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Powerlifter Joe Sullivan has several notable marks and victories throughout his career. It’s his latest mission that could be the most ambitious yet.
On May 19, 2022, Sullivan shared footage of himself squatting 230 kilograms (507 pounds) for 19 reps. Per the caption of Sullivan’s Instagram post, the set is part of his preparation to attempt the 525-pound squat AMRAP (as many reps as possible) — inspired by 1980 Mr. Universe and bodybuilding legend Tom Platz.
Amidst an understandable challenge of endurance and strength, Sullivan was able to lock out all 19 reps before he eventually told his three spotters that he would not be able to rerack his barbell by himself. As they did, he had to work to regain his breath. The powerlifter wore a lifting belt, wrist wraps, and knee sleeves for the set.
For more context, in 1992, during the “Great American Squat-Off,” Platz faced off against powerlifting great Dr. Fred “Squat” Hatfield in a squat battle. During the second and final AMRAP phase of the head-to-head competition, Platz bested Hatfield by squatting 238.1 kilograms (525 pounds) for 23 reps. The 525 squat AMRAP has since become a high-class figure that strength sports athletes occasionally tackle.
Despite coming up just short during this training session, it doesn’t appear Sullivan will let the failure deter him from his lofty pursuits. As he notes in his social media post, all it might take is a slight recalibration of his approach when that squat AMRAP attempt finally comes around the bend.
“Not where I wanted to be, and not something to inspire confidence,” Sullivan writes. “I didn’t control my cadence and went too fast and explosive at the beginning, which led to me fatiguing quicker.”
Sullivan is quick to maintain that while he outlines what went wrong with this squat, he’s certainly not making excuses. Amidst all of his apparent extensive preparation and planning, he’s simply explaining himself and trying to account for every factor as his hopeful goal looms on the horizon.
“All of these things are excuses, but ultimately I failed to execute,” Sullivan says. “And if I expect to do something noteworthy on June 4, I can’t allow that to happen again.”
All of that said, Sullivan looked ahead and took away some positives from this effort in the squat rack. It appears he knows that if he wants to match a strength sports legend, he has to keep his eyes forward and find silver linings.
“The positive is, watching the video, you can see that I never really got to the ‘push through the pain’ part,” Sullivan writes. “Which lends credence to the fact that it was just not my day, and on a better one, I may have gotten to show off the grit a little bit more.”
A Historic Attempt En Route
As he notes on his Instagram, it seems Sullivan will attempt the 525 squat AMRAP on Saturday, June 4, 2022. At the time of this writing, Sullivan hasn’t confirmed other details of the 525 squat AMRAP, such as the location or timing of the attempt.
Notching 23 (or more) reps at 525 pounds will be a considerable challenge for Sullivan if he wants to exceed Platz’s record. With enough diligence and that mentioned reset, he may enter rare company if matters can break his way.
Featured image: @joesullivan_aod on Instagram