Brains and Brawn… Bob Peoples and the Louisiana Leviathan: Part 4

Published 5:16 pm Friday, November 5, 2021

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Finally, Bob Peoples had broken the barrier. The 700-pound deadlift had been conquered. The real question now was how long would this record stand.
He was in an epic showdown with Bill Boone. The nearly 300-pound behemoth that was intent on taking the crown for himself. Bill Boone being the heavier man by about 100 pounds felt that he should surpass the lift of Peoples outright.
Boone called for an unfathomable 710 pounds after feeling pretty confident with his previous lift of 670.
An audible gasp escaped the crowd as the weight for Boone was called. This was Peoples home state crowd, and there was little doubt who their favorite was, but that didn’t mean that they hadn’t paid there hard-earned money to see a show.
A buzz went through the crowd as the monster of a man stalked the back of the stage behind the curtain as they prepared his bar. Boone had just witnessed the frenzy of the crowd as they cheered for their hero as he not only broke the world record but also broke through the 700-pound barrier.
But he had not driven 500 miles, trained like an animal for decades, stayed dedicated to his training in the sweltering 100-degree summers after working 12 hour shifts on the oil rigs. He was there to win.
Boone sauntered out to the platform looking even bigger than the crowd remembered with the diminutive memory of the lanky Peoples in their minds.
He stood over that massive bar as he prepared to etch his own name in the history books. A huge and powerful lifter like Boone often has a very different lifting philosophy than a thin and wispy lifter like Peoples.
A man that has a light body weight while being tall needs to be very exact in his lifting. He has very little body weight to counter the massive load in front of him.
Any little deviation from the bar path can easily pull him off his center of gravity. Therefore, smaller and thinner lifters tend to be very technical, and their lifts appear slower and more methodical.
Boone was a much different lifter. His massive weight was an effective counter against the load in front of his body. And with his mass, if he could generate some speed, the momentum could help carry the lift through to completion.
Boone prepared to literally tear that weight from the floor with an explosion of power generated from the massive legs and low back strength. As Boone grasped the bar in his hand and started his pull, he did just that.
The bar literally leapt from its place on the floor and jumped to his knees with the massive exertion. The crowd was dumbfounded and even though he was obviously playing the villain on this night, they couldn’t help but yell for the monster as he inched the weight toward lifting history.
As with many dead lifts, there is a sticking point right above the knees. This comes from the shifting of the emphasis from the legs to the low back to complete the lift.
As the legs have done their part and the bar gets to a point where the back needs to take over, there is a drop off in energy output as no muscle is at its peak of leverage to generate power. This often causes the bar to slow down or even stop.
Anyone who has watched much dead lifting knows this is a place where lifters often get stuck, and sure enough, that is what happened to Boone as well.
Boone was not built like Peoples, who had the perfect build for a dead lifter. When Peoples finished his lift, the bar was right at the top of his kneecap due to his massive hands, short torso, and long arms.
Boone was built differently. He finished his lift where a man of a more common proportions does, at mid-thigh. So, as the bar slowed just above the knee, Boone was still several inches from locking it into place to finish the lift. No matter how furiously he tugged, the weight would not budge, and the bar returned to the floor with the Louisiana Leviathan dejected.
Boone stomped off the platform and returned to his hiding place behind the curtain.
This is where a lifter goes to prepare his mind. Boone examined the lift in his head playing back a mental movie. “What had he done wrong?”, “What had he done right?”, “What would he change the next time?”, because the weight was still on the bar, and he was determined to lift it.
People stood far off feeling his work for the day was done. Not only had he accomplished what he came to do, but he knew his last lift was a 100% limit. There was nothing lift in those sinewy steel cable-like muscles of his. It was all up to Boone now and what he would be able to do on his next lift.
Boone took his mind to another place what many athletes describe as “the zone”. This is where the mind enters an excited state where the adrenal glands begin to produce a chemical that puts the body into a “fight or flight” mode.
When the conscious mind is overtaken by the subconscious. Where the mind stops thinking about its limits to prevent injury and begins to function as if it will do anything possible to protect itself.
The blood drains from the organs, both those of the digestive system and the brain. Many lifters feel nauseous, others report not being able to see at the periphery of their vision, and many lose their ability to hear as the body stops nerve function in some areas to focus all of its energy to activating muscles.
Boone’s focus was on the bar as his vision tunneled and focused only on the bar in front of him when he exploded from behind the curtain. A 300-pound canon ball was hurtling toward his destiny with the bar…and history.
To be continued…

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