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Since he crashed onto the powerlifting scene in 2012, Alabama-born Ray Williams has wasted no time securing his position in the history books of the sport.

Ray is the first human to ever squat over 1,000lbs without equipment. That remarkable achievement has followed years of pushing his own record in the lift higher and higher. Now Ray has his eyes on another milestone - lifting a combined 2,500lbs in the squat, bench press and deadlift.

This titan will have a chance at that feat at the IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Minsk, Belarus. This competition will see Ray get get nine attempts to raise his already considerable world record total of 2,436lbs higher still.

The three time world champion is widely expected to add more trophies to his name this year. Weighing in at more than 400lbs at his most recent meet, the Arnold Pro American, he put in the strongest performance of any lifter, adjusted for both weight and gender.

Now a resident of Mississippi, Ray says that his motivation comes first and foremost from his daughter, who passed away in 2011, and whose memory he has dedicated his powerlifting career to.

He credits his successes to God, and a natural competitive streak. Fed up with bending bars at his school’s fitness center, and after seeing his friend take up the sport, Ray felt encouraged to do the same.

Once he started down this path, as with anything, Ray has given nothing less than 100% to the sport. He rejects complacency, preferring to continually challenge himself to best his last record shattering performance.

But this attitude never stops Ray from having fun. In fact, he thinks that forgetting to enjoy the sport can often hold competitors back. “I think one of the worst things anyone can do on meet day, is being super uptight,” he says.

“It’s one thing to be dialled in, but another to be so uptight that if you’re not yourself. If you’re not having fun, and if it’s more of a chore, then you’re gonna overthink things and make mistakes.” That’s why Ray recommends that athletes relax on competition day. “I treat it like any other athlete would treat what they do, with all the work we put in, you’ve got to have fun.”

Ray's Favorite Equipment

SBD Belt - Works better than his old lever belt, and "just looks so cool"

SBD Knee Sleeves - Worn by Ray every time he has squatted over 1,000lbs

SBD Wrist Wraps Stiff - Perfect for reducing stress on Ray's tendonitis-prone wrists