Doug Young: The Hardcore King Of Powerlifting

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 Canadian 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 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.

doug_young in color

Power Bodybuilding

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 forbearer of what it is to truly be in shape and be the total package, and one day in his lifting career was most hardcore than your entire life.

Final Thoughts

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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Extreme Metal Gym Playlist

Gym playlists.  Man, some people out there really seem to not have the balls to delve into nastier shit than they’re accustomed to in order to really raise those adrenaline levels.  I guess they don’t really want to train with fury after all.  Pussies.  This goes back to my first true post on here, titled: “…if I had my own gym”.  I bitched that the so-called metalheads in my gym cried like little girls upon hearing my heavy-as-fuck Spotify playlist, which contained several tracks by Pantera (the super heavy shit from the mid-90’s), Strapping Young Lad, Nevermore and Meshuggah.  The remarks came flying: “What is this crap?”  “Yeah I know I’m a Stripping Young Lad but this sucks!”, “Do you have any Metallica??”

Sure, there are gyms out there that understand that Disturbed is NOT the definition of music that makes you want to fight someone of even deadlift the house.  But they’re few and far between.  Also, I’ve come across plenty of playlists on Bodybuilding.com and, while some have come close, I came across a lot of shit.  When I think of real weightlifting music Bring Me The Horizon and Miss May I are clearly, badass bands to train to.  Right?  Right?  Excuse me while I puke out my flank steak dinner and my creatine powder.

So here are my ten picks, in no particular order, for heavy-as-fuck, balls to the wall, rage fueling, gym music.

  1. Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us, 2016ywnboou

I’m starting with this one because I need to get something off my chest real quick: I’m so fucking mad at these guys!  Just as this album is getting more critical acclaim and attention than any other album sounding remotely like this the band, without warning, goes on hiatus?!?!  What the fuck is this shit??  And why now???  Did Todd Jones decide he couldn’t handle the sudden popularity??  Did it go against his hardcore ethos??  Good thing I never went to This Is Hardcore in the beginning of the month because I would’ve been really pissed off!

Now that that’s out of the way…this is most likely my album of the year.  In just over twenty-one minutes, this album is literally all killer no filler…at all.  This is just straight up RAGE from start to finish.  The production is rough, the vocals are ridden with the type of slobbering anger that says Todd Jones wants to hurt you so bad.  This is true Meathead music.  It’s totally amped up my workouts since it came out two months ago and will most likely continue to do so.

Key Tracks: You Will Never Be One Of Us, Savage Intolerance, Parasite, They Come Crawling Back

2. Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996 tgstk

Yeah…this one…not Cowboys, not Vulgar…this one.  Why?  Listen to the opening seconds of the title track alone.  That’s why.  The Great Southern Trendkill is literally the most violent and intense Pantera release in their entire recording career.  It just wreaks of every negative emotion you DIDN’T expect from Pantera.  I guess it kind of, sort of, also helps that Phil Anselmo was secretly doing heroin during this time.  That shit always brings down the mood!  Featuring the late Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt on backing screams on certain tracks.

Key Tracks: The Great Southern Trendkill, War Nerve, Suicide Note Pt.2, Sandblasted Skin

3. Strapping Young Lad – Alien, 2005

alien

Ever wanted to hear what a bipolar person sounds like when they stop taking their meds just to make their most intense album ever?  Here’s your chance!  But it ain’t pretty.  Which is why I love it!  Devin Townsend knew that Strapping’s 2003 comeback record was clearly stale, minus two tracks.  So what did he do?  He risked his mental health and let the crazies out to play on more time.  I cannot listen to this record when I am driving because there were many times when this record came out that I went into massive road rage, probably came close to INTENTIONALLY running over people and driving into a wall.

Key tracks: Skeksis, Shitstorm, Love?, We Ride

4. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor, 2005

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Without question the heaviest album Nevermore ever did.  I don’t know if it was because of the permanent addition of Steve Smyth as a second guitarist, but whatever it was, it worked.  Usually known for a more diverse musical formula on previous albums, much of that is non-existent here.  Like…compared to the albums before it or after…This Godless Endeavor is musically pitch black.  I can totally see myself bench pressing to Jeff Loomis and Steve Smyth’s dueling leads on “Psalm Of Lydia”.

Key Tracks: Born, My Acid Words, Bittersweet Feast, Psalm Of Lydia

5 and 6.  Crowbar – Crowbar, 1993/Sonic Excess In It’s Purest Form, 2001

Crowbar

I decided I had to put in two albums here.  Crowbar are the ultimate go-to band for intense weight training.  It’s unforgivingly brutal, fast enough, slow enough, sludgy enough and add Kirk Windstein’s increasing raspy vocals on being down and out and all I want to do is eat lots of food and deadlift.

Speaking of food, on their Phil Anselmo-produced, self titled album is a song called “Existence Is Punishment”.  If you ever watched Beavis and Butthead in the 90’s you probably saw them making fun of that song’s video, leaving Beavis to basically say that the band makes you want to eat and get fat.  Oh..and that they’re always taking a dump.  Also featured here the most badass cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” that you’ll ever here.

Key Tracks: “High Rate Extinction”, “Existence is Punishment”, “All I Had (I Gave)”, “No Quarter” (Led Zeppelin)

seiipf

Probably the fattest, sludgiest and – believe it or not – most groundbreaking album or their career.  Featuring future Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet, Sonic Excess In It’s Purest Form truly lived up to it’s name.  But not just because it’s heavy, or you might as well consider every heavy album to be groundbreaking.  But because the songwriting here is so thought out.  Everything was perfectly arranged.  “The Lasting Dose”, the album’s most popular track – and the one where the moshpits always reach new heights – probably wouldn’t sound as amazing it does if it wasn’t well written.  This one always has me banging my head while training – I could give two shits if anyone’s looking at me.

Key Tracks: The Lasting Does, To Build A Mountain, Failure To Delay Gratification, Empty Room

7. Behemoth – The Satanist, 2014

behemoth-the-satanist-artwork

First off: Nergal is GOD.  I knew I loved Behemoth they day I heard their 2004 album, Demigod, in my college radio station, where I found myself playing it to death for a while.  It was the perfect mix of death metal with black metal themed lyrics, a new style the band were experimenting with.

But here, literally a decade later, the band is beginning to change.  Oh yeah, the brutality of their previous albums is still here, but the music itself feels fresh, much looser, much more off the cuff.  I remember hearing Nergal screaming with passion on the track “Messe Noire:: “I believe in SATAN!!!!”, me yelling to my car stereo with excitement “Oh yes you do!!!”.

Key Tracks: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, Messe Noire, Amen, O Father, O Satan, O Sun

8. Meshuggah – obZen, 2008

obZen

This was band’s second album using eight string guitars, but after 2005’s weird, and heavily drum sampled Catch 33, the heaviest band to ever come out of Sweden were back with fury.  Back when everyone and their mother was still on Myspace, I heard “Bleed” on the band’s music player…and nearly fell off my chair.  The slow tempo, mixed with Tomas Haake’s double bass rolls, those bowel inducing, low tuned eight strings locked in just perfectly, Jens Kidman’s newly developed screaming…it was as if the band was reborn!  Meshuggah were already one of my top five gym bands but obZen is a modern day Extreme Metal masterpiece.

Key Tracks: Combustion, Electric Red, Bleed, Dancers To A Discordant System

9. Morbid Angel – Domination, 1995

domination

The one album that causes the most drama between fans.  You either love Domination or the thought of it makes your stomach turn, and that even goes for the members of the band.  Between the production style and the change in David Vincent’s lyrical themes and vocal approach, this is either the band’s most brutal album or the biggest pile of shit they ever recorded.  Me?  I fucking love it!  It’s virtually unrelenting, minus “Hatework”, which I could do without.  I personally think the clarity in production makes Trey and Erik’s guitars that much more brutal.

Key Tracks: Dominate, Where The Slime Lives, Eyes To See Ears To Hear, Dawn Of The Angry

10. Black Label Society – Live Alcohol Fueled Brutality + 5, 2001

bls live

Right off the bat, fuck the “plus 5” on the second disc, it doesn’t matter.  I almost didn’t use this album but first off, Zakk Wylde is GOD.  Second, this live album is endlessly loud, violent, and brutal.  This was recorded on that infamous 2ooo tour were Zakk’s famous “grail” Les Paul was stolen, not to be seen again for a good three years.  This is another album I’ll bang my head to and sing out loud in the gym regardless of who’s watching me.  Fuck them, they’re all listening to the shitty dance music playing through the speakers or some watered down “rock” through their earbuds.

Key Tracks: Low Down, Lost My Better Half, Bored To Tears, No More Tears (Ozzy Cover)

My Pilgrimage To Diamond Gym, July 29th, 2016

Yeah…I wrote Pilgrimage.  Why?  Because if you are a serious lifter of any kind, powerlifter, bodybuilder, whatever, and you happen to be anywhere in New Jersey, then it is your duty as the serious lifter you claim to be to go to Diamond Gym at least once.  For forty years now Diamond Gym has been one of THE most badass, hardcore gyms in the entire east coast.  When ex-bodybuilder John Kemper opened up the place it became the original “East Coast Mecca” long before Bev Francis opened up her first Gold’s Gym franchise.

I remember the first time I even heard of the place – and Adam from Black Metal Fitness, if you’re reading this, this is for you buddy! – it was on YouTube, where I discovered an old WWF interview with Mean Gene in this really badass looking dungeon gym, speaking with the owner’s wife, Shirley Kemper, about the types of people the gym attracted.  She then mentioned the British Bulldogs and next thing you knew there was the Dynamite Kid spotting Davey Boy Smith as he was benching four plates without a struggle.  Then Dynamite did the same…again, without a struggle.  Here’s the video, took me a while to find it:

It got me curious, real curious.  At the time I considered myself a gym historian of sorts, trying to learn all I could about the gyms of the past, such as R & J Health Studio in Brooklyn, NY, the breeding ground for Lou Ferrigno, and where my dad trained for fifteen years.  I also wanted to know if these gyms were still around and if so would the environment still be the same?  Well, when I found out Diamond Gym was still around I wanted to know more.  John Kemper retired and sold the gym in 2007, he sadly passed in 2012 at just 67 years old.  But apparently the gym’s current owner, Dwayne McDaniel had no problem keeping the gym’s hardcore vibe.  In fact, when you look at the place in videos it looks like nothing was touched.

So I finally made my way over there yesterday.  First off, god damn Maplewood, NJ is ghetto as fuck!  Secondly, it doesn’t even matter because once I entered the gym – which is right next to a gated community – it was all worth it.  Oh sure, a few walls might’ve had a fresh paintjob recently, and there are a hell of a lot more autographed  pictures on the walls of the bodybuilders that came from here.  But literally nothing else has changed, the equipment is exactly what I saw in that British Bulldogs promo from nineteen eighty-fucking-six, the barbell plates are so old that they probably haven’t even been in production in over thirty years, and the floors in the squat rack and leg press area are uneven.

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See this?  It’s a Nautilus Multi Machine and there’s only one other gym I know that still has it because I used to train in that gym.  If you want to know more about this once fascinating “contraption” go on YouTube and just type in “Mike Mentzer Boyer Coe”.  Trust me here.

I’ll admit I was a little temped to leave if the idiot I heard through the speaker didn’t stop repeating “Ima keep it HOOD!” over and over again, but all in all the place was perfect!  Here’s my workout:

The shitty rap music in the place was so fucking loud that if I didn’t put a song over it I know I would’ve gotten at least five copyright claims because of the stupid algorithms on YouTube – I refuse to let DMX make money off my video.  Also, forget about conditioning.  I’m convinced that cardio isn’t in Diamond Gym’s vocabulary because I saw not one treadmill.  Now that is badass.  THAT is hardcore.

The gym just wreaks of all things tough as nails and I definitely will be back again.  If it wasn’t so far from me I’d leave my gym and sign up there yesterday.  Someone on yelp referred to it as “alpha and the omega” and he definitely hit the nail on the head there.  So to end this I’ll reiterate what said at the start of this.  If you call yourself a serious lifter and you live in Jersey, you need to go to Diamond Gym.

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New Videos And More News

So I’ve been pretty busy with recording songs and videos in the last week or so.  I’ve really been inspired in the music department, having uploaded two new songs in the last few days.  Here’s the one I just uploaded today:

Upon listening to it with the drums I mapped out as well as the distorted bass I put there, I find it to be a cross between early Bathory, speedwise, and a more modern Grindcore song around the breakdown section.  I just know my Ibanez Destroyer’s been taking a beating lately with all the things I’m doing.  Speaking of guitars I’ll most likely start recording covers sometime next week.

On the powerlifting front I just began the second cycle of my new 5/3/1 conditioning template.  Only now I’m training four times a week instead of three since I’m currently off from work for the summer – giving me plenty of time to get out all the extra anger my jackass students gave me this year!  I’m serious when I say they need to bring back corporal punishment because today’s kids are way too fucking grown for their own good.  Fuck the kids.  Anyway, here’s my latest Deadlift video.  The whole workout can be found in the description box of the video:

I figured out a great way to use my phone to film myself Deadlift and Overhead Pressing without using anyone’s help.  I just need to find a way to do it for Benching and Squatting.  Also, I’m not too far away from Diamond Gym in Maplewood, NJ, and I’d like to also make my way over there next week to get a workout in.  That place is just so fucking hardcore that I HAVE to go there.

More News

A quick reminder that I’ll be at Anaka’s show at the Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn this Saturday.  I’ll be making a video or two, as well as writing about it here so keep your eyes posted.  Also, I was approached by Helix Nebula, a band from just outside of Madrid, Spain, about reviewing their new album and I agreed to do it so I should be doing that in the next week as well.  Helix Nebula recently played a show with Feel No Pain, another band from Madrid, who’s demo I just reviewed; so I’m assumed that’s how they found me.

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My First Metal Concert

This just popped in my head a little bit ago…maybe because Phil’s bringing this band back out on the road again, but only as Superjoint for “legal reasons”, whatever the fuck that means.  In early 2003 I was finishing up my first year of college and was anxiously waiting for Phil Anselmo to stop with the multiple side projects and get with Pantera again.  So one day before I finished for the semester I met this guy Hussein, who I’m still buddies with.  I don’t remember how it came about but we got to talking about Pantera and he mentioned that Superjoint Ritual, Phil’s Black Flag-meets-Black Sabbath hardcore side project, was going to be playing L’Amour in Brooklyn in a week and opening up for them would be Sepultura. Whoa wait a sec.  Superjoint Ritual?  Phil Anselmo?  Sepultura?  Playing…in Brooklyn??  Playing …in THIS place??? imgres I figured for sure Phil Anselmo was too big of a name for a place like L’Amour, I don’t give a fuck how many bands played there.  Hell my first two gigs ever were at L’Amour and I vowed to never played there again because the faggot ass guineas running the place didn’t know how to talk to people.  But I realized I had to go.  It was Superjoint – it was fucking Phil Anselmo, who at that time still had it as a vocalist, and sadly it was as close to seeing Pantera as I’d ever get, partially because Phil wouldn’t shut the fuck up but that’s another story…kind of. May 20th, 2003.  It was perfect, I wasn’t scheduled for work that day and all I had to do was hand a final paper to my English professor and I was a free man.  While on campus I couldn’t help but go on a computer and check out Pantera’s website.  It read “May 20th 2003: Phil says Pantera is over.”  I click on it and there was a link to an audio clip were Phil explained his logic that he wanted to do another Down record, his label wanted another Pantera record and therefore his “obvious choice”, as he put it, was to stick with Superjoint Ritual.  Don’t get me wrong, Use Once And Destroy was a fucking AMAZING CD, but that’s his ‘obvious choice”??  Why didn’t I realize he was far from sober the whole time? So I took car service all the way to 63rd St in Brooklyn, which I swear is like this magical hidden block that you can’t know about unless you know what to look for because I never knew of or saw the place until two years earlier.  I got there real early anticipating a line but thee wasn’t.  But I did see a Ryder moving truck with Sepultura’s gear in it and realized Igor Cavalera was hanging out in front of the building while the crew was unloading the band’s gear. These days I have no problem going up to musicians but this was the first time I ever saw someone like Igor in the flesh and I just fucking froze.  I didn’t know what to say, do, nothing.  It got worse when Andreas Kisser came out.  I did try to talk to the road crew, offering to help them unload.  They were cool but they nicely declined.  Fuck! I was there for a few hours before I decided maybe I should get on line.  Problem?  I didn’t have tickets; but that all changed when I ran into an old friend whose band, Dieverse, was one of the local bands opening up the show.  So one of his fat goth chick friends sold me a ticket while (I think) subtly offering to blow me – not happening sweetheart!  I was one of the first on line when Superjoint’s bus came around and the band walked out.  Considering all things Phil looked pretty normal as he high fived me. I walked in there and was surprised to see that since I last played there in October 2001 they had built a brand new stage in the back, which meant there now were two stages.  I thought this was pretty genius since L’Amour was notorious for overloading the bills with local bands up the ass.  I would know – my old band suffered for it twice.  So while seeing the first main band, this really shitty hardcore band called Full Blown Chaos – wow they sucked so bad! – I found myself talking to some older woman who was standing next to me.  She was a real cool chick and I found myself asking her were she lived and when she said the village (Greenwich Village for those of you dopes unfamiliar with lower Manhattan) I for whatever reason said “I figured so”.  She asked me nicely how I figured that and I couldn’t think of a good answer even though I totally didn’t mean it as an insult.  I must’ve meant the fact that she came off as such a free spirit but didn’t know how to say it like such at the time, and being just days away from turning 19 what the fuck did I know anyway?  “I’m getting another beer, I’ll be right back”, she said.  Guess if she ever came back.  Oops!  Yeah, I was a dope.  Lesson learned! So Sepultura came out next and they fucking SLAYED.  Igor’s drum kit is something else but whatever.  The man is one of the greatest metal drummers of all time, a pure machine.  Andreas Kisser’s tone was heavy as fuck as they played stuff off classics like Roots and Chaos A.D.  During “Roots Bloody Roots” the place came apart for a bit.  There was no way they’d be able to steal Superjoint’s thunder – even with Paolo Pinto’s bass sounding like a 747 taking off. So Eddie Trunk came out to introduce Superjoint and I had just discovered him not too long before this night but he was every bit as fat as I imagined he would be just from listening to him as he showed off his vast, useless musical knowledge.  The only thing he was missing as far as I was concerned as was a pair of nerdy Steve Urkel glasses and suspenders!  The band came out and the place came apart for real this time.  I wish I could find footage of the show but I can’t.  There was this one guy with these nasty looking dreads standing in front of us who just had to keep his middle finger out in the air while yelling out “FUCK YOU ALL!!!” over and over again.  The guy standing next to me was jokingly putting his lighter to the guy’s head – I wish he lit that asshole up! Some memorable parts of the show include a girl jumping on stage to grab Phil’s nuts and hand him a joint, in which Phil responded in kind: “Thanks for the joint – thanks for grabbin’ my balls!”, as security took the girl away.  There was the part were some dude jumped of the stage head first and no one caught him.  Yeah, cringe moment for me and the dudes I now was hanging with.  Then Phil said the one thing some of us predicted he’d say. In a pure drama queen moment he put his left palm out to the crowd, closed his eyes and proclaimed “It feels…SO GOOD…to be only two inches in front of you.  I’ve been on all the world’s biggest stages – I’VE BEEN ON ‘EM ALL!  But this is where I belong…and this is where I’m stayin’.”, he said as he backed up toward Joe Fazzio’s drums for the next song.  “Who called it?”, someone yelled out. Aside from that the band destroyed the place for real.  Just one issue…how the fuck do I get car service to take me home??  I found a number for car service then I heard someone say “I know you from Psychology class”.  Anna Lopez??  Thank Satan you’re here!  And there was my ride home.  The next concert I went to two months later was far bigger but this was Phil Anselmo and this was also to be the second to last time I’d ever go to the original L’Amour; the place closed down eight months later.  If any of you reading this were at the show at all drop me a line and tell me about your view of the show.  Let me know if I forgot to mention anything.