INTERVIEW WITH RAY WILLIAMS
By: Tasha Whelan and Dan Stephenson
Ray Williams was the first person to raw squat (knee sleeves and belt only) over 1000 pounds (1005 pounds in fact) in a sanctioned competition. Not only did Ray put up a monster squat but he managed to put together a 530 pound bench and an 844 pound deadlift for a total of 2379 lbs.
First off, I would like to congratulate you on your recent achievement at this year’s USA Powerlifting Nationals in Atlanta GA.
- T&D: How did you get involved in powerlifting? And how long have you been doing it?
Ray: I have been lifting since October 8 2012, and honestly I have always loved the weight room, but I got into the sport just due to the fact that I never stopped lifting after college and I figured that if I’m going to be big and strong I might as well put it to some good use.
- T&D: You just competed in USA Powerlifting Nationals last weekend, how did it go for you? What numbers did you hit, and was it what you were hoping for?
Ray: I squatted 1,005, I bench 530, and I deadlifted 844. Squat was exactly what Coach Gary and myself had planned, but the deadlift was actually through the roof. I had attempted 855 a few times in training and always came just a little short so I figured why not and just went for 844 and I got it.
- T&D: You broke the American record and an unofficial world record with your squat. That is AMAZING!!! How did that feel? Was that the heaviest squat you have lifted? I believe I have seen a training video in which you squatted 1,000 pounds.
Ray: In training I have done 1,000 but that was in the gym. I wanted to nail it on the platform and put that chapter behind me now I can focus on bigger numbers. The feeling was unreal, because the atmosphere at this past meet was crazy I think it was just as impressive as the Arnold. So the thrill of completing the lift and the energy of the crowd it was crazy!!
- T&D: How long does it take for you to recover after lifting this kind of weight? What does your deload look like after a meet?
Ray: Well it took about three days to totally get the soreness out and recovery like for example my first squat session this Monday will probably be 800 for 10 sets of 2 just to get back going.
- T&D: Was your training any different leading up to this meet in comparison to other competitions? (Did you change your diet or make any big changes in training protocols).
Ray: I pretty much do everything the same no matter what because I don’t believe in switching things up. If it’s not broke I will never change it, so far what I have been doing has been working.
- T&D: What lift do you enjoy training the most?
Ray: I love to squat, but recently deadlift is becoming one of my favorites because I actually know how to do it now. In the beginning I hated it because I was so terrible at it.
- T&D: Your recent success has been noticed by various media outlets (ESPN, WorldStarHipHop.com, Bleacher Report, etc.). How does it feel to see yourself on ESPN?
Ray: I don’t look at it as me, I see IPF/USAPL getting massive amounts of attention. I want powerlifting to make it to that Olympic stage, and I would love to represent my country as an Olympic athlete.
- T&D: Where can we expect to see you in the future in terms of competitions and events?
Ray: As of right now I do not have anything scheduled, but the Arnold and Worlds are definitely locked in.
- T&D: What are your next goals (numbers) to hit?
Ray: I’m in the process of seeing how training goes so that I can realistically set goals for my next meet.
- T&D: What is the thing you struggle with the most with training and/ or competing?
Ray: Sitting still, I love to be in the venue and talk to people. As a lifter at some point in time you have to get off your feet and rest. That is the part I struggle with the most.
- T&D: Who inspires you?
Ray: Too many people to name, but the two people that inspire me to be great the most are my two sons. Tae’Sean and Daniel, as a proud father when those to look at me they see Superman and my oldest son Tae actually wants me to come and be his show and tell at school once football season is over. So my boys are the pride and joy of my life.
- T&D: How can people find and follow you on social media?
Ray: My Facebook Pages profile is Ray Williams Powerlifting, My actual Facebook page is Ray Orlando Williams, my IG profile is optimusprime_334, and my twitter is Coach_Williams1
- T&D: Any tips or words of advice for other lifters who want to get to your level of competition?
Ray: Find what works for you. It’s super easy to see a guy crushing big numbers and want to follow a program, but if that program is not for you then what? So if you are a young lifter find a mentor who can guide you through as much as possible then once you outgrow his/her teachings then you find your own way.
Ray, Thanks again for taking time out of your day to talk with us. It is so inspiring and motivating to watch you compete and see you continue to progress and succeed. We wish you the best of luck in your future competition and endeavors, and look forward to seeing you on the platform!