The Numbers I Use To Chase, A Powerlifting Motivator

Back around 2006-2009, I got back into powerlifting, and orbited some of the top levels of the sport. I had competed all through high school and got back into a few smaller competitions before, mostly in NASA, but it wasn’t until I moved to Fairfield that I started doing some of the bigger shows. And when I say “I did the bigger shows”, I mean I would compete on the Amateur’s day of the two-day Pro-Ams and such or serve as a handler for a training partner. I was strong, but I was Fairfield strong, not Westside strong.

I know this because several of our shows were in Chicago or Ohio. Being from southern Illinois, it was convenient that the strongest people in the world were in the Midwest, within driving distance. So I got to meet Frantz, the Lingafelters, Rutiger, Tate, Wendler, Simmons, Vogelpohl, etc. We got to drop in at Westside with just a quick phone call before. I got to stand at the merch tables and pick brains. It was a great learning experience.

As for the actual competition, all of those names above were either out of the game by then or way stronger than me. But, there was a then-new name I kept my eye on. The lifter never knew it, but they were someone I always wanted to finish ahead of. It did not take long for them to blow past my numbers though.

The lifter?

Laura Phelps.

Yeah, my main competition was a female gymnasts turned bodybuilder turned powerlifter. She was just getting going back then. The day she PRd by 100 pounds on her squat and hit 681, I knew I was no longer competing with her. She won.

Laura went on to smash just about all the female records before retiring in 2014 and becoming one of the best coaches in the business.

Fast forward to today, and Laura was on the latest episode of Power Athlete Radio, a podcast I have subscribed to since pretty much episode one. Listening to Laura was a fun trip down memory lane. I left that level of competition in 2010-2011 (can’t remember exactly, it wasn’t on purpose). When I started training again it was in CrossFit. When I started training heavy again, it was to lift Raw. Even when I was competing in gear, I was never a fan of it. I rarely even used it in training, saving it for pre-meet and then competition only. So, I’d say I’ll never catch her numbers, but there is no shame in that game. Look at her numbers listed on her page:

Currently holds 8 All-Time World Records:

  • 440 lb Bench Press in 148 lb. Weight Class
  • 775 lb Squat in 165 lb Weight Class
  • 530 lb Bench Press in 165 lb. Weight Class
  • 1800 lb Total in 165 lb Weight Class
  • 770 lb Squat in 181 lb Weight Class
  • 540 lb Bench Press in 181 lb. Weight Class
  • 1770 lb Total in 181 lb Weight Class
  • 540 lb Bench Press in 198 lb. Weight Class

Strongest Squat and Bench Press, by bodyweight, in history.

First Female to Total 11x Bodyweight.

Only Female to break and simultaneously hold 4 All-Time Bench Press world records in 4 different weight classes.

Highest ranked Total by formula, signifying strongest female powerlifter in history.

My bests were 650 squat-400 bench-578 deadlift. Laura would never remember me from any of those meets, but I still owe her a thanks for the unknown push.


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