UBC offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley uses breath to power bench press title at combine

University of British Columbia offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley knew the number he needed to beat on the bench press.

“They told me that 25 was the highest so far, I knew I had to get at least 25 and I was confident that I would,” Shepley said.

The six-foot-four, 306-pounder recorded 27 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press stepping out from behind the curtain and into the bright lights in prime time at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

There were a couple hundred people watching live and scouts packed on both sides of the bench press. That 27 total came just four days after Shepley did 31 at Eastern Michigan University’s pro day, which made him the favourite to top the charts.

“Repetition, pardon the pun. I’ve been going at it for about three months now, it’s just getting that technique down, your routine and setup and just doing it like you’ve done 1,000 times before. In training, I was averaging about 30 every week,” Shepley said.

The Windsor, ON native trained at Barwis Performance Center in Plymouth, MI to prepare for the testing.

“Those are my guys, I have an awesome team to train with at Barwis. It’s the breath. We talked a lot about the breathing, holding your breath on the first group of reps then catching your breath for the next four, the next three, then it’s one at a time after that,” Shepley said.

“Holding your breath is the most important. I got to 17 on my first breath, then I regrouped, take my breaths and bang out four or five, bang out three or four, then one at a time after that.”