Jim Wendler, Matt Rhodes, and Vincent Dizenzo share the lifts they’re most proud of — not the ones that have impressed other people the most.

For Matt, it’s when he trained with Teddy Forbes and squatted 705 in briefs for five. He says that Teddy told him he was only going to do one rep. When Matt stood up, Teddy told him to do it again. Five was as far as Matt was able to squat.

“My mind was on one. I get to do this once, and it’s over.”

There are two lifts for Jim: hitting his goal of squatting 1,000 pounds and a one-armed barbell snatch with 191 pounds. He recalls doing the barbell snatch during his time as a football player at Arizona State.

“We were just fucking around, and we kind of taught ourselves how to do it. We’d just go in there, a couple guys, and you have to learn how to put your hand on the bar, and I find out if I would’ve filmed that, that would have been a huge YouTube lift, but it’s just something you did.”

YouTube, however, wasn’t exactly present in the 20 or so years ago when that happened. Nevertheless, it’s something Jim is proud of.

Vincent chooses his first 600-pound bench because it took him three years to go from 585 to 600. He thanks Matt for being there and coaching him through it, though Matt can’t recall which one Vincent’s talking about.

“I can’t remember which one it was. Was this the one when you were talking to yourself?”

It was. Vincent describes the picture in more detail. This lift happened at the IPAs. His feet were dangling, the bench was too high, and everything was going wrong in the warm-up room.

At this meet, Vincent and Matt were already very close friends, and Matt had enough confidence in his coaching that he knew when to be quiet. He recognized Vincent was going through some sort of mental block or problem, so rather than coach him through it, Matt sat down and shut up to let Vincent work through it.

“I knew nothing I said would have helped. It would have made it worse.”

Around this time, Vincent had really started working on the mental aspect of training. And as Matt notes, Vincent had every excuse to explain away why that lift would have gone badly if it did.

But he didn’t.

Vincent pushed through and did it as he muttered mantras to himself.

And that is what made that lift one for Vincent to be proud of.

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