525 lb Squat
All I Ever Wanted
Hi, my name is Ryan Mathias and all I ever wanted was to Squat 525 pounds RAW. Now, to many people that may seem mediocre since many people can squat 500+ pounds. But to me, it wasn’t easy, and there’s a reason 525 means so much to me. This is why…
My 525 Story
I officially started weight training as a 16-year-old Junior in high school for one of my P.E. classes. And my favorite exercise was the squat. I loved it so much that it was basically all I did during our short 50-minute classes 4 days per week.
As you can imagine, I progressed rapidly as a beginner that only squatted. So, after about 2 months I attempted my first max squat, and I got a pretty easy 355 lbs! Pretty great for a 180 lb kid with no guidance or help (the “coach” in there didn’t care what you did. As long as you didn’t run off or get hurt, he didn’t pay any attention to you.)!
Well, a short while later I was repping 315 for 4×10 and able to do 405 lbs. And that is when I had an idea…
The Record Board
Like every high school, we had a football team (coached by the weight training “teacher”). And in the weight room, they had a record board that recorded all the best lifts of the football players for that year.
At the top of the record board, there were all-time school records for Squat, Bench Press, and Power Clean (should have been deadlift, I know). The records at the time (2009) were 505 Squat, 355 Bench Press, and 330 Power Clean (set by my older brother Tanner, that year!)
Well, the best squat for the current football players was only 315 lbs. Something that I could easily do! So, in the hopes of getting some recognition by my peers, I asked the coach if he would put my name on the board, as he just watched my squat 405 in front of him.
Of course, he said, “No! That board is for players only!”
Obviously, I was bothered by this. But it also truly infuriated me, because of the way he said it. His tone was like I didn’t deserve any recognition for my work. I was so upset that I went right to the squat rack and did 405×2.
He didn’t say anything, of course.
Well, I knew he was not going to put me on the board by choice. So I decided that I was going to break the school squat record so that he would be forced into putting my name on the record board! But I didn’t just want to break it by a few pounds. I wanted to annihilate it!
So I decided that 525 lbs was the goal!
I trained harder than before and was pushing for as much progress as I could! But, unfortunately, that lead to injury.
Again, I had no help with proper technique or rest and recovery. All I knew was that I needed to squat low and squat often. So I did, and my hips were not happy about it.
In fact, I did so many things wrong that I still have to fight the bad habits I grew over my first few years of lifting.
Well, long story short, the most I ever squatted in high school was 435×2 with a belt and spotter assistance.
The next few years were waves of progress and regression. I would build a lot of strength, then get injured. Learn from it, and progress again. Over and over again. Always learning and growing.
All I can say is that I wish I found a website like this one back in those days to help me along!
I even broke my back in 2012 (unrelated to weight training) in which I was told to lay in bed for 5 weeks and never lift heavy again. That didn’t happen, but I did learn a lot from it!
My 525 lb Squat Redemption
Well, after all these years of learning through both education and experience, I have healed my body, corrected my mistakes and become ready for my redemption!
And here it is! My first, but not last, ever 525 lb squat!
What I am most proud of is my journey getting here. It was a long hard road, but I accomplished it on my own terms. I don’t take supplements or drugs and only use minimal support (my knee sleeves are there for looks, not so much support. They are too big and torn out on both sides so they slide down my legs as I walk.). I learned from my mistakes and only grew stronger from them.
Thank you to everyone that has supported me along the way. Thank you to my dad for recording this life-changing event. And to me…
“Yo, Ryan…we did it!”
If you want to learn how to do it too, get my 12-Week Squat Program which I used to accomplish this feat of strength!
Now, of course, I am not stopping all lifting and moving onto other things. I will always be a powerlifter because I love the sport. I will continue to get stronger in all my lifts, but I am proud to have accomplished my main goal after only a mere 10 years!
Other Strength Goals:
Squat = ???
Bench Press = 405×3
Deadlift = 650