Routh Thach - Powerlifter Interview

1st place in her weight class as well as best lifter in raw open, USA Powerlifting American Open, Dec 8th 2017.

Author: Jonathan. L, owner - Models Observer
December 2017

1. Tell us about yourself and how long have you been powerlifting?

I am the youngest of 4 children, refugees of Cambodia, we came to the US when I was the age of 3. I grew up around my two brothers who taught me to be tough. I started playing flag football and soccer and going on hikes with family and friends after high school. I never lifted weight until I signed up for the gym in March 31, 2014, that is when I started lifting weights and exercising. I started powerlifting in 2015.

2. How did you get into it?

I got into powerlifting by chance. I had a cancer scare, decided I needed to take my health into my own hands and started going to the gym. Being a very goal oriented, driven and competitive person, powerlifting made sense because it forced me to set goals to achieve them. They were always small goals, but in time, it definitely amounted to some majorly big ones.

3. What are your best lifts?

My best lift for squat is 319 lbs. My best lift in Bench was in the gym, at 195lbs and my best deadlift is 363 lbs.


PR of 330x2 in gym. 12 days out. Still lots to work on. #minibeast #52kg #usapl #americanopen #meetprep #determined #goaldigger #deadlifts . . . 135x8 135x6 185x5 225x3 275x3 315x3 330x2

A post shared by Srey Routh (@sreyrouth) on


4. What is your lifting technique like and how did you develop it?

My lifting technique is always changing, but what remains the same in training is to try and find the best form that works for my current body composition. I learned this because I pay attention to how my body performs with different stances, muscle engagement, and breathing. Honestly it just takes time, and you just have to focus on what works best for you.

5. How do you utilize your diet as a way to maintain your weight while increasing strength? What is your caloric intake?

My diet during training, say 1-2 months out from a competition is not to limit myself on what I eat, as long as I get in at least a 1 to 1 ratio of protein to body weight. My usual calorie intake is around 1,600 per day. During cutting to make weight for a competition, I trim that to between 1,200.

6. Please describe your daily/weekly training. Which muscles do you target to improve lifting?

I train Monday through Saturday and play sports on Sunday. During training days, I try to hit chest and triceps and my upper back together. I have two leg days a week, two bench days a week, a back day and then one day to do whatever I want to focus on for the week. At least 3 days a week, I do 6-10 minutes of cardio at the end of my workouts because I believe it helps with my recovery. I target the lats for bigger benchpress. I target lower back for dealifts and for squats I focus on leg extensions because I use a lot of my quads for my squat.

7. How do you monitor your strength building process in squat, bench and deadlift?

I monitor it weekly. I always attempt my max weight each week, and add 5 lbs. There are weeks I can't lift it to get the PR, then there are weeks that I am always hitting a PR which helps me see if my strength has increased from the previous week.


A post shared by Srey Routh (@sreyrouth) on


8. Which lift is easier for you, and why?

Bench press is definitely my easiest lift because I started with bench press when I started learning about powerlifting. I had a torn MCL that took 9 months to heal and could not squat or deadlift so that forced me to focus on upper body.

9. Tell us about some of your most memorable moments in powerlifting so far.

My most memorable moment was earlier this year when I competed in the USAPL Washington State Championships. It was during my last deadlift, I literally peed myself on the platform, but I did not mind it at all because what was more important to me was getting the lift and hitting that 10lbs PR. It was memorable for me because that was when I learned I did not care about what people would think; I was not embarrassed about it; I did not let that affect my lift at all. I simply did what I needed to, pushed my body and did not let it fail. I have plenty of memorable moments from regular training days as well, and it is when older men comment on how heavy the weight is. It makes me proud to be a woman who can show men that we push past barriers men put out there for us. That we are just as strong, if not stronger. That we don't simply impress men by being a woman who lifts weights, but being a woman who outlifts these men.

10. How do you successfully grow your mental strength in addition to physical strength?

I grow my mental strength by taking time each day to remind myself that I can do whatever it is I want to, but knowing realistically, that it will take time to achieve what I set my mind to. I remind myself of all the past achievements. I relive the struggles I went through in my training and look back at it and laugh about how it is easier now. I measure how far I have come and tell myself that in a month, six months, a year I will be stronger than myself in the current time. I grow my physical strength by taking care of it so that it can continue to carry out what my mind is set for it to do. I take vitamins and necessary supplements to allow my body to operate at it's full potential. I laugh often and smile more and that has totally helped me grow and maintain a healthy mind and body.

11. What do you like doing away from powerlifting?

I enjoy playing football, hanging out with friends for game nights, watching movies, listening to music, going to concerts, being outdoors in the sun when we have great weather.

12. What is your favorite motto/quote in life?

It is a quote from Arthur Ashe - One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.


Rep PR, 10@145lbs after: 135x4 pauses 155x1 Paused 175x1 Paused 165x4x4 #minibeast #benchpress #volume

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13. Future goals?

In regard to goals for numbers, here are my goals for bench press: 200lbs, then 215 lbs, then 225 lbs; for squat: 250lbs and I would love to pull a 400lbs deadlift. My current goal is to compete in USAPL 2018 Raw Nationals and medal. Then at the Arnold, then perhaps get an invitation to represent USA in Worlds. After all that is done, I have interest in opening my own specialty gym structured to provide a positive lifting environment for powerlifters.

Contact info:
IG: https://www.instagram.com/sreyrouth
email: routhach@gmail.com


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