USA Powerlifting Texas


Byron Nichols

Texas Champion Profile

Full Name: Byron Nichols
Divisions Competed In: Open, Masters M1 – 275 Class       
Hometown: The Woodlands, TX
Training Facility: Spring Fitness, Spring TX
Years Training: 22 years
Years Competing:  17 years
Occupation: Territory Manager for CYBEX Fitness Equipment
Best Lifts: Squat – – 722 (May 2011); Bench Press – 639 (Nov 2007); Deadlift – 644 (May 2011); Total – 1,885 (Mar 2007)

  1. How long have you been lifting? Lifting since 1989; competing since 1994
  2. Why did you start lifting? In 1986, I had an infection of the bone marrow called Osteomyelitis, which required emergency surgery to not only save my right arm but also my life. I began weightlifting a couple of years after this surgery to build my strength back up.
  3. Do you remember the day you decided to try Powerlifting? Yes. In 1992, I joined the Courthouse Racquet Club in Flowood, MS and began to train there with a couple of guys. As I became stronger and stronger, they encouraged me to enter the MS State Bench Press Championship in 1994. I benched 410 that year and went on to compete in the MS Championships for the next 14 consecutive years. In 2004, I became the first person to bench press 600+ pounds in the history of the MS state championships and in 2007 became the first Masters (40+ years old) to bench 600+ pounds.
  4. Who helped you get started? Grant Egley, Allen Gill and John Vining. Grant is a very close friend of mine I have known since childhood and who I first started working out with. Grant competed and was very strong. He encouraged me to lift to my potential. Allen (Big Al) is a very good friend and was one of the guys I begin to work out with in 1992 when I joined the Courthouse. He was very instrumental in pushing me to enter in my first meet and continued to push me the next couple of years. In 1996, I began training with seasoned lifter, John Vining. John had been competing for many years and we became very close training partners and even closer friends. He taught me a lot!
  5. Who is the person or persons you look up to most? All my training partners, past and present. I know the hard work and dedication it takes to do what we do, so I respect the heck out of all of them.
  6. Do you have any advice for future lifters? Find a good core group of lifters to train with, pick a meet you wish to compete in, set personal goals for yourself, and then stay consistent and persistent with your training and you will reach your goals and make some awesome friends.
  7. What has been your biggest struggle and how have you overcome it? Trying to balance work, family and lifting. I am not sure how or if I have overcome this and probably fail miserably at it. LOL!
  8. What type of injuries have you had and how have you overcome them? Well, besides almost losing my right arm as a teenager; in May of 2002, I suffered a major setback in my powerlifting career. Competing in the MS Bench Press Championships, I suffered a total detachment of my left triceps tendon and shredded all three heads of the triceps muscle. This no doubt should have been a career ending injury. I had surgery at MS Sport Medicine to repair all the damage, went through months of rehabilitation and with God’s ultimate healing, I was able to make a miraculous comeback.  Most recently in January 2010, I slipped on some ice on my pool deck and fell hard on the concrete. A piece of bone in my right elbow chipped off and part of my triceps tendon was attached to the chipped off bone that was floating around in my elbow. I had zero triceps strength at all. Surgery was performed to correct this issue but then about three weeks after the surgery, I was in an auto accident the re-ruptured the repair so I had to have another surgery to fix the repair! I was told that the likelihood of returning to powerlifting was slim and none. Once again, I faced a long rehab and this time around, overcoming the mental side of another comeback was very challenging. I began training again in January 2011 and look forward to a return to the platform. UPDATE: I did overcome my latest injury and set personal best in the squat (722), deadlift (644) and total (1,901) at the 2011 USAPL Master’s Nationals Championships inAtlanta,GAin May 2011!
  9. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve made over the years? (i.e. lifting equipment, diet, training, style) I have tried several different styles, including Westside Barbell, 5×5, etc but I currently used a very modified Sheiko method of training. As far as equipment, I used some Inzer gear very early on but I have used exclusively Titan Support Systems gear for a majority of my lifting career.  I am also currently sponsored by Titan Support Systems so thank you very much, Titan, for the best gear on the planet!!
  10. What is your can’t live without piece of gear? In the past I would have said a bench shirt for sure and probably still would. I like my wrist wraps a lot too.
  11. How do you like your equipment? Tight or Loose I wear my equipment pretty tight, especially bench shirts when competing in a Bench Press only meet, i.e. – Bench Press Nationals. The problem with tight gear is the margin of error is very small. Everything really needs to be dialed in perfectly for a successful meet.
  12. What other sports have you participated in over the years, and how have they, if any, helped you in powerlifting? None really. Just have always lifted.
  13. What is the craziest thing you have ever seen in powerlifting? The thing that pops to mind is at my first Bench Press Nationals in Cleveland, OH (1998), Bob DeCourt was competing in the 198 class. On his opening attempt with 501 his shirt blew out and the spotters grabbed the bar. He appealed to the judges and they gave another attempt as he was the last lifter in the round. Bob stepped off the platform, pulled off the blown out bench shirt, put on a t-shirt and laid right back down on the bench and proceeded to bench 501…RAW!
  14. Are there any lessons that powerlifting has taught you? Never give up! Also, listen to your body and listen when it says, “not today”!
  15. What is your most memorable moment in powerlifting? I have two. One was in 2004 when I became the first person to bench press 600+ pounds in the history of the MS Bench Press Championships after totally destroying my left triceps two year prior. The second one was in 2008 at the IPF World Bench Press Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. I had missed my first two attempts and was in danger of bombing out of the meet. I had traveled a long way, my team was cheering me on, my wife was there supporting me and my mom was back home in Mississippi watching on-line. On my third and final attempt, I nailed a 633 bench! What a moment I will never forget!
  16. What does the future hold for your powerlifting career? As I mentioned, I just recently began training again after injury and I am hoping to return to the platform very soon. I plan on lifting at Masters Nationals in Atlanta in May 2011. I am hoping to squat 700 in 2011 and also set new personal bests on my deadlift (625) and total (1,885).  Mission accomplished!! 700 squat…check. Personal best on deadlift…check (644). Personal best on total…check (1,901). Now the goals are a 2,000+ total, 650+ Bench, win a spot on the Master’s World Bench Team, and set a few USAPL Texas state records at 275 M1 45-49!
  17. Please tell us your powerlifting history. See below…

Recent Titles

2011 USAPL National Champion (M1 45-49 SHW),Atlanta,GA
2009 Lone Star Open Champion, Conroe, TX
2009 Aggie Invitational Champion – Best Lifter, College Station, TX
2008 IPF World Bench Press Championship – 5th place, Prague, Czech Republic
2008 Biggest Bench on the River Masters Champion, New Roads, LA 
2007 USAPL Bench Press National Champion, Denver, CO
2007 IPF Master’s World Bench Press Championship – Silver Medal, Schwedt, Germany
2007 Mississippi Master’s State Bench Press Champion, Jackson, MS
2007 USAPL Master’s Nationals – Silver Medal, Milwaukee, WI
2007 USAPL Open State Champion, Bay St. Louis, MS
2006 USAPL Open State Champion, Gulfport, MS
2006 AAPF Open State Champion, Hattiesburg, MS
2006 USAPL Master’s National Bench Press Champion, Charlotte, NC
2006 APA Southeast USA Champion, Amory, MS
2005 APA National Push-Pull Champion, Jackson, MS
2005 APA Open State Champion, Jackson, MS
2004 Mississippi State Bench Press Champion

Records Held
USAPL American Master’s Bench Press Record – 589 lbs
USAPL National Master’s Bench Press Record – 584 lbs
AAPF National Master’s Bench Press Record – 622 lbs
USAPL Texas Masters Bench Press Record – 589 lbs
USAPL Texas Masters Total Record – 1862 lbs
USAPL Mississippi Open & Master’s Bench Press Record – 639 lbs
Mississippi Bench Press Championship Master’s Bench Press Record – 600 lbs

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