Doyle Kenady Is A Model Citizen

903 pound WR deadlift by Doyal Kenady

Doyle Kenady weighed 305 pounds of, as you can see, grizzled muscle. Dr. Fred Hatfield (AKA Dr. Squat) pays tribute to Doyle (he gives him the honor of Dr. Deadlift) in this excellent article written in Powerlifting USA (November, 1986). The world record at the time was Bill Kazmaier’s 886. This may not seem like much nowadays since the 1,000 pound barrier has been breached and there are amazing deadlifters like Andy Bolton, Benedikt Magnusson, and Konstantin Konstantinovs. Yet it was still the world record, and Kazmaier was a powerlifting phenom before he transitioned to a career in strongman competitions.

Kenady’s performance in this meet is amazing. I’ll let Dr. Squat give you the recap:

Doyle’s lift will take a special place in the history of great lifts because he did his record buster after massive attempts in the squat and bench press only minutes before. His deadlift was done under the most trying of circumstances possible, under near crippling conditions of fatigue.

Moreover, it was his third attempt that cracked the 900 pound barrier. Imagine! Two attempts in the squat, one of which was over 900 pounds; three attempts in the bench press, all over 500 pounds; then two attempts over 830 pounds in the deadlift before pulling the heaviest, official record breaking deadlift of mankind to an erect standing position.

Hatfield also recounts how Doyle called for a 4th attempt (allowed after setting a world record) and got it to just above his knees despite having to follow his own attempt. I’m sitting here in disbelief; breaking past 900 pounds — when it has never been done before — to set the world record without taking token squat and bench attempts is amazing. No wonder they called this guy “Sasquatch” and “Grizzly Bear” — two of the most bad ass nicknames ever.

Kenady was an amazing athlete, yes, but I want to point out that all of the people that met him or knew him said that he was a very laid back guy. He was kind, supportive, and helpful. Humble and amiable. Kenady had the look of a bad ass but was a genuine nice guy; what a man should be. In a time where athletes trash talk each other and want attention, I look up to Kenady for his “old school” personality. I look up to him as an athlete as well as a man; he is the epitome of a 70’s Big attitude.

Edit: Doyle is no longer living; apparently he died of heart disease. His training consisted of the three big lifts without much assistance work, and his schedule had more rest days than training days. Read Dr. Hatfield’s article and he tells a story of training with Kenady a few weeks before the meet — Doyle pulled 895 for a triple!

25 thoughts on “Doyle Kenady Is A Model Citizen

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  2. the saddest part about all of this is that there will likely never be another burly mountain MAN like Mr, or rather Mt Kenady. truly and inspiration to be a man’s man.

    good article by Dr. Squat.

  3. HOLY SMOKES!! That dude truly is freakin’ Sasquatch! Where hell did he come from? A sequoia forest? Besides being a sasquatch he made that look real easy. That pull moved FAST for a world record attempt.

  4. What is the 70’s Big perspective on heart disease and weight as it affects longevity (i.e. living a long, healthy and relatively-malady free life)? Can’t help but notice both Doug Young and Kenady, both big strapping tree-trunks of masculinity, died of heart attacks at relatively young ages (Young was 61, if I recall correctly. Can’t find Kenady’s age when he passed.) I’m in awe of the strength these powerhouses possessed, but wonder if both diet, lifestyle and the competitive pursuit of absolute strength shaved some years off of their lives. I’m sure genetics played a huge role and I have no idea what other factors might have contributed to their demises, but I wonder how much correlation you see? Lots of big guys train and eat hard, but can’t seem to not eat big when they are no longer training big. I have read you on the site you only advocate eating big until you get the muscle and eating cleanly once you do. I know the Hall of Fame focuses on the extremes and ‘the fire that burns so bright burns half as long…’

    Hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way, since I totally understand the need to put fuel in the tank in order to grow big and strong. And I get this isn’t necessarily a health-focused site (it’s about getting 70s Big, after all), but I also see you guys also have backgrounds in general fitness and genuinely care about a person’s well-being. Does being big and powerful necessarily come at the cost of a shorter life and/or compromised health/quality of life?

    Love the site. Find it both entertaining and educational.

    I don’t see this as an attack and asking such a question is legitimate. I do need to point out that both of the men you named were undoubtedly on copious amounts of steroids. I don’t know how informed steroid users were then as they are today, nor do I know if drugs of any kind would be abused in spite of warnings to achieve world record lifts. I’m sure there are reasonable ways to take enhancement drugs safely, yet I would assume (and this is an uninformed assumption) that guys who take steroids aren’t concerned with the adverse effects, health or otherwise.

    In other words, elitely elite lifters are probably not good examples to consider regarding longevity. I’ll make my next point in tomorrow’s post (which I had been planning to write all week).


  5. Looking forward to your post, Justin, and thanks for your comments. I’ve noticed the outliers of just about any human enterprise – be it sports, business, arts, etc. – are often people to admire, but maybe not necessarily emulate to the ‘T.’ Take what is applicable and filter sensibly accordingly, I guess, is my approach.

  6. Kinda off topic, but has anyone done something along the lines of starting strength on MWF and adding in intervals on TTh? How about a ruck march thrown in on Sat? Is this feasible or would it be too hard to recover from? Would the S&CP be more suitable? Thanks.

  7. Shit, I forgot to ask my question:

    Justin, I have a quick question about conditioning. I know you mentioned in the SSACP that conditioning should last 6-8 min., with 10 min. being the maximum duration. If I was running sprints (not necessarily on that program, but on an off day from strength training), would something like 10 seconds of hauling ass followed by walking back to my starting point be suffice (I’m assuming that would probably take about 20 seconds, maybe a little more)? If so, that would probably mean I would be running 10-15 sprints of 10 seconds each…does that sound about right?

    Let me know if my question was at all unclear, and thanks for the advice (as usual).

  8. anyone else notice that Dr. Squat mentioned that good deadlifters typically have long arms and SHORT torsos??…just sayin.

    also notice that Dr. Squat pulled 825 in training? that’s pretty huge too

  9. I saw Doyle do an exhibition at a powerlifing meet in 1986. It was either the Texas Grand or the Lost Pines Classic in Bastrop. He only squatted, but it was a truly amazing thing to behold. I was a 148 pound high school kid, and I had never seen anyone that big or hairy. I remember that between attempts a tiny woman, who I assume was his wife or girlfriend, would massage his lower back. If I remember correctly he made an attempt in the mid 900s. It was a real eye opener for a young kid.

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