See that beast in the main picture? That motherfucker right there is THE reason I became a fan of Powerlifting to begin with. This is the story of Doug Young, more than a man’s man, but an absolute GOD in the early era of the sport.
I had already gained some interest into what Powerlifting was the day I started surfing YouTube videos thanks to the growing popularity of Starting Strength, a beginner’s strength routine. I found an old video of a televised Powerlifting event on NBC Sports with commentary from former Powerlifter and coach Terry Todd and a very young Bryant Gumbel. It turned out to be the 1977 IPF World Championships, held in Perth Australia. After watching a Squat World Record cat fight between Paul Jordan and Larry Pacifico, which resulted in Paul hurting himself in three places because he went for heavier weight than he could handle like a retard, as well as Vince Anello winning first place in the Mid Heavyweight division for Team USA, it was the Heavyweights’ turn.
Around the minute mark of this particular video Doug Young appeared as he was getting ready to Squat 699lbs. The intensity in his eyes could burn a hole right through anyone. Then, as he began to set himself up, you heard that fucking growl. This wasn’t no ordinary growl, it truly sounded like a bear was coming out. It was Doug’s inner rage, having to squat that much weight after dropping thirty pounds in just one week in order to make the 242lbs weight class for Team USA. Oh he made the squat alright, but in doing so he also broke three ribs.
It clearly was pretty unlikely that he’s continue. But he did, managing to Bench Press 535lbs, Deadlift 710lbs, and even win first place, all while fainting twice in the process. “Holy fucking shit this guy is hardcore!” was my initial reaction. I doubt that Larry Pacifico, who Doug even called out before his 710lb Deadlift attempt, would have balls that big as to compete with three broken ribs after dropping thirty pounds in seven days. I’m not claiming to be the toughest son of a bitch alive but I doubt highly that even modern day guys like Dan Green or Eric Lillibridge would be brave enough to do that. Well…maybe Eric would be.
In between lifters and attempts interviews were shown with the lifters. But when they showed Doug’s interview he said something interesting. He revealed that when he wasn’t training specifically for Powerlifting he’d train “for physique”, claiming that everyone should train to be equally as “pretty” as they do to be strong. This is called Power Bodybuilding today and, as shown in those interview clips, it’s a lot higher in volume than most people would think, as these training clips shown him performing Bodybuilding type moves, such as dumbbell flyes, dumbbell curls and Skull Crushers.
Doug at his best had a 56 inch chest with a tapered waist. So not only did he have muscle but also didn’t have much fat on him. It seemed, for a while, that lifters, regardless of their goals, lost the point but I think it’s coming back now, especially with programs like Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1, which I’ve been using for almost two years now, and Chad Wesley Smith’s Juggernaut system. It’s that equal balance of stimulating the muscles for both growth and strength, while conditioning yourself too. Doug Young was the early forefather for what it is to truly be in shape. Oh and by the way, a year he broke his rib Doug was the first man under 300lbs to Bench Press 612lbs. With just a t-shirt on.
Doug Young, he was to fore bearer of what it is to truly be in shape and be the total package, and one day in his lifting career was more hardcore than your entire life.
Unrelated to Doug Young, I just found out that Kai Green has signed up with Super League and, while it appears he’s not leaving the IFBB, it looks like he’s done competing for them. That’s a fucking shame! I don’t follow Bodybuilding like I used to but Kai was my boy. He may have not won 1st place but he has a legacy so much stronger than his win-loss record. I looked up Super League and realized that I did actually hear about it maybe a week ago. Looks promising…but on the flipside, is Kai really that insecure about never beating Phil Heath?
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