Powerlifter Ray Williams became the first man in history to squat 1,000 pounds back in 2016, at the USAPL Raw Nationals. More recently, at the 2019 Arnold Sports Festival, he improved on his own record, with a staggering back squat of 1,080 pounds.
“When you get under that weight—all 1,000 pounds—you understand that this amount of weight doesn’t so much sit on your back as it becomes part of you,” Williams recently told Men’s Health. “And your core as you squat this, combined with the tight, thick belt—that area becomes like steel. You go down, come back up, re-rack the bar, then step back and admire your work. It’s incredible.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Williams spoke about the mindset and training routine he uses to maintain that legendary strength and size, while also staying healthy and injury-free. And when asked about the one piece of equipment he can’t go without each day, he gave something of a surprise answer: his gym bag.
“I know some people will say lifting shoes with a good heel or a good firm belt,” he said. “But I have a lot of stuff I carry: I have chalk, bands, you name it. And I have my cell phone, other clothes, and food. If I forget that stuff, I’ll have to drive home from the gym and get it. That’s a lot of wasted time. So my advice is to get yourself a good gym bag, so you don’t have that excuse. “Oh, I left my stuff at home, guess I’ll just turn around.” Put it all in the bag.”
Williams also offered some advice for anybody who is just getting started in strength sports. “You need to go into this with an open mind.” he said. “Also, you should get an experienced coach for the sport you’re trying to learn, because you will likely need that guidance. A good coach can catch errors before they become bad habits.”
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