T Nation

Brian Pham Takes Mike Booker's 17-Year Old ATWR Total

So this happened at the meet I did this weekend… a buddy of mine made a 20 lb weight cut to take a crack at the men’s 123 lb weight class ATWR total, set 17 years ago by Mike Booker.

Brian is not only an absolute freak, but an incredibly humble and genuine dude as well. Couldn’t be more happy for him and so pumped I got to see this in person.


Some big lifts for a little guy, impressive.

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ATWR… that’s crazy impressive

How do we get to your gym?

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I’m doing classic raw: wraps for squats. But I have a question: how is depth judged because from this guy, it didn’t look like he hit parallel.

It’s judged from the side.

Different federations and different judges have different standards, but it’s supposed to be the same for wraps and no wraps. You won’t have to go way below parallel like some retarded IPF judges want, although there are some exceptions, but you should be going slightly below parallel. The problem with internet judges is that a lot of them don’t know what depth actually is, it’s not the top of the quad going below the top of the kneecap, it’s the top of the thigh at the hip joint (hip crease) going below the top of the knee joint.

This guy’s 2nd squat looked to me like more or less depth, it’s impossible to judge from the angle the camera is at but at worst it was close.

Every fed has more or less the exact same wording… something like top of the leg at the hip joint must drop below the top part of the knee. This is the same regardless of wraps, sleeves, raw, single ply, multi ply etc. The image below is taken straight from the USPA rule book.

Clearly in the image, the hip is well below the top of the knee. However, controversy always pops up when a lifter is right around this parallel point. Obviously in a meet there aren’t nice markings showing these points on the lifter, and you have about a quarter of a second to take a mental snapshot of where the lifter was at they’re lowest point, so you can see why lifts right around parallel are touch to judge. As @chris_ottawa said, different feds have different cultures of how they interpret the rules and what they want to see. My personal opinion… I’d give myself (on a good day) accuracy within 1/2 inch. So if I judge a squat that looks right a parallel, I have to ask myself if it’s possible it may have been a hair below. Because there isn’t anything that says “must CLEARLY break parallel”, just that it must break, even if it’s only a millimeter.