When I start thinking of the early 2010, then I will remember the legendary lifts of Pete Rubish, George Leeman and Chris Hickson. Not only their heavy lifts made a huge impression on me and you. It was more how they lifted the weights off the floor. Their "gym attitude" and "raw demons" left an impression and influenced many future powerlifters and strongmen.
In my opinion Pete Rubish is the pioneer in this one decade of powerlifting. In my early career when I started bodybuilding and fitness I always thought powerlifting was something like Crossfit. Skinny tattooed guys in their mid 30's with headbands, gloves and bad lifting technique. Pete made this Sport look more badass and intense. One day I saw Pete Rubish's legendary deadlift videos. And I was like "you can be so strong and badass?".
At this time he lifted in his parents’ basement. In the background you will hear metal and rap music. Pete started lifting with light weight and the music genre was also 'light'. But the more weights was on the barbell the more intense was the music genre.
During lifting more and more weights there was something like a mental transformation. It was more like a battle. Pete vs. the barbell. Powerlifting seems to be primitive. You have just to lift a weight from the floor, right?
But there will be a point you can not go further. And the reason will be your mental behavior. You have to torture yourself. You have to across the line and that's the hard part of power lifting. It is a mental battle and that the reason why I and probably YOU started lifting heavy weights. You love the pain. You love it rough because you'd rather feel pain than nothing at all!
His efforts and grinds are real. He LIVES for it and you can see it in the above video clip. Larry Wheels, top ranked powerlifter, used to citing that Pete Rubish influenced him in many ways and was his inspiration in his early teens.
How would I describe this decade of powerlifting. NEW, HEAVY AND METAL.
Disturbed, Hatebreed, Rammstein, Linkin Park and many other metal bands would describe this one decade perfectly.
What was it like in the past? Was it always like this? No, every generation has its own direction.
50 years ago, in the era of Doug Young, Doyle Kenady and John Kuc...this time was marked by cowboy boots, pilot sunglasses, chest hair and rock music.
There was also no Internet and of course no social media. The results of the powerlifting meets were published one year later. The oldschool lifters did not scream the barbell like today's powerlifters. There was not much hype and the lifters were more laid back than psyched up.
Kenady, Kuc and Young are legends and have strongly influenced the 70s. Even though they are not with us today, after 4 decades they are still on the topic. They will never die. They live on in the heads of the following lifting-generations.
You want to learn more about the 70s Powerlifting? Then click on the below link:
70's Power Lifting Stars
Back today and now you are wondering who influenced this power lifting era?
As I said Pete Rubish is one of them. But there are many others. I made a little list for you, have fun!
Lilliebridge Eric (Birth date march 7, 1990)
Eric started powerlifting very young. With 15 years Eric deadlifted 220kg. With 16 years he jumped to 270kg. And he did not stop there. With only 17 years he was able to deadlift 287.5kg! Today he is 28 years old and on the competition 'Big Dogs 3' he deadlifted 390kg!
And who influenced Eric? It was his father Ernest Lilliebridge. He started lifting weight because he was doing martial arts and had to get stronger. Thus he started powerlifting and he was hooked. He is today 47 years old and his passion lifting big weights influenced his son Eric very much. He saw his father lifting weights and then he decided to become as strong as his father.
Eric's training consists of many 1RM squats/deadlifts and listening to new metal. I studied many work out videos of him and it seems his favorite new-metal band would be 'Linkin Park'. Hats off to Eric and his father Ernest!
Competition: 2018 Big Dogs 3
BW:140.90KG SQUAT: 455kg/1003lb BENCH: 240kg/529lb DEAD: 390KG/859lb 1085KG/2392lb Total
Isabella von Weissenberg (birth: 1989)
One of the cutest in the lifting buisness. But she has very intense and dark side. I remember watching one of her deadlift videos and she used to slapping herself before pulling the weight off the floor. And then as she started lifting the weight she moaned and screamed her lung's off.
My only thought was 'I have to rethink my mental attitude. Am I training hard enough as she used to do?'
Probably she is a little bit crazy. Thus be careful, tell her that she should stay in the kitchen and she will tear you into two pieces!
Competition: European Classic Powerlifting Championship 2017
Squat: 192.5kg/424lb Bench: 97.5kg/214lb Deadlift: 207.5kg/457lb
Cailer Woolam (Birth date: 1995)
He is built like the oldschool powerlifter Bob Peoples. Long arms short waisted made for a shorter pull. They both are using the hook grip to pull the weight.
Bob Peoples was a country man brought up on hard work around the farm so he was primed for the heavy lifting! Cailer Woolam was also born to lift heavy weights. 2013 he pulled 530lb and after years of working out he is now able to deadlift 947lb! Hats off to Cailer.
Competition: 2018 World championship
BW: 97kg/216lb Squat: 272kg/600lb Bench: 204kg/451lb Deadlift: 429kg/947lb
David Troutt (Birth date 1985)
David Troutt is a family man, hardworker and an extremly strong lifter. His deadlift technique is characterized by violence and roar. He is able to deadlift 800lb but his way of lifting is unique. It's like he's jumping off the ground explosively but with 800 pounds in his hands. The first phase starts with a HEAVY jerk and the barbell and also his back bends gradually. Other top ranked powerlifter like Dan Green, Pete Rubish or Luke Richardson would break their back in two halfes if they use David's technique.
David is not a top ranked powerlifter but his disc has the ability to stand any external forces/pressure! In this buisness he has one of the most bullet proof discs!
Competition: 2013 IPL World Powerlifting
BW: 104kg/231lb Squat: 272kg/600lb Bench: 170kg/374lb Dead: 372kg/821lb
Vince Urbank Ex Marine
Vince Urbank served in the Marines from 2005-2009. After that he turned into professional strongman/powerlifting.
Competition: Night of the living deadlift
2012 he setted a new deadlift record. He opened with the all-time American record to break Doyle Kenady's 903lb long standing mark. And Vince did it, he ripped up the 906lb and he was the new american deadlift-record holder. He planed to enter the 'World's Strongest Man' but his life priorities changed. He became father and thus he stopped wanting to become one of the strongest man. Probably he started thinking to become one of the best fathers in the world! Hats off to Urbank
Deadlift: 410kg/906lb (competition) Bench: 237kg/595lb (gym) Squat: 660lb/299kg x3
Andrej Mostovenko (Birth: 1990, Germany)
He's unknown abroad but in germany well known. 2016 he was invited by STRENGTH WARS to participate at a squat battle. One of his competitors was Olympic Cyclist Robert Förstemann aka Quadzilla. The challenge was to squat 5 minutes in a row with their bodyweight. Andrej managed to squat 87x and Robert 72x. Of course the Powerlifter has won!
In Germany he is one of the most aggressive lifters. Yes, he is deadlifting in sumo-style but he is training in men's style. Big weights, heavy nosebleed and a lot of willpower! Hats off to Andrej!
Competition: Insanity Meet 2015
Squat: 300kg/661lb (with sleeves) Bench: 190kg/418lb Deadlift: 330kg/727lb Total: 820kg/1807lb
He is used to training with Eric Lilliebridge and what an awesome pair they make! He is definitely one of the most promising youngsters in powerlifting world. Larry Wheels said that even he himself wasn't putting up such crazy numbers at such young age.
This clip is better than any power lifting motivation videos with speeches. You can see his efforts and willpower. Especially the time line 01:54 is worth watching. You can feel how the atmosphere is changing. No chatting, laughing, just psyching up to the limit. And of course some great german music like Eisbrecher! Hats off to Andrew!
Pro Juniors 20-23
Squat: 407.5kg/898lb Bench: 225kg/496lb Deadlift: 377.5kg/832lb
Luke Richardson (Birth 1997)
Luke started climbing and playing football. He said that he has always been the strongest when he was growing up. When he was more interested to weight training he began watching tons of powerlifers on YouTube and thus he started lifting big weights!
After winning his first competitions he has confidence and willpower to load up big weights. On Instagram he wrote this, "A year of heartache, regret, and darkness. I am ready to right the wrongs of last year and prove to myself that I can do anything. No one wants this as bad as me. I hope you are all ready because I am just getting started."
2018 European Classic Powerlifting Championships
BW: 147KG/324lb Squat: 403kg/888lb Bench: 222.5kg/490lb Dead: 385kg/848lb
Chris Hickson, another big deadlifter from back in the earlier days of youtube. Even the young Larry Wheels looked up to him! He used to leave a comment under the old workout videos of Pete and Chris. You can see their raw demons affected him very much!
Chris started posting videos really young and was pulling 500lb at 14-15 years old. At 18 years old he was pulling 800lbs. At 20 years old he was pulling around 850lb. He was one of the fastest deadlifter in the world.
But what happened to him?
According to a reddit thread Chris got into a car accident and endured a complete quad rupture, which he is still recovering from. He dropped from around 275lbs at his strongest to around 220-242. For now he's just focusing on general health rather than hardcore powerlifting.
Competition: Iron Battle on the Mississippi
Bw:108kg/238lb Squat: 275kg/606lb Bench: 127.5kg/281lb Deadlift: 355kg/782lb
George Leeman aka. Babyslayer (Birth date: 1991)
George walked into a weight room as a bullied, shy and insecure 15 year old kid. Many legends start with being different and thus they were rejected from the society. They wanted to belong somewhere and they choosed the weight room. Other kids start playing piano or coding on their computer an application.
But we choosed the weight room.
George started as a shy and weak youngster but after years of hard training he achieved something great. 2015 he setted an american deadlift record!
George's training environment was also very special. He deadlifted in his living room 835lb x3 and after he finished the last rep he just smashed the barbell to the floor. I would say the structural engineer made a good job. The floor could stand George Leeman and 800 pounds in his hands! Just check out on Youtube 'George Leeman 835lbs x 3 Deadlift'.
Pete Rubish, Chris Hickson and George Leeman inspired many lifters. Especially George's legendary speeches about the philosophy of strength training.
"It does not take a fucking happy individual to do this shit, to lift these kinds of weight is not a happy thing, it’s not something you do if you are content and happy and everything is going fantastic and your life is wonderful, that’s not what it is. You do not try an pick up 800 pounds and fucking look like you’re going to fucking kill somebody before you do it, because everything is fucking great.
You can’t do that shit if you have other options in your mind, if you can be just as happy peeling fucking potatoes as you can deadlifting 900 pounds, you’re going to be peeling potatoes, not fucking deadlifting 900 pounds.” – George Leeman
Larry Wheels (birth: 1995)
Larry is the super star in this decade of powerlifting. He grew up in poor neighborhoods of Bronx, New York and was always surrounded by drugs, poverty and loneliness but he managed to get out of the darkness. Today he is one of the strongest powerlifters in the world and is able to make a living with his passion.
Successful powerlifter, businessman, and philosopher. Larry has a youtube channel and conveys important values.
How did it all start?
He never had a father and thus in his early teens he lived with his mother. Larry's Mother was tired living in New York City and she decided to start a new life in Saint Martin. This small island is divided between the French Republic and Kingdom of the Netherlands. You can imagine, the people on this island are used to speaking english with an wierd accent. Larry, as a kid, had a problem making friends with the other kids due to the language barrier.
Between 12 and 15 he was living there. He was not able to go to school during the whole time. There was only one english school and it was private and very expensive. When he was on this island he dealt with boredom and had nothing to do. Furthermore he dealt with bullying because when he moved to this island the kids thought Larry would be rich. The kids realized he was different. The way he talked and they quickly found out that he was from New York. The kids connected New York with wealth, and that's why they thought he was rich.
These kids would steal and were crazy to come by his house and looking around for spare change. They didnt like him and were aggresive. Thus he started picking up weightlifting and hoped that working out could solve two problems: his boredom and maybe they would stopp bullying him.
As a teen he started building his body with a broomstick and two cinder blocks. He also did a lot of bodyweight exercises.
With 15 years he was back in America, back in New York city. For couple of years he was jumping between gyms. He also picked up boxing. All his friends he knew were at the gym because that's the only place he went.
This guy is a raw demon! Larry started lifting in New York instead of going to school. He said he didn't go to school because he was so far behind. All he had was the gym. All his friends he knew were at the gym because that's the only place he went. He trained his ball's off. He did not believe in training system or special supplements. He believed in himself! An Interviewer asked: "Larry what was your programming like?" Larry: "I don't know I would just go for it".
Competition 2018 Kern US Open
Squat: 372.5kg/821lb Bench: 267.5kg/589lb Deadlift: 400kg/881lb
Pete Rubish (Birth 1991)
As I said he influenced many many many future lifters and encouraged them to across the line! He lifted in his basement on a Friday night because he wanted to achieve something great!
That guy sacrificed his entire social life and never has partied, drank alcohol, or gone out. It's NOT Pete's genetic that helped him to become a deadlift champion.
It was his mind set and mental attitude. You want to live? What does a bird to be alive? He breaks out of the shell. You have to destroy something to be alive. You can lay down into your shell but you will never experience the feeling to burn and to be alive.
Pete was a twig who worked harder than everyone else. Do you know what it's like to walk the lonely road where it's only you and your shadow? Where no one believes in you and you have to believe in yourself?