Founder, Silverback and Original Gorilla
Our founder Richard Ficca has been destined to move iron and steel since the day he was born in Tampa, Florida. As the picture to the left shows, his family put weights in the crib before he could do well… anything.
Always a big kid, Richard was always stronger than the friends he hung with, even those older than him. His genetics were going to allow him to be big and fat or big and strong. There was no swimming career or gymnastics in his young life or future and he was given his first weight bench at 12 years of age for Christmas. Quickly, Richard was able to press over 200 pounds on a bench within months, pressed 315 in 9th grade, and pressed 405 between sophomore and junior years of high school, all raw of course. He was in the 1400 club at Chamberlain Senior High and was a member of the varsity football and wrestling teams, garnering honors in both. He went on to play football at Newberry College for a brief stint, but the Army soon called.
Richard’s family has a proud military tradition and one that he always wanted to follow. Richard served as a paratrooper in various airborne units during his time in the Army, mostly in Anchorage, Alaska. Also it was great learning an actual education in physical fitness which helped Richard to know more than just strength training. Airborne units have been running, cross training and using various fitness techniques such as plyometrics long before they became the rage today. Living in Alaska did not hurt the amount of time Richard spent lifting. A Florida boy could find solace in the warm gym, lifting for hours and hours in his free time. This is where Richard first competed on a small level, and learned to love the sport. When Richard left the Army, life as it can and will do got in the way and he quit lifting, becoming obese in the process.
Realizing that big and fat was not an option; Richard started lifting and dieting, learning as much as he could along the way. This led him to compete again in 2004/2005 where he placed in some contests and won a couple as well. After an injury Richard gave up the sport again until his best coach, friend, and training partner Christie his wife motivated him to compete again in 2010. This brings us till today and Richard is currently competing at a high level. He is currently the Florida State Chair for the USPA. He owns and operates Gorilla Bench Training Center for strength athletes. He currently has one of the top 10 benches of the year at 606, and is ranked #1 in Master’s with a 2066 total. He has also set records for various federations at both the 308 and super heavy weight classes. Richard is hoping to really take a lifelong love of lifting and apply it to the record books over the next couple of years, hoping to take Gorilla Bench and it’s troop not only along for the ride, but one day handing over that title of Silverback, (but not anytime soon!)
Jenn Rotsinger has been a competitive powerlifter since 2004 and has lifted in all divisions of the sport from raw with sleeves to full multi-ply. She was the third woman to ever squat triple bodyweight and the first and only 114lb (52kg) female to total over 1000 pounds. Her best lifts include a sleeved squat of 363lbs (165kg), a wrapped squat of 388lbs (176kg), a 215lb (97.5kg) bench, and an All-Time World Record 440lb (200kg) deadlift. Her passion of the sport is seen in her performances as well as her coaching and passing on her years of experience under the bar. Aside from training and coaching, she is also co-owner of Gorilla Bench Training Center and a Clinical Microbiologist.
Managing Partner & Powerlifting and Fitness Trainer
Matt Levine is a powerlifting coach, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and is the managing partner of Gorilla Bench Training Center. With over 15,000 hrs of personal training, and over 5,000 hours of group instruction, he has dedicated his life to helping people become the strongest version of themselves. After more then a decade in the fitness industry, and a extensive background in high level athletics, he has integrated his training philosophy into Impulse Fitness at Gorilla Bench Training Center.
Matt is also a accomplished power lifter posting international elite totals in multiple meets over his career. After nearly 10 years as the Fitness Coordinator at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center, he has made his way to Clearwater Fl. Along with Rich Ficca and Jen Rotsinger, he is committed to providing the best place to strength train possible.
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Shelby Lickliter is a Strength and Conditioning Coach with experiences in all aspects of fitness. During his time in college, he played 4 years of NCAA Division 2 Soccer and graduated with a Bachelor degree in Exercise Science. Shelby spent 2 years of his time in college working with and training both Division 1 and 2 NCAA athletes in the weight room. He has also spent over 700 hours with the general population training those making lifestyle changes, as well as people interested in getting back in shape for special occasions. Shelby began the switch from collegiate athlete to powerlifter upon completion of his final Soccer season. With just under a year of experience as a powerlifter, his lifetime personal bests on the platform in the 181 weight class include a 451 squat, 485 deadlift, and a 242 bench. Shelby has a passion for assisting people in reaching their fitness goals and looks forward to being a part of the Gorilla Bench team.
Group Fitness Instructor
Bre is a certified personal trainer who believe’s in the power of doing what works for each individual. Everyone’s journey and “why” is different but something we all have in common is the want to get better. Bre is excited for you to experience the positive mental and physical changes that come with living a healthy and active lifestyle. Her goal is to help you do this in a way that fits your unique journey and makes you proud of who you’re becoming.
Bre’s passion for fitness and helping people achieve their goals stem from having to overcome numerous obstacles that tried to set her back on her own journey. From being an overweight and under-active child with zero confidence as a result of breaking both of her hips and being diagnosed with scoliosis to a 4 year battle with disordered eating and obsessive training, she has found balance, strength, confidence and knowledge through helping others who have felt their limitations are holding them back.
She understands the reality and frustration of limitation and wants to help people overcome them while gaining a new level of confidence and strength.