Stacy Burr On What It Takes to Set the Highest All-Time Wilks Score

At the 2019 Arnold Sports Festival, Stacy Burr broke the all-time Wilks score with a remarkable performance.

If you’re heavily invested in the sport of powerlifting and strength training, then there’s a good chance that you’ve seen all of the coverage of Stacy “Bama” Burr’s latest performance at the 2019 Arnold Sports Festival. At the Arnold Sports Festival, Burr sneakily competed at the Xtreme Powerlifting Coalition in the 148 lb weight class. 

Heading into the meet, Burr kept her participation pretty much off the radar of social media. In fact, she didn’t announce that she was competing to the public until she made weight the day before the meet. After her announcement, it didn’t take long for her participation to make the rounds and build a ton of hype.

Burr, a season 148 lb powerlifter, had her eyes set on one goal heading into the meet — and that was to break the all-time highest Wilks score.  If you’re a Burr fan, then you already know that she accomplished her goal after putting together an incredible performance.

On the day, Burr hit a 565 lb squat (all-time wrapped 148 lb world record), a 320 lb bench press, and a 550 lb deadlift, which gave her an absolutely monstrous total of 1,435 lbs (all-time 148 lbs world record). This total earned Burr a massive 668.2 Wilks score, which is now the best wrapped Wilks score of all-time. 

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It’s taken me until now to gather my thoughts on my competition this past weekend, so here it goes. Everyone wants to know why I kept this meet lowkey and I’ll tell you one of the reasons- because not all moves need to be announced. I knew what I was coming to do and that’s all that matters. This was the hardest prep i have ever done to say the least, no surprise there because the most significant accomplishments you make will come from the most challenging tests. There were several times where I said out loud “I don’t know how I am going to do this” but I knew I didn’t have any other option but to figure it out. So I did. I finished with a 565lb squat, to up my ATWR squat in wraps by 20lbs. I went 2/3 on bench with a 320lb press and pulled 550lbs to seal the deal for the all time highest wilks with a 1435lb total. I was the lightest woman to break the 1300lb barrier in 2017 and now we are the lightest to break into the 1400s which is pretty awesome to me. Before we left FL, @jaffestrength And I talked and I told him I wanted to end it on my second pull. I didn’t want to take a third. I told him to load what I needed on the second, I wanted to finish in 8 attempts. And we did. ———————————— My late grandpa told me years ago that he knew I was the strongest woman in the world, and ever since then I’ve been working on proving it. We finally did it and it still feels so surreal. ———————————— Thank you to everyone who has stood by me, believed in me and supported me. The list is beyond what Instagram will allow for me to tag, you all know who you are. ———————————— Remember it’s always impossible, until it’s not. I’m nobody special, I’ve never had the right last name, or been the most talented- I just never gave up. No matter how many times I failed, I used it as a stepping stone to know I was one more performance closer to achieving what I knew I was capable of. Never give up on your dreams- and I promise you, you won’t regret it. #bitw #donein8 #wedidit @livelargefitness @stronghouseproject @pioneer_fit @herbstrong @jaffestrength @team_sibya

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After putting together potentially the biggest meet of her life, we wanted to know a little bit more about her mindset going into the meet and why she kept her participation on the down-low for so long.

Stacy Burr Interview

BarBend: What was the rational behind keeping this meet on the down-low for so long?

Burr: Honestly, one main reason was the fact that I don’t think all moves need to be announced. I did not want any distractions or for anyone to treat me any different than they normally do. I came in with one plan and one plan only and I didn’t care who knew before meet day, I knew they would know after I did it.

BarBend: A competition deadlift PR two years in the making, what was the feeling after completing the 550 lb deadlift? How long have you envisioned completing that feat?

Burr: It was overwhelming to say the least. I haven’t PR’d my deadlift in competition in 2 years, so finally doing it when it counted really meant a lot to me. As far as that specific number, I couldn’t care less. I couldn’t care less about any of the exact numbers — all I cared about was doing what I set out to do, and that was be the best in the world — and that…I have dreamed about doing and been working towards for the past 4+ years.

BarBend: Stemming from that, do you have any tips for lifters who have a long-term strength goal for themselves? You finally achieved the highest Wilks of all-time, what was your biggest strength keeping you on course over the last few years?

Burr: My tip or suggestion to lifters with long-term strength goals — just keep going. Keep showing up and improving every single day and you have no choice but to get closer to your goals.

My biggest strength and the only thing that kept me on track was my mindset. There were many times when I just wanted to call it quits.

I wanted to be done, everything hurt from my pride to every part on my body, but the way my brain is wired — I couldn’t quit.

I couldn’t give up on something I knew I was capable of, so I just focused all my efforts on making sure I took every step necessary to achieve my goals- I moved in with my coach, I did mobility and corrective work 3x per days, didn’t miss a meal, and when It came time to cut weight — I did what was necessary.

I gave this prep my everything. I visualized this everyday, I wrote affirmations everyday. I told myself how strong and how capable I was…and here we are. Keeping a positive and strong mindset is the key to everything. It can be very hard to come back from defeats or failures, but you just have to stay positive and focused and know that you are one day closer to achieving your goal.

BarBend: Love that mindset! In your opinion, what is the single most important personality trait that one must possess to reach the top of the game?

Burr: I believe the most important trait of anyone who wants to reach the top of their game is being coachable. You never know as much as you think you do and even if you do – you can always learn and get better if you’re willing to listen and learn. Drop the ego at the door and always be a student.

Feature image from @aperture_byangelica Instagram page. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master’s in Sports Science and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,300 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake’s bread-and-butter.

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