Rickey Dale Crain has won multiple world championships, broken hundreds of records, and been a part of one of the most successful powerlifting families in the history of the sport. He was a 2000 inductee to the Powerlifting Hall of Fame, five time IPF world champion, 10 time national champion, was a two time All-American Powerlifter in college, winner of the 1976 Pan American Games, and was once listed as one of the top 25 Powerlifters of all time.

Yet, after all of those accomplishments, Crain still remains actively involved, as the owner and operator of Crain’s Muscle World, a private gym and supplier of powerlifting equipment and accessories.

He started lifting when he was just a few years old. His dad, Donald Crain, worked out at the local YMCA and would take Crain and his brother there regularly. They also had a small weightlifting set at home. A few years later, Crain’s family moved to Colorado, where he started high school. During his high school career, Crain played football and ran track. But he continued using weightlifting as a way to advance his athletic pursuits.

Rickey Dale Crain

“Weightlifting for me was really a medium for becoming faster and stronger,” he said.

But it wouldn’t take long before weightlifting would become its own pursuit for Crain. He actually competed in his first Olympic weightlifting event at the age of ten. Then when he was around 16, he competed in a Colorado statewide meet for powerlifting where he squatted 400 in the 132-pound weight class, which was the second heaviest squat for anyone in that weight class at the time, regardless of age.

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So even though his focus remained mainly on football and track through high school and his first year of college, Crain was already starting to make a name for himself as a serious lifter in the region.

Crain’s dad was heavily involved in the powerlifting community in Colorado and the surrounding states. He even helped to organize many of the meets that Crain competed in. And although they weren’t the massive meets that took place on the coasts, they did attract some big lifters from the surrounding states, like Mike MacDonald, Jerry Jones, and Wilbur Miller.

During those years, Crain would run basic powerlifting programs that started about 15 weeks before each meet, doing sets of five or three and working his way to a few singles here and there. He just kept it simple and lifted heavier and heavier over time.

“Nowadays people don’t work enough on their form and style and technique. They think if you start five weeks before a contest you’re good. I pay as much attention mentally when I take an empty bar and start warming up with it as I do when I’m lifting heavy,” he said.

Squat Training with Emphasis on Form, Style, and Technique

In addition to his training, Crain stuck to a diet that was fairly low in carbs and high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. He also worked to cut weight before meets in a way that would allow him to gain it back quickly before lifting.

Once he even cut 15 pounds in nine days to make weight. And in those days there was a two-hour weigh in, so he had to drink several bottles of Gatorade to rehydrate and gain back some of that weight before it was time to lift. Though he ended up tying his total record and breaking records for his deadlift and squat, he said he’d never do that again.

Through his lengthy lifting career, Crain had plenty of memorable meets. But one of his favorite moments came when he won his first IPF worlds competition in 1980.

He explained, “I had to pull an IPF world deadlift record to win. I did it. And the two guys I beat were the two previous years’ IPF world champions. So I pulled a world record deadlift to win and I ran down the ramp into where the U.S. team was and a few guys caught me just like what you’d see on TV.”

Another amazing performance came in the spring of 1977 when Crain made an almost unbelievable world-record total at the time of 1,591 pounds in the lightweight (148.75 pound) class — a total which was the highest pound-for-pound total ever made, according to the Schwartz formula.

Once during his competitive peak a reporter asked him if he had any advice for aspiring powerlifters. His answer: “squat.” And he should know. At age 44, Crain squatted 800 at 165 pounds bodyweight.

His last meet was in 1996, though he did come back in 2003 for a USPF national meet so that he could compete alongside his son and daughter. In addition to his kids and his dad, who was also a master powerlifter, Crain and his sister Gayla Sue Crain Dixon are the only brother/sister duo to ever win and IPF world powerlifting championships.

Aside from running his business and supporting his family of lifters, Crain is an avid climber. So far, he’s climbed 17 of the 54 mountain peaks in Colorado over 14,000 feet tall. And he hopes to get to even more in the future.

Whether it’s climbing mountains, playing football or lifting weights, Crain has spent almost his entire life building his strength and athletic ability in some way or another. Though he comes from a strong and athletic family, his major success in powerlifting is due to a lot of hard work and perseverance.

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The following is the “Deadlift Xtreme Routine” by Rickey Dale Crain.

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[Click to enlarge] 

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