Champion Victor Biryukov shares a little about his story and goals – golden nuggets of information from this amazing lifter

* a Powerlifting Watch exclusive

PLW – Victor, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where you came from, where you live now and what you do besides lifting

Absolutely! I'm from Ust-Illimst, Russia, and I moved to the United States in 2011. I've been doing competitive powerlifting for just under 15 years. In addition to the world records I've set for a 727lb raw squat, I also have a International Master of Sport in Russia as well as the recipient of over 5 gold medals in National's.

Right now, I'm living in Southern California, I moved here from Boston a year ago because I wasn't a fan of their weather. Great people, terrible weather. As far as what I do besides lifting... I think about the next time I'm going to lift? Haha. I'm kidding. I work at a local grocery store to hold me over for now. I'm building a brand and identity for myself training people that are looking to work hard in the sport of powerlifting. The day job is keeping me fed while I build up enough clients. It's actually a large challenge I face right now because I've found my true passion and calling in this sport, but it can be difficult to make a true living off of it until you get established. In addition to all of that, I need to maintain my own personal training regiment so that I can compete. There's a lot of work/life balance that goes into this that a lot of people don't really consider, you know? It's not just simply picking things up and putting them back down! Haha.

So, right now, that's my life: lifting, working, and creating a client-base for myself.

PLW – You are obviously at an elite level now, going for golds and records. How did you get here? Can you give us your sports career’s highlights in powrelifting?

Some of my sport highlights include being a member of the National Junior Team. Through that, I was able to achieve a gold medal in the World Junior Championships (IPF) in 2004, break 5 state records at another Championship in 2005, and then first place in Championship of Europe (IPF) in 2006. Just recently in July, I set the world record for a 727lb raw squat, breaking my previously held record of 611lbs from 2012.

I really got here through a lot of hard work, determination, persistence and experience. You're not going to go out there every day and crush the weight. You'll go up to the bar, go for that big pull or squat and just fail. It's discouraging and aggravating, especially if it's a weight you've done before. That's exactly where you get stronger though: if you fail, you're going to put more time in until you succeed. Strength is mental just as much as it is physical. That's how I got here; failing and succeeding.

The best advice I can give anyone is to know your goal. You have to know what you want and you need to know what you like before you can accomplish anything.

PLW – In many of your videos we see you using the calibrated Olympic Lifting bumper plates and some specific WL equipment. Were you a weightlifter? Can you tell us a little about that?

My first coach was a weightlifter, and in Russia you can go down one of two paths, Weightlifting or Powerlifting. I chose powerlifting, but my coach continued to give me guidance and mentored me through a lot of my early development.
Right now, I'm training with the best weightlifting team in California. We really do everything together: train, eat, hang out. During that time we share a lot of experiences and give each other advice. It helps a lot to get more perspective on my lifts from a fresh set of eyes, especially a set of eyes that's looking at different things out of a lift. For instance, I've developed a strength program for one of the weightlifters that's very similar to my program. He's using it to build up a lot more back strength so that he can successfully complete higher weight cleans and snatches. It's been fun to have him on the other side as there was an almost immediate benefit from meshing the two schools.

PLW – What are your goals right now? How has your preparation for the IPL worlds been?

My goal right now is win best lifter title and set 3 new world records at the IPL World meet. It's important to have these goals. It helps keep my training at the highest level possible, with the most challenge attached to it. I can approach this with the goal of just simply hitting higher numbers than the last time, but I want to be the best, and this is how I'm going to do it.

I've been preparing through a program I've developed myself, pushing my boundaries each week to a new level. I work under load for a considerably larger amount of reps than most people do, then use that to gain strength for the heavier lifts. Like I said, it's a mental game as much as it is physical, so I'm honing my mind as well as my body.

PLW – What about your long term goals?

Well, after National's I am going to be changing from RAW powerlifting to classic RAW. With that, my goal is to become the best powerlifter in the world. It doesn't matter to me what weight class, raw, classic raw, gear, whatever it is. This is a true passion of mine. The people I've met, the things I've experienced- I owe it to myself and all those that have helped me along the way to become the best.

A competition video from the Nationals

Two training videos

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