Sam Byrd 1050lb Squat at 198lb - New 'All-Time' World Record
Some people like to live without too much risk. They're satisfied leading a safe existence. This attitude of caution infiltrates into their goals. Every successful athlete - or businessperson - enjoys taking calculated risks. You have to. Especially in the gym when you're squatting 500 for reps and you can't get one more but grunt out ten. Your nose starts bleeding, you fall into the rack and that's set one.
I have thought about training sessions weeks in advance. For instance, if a big squat workout is scheduled for the middle of next month, I am aware of it as the days pass by. One-week prior I'll make sure not to walk too much or engage in any unnecessary activity. I used to plan my classes in college with minimum walking distance between them.
"It's not a competition between you and someone else. You may not do your best and still win. But when you are competing with yourself you have to beat your own record. When I was in my twenties I didn't think about it much, but when I was in my mid-thirties I came to realize my own mortality. Let me explain. In my twenties, after doing more reps than I had planned on a set of squats, I'd fall to the floor and cover my eyes. The light hurt them and it felt like there was someone stabbing knives into my legs. There was always severe oxygen debt, but I was confident I'd "come back". In my thirties I'd lie on the floor sometimes and think, "God damn! What if I don't come back?
Looking back, I do believe my drive to achieve this over-the-top intensity was, in a way, self-abusive. I wasn't out to kill myself. But when you're training that hard there is a certain amount of self-abuse. Normal people don't have to go through that. You don't drive a normal car excessively hard. A funny car, however, is pushed for all its worth to achieve every last bit of performance. But we learn a lot about our everyday cars from the drag strip. In the same way, we gain knowledge about the human body from pro athletes. Not everyone is psychologically able to be a pro athlete."
"When you promise yourself something, make a commitment, you can't give up. Because, when you're in the gym, you have to fulfill the promise you made to yourself. The people who can self motivate - in any field - are usually the ones who win. Regardless of talent."
"I used to like putting a little space between plates on the bar. They'd jingle when I came up out of a squat, making a deep-throated roar. The old 45s were the best. The sound would pass through my spine and ears. It was like a car engine revving up. It would help me time my movement. A cue to go down for the next rep."
"Six-hundred pounds (on squats) became a moderate-rep weight. One month before the '84 Olympia I did 635 for 12 reps
In 1993, I was just playing around with heavy weights. What we'd (him and Fred Hatfield) do is put over a grand on the bar, take it off the rack and just hold it for a count of ten or twenty. It's a great idea, but my spine couldn't handle it."