An intense set of squats performed in March 2023 has gotten significant attention two months later. On March 17, 125-kilogram powerlifter and two-time USA Powerlifting (USAPL) National champion Bradon Gulch published an Instagram reel wherein he squatted 238 kilograms (525 pounds) for 21 reps.
Gulch wore knee sleeves and a weightlifting belt throughout the set. Each rep appeared to have been to the proper depth, meaning the hip joint was below the knee joint at the bottom. Check out the original video below:
View this post on Instagram
[Related: Reece Fullwood (125KG) Sets New All-Time World Record Raw Squat of 412.5 Kilograms (909.4 Pounds)]
The squat set in the video above was Gulch’s attempt at matching Tom Platz’s legendary set of 23 reps performed in a head-to-head matchup against Dr. Fred Hatfield. That feat went down during a FIBO expo in Essen, Germany, in 1992 in what has become known as “The Great American Squat-Off.” Hatfield, to his credit, squatted the 525 pounds for 11 reps.
According to Hatfield’s own book, Hardcore Bodybuilding, the pair both weighed in at 198 pounds when they faced off in Germany. Platz wore a basic weightlifting belt but had nothing on his knees for his set and went significantly lower than parallel on every rep.
The Squat-Off also featured Platz and Hatfield performing max lifts with heavier weights as they would in a traditional meet. Hatfield’s book puts Platz’s best lift at 600 pounds, while Hatfield maxed out at 840. (Though it’s important to note that those weights are all unverified.)
The video of Platz’s legendary set of 23 can be seen below, courtesy of Joseph Lynch’s YouTube channel:
According to Open Powerlifting, Gulch competed in his last six meets in the 125-kilogram category, weighing around 270 pounds. He didn’t share what exercises he performed before his 21-rep squat set, if any. Platz was also about to turn 37 years old at the time of his 23-rep squat set; Gulch was 22 years old at the time of his.
This isn’t the first time a powerlifter has attempted to match or surpass the “Golden Eagle’s” historic squat set. Multiple-time world record holder Joe Sullivan took his shot at the mark in 2022, but he topped off at 20 reps. As Gulch is relatively young and only two reps away from matching Platz, it is likely a matter of when, not if, he exceeds rep 23 should he keep trying.
Featured Image: @bradon.gulch on Instagram