the personal satisfaction of two gold medals in international powerlifting events, Dexter says one of the benefits of this competition is the friendships he makes with police officers all over the world. With all of the accolades, Dexter remains very low key. When really pushed for details, there is no bragging. “I can lift things other people can’t.”

Published in Tactical Response, Jul/Aug 2014

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