I was bitten by the weightlifting bug just before my junior year in high school. I remember lifting in this gym in Tempe, AZ. I was doing serious squats for the first time. I decided to test my max and put up 275 with ease. I was surprised. After all, I was a 150 lb. 16 year old. Some older guy spotting me said something like "put some weight on the bar," so I decided to go for 340 which I put up strong. Before my junior year was out I was squatting over 400. My senior year I set the school record with a 490 lift at a body weight of 165.
I had a coach at Tempe High School, Curtis Cook, who also loved the powerlifting game. He gave me lots of encouragement and support, even accompanying me to some local meets. I ended up setting state teenage records in the squat and total (or deadlift). Records were not well-kept in those days, but I'm please to note that while I'm no longer the "official" state teenage record hold for the squat or deadlift, my lifts are still, over 25 years later, higher than the official state records.
I found an old copy of Powerlifting USA from 1983. It contained a meet report for the November, 1982, Valley Classic in Paradise Valley, AZ. I was nineteen years old and squatted and deadlifted 501 in the 165 pound weight class. Click for a copy of the meet results
When I was 20 years old I was squatting and deadlifting 550, and benching 275, while lifting in the 165 and 181 pound class. I did this training myself, with no lifting partner, completely drug free. Much more impressive than my current gym lifts as an overweight middle-ager!
Back in the 80s, the reality of life set in and I fell away from the game. I would lift on and off, but never heavy until 20 years later when we would move from Arizona to New York. I joined a local gym and was bitten by that bug again. Lifting two days per week, with some long breaks in between, I've managed to get my bench up around 300 (my bench has always been my weak point) and my squat up to around 600. I'm still trying to regain my deadlifting form having switched to sumo-style to save my back.
If I could get disciplined I could maintain these lifts and get my weight down to lift in the 198 pound class, those numbers would be decent for a Master's lifter. We'll see. For now it's just for fun and me against the weight!
A few pics from the early days.
This is my favorite picture. This is the 1983 Arizona State Championships. I was too lazy to lose weight, so I lifted 181s. I remember being a little self-conscious at the weigh-ins with my shirt off. (If I could have seen what I would look like 20 years later, yikes!) Here is my first-ever try at a 550 pound squat (officially 551). I put the weight up, but got two reds and a white. Click for Pic
Here is a series of photos from the 1983 Valley Classic. I was back at my "natural" weight of 165. The first two pics are me pulling 502 and 523, respectively. The bottom picture I've entitled "The Look." Click for Pics
These next two sets are from the Western America Powerlifting Champtionships. I had my best meet here. Unfortunately, so did the competition and I finished a very respectable third with a 1350 total in the 165 pound class. If I could have pulled 556 in my last deadlift attempt I would have locked up second. Click for Pics #1 <> <> Click for Pics #2
I compiled a record of my lifts and records in various powerlifting meets in the state of Arizona.
It all started with my setting the squat record for Tempe High School . . . Click Here
Some more recent pics.
Here was my first time squatting over 500 in twenty years. I'm doing some reps with 525. Click for Pics
November 20, 2008 - doubled 605 lbs for a then personal best!*
* Current best is 627 lbs for 2 reps (August 2012). This calculates to a 668 lb. max. These lifts were done without the benefit of a full squat suit (I've 'outgrown' the two I own).
Why doubles rather than maxing out with a single rep? Largely out of safety concerns. It's been years since I've attempted to max in any lift. That's not to say I won't - especially if I'm nearing a significant milestone such as a 700 lb. squat.
Here are a few related links.
Official website of the drug-free United States Powerlifting . . . Website
Christian Powerlifters of America . . . Website
How to convert to sumo-style deadlifting (something I did to save my back) . . . Article
Russian training routine for master's lifters (that means us older guys) . . . Article
Dr. Squat, Fred Hatfield, with the first 1000 pound squat!
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