Why the Movie “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” Is More Important Than Ever

It’s been eight years since Chris Bell released his first feature-length film, but “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” remains the best look into the strength athlete’s temptations, challenges, and goals ever caught on film.

And while most documentaries lose their edge over time — often due to change or progress surrounding a controversial issue — Bell’s film has become arguably more potent because so little has changed. The legal framework and social taboos surrounding performance enhancing drugs have held (mostly) steadfast, and though Bell skewers both throughout the film’s 1 hour, 46 minute runtime, it’s tough to say anything has since changed in the public consciousness.

If you haven’t watch the film — or haven’t rewatched since its 2008 release — it’s well worth your time. (“Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” is available on Netflix and Amazon Video.) Bell takes viewers through his personal journey from wide-eyed child to self-doubting adult, and he doesn’t pull punches on himself when it comes to showcasing personal vulnerability.

The core story focuses on Chris and his family as they struggle to find meaning in what they love most. For Bell and brothers Mike (older) and Mark (younger), strength sports and America’s musclebound heroes are THE lens through which they observe and internalize American society. Fractures in that oiled and juiced-up facade don’t just dim their childlike admiration; each disgraced hero and celebrity scandal shakes their base perceptions of reality, and it doesn’t take much in the way of editing gimmicks to make the Bell trio (and their down-to-earth parents) sympathetic characters in the viewer’s eyes.

While the film ostensibly examines America’s relationship with performance enhancers, the Bells’ challenges are even more complex. They’re living, breathing, bench-pressing victims of the double-standard wherein we demand increasingly superhuman feats but chastise the methods that enable their existence. All three have done or are on steroids during filming. Their reasons for doing so are varied, personal, and — gasp — even logical at times. But while pro wrestlers, athletes, movie stars, and bodybuilders-turned-politicians fall from grace only to be quickly forgiven or reelected, it’s the small-town powerlifter on roids who ends up getting vilified.

“I know the governor of California loved the juice, but if the high school football coach does a cycle of winstrol, what on earth will the children think?!”

The narrative works overtime to present multiple voices and present facts — as opposed to assertions — insofar as they’re available. If anything, that attention to perspective makes the film feel a little crowded on top of itself.

But what makes “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” so timely now is how the story progressed since its 2008 release. Mark Bell built an empire on strength apparel, gear, and publishing. Chris Bell continues to make films and recently announced a new documentary about strongman competitors.  

In late 2008, Mark “Mad Dog” Bell passed away in late 2008 from a heart attack following inhalant use. Mark’s struggles with prescription drug abuse were a focus on Chris’ followup documentary in 2015, titled “Prescription Thugs.”

The Bell brothers had three very different relationships with performance enhancing drugs. And all three sought different forms of success. Compared to the effort “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” took to dispel blanket myths around PEDs, their lives illustrate how massively a one-size-fits-all opinion on doping will fail.

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7 Feats of Strength and Balance That Are As Impressive As They Are Head Scratching

Before we get into this, lets get one unavoidable comment out of the way:

aaaaaaaand THIS is why people hate on CrossFit. 

There. It’s done. Let’s all move on now, okay? The point of this roundup is not to highlight your average Joe doing something questionable in the gym. The point is to show how unbelievable athletes show their superiority by engaging in feats of physical prowess that would almost definitely kill most humans. If you’re silly enough to think that you can or should be attempting most of these things, well…make sure someone gets it on film and that you’ve paid your latest insurance premium.

For example, Tim Paulson, LA Reign member and 2016 East Regionals competitor, recently decided to work on his Sotts Press. He also figured a little balance and proprioception work wouldn’t be a bad idea. The solution? Put these exercises together! Paulson snagged a balance board and a 115lb barbell and got to work. Some say it took years of training to reach the level of confidence and stability required to perform this movement. Others say it’s all in the beard.

A video posted by Tim Paulson (@trexpaulson) on Jun 30, 2016 at 7:34am PDT

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Continuing with Sotts press variations, Russian weightlifter and resident ham Vasily Polovnikov was clearly running low on time when he decided to get his cardio and strength done all at once. With 100kg on his back, Polovnikov maneuvered his way onto a stationary bike and pedaled his way to nowhere while repping out presses. He finished his set with a pause overhead and a victory dance. The best cardio is Russian cardio.

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Not to be outdone, Egyptian weightlifter and 2015 World bronze medalist (77g) Mohamed Ehab Youssef continues to hold BarBend’s #1 spot for the Most Creative Uses of Bumper Plates. Ehab Youssef literally leaves no plate unturned during training, frequently using them to weigh himself down during stretching or to practice being a human flag. He’s also got a knack for creating accessory work that begs the question, “How did he get that setup all set up?” The world may never know.

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Of course, the weightlifters don’t get to have all the fun. CrossFit athlete and New York Rhinos athlete Andrew Rape continues to prove that the little guys aren’t the only ones who can do ridiculous gymnastics. Rape seems to defy the laws of physics. No one seems to understand how it’s possible for such a giant dude to move his body through space with the lithe sprightliness of a Central Park squirrel. And yet, he continues to impress us with things like handstand walking on Atlas stones and barbell handstands.

A video posted by Andrew Rape (@andrew_rape) on Jul 12, 2015 at 3:20pm PDT

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You don’t have to spend your days inside a gym to get strong doing weird things. Powerlifter and strongman Bud Jeffries has a monopoly on outdoor odd object strength, and with a 1000 lb squat (starting from the bottom, at that) he can pretty much do whatever he wants and still be considered a badass. This includes cartwheels with 20lb dumbbells and pulling a truck…walrus style.

A video posted by Bud Jeffries (@budjeffries) on Apr 25, 2016 at 5:07pm PDT

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Lastly, just for funsies, we have Jon Call, aka Jujimufu. From weighted chair splits to 405lb legs together squats, Call may as well have his own category of Stupid Awesome Human Tricks. There is simply no one better at combining physical strength and flexibility with sheer insanity. This is the guy who split pressed Heidi Klum, after all. You win Jon Call. You win. 

A video posted by Jon Call (@jujimufu) on Jun 7, 2016 at 7:39pm PDT

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Over 700 Youth Lifters Competed in Austin. Here’s What that Means for USA Weightlifting

It is a hell of a time to be associated with youth weightlifting in America. In the preamble to CJ Cummings’ record breaking championship at this year’s Junior World Championships, Austin, Texas, played host to the USA Weightlifting Youth National Championships. And host they did, as 733 athletes competed over the three day event.

When the USA only qualifies 1 male for the 2nd straight Olympic Games, several thoughts hold merit: they need more athletes, younger athletes, and better athletes. For the longest time a majority of athletes (including myself) became involved in or after college when they were finished participating in a team sport. That is far too late, especially when you consider the rest of the world exposed their athletes to the sport during elementary school.

In the last few years we are seeing significant growth rates in the participation of younger athletes at the Youth National Championships. As the chart below shows, there was a +31% increase in the year over year athlete participation, and +355% in the past 10 years.

Youth Nationals Growth Rates

This is important because the first step in athlete development is to have athletes. Over the next 10 years, when these 733 athletes are in their prime lifting years of 21-27 years old, a lot of them will not be actively lifting. Attrition will come in the form of injury, lack of interest, work needs, family needs, pregnancy, marriage, or something else. Having a large number of athletes at a young age is a best practice that America needs to continue to support, because the best countries in the world maintain this practice and fully exploit it.

In conversation with Russian athlete Vasily Polovnikov and world renowned coach Yasha Kahn, they informed me that every year 50 or so kids, roughly 12 years of age, are invited to try out in the sport of weightlifting in Polovnikov’s small village. They are pushed, coached, worked very hard, and most leave the program for one reason or another. Those who stay turn out to be very successful. In his group of 50 athletes, it was himself and World Champion Khadzhimurat Akkaev.

Taking a look at the 2006 Youth National Championships: Five athletes developed into USA World Team Members at the senior level, which represents about 3% of those athletes.

  • Jessica Lucero (63KGs, 2015 World Team) – Placed 3rd at 53KGs – Under 17 Yrs
  • Jared Fleming (94KGS, 2011 & 2015 World Teams) – Placed 1st at 69KGs – Under 15 Yrs
  • Michael Nackoul (85KGs, 2013 World Team) – Placed 2nd at 77KGs – Under 15 Yrs
  • Spencer Moorman (105KG, 1st Alternate 2015 World Team) – Placed 1st at 94+KGS – Under 15 Yrs
  • David Garcia (105KGs, 2013 World Team) – Placed 1st at 85KGs – Under 17 Yrs

This is significant, because there are only two ways that a country can produce an Olympic or World Medalist at the senior level. One is through “free agency” – America could start to purchase elite level athletes from other countries and place them on their team. This has been done in the past by countries such as Qatar and Azerbaijan. The positive of this method is that there is almost no cost involved in developing the athletes. However in America, this school of thought is taboo and discussed in the same regards as Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).  

While it may appear that the USA has dabbled in this practice before, examples many bring up don’t exactly qualify. Geralee Vega was born in Puerto Rico and has been an American citizen since birth. Norik Vardanian has dual citizenship with Armenia, and received his American citizenship when he was a child who wanted to play basketball in southern California. Leo Hernandez received his citizenship in 2015, and that was after he went through the long and complex US citizenship process that took over five years to accomplish.

Olympic Feeders

Right now, that leaves athlete development as our sole way to develop Olympic medalists. In the last five years, America has seen top youth athletes such as Jared Fleming and Ian Wilson have high levels of success and then suffer an injury that set them back. While injuries happen and are parts of sports, the lack of high level athletes meant there really wasn’t an answer to the question “Who’s next?” If CJ Cummings is the face of USA Weightlifting and he suffers an injury, who’s next to step up and keep the progress moving forward?

In my opinion, the USA Weightlifting leadership has done a great job under Michael Massik and Phil Andrews to grow the youth membership. They understand it is a pipeline to more competition and greater results at the junior and senior levels, nationally and internationally. At the 2016 Youth Nationals, it was great to see numerous states like California, Georgia, Minnesota, and Florida, represented by strong programs and leadership. It was equally gratifying to see athletes from states such as Nebraska, Idaho, and North Dakota which have had minimal weightlifting in the past, and are now bringing athletes to a national stage.

That being said, in a perfect world, the number of athletes needs to reach closer to 1,000 at the Youth Nationals (with roughly half that number of athletes at the Junior Nationals, University Nationals and American Open). The Senior Nationals should be under 400 athletes (or less) to show off the best of the best.

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This will not be easy, as there is still an infrastructure issue of sufficient officials at these less sexy competitions. The Senior Nationals is the most important domestic event in the calendar year, and everyone and their mother will attend who is an official. The other four are arguably developmental national events – with lower weights being lifted by athletes who are not as developed yet. Hence less officials show up, and those who do show up need to more hours to make the event happen. USA Weightlifting needs better incentives for these officials because the officials are the lifeline of these competitions.

In February of this year, USAW announced there would be an annual calendar with 9 national events tentatively scheduled per year starting in 2017. Speaking as a nationally certified referee, I do not plan on attending more than one in the capacity of referee due to the amount of work I need to do compared to the compensation for that work. Maybe I will go as a reporter for BarBend, or as a coach, or maybe make a comeback and be a 56KG athlete again. But it is hard for me to want to take vacation time to spend a weekend officiating and paying almost full price for hotel and airfare when USAW had a net revenue increase of over $230,000 in their most recent IRS Form 990 (which shows 2014 vs 2013). In Canada, officials have their trips paid for in full by the provincial associations.

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If USAW wants to maintain a true volunteer organization, then link officiating at the smaller national events to participating as an official at the bigger, sexier national events. For example, when allowing sign ups for the 2017 Senior Nationals, let the officials who have worked at the previous four national events have first choice in which sessions they work. Then officials who were at three national events, and so on.  If I knew I could referee or announce or be the marshall for the star studded 94KG or 77KG weight classes, that would entice me to show up at more national events throughout the year.

Regardless, thanks to exposure from CrossFit and money, there are more athletes at all ages coming to national events. That is great, but we need to be able to support this. When Pedro Meloni, the new events manager of USAW arrives here after the Olympics, I wish him luck in figuring this all out and continuing on the promising path forward Phil Andrews started.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

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An Introduction to Programming for Strongman (Part 1 of 3)

Without a doubt, Strongman is the most difficult weight discipline to program correctly. There are so many variations on a theme that you can never be fully prepared for every event at any given time. The sport is also in it’s infancy with just over 15 years of regulation as an athletic contest, not just a yearly TV entertainment program. I have done athletic programming for Strongman as a stand alone sport for just over a decade now. Through trial, error and established scientific concepts, I have developed a standard template that will improve general full body strength and performance in the sport. This outline is an excellent starting point for novices and is complex enough to guide an athlete to success at the National level.

Keg Loading

The first and most important part of this series (this article) will describe the concepts behind this style of training. Understanding this approach is critical to the execution of a periodized program. In Part 2 I will show you a basic template and how to modify and tailor it to your needs. The conclusion will discuss a group events training day; this is often the most abused and misused part of an athlete’s program. I will clarify how to train events without burn out while maximizing overall performance.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

― Bruce Lee

Far too many Strongman athletes have fallen into the same trap. During their weekly programming they have a leg day, a press day, a back day; fall out from old, often less effective, bodybuilding methods. These workouts apply a large amount of stress to a part of the body at once, then ask for a week of recovery before being trained again. Many athletes do not even know there are other ways to train! Marketing of this training is strong and has been prevalent for over 30 years because it is easy to write and it “feels” effective.

Stone Loading

Feel doesn’t win gold medals though; results do. During the Cold War (1947-91) Communist countries wanted a world stage to display the physical superiority of their athletes and they used weightlifting in the Olympics to prove their prowess. Their scientists and coaches worked off the concept that “The body becomes its function.” This means that to become better at something, do it more often and you will adapt faster. Athletes were asked to squat and press daily and began walking away with more and more medals. At the peak of their Olympic superiority, some top athletes from the Eastern Bloc were doing several (4 or 5) mini sessions a day at maximum poundages.

Keg

Now these athletes had the very best in food, massage, rest and other recovery techniques to aid them. The common trainee cannot afford this much time in the gym, but the law of diminishing returns shows us that you only need to hit the sweet spot to reap the bulk of the rewards. For most athletes a single session six days a week is sufficient to reach their goals of being a successful competitor.

Now, a Strongman has a lot more to take on than a weightlifter, but the general concept is the same; become as strong as physically possible in the most efficient way. To do this we focus on the basics: squatting, pressing, and pulling. We use a variety of reps in the strength, power and endurance ranges and combine this with timed rest to put an emphasis on the focus of each session. Each session is carefully planned out and precisely followed with only quality repetitions being performed.

You will notice this program (which I’ll cover in depth in Part 2) has you doing the same things over and over again over 12 weeks. The variety is limited and for good reason; you will get better at doing these very specific things that in turn will make you stronger all around. You will also see that your time in the gym is often reduced to about an hour. Typically, this is sufficient for most athletes with an intense program such as this.

Tire Flip

To be concise, we will use the following glossary for Part 2:

Single (1): This is one quality rep performed at or near maximum. There should be no misses. This is not an attempt to hit some number you would like to see but a single heavy rep performed perfectly.

Example: Your best single on the log is 350 lbs. You must perform 5 sets of 1 today. After warming up you hit 330 two times. You know a third is not likely at that weight so you drop to 320 for the next two sets. Your coach says you are gassed but have one set remaining and take one last quality rep at 300. You worked at about 90 to 95 percent for that set and never failed.

Work Sets (WS): The only sets listed in the program are WS.

Warm Up: Perform your favorite full body warm up for about 10 minutes before training. With squats, presses and deadlifts, most people do a ton of sets on the way up. I believe in doing the minimum on the way up as to not become tired doing your WS. In a contest you often get very little warm up time. You should train to get used to this.

Example: You are squatting 5×3 today. Your work weight is 450 lbs. After a full body warm up you take a set of 5 at 225, 3 at 365, and 3 at 400. Then begin your work sets.

Press, Clean and Press, Clean: When you have a press exercise you can chose the bar, axle or log. Choose your weakest exercise or one you have in an upcoming contest. You can also work different exercises during the week, but don’t change it up too much. This program relies on consistent repetition. As the name suggests, you will only do the portion of the exercise listed. All presses are overhead; chest work is specifically noted.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Images courtesy Michele Wozniak.

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Brian Shaw Out of World Deadlift Championships, Will Focus on August’s World’s Strongest Man

In an announcement posted on his YouTube channel (below), strongman competitor Brian Shaw has announced that he will no longer be competing in the upcoming World Deadlift Championships in Leeds, England, on July 9th.

In a previous video, Shaw had said his participation in the July 9th event was contingent upon the healthy birth of his first child. After Shaw and his wife welcomed a healthy baby boy earlier this month, all signs pointed to an epic Leeds showdown — Shaw included. Now, Shaw says he won’t be competing in Leeds and gives several reasons for the withdrawal.

First, competing on July 9th would cut into valuable training time for World’s Strongest Man in August, which Shaw says is the most important event on his yearly calendar.

Second, Shaw explains that, after conversations with the World Deadlift Championships organizers, he’s concerned the pre-determined weight jumps leave too much room for the competition to end in a tie. Shaw explains it best in the video (embedded below), but basically, there may come a point where the bar jumps from the mid 460s straight to 500 kilograms. 

Shaw believes 500 kilos will happen for him eventually, but not now. He believes friend and competitor Eddie Hall may be able to — and, in fact, Hall has gone on record claiming he plans on pulling the weight. But more likely than not, the tiered weight jumps would see several competitors pulling world record weights — but the same weight — only to come up short at a 500 kilogram bar.

Shaw also clarified some of his earlier statements regarding deadlift suits and strongman competition. (He’s adamantly opposed.)

We’re sad to see Shaw out of the July competition, but it’s tough to fault him given the above logic. Plus, this could help ensure a healthy Shaw at the peak of his abilities in August, which will be a sight to behold in multiple strongman disciplines.

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Drink Your Vegetables: The Best Green Superfood Powders for Athletes

For the most part, we all agree that adulting is overrated. Being an adult means paying bills, dealing with mind-numbing co-workers, and having to thwart political telemarketers. It also means that you have to take your own health into daily consideration, and do things like feed yourself properly. We’ve all had ice cream for dinner (because I’m a grown up and I can if I want to, damnit!), but we all know that performing well in and out of the gym requires actual nutrition.  To properly adult, we must eat our vegetables.

As athletes, nutrition is even more important. Instagram makes it seem like food prep with a bounty of vegetables is an easy thing, but not all of us have the luxury of a food delivery service or access to high quality produce. Luckily, it’s the 21st century. We’re living in the future! In 2016, we can drink our vegetables!

green superfood powders

These days, vegetables literally come in pouches. These dried superfood blends are a great way to get a few extra vitamins or a pre-workout boost without having to shell out $16 on a salad. However, there are so many dried superfoods on the market that it’s annoying to figure out which one will work for what purpose.

That’s what we’re here for, folks. We scoured the market to find the four best green superfoods to supplement your pre and post workout shakes, sneak into your paleo meatloaf, and even drink straight out of a glass.

Best Greens to Enhance a Paleo(ish) Diet: Vibrant Health Green Vibrance

The Paleo diet works for a lot of people, but it’s easy to use Paleo as an excuse to eat nothing but bacon and sweet potato fries. With a host of nutrients from a wide variety of certified organic vegetables, fruits, juices, and extracts, Green Vibrance claims its superfood blend will aid in digestion, immune support, bone health, and circulation.

Mixed in water, Green Vibrance tastes like a whole lot of nothing, which is actually a huge perk. Its neutral flavor means it can easily be mixed into burgers, dissolved into soups, or sprinkled on your favorite sweet potato fries without adding unpleasant flavor. We’d particularly recommend adding a packet into our Pretty Close to Perfect Protein Bars for an added nutritional boost.

green superfood powders

Best Greens for Pre-Workout: Eboost SPRUCE

For those of you looking for a pre-workout boost without the pre-wod signature tingliness, look no further than Eboost’s SPRUCE. Unlike many other superfood powders, Eboost contains 85 mg of caffeine thanks to whole coffee cherries, approximately the same as one cup of brewed coffee.

Unlike most superfood powders, Spruce doesn’t contain a laundry list of dried vegetables, which means it’s doesn’t have the signature grassy taste. Ginger root extract, stevia, and just five air or freeze dried veggies — asaparagus, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and kale — make for a lovely, bright flavor. Spruce can easily be drank on its own, but it does particularly well in a pre-wod smoothie. Add a few berries and bananas and you’ve got yourself a tasty, high carb treat to fuel your body throughout a long workout.

Best Greens to Get Your Chocolate Fix: Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw Chocolate Cacao

With so many athletes following IIFYM or RP Strength style meal plans, many people find it difficult to get in a chocolate fix without blowing your fat and carb macros for the day. Perfect Food Raw cacao flavored green superfood might be the answer to this conundrum. With less than 1 gram of sugar per packet, we were initially skeptical of a chocolate flavored green powder, but this product is delicious. Mixed with water, raw cacao trumps all of the greens’ grassiness and instead leaves a pleasant, chocolatey flavor. It’s not quite like downing a Nesquik, but for those of you who like the bitterness of dark chocolate, you’ll love this product.

Furthermore, Perfect Food Raw is USDA Organic and Non GMO verified.

green superfood powders

Best Greens for Purists: Amazing Grass Original Green Superfood

Though the Amazing Grass line of powders has a variety of flavors, the most basic, no-extra-anything-added is their Original blend. Certified Organic, Vegan, Kosher, Gluten Free, Raw, and Non GMO, Amazing Grass is the product to go to if you want all the benefits of greens and nothing else.

Flavor wise, Amazing Grass tastes as healthful as well. There is a definite grassy and earthy aftertaste that while not unpleasant, might not be best for people looking to make their healthy food taste like junk food. Paired with a great workout and a squeeze of fresh orange, Amazing Grass makes you feel like you’re vacationing at a swanky health spa.

So, give one of these superfood blends a shot. Your mind, body, and your gains will thank you!

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The Best World Record Squats from the IPF Classic Powerlifting Championships

From June 19-26, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) held the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Killeen, Texas. The event drew hundreds of participants from dozens of nations, and as the sport of powerlifting continues to grow internationally, big international competitions draw increasing numbers of spectators and sponsors.

The IPF Classic Championships is one of the biggest events in raw powerlifting, meaning lifters aren’t permitted to use bench shirts, squat suits, or other supportive equipment outside of basic wraps, sleeves, and belts. This year, numerous world records — seriously, they were hard to count — fell across weight classes and age groups. Some Masters athletes (aka lifters over 40 years old) also took down world records in the Open category, sometimes besting lifts of competitors half their age.

While the lifts below are just a portion of the total squat records to fall in Killeen, they highlight some of our favorite performances across ages, genders, and weight classes.

Did we miss any of your favorite IPF World Classic squats? Let us know in the comments below!

Antoinette Kemper Squats 123kg at 57kg, Masters 2 Class

Antoinette Kemper is a U.S. military veteran with a long career in powerlifting. She easily took down the squat record in her age and weight category with a textbook lift — and we’d say it looks like she’s good for a couple kilos more.

A video posted by IPF Powerlifting (@theipf) on Jun 19, 2016 at 1:38pm PDT

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Inna Filimonova Squats 174kg at 57kg

We’ve highlighted some of Filimonova’s best lifts before, and whether it’s in raw or equipped competition, the Russian lifter rarely disappoints. Filimonova successfully squats over three times her bodyweight for a new World Record.

A video posted by IPF Powerlifting (@theipf) on Jun 24, 2016 at 9:49am PDT

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John Haack Squats 298kg at 83 kg

Haack proved he’s the IPF’s top 83kg lifter by besting rival Brett Gibbs by 14 kilos for this year’s championship. His 298kg squat was over 20kg ahead of the weight class’ next heaviest lift.

A video posted by IPF Powerlifting (@theipf) on Jun 25, 2016 at 8:02pm PDT

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David Ricks Squats 310kg at 93kg — and Open World Record at 57 Years Old!

There was a lot of impressive lifting in Killeen, but Rick’s new World Record manages to stand apart. On its own, Ricks’ smooth 685 pound squat (at around 205 pounds bodyweight) would be impressive. But add in Ricks’ age — 57, he competed in the Masters 2 class — and you probably need a second to pick your jaw up off the floor. He’s out-squatting lifters half his age (or less) and shows no signs of slowing down. #oldmanstrength

A video posted by IPF Powerlifting (@theipf) on Jun 20, 2016 at 11:51am PDT

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Dennis Cornelius 378kg at 120kg

The IPF weight classes go straight from 120kg to +120kg, and Cornelius took home the heavyweight crown on the back of this world record squat.

A video posted by IPF Powerlifting (@theipf) on Jun 26, 2016 at 6:41pm PDT

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Ray Williams Squats 438kg at +120kg

Williams was favored to take home the +120kg title, and he did so in style, making 8 out of 9 total lifts and setting a new raw squat world record in the process. Check out the whip on the bar as Williams blasts out from the hole.

A video posted by IPF Powerlifting (@theipf) on Jun 26, 2016 at 7:27pm PDT

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Full results from the 2016 IPF World Classic Championships are available here.

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