- Andrew Wickham & Pete Giannopoulos
The Legend of the Kaz
“Yeah I actually think I am the strongest man who ever lived. Yes, I’ll make that statement.” - Bill Kazmaier, 3X World’s Strongest Man and 2X World Powerlifting Champion
Many athletes have claimed to be the greatest their sport has ever seen, from Muhammad Ali to Joe Namath to Barry Bonds many have made statements claiming to be the best of all time, however when Bill Kazmaier said it in 1982 it was an indisputable fact. The man was a living legend with strength the likes the world had never seen before.
To be the most dominant strength athlete of his day and literally the strongest man on earth during his prime, Kaz put his body through events in multiple strength sports that would kill ordinary men. Look up the records if you don’t already know, as there are far more than we can list here. The Kaz was the first human to bench press 300 kilograms (661.4 lbs) in a sanctioned powerlifting meet and set a powerlifting World Record three-lift total of 1100 kg (2425 lbs) that remained unsurpassed for more than a decade.
In the television footage of the 1983 International Powerlifting Federation World Championships, an injured Bill Kazmaier gently explains in an interview between lifts that he has a severe shoulder injury, as a result of being too big to fit under a normal barbell. Immediately following, the camera cuts to Kaz wedging himself under 849 lbs for a squat and smoking it, which is an obvious outcome to anyone who saw him squat 969 lbs of cement blocks at World’s Strongest man in 1981. His winning lifts at the meet when he set the world record total were a 925 lb squat, the 661 lb bench press, and an 837 lb deadlift.
He translated this static lifting ability to strongman of course, but also other disciplines and sports. This genetic potential was driven by a man who knew how to train, fuel himself properly, channel his spiritual belief and also display the highest levels of concentrated aggression known to science. When Kaz debuted in World’s Strongest Man it was a collection of the strongest athletes in the world from NFL Linemen to Olympic Weightlifters to Powerlifters and even the Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno. The objects were untested and events were new to all competitors. Where most of the strongest humans on Earth failed, the Kaz not only succeeded but made look easy. He went on to win 3 World’s Strongest Man titles in a row before being banned from the competition for being too dominant. Yes, you read that correctly, he was quite literally so much stronger than any competitor that challenged him that he was banned from competing because it was unfair.
Now the Strongest Man Who Ever Lived is giving back to the sports that he loves as he always has. Despite the fact that he is still announcing World’s Strongest Man and the Arnold Classic as well as many other major Strongman competitions he truly enjoys helping grow the sport through seminars, appearances, and other events in small towns throughout the world. We are honored that he will be our guest at this year’s California Mid-State Fair Strongest Man and Woman competition as an announcer and excited to host his BBQ and seminar that following day.
We encourage everyone who can to come attend this event and get the opportunity to meet and learn from a living legend. To register for the event you can follow this link: https://slostrongkazseminar.eventbrite.com
For now we will leave you with this except from The Cube Method for Strongman written by Josh Thigpen, multiple time World’s Strongest Man Competitor and one of the best teachers of the sport.
My Intro to Psyche: Kaz
To say that Bill Kazmaier understands the power of the mind-body connection would be an understatement. I think a better statement would be that he exemplified it. I feel very fortunate that the 1981 World’s Strongest Man competition was the first strongman contest I ever saw. Because of this contest, I got an education on the power of the mind in strongman. Maybe if I just saw huge guys lifting things I would have thought it was cool, but I wouldn’t had been quite as captivated as I was. I believe my interest was piqued because I saw the incredible focus, drive and psyche power of the Kaz. He was certainly dialed in.
The first event was the log press. The other lifters walked up to the log and maybe gave a little yell before trying to lift it. One by one they all failed at the final weight. Then, up comes the Kaz. His approach was different from the others. He was stalking around behind the crowd. His eyes were closed and there was a look on his face of extreme intensity and focus. He stops and goes into a trance like state. His breathing changes and he is doing some serious visualization. Suddenly he bursts out of his trance, starts growling and then proceeds to grab the log and in one motion power curled all 360 pounds straight into a strict press overhead in the blink of an eye. He followed this up with the barrel load where he convinced himself the barrels were helium filled and started throwing them onto the platform. He wasn’t done yet. After tearing his pec off in the bar bend, he worked himself up into an absolute frenzy and squatted 969 pounds in one of the most explosive squats I have ever seen. Next came the deadlift and Kaz ripped 940 pounds off the ground not once, but twice. Following the contest the announcer asked Kaz what his secret to psyching himself up was. His reply was, “Psyche. Gosh it’s something from within. It could be possibly metaphysical. It’s the ability to concentrate and draw in powers that are all around us, and focus.” This was my introduction to the World’s Strongest Man competition. I didn’t need to get a degree to learn about psychology, it was right there in front of me. I have since had the opportunity to hang out and talk with Kaz many times and learn some of his secrets to mind power.
You might say Kaz was also genetically gifted and trained like an animal. I would agree with you, but there is much more to him than that. If you have ever spoken with him, you can clearly see that Kaz is on another plain. He speaks almost poetically and cryptically like he is from another time. I believe it is this mentality that set him apart. He may have had great genetics and trained exceptionally hard, but if he wasn’t as mentally strong as he was we would have never seen the true capabilities of Kaz.
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