Man of Steel With Samson-like Strength
Dennis Rogers doesn't need a red cape and a blue spandex suit to perform seemingly super-human feats. He does it the old fashioned way: brute strength.
by Margaret Feinberg
As an internationally recognized strongman, Rogers can lift refrigerators with one finger, roll up frying pans in his hand and even stop planes from moving forward. The 46-year-old does all this (and more) at 5 feet 9-1/2 inches tall, weighing in at a slight 169 pounds.
Reprinted with permission from New Man, Jan/Feb 2003. ? Strang Communications Co., USA. All rights reserved. www.newmanmagazine.com
The feats are a far cry from his youth. When Rogers entered his freshman year of high school, he was 4-feet 11 inches tall and weighed a mere 79 pounds.
"I had everything happen to me from being put in the shower fully clothed to being pushed around and shoved," he says. "I got more wedgies than I care to remember. I think there was one girl in the whole school smaller than me."
The son of a career Marine, Rogers went through his transient childhood lonely and ashamed. He describes himself as "the little guy who never fit in." Gym teachers even assigned him to special education because they were afraid he would get hurt.
Tired of being a small-fry, Rogers began lifting weights, exercising, eating excessively and drinking protein "goop." Despite the efforts, he only weighed in at 88 pounds by the time he entered the 11th grade.
"I barely even grew," he recalls. "My metabolism was so high, I was burning off as quickly as I was gaining."
Rogers says he didn't start growing until his senior year of high school. That same year he discovered that even though his size hadn't dramatically improved, his strength had.
Through a challenge from a friend he entered the world of arm wrestling, where he captured the East Coast Arm Wrestling Championship. Over a 16-year period he garnered 10 state and two national arm wrestling championships as well as the U.S. Open and World Arm Wrestling Championship.
In 1991, he was recognized by the Association of Oldetime Barbell & Strongmen as a world-class, professional strongman. "I bend things and tear things up the kind of thing every kid dreams of-and I get paid for it!" Rogers says.
His feats include preventing two T-34 aircraft (285 horsepower each) from taking off, preventing four Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycles at full throttle from moving for 12 seconds and bending a one-half-inch thick, solid steel bar around his neck into a "U' shape.
Dennis Rogers attributes his gift of Samson-like strength to God. "I know God blessed me with this strength," he says. "I was doing world-class feats with no practice. I was curling 100-pound dumbbells (with one arm) at 148 pounds and didn't even work out. I could just tear through decks of cards and phone books, and bend bars without any serious practice," he says. "I never spent all the hours in training that people do to set records."
Even today, Rogers says he works out, but only in spurts. Because his wife is a diabetic, the strongman says he is forced to eat healthy. "I don't want to look like a health nut," he explains. "I work out whenever I can in between programs."
The programs Rogers is refers to are called "Believe" - live, hour-long shows in which he performs feats of strength. "They're all legitimate," Rogers explains. "There are no tricks. I'm not a magician, and the best way for God to be glorified is for me to do them."
Rogers performed approximately 120 strongman shows last year in venues ranging from schools and churches to casinos and gyms. He estimates he will perform in 160 shows this year.
"God led me in a whole new direction," he says. "I don't want to entertain Christians; I want to reach the lost. After the feats, I'll preach or do a motivational message (based on) where I'm at."
When Rogers isn't tearing things up, he's building kids up as a youth pastor. He says he hopes to break into the secular wold of entertainment as a strongman and use the contracts and funding to build youth centers.
Rogers challenges young people to not only become warriors for Christ, but also to realize that with the inheritance of becoming a believer, there is the opportunity for tremendous success.
He explains: "When we accept (Jesus), we're part of the family, and what is His is ours. So why do we have to go around limiting ourselves?"
It's a message Rogers not only preaches, but also, more impressively, he lives.