Investigative Reporting

Skinny Guys who are no longer skinny know that when strength is built, muscles get bigger. Some people are more genetically apt to get bigger muscles than others, and that’s just the way it is. The growth of muscular mass is known as “swollertrophy”, a condition where the muscles reach a point in which their “maximum jackage” levels are saturated.

A lifter who experiences impressive strength gains my feel some of the effects of swollertrophy, but may have to turn to other means to express an impressive yoke. Brent Kim of 70’s Big Research and Design is such a lifter. Kim’s last six months of training have focused on improving his force production ability, but now his training has taken a different turn.

“I temporarily want to get my fucking yoke on.”

Kim in high school


The road has been long and arduous for Kim, a former 100 pound high school senior. When a Veitnamese friend convinced Kim that lifting weights might improve his confidence and self-esteem, Kim was sold; “The door was opened to what could only be a shrugalicious journey.”

Kim’s memory of this time was hazy (perhaps due to limited eye sight), but it was clear he didn’t understand the concept of “fucking yoked”. He toyed around with curls, extensions, and presses and later half squats with 225 lbs. It wasn’t long before he was Google searching – a trait that would later earn him the title of Head of Research and Design – power cleans and was introduced to Olympic lifting. At a body weight of 115 lbs, Kim was enamored with the sport and figured he was a 56kg weight class competitor “indefinitely”. It’s safe to say that Kim did not have a clear understanding of “yoke”.

Kim trained the Olympic lifts, squatted, and deadlifted and increased his body weight to around 140 and would go on to compete in the 69 and 77kg weight classes. It was at this time that Kim met Justin.

Kim was a seemingly unkept Asian with wild hair and mis-matching socks (Editor’s Note: Nothing has changed.) who squatted 350×5 and deadlifted 400. It wasn’t long before Justin tried to convince Kim to try his hand at the Linear Progression. After months of violent arguing, Kim relented. It took him approximately five training sessions to admit, “I should have listened to Justin sooner.”

Not only did Kim increase his strength (to date he has squatted 462 in competition), but his attitude was electro-charged. When asked about these personality changes, he shot back, “What changes are you talking about, Justin?” Justin later reported, “Brent became more aggressive and antagonistic in a matter of days. I feel that I have created a monster.” These traits have seemingly earned Kim a cult-like following.

All in a day’s work for Kim who hit a 107kg PR snatch three days after competing at USAPL Raw Nationals. Kim’s current program is managed around his temporarily hectic work training schedule, but he says it will consist of sets of ten and then shifting into a swollertrophy-oriented Texas Method.

“Strength is obviously necessary to do this kind of program, and I’m still increasing my weight every week. But the sets of ten – I’m just interested in maximum jack right now.”

Kim and his traps


Kim is an Olympic lifter at heart, and is known for his mountainous traps. Kim is hard at work developing his traps with Bill Starr style shrugs and has recently hit 485 lbs for a set of five. He was overheard saying, “I mean, my traps have to get bigger, Justin.”

A proper “stack” will be necessary when trying to fully saturate “maximum jackage”. When asked what his stack was, Kim replies, “Excellent question. Lots of techno, some fish oil, and protein.”

Rumors circulated recently about Kim taking a shot at qualifying for USAW’s American Open in the 77kg class, and Kim stamped those rumors; “If I’m trying to get my maximum jack on, and I’m above 77k, I don’t want to cut to 77k to qualify for a meet that I’m probably not gonna go to.” An undisclosed source revealed that Kim may not be able to afford such a venture, but Kim’s time is mostly filled with work and “getting (his) yoke on.”

Kim did reveal that his next meet will most likely be the Texas State Weightlifting meet in January 2011, and he has modest goals of hitting 110/135 as an 85kg lifter. After the meet, he would focus back into his beloved weightlifting. Kim reported that he would love to lift as a 94kg lifter since he would “be pretty fucking jacked” at 5’5”.

It seems like Brent Kim has what it takes to embody the spirit of swollertrophy. He is fearless in this pursuit and left our interview by saying, “I don’t think that I have any limitations and keep a mindset that if there are limitations, I can overcome them with good programmiong, work ethic, and a beautiful set of traps.”

My, how much we can learn from Brent Kim.

30 thoughts on “Investigative Reporting

  1. How does Brent balance olympic lifts and powerlifting in the same week? I pull three days a week with an olympic lifting team, the days work is about 2+ hours and 40-50 reps. I have found it nearly impossible to fit deadlifts in the week because it will slow down my recovery and leave me gassed during the oly days.

    Brent will have something to say (I’m sure), but the last half year he has had a strength training emphasis meaning he wouldn’t do the Olympic lifts as much.

    –Justin

  2. It’s time for Chuck Norris to pass the torch to Brent Kim aka “The shrugthug” aka “The Dr. of Shruganomics” aka “Brent FUCKING KIM”.

  3. I ran into Dat a few times in college, and he pales in comparison to the Great Brent. You are officially my new favorite Asian. Sorry, kittensmash, but your yoke just isn’t quite there yet.

  4. It’s fun to read articles about Brent’s lifting because his lifts are all so close to mine. 94kg lifter, 5’7″.
    sn 110, cj 136, cln 138, sq 485, dl 445.

    If I could total 10kg more kg than those two lifts whilst cutting 3-4kg to the 85kg class I’d qualify for American open too. I just don’t know how interested I am in doing that. Plus it’s worth it for the swollitude going for it as a 94.

  5. Awesome article, Justin – one of your best to date. Always nice to hear more about the “dr. of shrugonomics”, haha – love that one. So many awesome comments, too, can’t wait to hear what the man has to say about all this.
    He is really one strong motherfucka, though, damn! Look out Chong Li…

    PS. Justin, why would they put buttons all the way to the top if they didn’t want you to use them all?

  6. Pingback: » Nationals Vid and COW

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