Blast From the Past: The Man is an Animal

The Man is an Animal
…what makes Freddy run?

As told by Jeff Everson, L.P.T.

The infamous and acerbic-witted Rickeee Wayne was lending his comments on none other than powerlifting’s favorite father, fabulous Freddy Hatfield. Yea, the one and onliest yabba-dabba-do Flintstone Freddy. The unlikely place for this lively banter, was the Weider lunchroom, a space so incredibly tiny, there is room for only one all-in-one bench plaster, a box of BD-BU tablets and a couple of back issues of Your Physique scattered aimlessly about.

I had corralled Joe (not an easy task, mind you) and was informing him of a Hatfield tale told to me only a night earlier. On hand was Joe’s right arm and literary hitman, the oft-quoted, accurately verbose, Rickeee! Two unflappable characters, if ever.

The night before, after just settling in with a bottle of liquid horsehoofs, the phone rang with Fred on the sending end, ‘Jeff, I’m really scared. Something very strange is happening to me.’ Now, mind ya reader, such statements normally conjure thoughts of broken bones, bloody urine, lumps in the breast, black moles or what have you. But, this was Dr. Squat on the line; a man who has laughed at doom, sneered in the face of catastrophe.

So say I, ‘Well, what’s the problem, Fred?’ His answer, ‘Jeff I had to tell someone; I just deadlifted 850 pounds and damn near made 900 pounds.’ No mind that he was wearing straps, this was a feat of strength even Fred found hard to fathom. After all, his baby is you know what, not the deadlift. That’s reserved for Orangutans. So, when I related this to Joe (a closet powerlifter at heart), even he was taken back. ‘The man is an animal,’ sayeth Wayne. Animal indeed, thought I.

Only a fortnight of strained ligaments ago, eight of my fellow, injury prone bodybuilding co-patriots had stumbled around trying to assist Fred in replacing 825 pounds to the rickety squat rack at Gold’s in Reseda. Fred had just dunked with that number three times. Just 1 slim week later, Fred collided with 916 pounds of record busting tonnage at the Pacific West Invitational in Seattle, a collision Fred won! Subsequently, he went on to a 918 and change at the Hawaii meet and a valid try at over 1,000, and two weeks after that, he shattered the 900 barrier in the 242 lb. class with a 903. So, of late he has exceeded world squat records 3 times in two weight classes to go along with his existing world marks at 198 and 220, and he once held the mark at 181. He has produced record breaker squats over 5 weight divisions. Notwithstanding that the squat is his baby, Fred was genuinely surprised at his recent deadlift prowess. When it comes to hoisting big weights, there is little that surprises this man.

I’ve watched Dr. Squat train and strain, competing since 1977. That was just after ending his days of Olympic lifting, and many snatchless bombouts. Why is this man so strong? Whadda he got that I ain’t got? You all know about those seemingly bizarre training methods, right? Compensatory acceleration, dis-inhibition training (joint jerking), explosive jumping and yanking, plyometrics, isokinetics and ad infinitum. Listen, our man does train this way. On top of this, I have rarely seen him do more than 3 sets of any exercise following warm-ups. Most of is precious training time is spent with every Tom, Dick and Harry (nerds all) in the gym who desire 5 extra pounds on their reverse simplex quad thrust. Fred’s always on top of things with the latestmethod, gleaned from the deepest recesses of his mind.

It’s just the drugs you say? Balderdash and poppycock! (No, those aren’t new German brands). I’ve seen his fridge and it’s a lot barer than most peoples! (Except for the brewskies). Now, nutrition, that’s a horse of a different color. Ever-trusty sweet roll and coffee prior to training. Brewskies and home cooked grub for dinner (usually some kind of Joy Davis-Hatfield delight such as Mississippi Mud Pie).

Fred is an explosive guy which may make his training and lifting a whole new ballgame. He has vertical jumped 38 inches. Or to put it another way, the man can sky! In fact, Fred is so explosive, he reaches top speed in the 40 yard dash after his second step and starts to tie up at 10 yards. (Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time Fred ran 40 yards). Fred takes full advantage of his explosiveness in his training. It’s not the type of lifting I would recommend for anyone, except perhaps my old bosses at Wisconsin. It would be wonderful to see them drop 500 lbs. on their chest that fast.

For Fred, training is, as training goes. He does high bar squats and stiff leg deadlifts in season. He does squats and deads the same training day. Bench presses, dumbbell benches and dumbbell rows on the other training day. Never more than 3 training sessions a week. Little if any assistance work, reps always in the 3-5 range. Simple, but effective.

All this despite constant diligence to academia, family (recently married and moved to CA) three major job shifts, editing a new sport magazine, promoting meets, and hawking his way to his first million. Actually, Fred and I are in a close race to see which of us become millionaires first. As it stands right now, we are both losing the race badly.

Fred’s lifting continues to slide forward and upward. 918 squat, 501 bench (525 in training), and 850 in the deadlift at 249 lbs, that’s around 2275 pounds in case you weren’t adding. If Fred chose to cease and desist in his quest for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (an unlikely chance), or at least not getting entrapped in half-brained schemes, such as running Levis through southern Bulgaria, perhaps he, and not Inaba, would have ten World Championships to his name.

So what is the bottom line of this enigma, the man that acid-tongued Rickeee refers o as ‘The Animal?’ Da king of Da jungle is, as Bert Lahr (the Wizard of Oz lion) said, full of something very special: What makes the elephant bare its tusk in the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard its musk? What makes the Hottentots so hot? Whadda they got that Freddy’s got? Courage!!

Oh, and I suppose just a tad of genetics too.

Posted in

Leave a Comment