In 1992 at a FIBO expo in Essen, Germany, Tom Platz squat 23 reps of 525 pounds in a head-to-head challenge against Dr. Fred Hatfield, who locked out 11 reps, in what is now known as “The Great American Squat-Off.” Since then, strength athletes have attempted to match or exceed Platz’s iconic 23-rep set.
On May 23, 2023, the 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Mitchell Hooper of Canada took the challenge and bested the feat achieved by the legendary bodybuilder. On his Instagram page, Hooper posted a reel wherein he squat 525 pounds for a staggering 24 reps. Check it out below:
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The reigning WSM champion had a blunt thought about the Tom Platz challenge that he relayed in his post’s caption:
Well, that sucked.
Hooper wore a lifting belt and knee sleeves for the challenge and darted his way through the first 10 reps at a pace that was faster than a rep per second. After reaching double digits, he paused briefly to catch his breath before bracing and banging out reps 11 through 15. A shorter breath break before re-bracing between individual reps.
At rep 18, Hooper’s legs visibly shook with the knowledge that exceeding 23 reps was the goal. Despite heavier breathing between reps, the speed of each rep out of the hole remained nearly identical to the earlier reps. The 22nd and 23rd reps were the first to show signs that Hooper was, in fact, contending against gravity.
After matching Platz’s 23rd rep, Hooper endured through his body quaking and dug deep to lock out a 24th rep to eclipse Platz’s 1992 performance. With the goal achieved, Hooper attempted a 25th rep, but his momentum was stunted the moment he tried to leave the hole, and he let the barbell fall to the safety supports on the side of the squat rack.
Hooper’s phenomenal squat set is a testament to why he is the current WSM. The strength and cardio capacity needed to achieve that many reps are world-class, and his quads are likely going to need some significant recovery time. Furthermore, Hooper’s display is also a testament to just how strong Platz was a decade before the turn of the millennia and why the Tom Platz Challenge remains a threshold test for the strongest athletes on the planet.
Featured image: @mitchellhooper on Instagram
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Courtesy : https://barbend.com/tom-platz-challenge-mitchell-hooper-squats-525-pounds-for-24-reps/