Pumping Iron: Benchmark Showing

Organized by players, Penn State's annual Lift For Life Challenge is all about bolstering the fight against kidney cancer. But if you think the competition among the Lions is anything but fierce, think again. Jim Shaw's performance in the bench press this year was proof of that.

For the record, Lift For Life is comprised of 11 different events, starting with leg curls and ending with the giant tire flip. Teams of four hustle from station to station to complete the challenge, with almost no time to recuperate between exercises.

Because players are usually spent by the midway point of the challenge, it is typically not a good way to judge who is the best on the team at a particular event. After all, how many dips can anyone be expected to do mere seconds after suffering through the dreaded "Iron Cross," where players must hold weights with arms extended as long as they can?

But that's what made Shaw's showing in the bench press last Friday so amazing. Less than four minutes after lugging a pair of hundred-pound plates the length of a football field and then pushing the brutal “coaching buddy” the same distance, the defensive lineman went to work on the bench.

You can see the video of his performance below. The weight he is lifting in the challenge is 225 pounds, the same standard used at the NFL scouting combine each year.

Jim Shaw bench press video.

To put this effort into perspective, realize that at the 2005 NFL combine, where athletes have much more time to catch their breath between events, the average number of reps by the defensive ends was 23. Only Vanderbilt's Jovan Hayes did more than 30 (33).

Among defensive tackles, the average was 29.

2005 NFL Combine Results (defensive ends).

2005 NFL Combine Results (defensive tackles).

Shaw, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound transfer from Rice who has junior eligibility, sat out last year under NCAA rules. He was a starting defensive end for the Owls, and has played linebacker, tight end, defensive end and defensive tackle for the Lions. He spent the latter part of the spring at DT.

At Life For Life, Shaw was a member of the team We Are Legend (along with Paul Posluszny, Jim Kanuch and Deon Butler). They won the competition.


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