By Ken Whetham
THE NEW KING OF THE 220’S! JEREMY HAMILTON
Every king in history has faced challenges against rival kingdoms and has gone to battle in order to protect and defend his empire and retain his crown. Many wars, bloody battles, and losses of unimaginable contemplation have sprinkled history throughout mankind’s existence for many centuries. In August of 2015, the battleground for the 220 lb raw with wraps division was set on the platform at the Boss of Bosses II meet in Mountain View, California. The last two knights battling for the crown at the end of the tournament were defending champion Dan Green and Jeremy Hamilton. After the dust settled, the battlefield left trodden with the blood, sweat, spent ammonia capsules and ghosted exertion of hundreds of warriors…one warrior remained standing; the “New King of the 220’s” – Jeremy Hamilton.
KW: How does it feel being the new “King of the 220’s” after beating Dan Green head to head at the Boss of Bosses II meet in California?
JH: It always feels good to have your hard work rewarded in competition and it was exciting. However, five minutes pass and the same old feelings and thoughts of “I could have done more, I am capable of more” return. As a powerlifter, I don’t think you can ever feel content – you are always chasing more. Once I arrived home after the meet, I took two days off of training and then got right back into it so I could be ready to defend my record. I feel fortunate to have been able to showcase my abilities at such a great meet.
KW: Can you give us your recollection of the Boss of Bosses II meet?
JH: BOB2 is one of the best, if not the best meet, I have ever attended – although RUM holds a special place in my heart, too. There were many factors that contributed to how well run BOB2 was. For instance, they brought in elite lifters and treated them well. The location was great and the advertising and communication leading up to the meet were well done. There was also live stream in HD with interviews – this stream was on another level. There was a press conference, an awards dinner and a lot of spectators. The announcers also did a good job by making sure the crowd was aware of how close the competition was during the meet. I think that all of these factors created a high level of interest in the meet and definitely helped me with my performance. No detail was overlooked and Dan Green and Sparkle [Dan Green’s wife] did a phenomenal job. My hope is that other meet organizers learn something from this meet.
KW: For once, it felt like there was unity in the sport. There was representation from across the world at this meet and big name lifters attended. Even if they weren’t lifting, they still came and made an appearance.
JH: Aside from hitting PR’s [Personal Records], other highlights for me on this day were having Derek Kendall tell me that I was his new favorite powerlifter, and meeting Ed Coan and comparing our hand sizes.
KW: What was it like for you going head to head with Dan Green and realizing that you had a chance to beat the legend?
JH: I am a competitor and Dan was the only person ranked above me, so of course, I jumped at the opportunity to go head to head with him. I want to compete against the best. This is only a sport if there is competition. People don’t realize that Dan and I have competed against each other for years – he has won a couple and I have won a couple. Nothing changes…we both go back and train and meet again on the platform another day. I have always thought that I could catch the world record; it was just a matter of time and conditions. I knew that I could get ahead on subtotal if I picked perfect attempts. Then, it would come down to who is having a better deadlift day. After my deadlift opener of 727, I was pretty confident that I could pull whatever I needed to win on this day.
KW: At what point in the meet did you realize that you had a chance at setting an all-time world record?
JH: I realized this before meet day – probably back in May when I started training for BOB2. I thought I could go over the previous 2,110 WR but I also knew it really just comes down to the day of the competition. On the day of the competition
I had a lot of anxiety but once I started warming up, I felt a bit better. Once I established a lead in subtotal, I got a bit of a confidence boost. After my DL warm-ups, I felt really good. My last pull before the platform was 661 and I barely had to grip it and it flew off the floor. I felt very good after that.
KW: How did you prepare for this meet and did you do anything different from previous meets?
JH: This was my first time ever using “fake elastic knee muscles” (wraps) so preparation was quite different for me. Training in wraps is difficult when you are wrapping yourself, so I decreased my squat volume significantly. I planned for a minimum triple with a weight and then added to it every week. Every week felt better in the wraps. I started with 645×3 and my last two squat workouts were 735×4, and 775×2. I also did very little pulling, only going over 700 once in training. Shortly after that, I tore my hand open so I shut it down early to save it for the meet and I ended up pulling 784. I think the heavy squatting and
“I have always thought that I could catch the world record; it was just a matter of time and conditions . I knew that I could get ahead on subtotal if I picked perfect attempts . Then, it would come down to who is having a better deadlift day”
keeping my hands well rested is what helped me set this PR.
KW: How much weight did you have to cut for the meet and how did you manage it, ensuring you had tons of strength on meet day?
JH: The heaviest I got in my training cycle was 240 and that was a few weeks out
of the meet. My regular diet consists of a lot of milk and cookies, so typically when I have to cut weight, I just stop drinking/eating milk and cookies a week out. I was 235 two days out from weigh-ins and I ate my last meal 24 hours before weigh-ins. The night before weigh-ins, I went to bed at 229 and woke up in the morning at 225. Then, I cut the rest [of the weight] in a hot shower with a sauna suit on. It sucked. The best cut I’ve ever done was 10 lbs in a shower sauna in 2 hours. This cut did not go nearly as well – the weight took a lot longer to come off. I think cutting is stupid unless you have a chance at setting a record. I have also never used diuretics to cut – I’m scared that they would stay in my system and prevent me from putting the weight back on. I don’t want the slightest trace of diuretics in my system when I already have a hard time putting the weight back on and [I also have a difficult time] re-hydrating. I’m super paranoid about that. I got my weight back up to 235 by competition time.
KW: Was it difficult to travel to a different part of the country where there was a time-zone change and how did you prepare physically and mentally for the change?
JH: Not really. I travel to the U.S. quite a bit. The time change was not that big of a deal – it made the day feel really long but that’s about it. I have had to fly to every single one of my competitions. The first meet I did (RUM 1) in Florida was stressful because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into having never competed in powerlifting before. I didn’t get any sleep the night before and I remember being awake at 3 am, staring into the hotel bathroom mirror and thinking, “Why the f*ck am I doing this?” Taking that first big step was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
KW: Now that you’re #1, how will that
affect you in your lifting career moving forward?
JH: I don’t think this affects me much in my lifting career. I love to train and get stronger. It may have a positive impact on other things that I work on, such as the seminars that I have been hosting with my friend and fellow powerlifter, Jay Nera. Being ranked #1 could help promote and grow our seminars.
KW: You’re a relatively quiet, mild mannered Canadian; have you had any interest in companies picking you up for sponsorship opportunities yet?
JH: I’m holding out for a milk and cookie sponsorship. I like to keep things simple – I just want to lift and get stronger. I entertain offers but I’m selective with who I want to be associated with. The right fit, along with having my goals and
schedule align well with a sponsor are very important to me. I don’t want to be sponsored for the sake of being able to tell people that I’m sponsored. Although no formal sponsorships, I do have an existing network that has helped me tremendously. Omar Isuf and I have been working together for the past couple of years and I am featured on his YouTube channel regularly. This has been a huge benefit to me – promoting my name and achievements outside of the powerlifting community. Sean Kelly, the owner of Fortis Fitness, provides me with an excellent training facility with the best equipment. Jordan Moffitt, creator of Bacon and Barbells, Mark Bell and Silent Mike at Super Training have also helped me out by sending me lifting gear / apparel.
KW: Can you give us an outline of your training and how you prepared for this meet?
JH: I train 4 days per week because that is all the time I can tolerate in my current gym environment. If I had a private garage gym, I would probably train daily.
I generally squat and do DL assistance on day 1 Benching on day 2. DL and front squats on day 3 Benching and other pressing on day 4. I almost never come out of the 70- 80% range until the last 4-6 weeks before a meet.
I have learned to be more flexible in my training as anything can happen at any time and I just need to listen to my body and do whatever it needs to do in order to get stronger. An example of this is my training cycle leading up to RUM 8. I was injured and couldn’t back squat at all. I took two weeks off from training completely in the middle of my training cycle, which left me with only five weeks until the meet. At five weeks out, I was very weak and I needed to build my leg strength fast. Still not being able to back squat, I decided to front squat. I front squatted 17 days in a row – as much as I could for as long as I could and when I topped out and hit a FS PR [Front Squat Personal Record], I switched to back squat and hit a PR of 600×10 (no wraps) on my first session back. I ended up squatting 744 (no wraps) at the meet and totaled 2,017. I consider this a big accomplishment as only two other people in the weight class have ever went over 2K in competition without wraps – Dan Green and Andrey Belyaev.
For BOB2, I had to learn how to squat with wraps so I could compete in the Battle of the 220’s. The weights got heavy quickly in wraps so I did less volume. This allowed me to be fresh for every squat session. I didn’t want to be tired and learn an incorrect motor pattern – I wanted to be able to be aggressive with the reps in order to catch the rebound that you can get from the wraps and perform perfect practice.
KW: Is there anything that you changed in your training leading up to the meet that you feel pushed you to a different level or gave you more confidence?
JH: No, I only ever push for small increases in strength. I’m realistic; I don’t expect huge changes year-over-year.
JH: I think this is an important point – I see many novice and experienced lifters set unrealistic expectations and overextend themselves; they burn out rather quickly and don’t improve their totals. Pushing for small improvements has enabled me to become stronger every single time I step on the platform. This is what gives me confidence.
KW: Now that you’ve competed with wraps and have had great success, are you planning on continuing to compete with them?
“I love getting stronger and I love competing against the best lifters, I don’t love doing meets . I think doing too many meets is counterproductive to getting stronger"
JH: I don’t like wraps but I think that when / if someone breaks my record, it will be tempting to put them back on. It would be nice to go into a meet fat and bloated for once – 242 no wraps sounds nice. (Takes bite of cookie)
KW: You’ve always competed raw without wraps in the past. What made you decide to change?
JH: I’ve been pretty vocal about my opinion on wraps – I don’t like them. I think they’re silly and they’re too much of a hassle for me. I put them on because I wanted to participate in the Battle of the 220’s where some people compete in wraps exclusively. The Battle of the 220’s ended up just being Dan and I because others pulled out of the meet for whatever reason.
KW: Is there anything you plan to change moving forward as far as competing in more meets?
JH: I love getting stronger and I love competing against the best lifters, I don’t love doing meets. I think doing too many meets is counterproductive to getting stronger. One, maybe two meets per year, is enough for me.
KW: What are your short-term and long-term goals now after having such a monumental meet?
JH: Short term is to pull over 800; once I can lock that down and be good for it in a meet then I can start looking at a really big total. Long term, hard to say, going over 2100 in the 242s no wraps would be fun, so would going 2200 in wraps at 220…
KW: How does it feel knowing people will now be saying that Jeremy Hamilton is the guy to beat?
JH: I haven’t heard anyone say that – a lot of competitors are thinking it though. I think I was underrated but that’s okay with me. I like to keep a low profile.
KW: When can we expect you to go head to head with Dan Green again to defend your world record?
JH: I would like to go up a weight class and ditch the wraps, but my feelings may change if my record gets beat. I definitely think the record I set is within reach for others so if / when it gets beat I’ll try and meet them on the same platform.
KW: Is there anyone you would like to thank that helped you to reach the number one spot in the world?
JH: I have so many people to thank – I hope I don’t forget anyone.
- Firstly and most important, my wife Krystal, she is my biggest supporter.
- My training partners; Nigel Morton (Captain Planet), Martin Wong, Jordan Moffitt.
- Sean Kelly, the owner of Fortis Fitness, where I train.
- YouTube sensation, Omar Isuf.
- My Chiropractor, Chris Klachan.
- Mr. Robot Pants from Super Training. He was kind enough to travel two hours to wrap my knees for the meet. He did a wicked job. He was my secret weapon on meet day.
- Eric Talmant for starting the raw movement. Without RUM, I may have never started in powerlifting.
- Alastair MacNichol – he was really supportive at the meet and helped a lot with picking my DL attempts.
- The Super Training crew. Specifically, Mark Bell and Silent Mike. Mark has promoted my lifts and sent me lifting gear and put me in his magazine. Silent Mike introduced me to Robot Pants and also came out on meet day. A great crew at Super Training for sure – Mr. Christie for making a mean chocolate chip cookie. PM