The 1000 Pound Club

by Kilo on February 15, 2011

doug hepburn squatOne of the stupider things I have seen in the gym was at my local Gold’s in West Valley City. Three guys were deadlifting together. Well, one would deadlift, and the other two would slap him on the back and scream and scream. He would scream too, while he did a couple of reps. Then he would drop the bar while the others slapped his face. then they would rotate and set up in new screaming positions.

I walked over to see what they were lifting. At no time was there ever more than 400 pounds on the bar. Two of them weighed less than 200, I’m sure, so that’s a good lift. the other guy probably outweighed me by 100 lbs, and I was 220 at the time.

“Now you’re in the 400 lb club!” the other two told him. And they commenced screaming anew. I probably do not need to tell you that the three were very tan and all had the tips of their hair bleached.

If you’ve ever been in a Gold’s Gym, it’s noisy. Between the treadmills, the clanking weights of all the guys doing curls, the stomping and screeching and techno from the aerobics class, and the guys in string tank tops dropping the pressure on the ladies who have draped themselves all over everything, it’s noisy. Even without the additional screaming of guys who have just entered a club that is not very exclusive at all. Not to belittle their achievement, but for the amount of noise they were making I assumed they were pulling upwards of three tons.

1000 pounds is more interesting to me. I saw a guy yesterday wearing a 1000 pound club t shirt. I assumed it referred to a powerlifting total. It did.

If you’re not familiar with powerlifting, the scores are totaled by the sums of the poundages of the three big lifts. Bench, deadlift, and squat. I’ve done a little digging around and it looks like this is considered a decent benchmark, but there are so many different definitions of what “real” strength is that the conversation is completely subjective.

I like the idea, though. My deadlift is currently at 545, but I have no idea what I can squat or bench press. I’m going to take a crack at maxing on each of them this week and see if I’m allowed to order myself a t shirt.

For any of you powerlifters reading this, at what point does a lifter leave the beginner stage, according to poundage totals?

Are any of you in the 1000 lb club?


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick Tracy February 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Kilo, if you get to 1K with just two of the three lifts, you’re no longer a beginner, clearly. At 17 I was doing 585 deadlift, 500 parallel squat, and 355 bench, all “raw” with belt only. According to my calculations, that’s 1440. This was at a body weight of around 250-260.

Due to lack of long-term follow-through since, I’ve only improved on the bench number, up to a PR of 420. I’ve been deadlifting with the trap bar for a few months, and I’m back up to @500 as an in-workout max again. I plan to start attacking the squat again in the summer.

To put this in perspective, Bill Kazmeier totaled over 2,400 in competition back in ’81, before squat suits and all that jazz. Of course, Bill could defeat a whole Gold’s Gym membership base with just one of his trapezius muscles…


Chris February 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I’m hoping to join the 1000lb club this year. Last June I totaled just over 900 @ 137 lbs. With any luck this won’t be a difficult goal to attain soon.


Kilo February 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Chris, I had no idea you were so light! I just got a lot more impressed by your strength. Well done.


Chris February 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Haha! Thanks!


Blaine Moore February 17, 2011 at 9:38 am

My best is 280 squat, 250 deadlift, and 180 bench press, but all of those were at least 8 reps. I weighed 138 at the time.

Then again, I don’t really care what my “max” is since (for me) it’s a pointless number – I don’t compete and have no esoteric interest in the max of what I can push or pull. I only care how fast I can run in a marathon and how functional I am doing chores around the house.


DJ May 13, 2011 at 5:57 am

I first heard about the 1000 Pound Club a few months ago and decided it was a worthy and obtainable goal. I’m attempting the half-ton challenge in 2-3 weeks. I’m deployed and myself and a few of the other guys have taken the opportunity to get back in the gym and lift. Its been 2 years and a few extra pounds of fat. So far I’ve lost 25 pounds putting me at 230. My lifts as of this week were 475lbs Dead-Lift 315lbs Squat, and a 285 Bench. I’d like to bring the bench up to 300 and the Squat to 400, but since I’ve got the totals covered I’m gonna rest so I can do it all back-to-back. Any particular order I should attempt the lifts in?

We wanted to get some shirts or something to commemorate the hard work but it’s been tough finding anything. Do any of y’all have any recommendations as to where I could order 1000 pound club shirts? I only need 3 XLs and a custom t-shirt company wants a min of 6 shirts.

Also, what’s next? Is there another common milestone?



Tamara gray July 11, 2011 at 11:56 am

What is the women’s equivalent of the 1000lb club?


Kilo July 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Tamara, I’ve asked a few of my female powerlifting friends, and none of them know of any equivalent. I supposed you could extrapolate the numbers based on the strength levels between a man and a woman, and then reduce the numbers.


Jough November 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

600 pounds is the female equivalent.


Robert January 12, 2012 at 12:18 am

That seems too low. I know a lot of girls who can deadlift over 200 and more than few who can do 315 and up. That’s more than halfway there. I’d say they’d be very impressive/advanced at 315DL, 250Squat, 185lb bench, which totals 750. So I’d push it to at least 700 up from 600.


Pete September 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Just came across this page and let me start by saying that I’m a hockey player, not a powerlifter. I too had seen people wearing 1,000 pound club shirts and decided I’d see where I stack up. I ended up maxing out at 265 on bench, 365 deadlift, and 405 squat at 175 pounds body weight. My guess is the 1,000 pound club really isn’t much to be proud of in powerlifting circles.


Kilo September 8, 2011 at 11:22 am

No doubt, Pete. When you start looking at the elite totals of the top powerlifters, it starts looking a whole lot less impressive. But I think it’s a great goal for Joe Citizen who just wants to get stronger and likes the three lifts.


Preston May 9, 2012 at 8:03 am

I’m 17 and a senior in high school with a few months till I leave for Marine Corps basic. I am in the 1000 lbs. club as of May 9th 2012 after 4 years of powerlifting. On all my lifts I used gloves, and only on squat did I use a belt. Bench I did 335 lbs. with gloves, Squat 400 lbs. with gloves and a belt, and deadlift 400 lbs. with gloves. As of this moment in time I’m in the 1100 lbs. club with a total weight of 1135 lbs.
Semper Fi


Kilo May 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

Well done!


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