Written by Team Juggernaut
By Chad Wesley Smith
EIGHT HUNDRED AND EIGHTY ONE POUNDS
That is how much Blaine Sumner squatted in a belt and knee sleeves on April 1st, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia and that is no April Fools Joke. Sumner broke the IPF Raw World Record with this effort, which came only 1 month after powering up 975 in single ply at the Arnold Classic and having 1025 called for depth. Sumner has rapidly become one of the world’s best squatters and recently sat down to talk with Chad about what makes him tick. Sumner isn’t just a great squatter, he was also a standout defensive lineman for the Colorado School of the Mines and put up 52 reps of 225 in the bench at Air Force’s Pro Day in 2011 and has bench 462 (raw) and 682 (single ply) and pulled 733 (raw) and 717 (single ply).
Sumner’s 881 pound squat in just a belt and knee sleeves is truly one of the greatest strength feats that has been accomplished in recent memory.
Sumner stands a massive 6’2” 350 pounds and is the owner of 34” tree trunk thighs, but he wasn’t always the massive “Vanilla Gorilla” that he is now. Sumner says that he was 6’0” 140 pounds as a freshman in high school and wasn’t even “wiry strong”. Sumner’s relentless work ethic helped him grown into a 6’1” 250 pound senior with a 600 pound squat in wraps, although by his own admission “it was probably a few inches high”. Sumner was a four sport athlete in high school, competing in football, wrestling, track & field, and lacrosse and attributes his ability to compete in meets at a high level at meets in consecutive weekends to his athletic background. The 24 year old Sumner’s formal introduction to powerlifting happened after his senior year of high school at Rocky Mountain Lifting Club with Dan and Jen Gaudreau. Blaine stresses that any young athlete wants to get into powerlifting needs to focus on locking in their technique and learning how to squat properly, even if it causes their lifts and egos to take a hit in the short run.
Sumner’s training is very simple and focuses on basic lifts and hard work, two tenants that are also present in any top lifters program. Sumner’s training week breaks down as the following…
Squat-Heavy sets of 2-6 reps depending on how far out from a meet he is.
Good Mornings-Heavy sets of 2-6 reps. Sumner lists his best in this exercise at 585×6 using a low bar position and slight knee bend.
Weighted Abdominals-Blaine’s favorite choices here are side bends on the smith machine and decline situps with a barbell across the top of his abs. As with all of his squat training Blaine goes heavy and low volume, n the decline situps he has done 405×5 reps!!
Bench-Up to a heavy set of 1-3 reps
Supplementary Bench-Either Board Presses, Pin Presses or Band Resisted Bench for heavy sets of 2-5 reps
Assistance Work for the Shoulders, Back, and Triecps all in the 6-8 rep range.
Deadlifts-Lighter sets of 2-5 reps focusing on technical development.
Explosive Movement-Either jumps holding dumbbells or hang cleans. Sumner’s best hang clean during his football career was 425 pounds.
Accessory Movement for the Lats. Sumner admits that lat strength is a current weakness of his and he must bring it up to improve both his bench and pull.
Saturday’s training is devoted to developing explosive power.
Explosive Squats against bands
Box Jumps-Sumner hit a 50” box jump at 335 pounds bodyweight.
Smith Machine Explosive Benches-Set up like a floor press and throw the bar as high as possible
Explosive MB Throw Variations
In addition to basic and heavy training, Sumner’s mindset is what helps him towards greatness. “I know that if I get fired up and angry enough, I’m gonna get up whatever is on that bar”. Anyone who has seen Sumner squat certainly knows that he brings a very aggressive mindset to the platform. “I’m slapping my legs hard and slamming my back into the bar. I don’t see the squat as a technical lift for me, I’m just trying to attack the bar”.
Here is Blaine destroying 854 pounds at USAPL Raw Nationals where he broke the USAPL record. Sumner’s intensity is palpable as he attacks the bar for a huge PR!
Sumner knows what it takes to add mass to his frame , having put on 210 pounds in the past 10 years and fuel heavy training. Here is a daily breakdown of Sumner’s diet during a heavy training phase…
Meal 1-Shake: 50g Pro, 100g Carbs (Oats), 2 TBSP Peanut Butter
Meal 2-12-16oz of Chicken or Beef with large serving of Pasta/Rice/Potatoes
Meal 3-Lunch (Usually Subway)
Meal 4-Same as Meal 1
Pre Training-Shake with Carbs, Protein, Creatine
Post Training-Shake with High Carbs, Low Protein
Meal 5-12-16oz of Chicken or Beef and Potatoes
Meal 6-Ice Cream and Casein Shake
Snacks on nuts/protein bars thoughout the day
Blaine’s athletic success goes beyond the platform, Sumner was also a tremendous force for Colorado School of the Mines football team as a dominant defensive lineman and sometimes short yardage fullback. Sumner’s pro day performance in March 2011 at Air Force showcased his strength and explosive power. Sumner knocked out 52 reps of 225 in the bench (55 were done but 3 were disallowed) which is 3 beyond former Oregon St. player Stephen Paea’s 49 reps, also done in 2011. Blaine also showed how a massive squat translated to tremendous jumping ability, driving his then 335 pound body to a 32” vertical and 9’5” broad jump, both numbers that would have ranked him near or at the top of his class at the NFL Combine.
Check out Blaine going through a Mock Pro Day and putting up tremendous performances across the board…
Blaine’s training for his record breaking bench performance was simple, train the bench heavy, just as he does for powerlifting and then perform a single drop set to failure with weight ranging between 195 and 245 pounds.
Blaine has a busy schedule ahead of him as he will be competing in both the IPF Raw and Single Ply World Championships on consecutive weekends, where he will be looking to improve upon his own Raw World Record and add a single ply World Record as well. Blaine says that most of his time will be spent in his suit because he doesn’t feel comfortable with his technique there yet and will only be squatting raw once every few weeks. Blaine, like any great competitor, is always looking for ways to improve and knows that he must bring up his bench and deadlift to post bigger totals. Blaine currently sees his lat strength as his limiting factor and particularly thinks that if affects his strength off the chest in the bench, where he said he loses nearly 50 pounds due to the pause.
Blaine Sumner is a tremendous strength athlete, his relentless drive and motivation has turned him into one of the World’s all-time great squatters and will continue to make him successful in the years to come.
Blaine crushed 975 at the 2012 Arnold Classic and had his attempt at 1025 turned down by the judges. As his technique in his single ply suit continues to improve, Blaine will certainly go down in history as one of the best crossover squatters of all-time.