Every man in some way is your superior. Once you recognize this, you should always be on the lookout for great things in others that can help you to grow. Sometimes, greatness can be subtle. Other times, however, greatness is so impossible to miss that it actually shakes the floor.
About three years ago while training former Super Bowl MVP and CBS analyst Phil Simms, greatness screamed and was followed by what many would mistake as a wrecking ball being dropped on my building. Now, having been in gyms for over 20 years, I know “poser yelling” from “actual yelling” even when it’s accompanied by the slamming of floor-rattling weights. Although most evolutionary biologists would suggest that one should run in the opposite direction of the sound, the loud metallic floor music drove my feet in the direction of this possible danger and/or destruction. As I veered the corner, I saw some skinny guy standing next to what looked like a bar loaded with most of the plates in the weight room. Since this couldn’t be the behemoth that just dropped this weight from what seemed like 15 feet, I only thought it appropriate to ask this plate loader where his master went.
That was the day I met Rich Sadiv and was again reminded not to judge a book by its cover.
After our initial meeting, Rich and I met almost weekly to exchange training wisdom and move some big weight. Rich is 46 years old, with the last 30 of those years spent in the gym. When Rich was 16, he met Johnny Parm, a big time181 pound lifter and gym owner that noticed him in the gym and said, “You could be a really good deadlifter.” Johnny became an instant mentor to Rich, and the next thing Rich knew, he was pulling 535 in his first competition at 18 years old and 165 pounds. After that, he was firmly bit by the iron bug.
Lifetime drug-free, Rich won the WNPF Raw World Championship and was the second-ranked U.S. deadlifter in 2009 at 198 Raw (670). He holds a PR of 694.5 with a deadlift suit. Only a few weeks from this writing, Rich won the 2010 Raw Unity Deadlifting Lightweight Championship by pulling 646 at 178.9 bodyweight.
Over these last three years of training and sharing philosophy, Rich and I have often had interesting conversations. Whenever we would discuss a new topic or review an old one we had covered many times, he would often begin his sentence with “If I were king...” and then talk about some way that he could change society by adding a little more strength to it.
Today’s leaders are still often born, appointed or essentially sponsored with big dollars. Imagine if someday we picked out someone on the essential traits of integrity, honesty, character…or hell, the amount of weight they can rip off the floor skyward. So, taking the latter, when Rich is in the gym his passion and intensity are second to none. He’s not feared, but revered in our gym. That’s the sign of a leader, and I had to ask, “Rich, how would you run this country if you really were King?”
The following is an exploration into a revamped country of deadlifting strength. In addition to a smile or chuckle, you should also gain a little more knowledge about deadlift technique, preparation and history.
According to King Rich, all of the existing currency would be scrapped. From this point on, there will be only four dollar bills and three coins in circulation. These bills are:
The Ed Coan $4 bill: He held the world record in four different weight classes. 791 at 181
859 at 198
901 at 220 - by far the lightest man to pull 900
887 at 242.
The Lamar Gant $5 bill: To commemorate him for being the first man to pull five times his bodyweight. At 132 pounds, he pulled 683.
The Dan Wohleber $9 bill: To honor him as the first man to pull 900 pounds.
The Andy Bolton $1008 bill: There will only be a handful of these bills created, and they’ll all be given to Andy Bolton to use at his discretion.
Maxim Podtynny will be on the 50-cent piece because he’s the first and only man to pull 900 sumo style. Since King Rich considers this only “half” a lift, it will remain worth half a dollar.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin will now be the Becca Swanson, the all-time female world record holder in deadlift at 683 pounds.
On the penny will be Sajeeva Bhaskaran of India, because he pulled 573 at 114 pounds. Small, but still of value.
Most of the foreign aid would be redirected to the gyms of Finland and Ukraine for the development of future deadlifters.
The Supreme Court will now consist of thirteen people. These members will be the 13 that have pulled over 900 pounds. The Court will decide on many of the most impending and critical legal controversies of King Rich. One of the major upcoming rulings concerns the legality of handstraps in training. There will also be voting on pounds versus kilograms, calibrated weights vs. non-calibrated, and which is to be the sanctioned bar: Texas power bar or Okie. They’ll vote on the true definition of raw according to the “raw law” bill. This attacks the heart of the three factions of raw lifting: the Nothings, the Belts and Wraps and the All but Suits. King Rich believes Bolton may be the swing vote, since there’s 6-6 in voting right now.
Gym Reorganization Project:
As King, Rich would institute the following immediate changes:
All leg presses would be melted down into thrones in which only the strongest deadlifter in each gym is allowed to sit. Every gym would have to replace all cardio equipment with 45-degree raises and glute-ham raises, and countrymen and women would have to spend a minimum 30 minutes on each piece per workout.
Bicep curls would be outlawed, as well as any type of movement aside from walking up to the deadlifting bar that intentionally increases heart rate. Any such activity is deemed cardiovascular in nature and is outlawed. Penalty is immediate exile to the nearest Rehabilitation Center/Gulag to get “reeducated” - more on this process later.
Every gym must have a set of six 100 pound plates.
Every gym must have a full challis of chalk at all times, and every worshipper must use the chalk to make the sign of the lifting. This is an arrow on the chest going upward.
Every gym must have at least three Texas deadlift bars.
The Penal System:
King Rich knows his people. Unfortunately, he already anticipates that during his rule, there’ll be underground bicep curlers and, heaven forbid, distance running cults. King Rich says a special hotline and reward will be offered for information on any of these people. If these groups are found in the possession of treadmills, dumbbells, ez-curl bars, Swiss balls, or the Bosu ball, this will result in the removal and destruction of the property. The perpetrator will be placed on probation for 30 days and labeled a potential enemy of the state. Rehabilitation will involve a combination of mandatory good mornings, speed deads, glute-ham raises and RDL’s.
Use of a Joe Weider Arm Blaster will be seen as the equivalent of devil worship and any such heretic will be sentenced to speed deadlifts for 30 straight days.
Any shoe with an elevated sole must be removed and burned prior to entering the gym. Failure to remove this style of shoe will result in another immediate trip to the Gulag.
A countryman can only use an alternating grip to pick anything up from the floor.
Car jacks are outlawed and will no longer come as standard with any car model. The only allowed use of a jack is if you’re by yourself and were unsuccessful lifting the car from the ground after three attempts.
All subscriptions to Runner’s World will be cancelled. Anyone caught reading this rag will have to sit in a melted down leg press chair through 12 hours of Ed Coan meet warm-ups and then hit a deadlift PR in order to leave the re-education facility.
Your identification number will be your best single in the dead. Your Wilks score will be your level of social status within the country. All people will have to go to an official authentification facility to have this tested.
All children will be evaluated and tested throughout the country. All favorable genetic specimens with short torsos, long arms and large hands will be sent immediately to the King’s castle for further development as potential Royal Guard members.
Independence Day - Celebrating independence from mediocrity July 4.
Millenium Day - To commemorate Bolton’s over 1000 on April 5.
Triple Bodyweight Day: During this holiday, on March 3, everyone gets together and deadlifts for PR’s. Any successful verified PR’s result in free tickets to 12 hours of Ed Coan’s meet warm-ups.
Since February is the shortest month, King Rich will make this GPP month. This form of training has to be done, but he wants the country spending as little time away from heavy weights as possible. Mandatory sled drags and high rep sets will be allowed only during this month.
900 Day: Commemorating Dan Wohleber as the first to ever get 900 on Dec. 12
I hope everyone enjoyed this foray into the world of the deadlifter. At worst, you learned something new about the lift that you love and had fun doing it. At best, you’re reminded that the next super strong lifter who has devoted his life to the sport may just be right around the corner.
Youtube clips of Rich training with Martin at the Parisi Speed School:
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