Jesse Norris recently shocked the Powerlifting world when he put up a huge 1850 lb. raw total in the 198 lb. class. In doing so, he broke several all-time world records. He has the highest no-wraps squat in the 198’s and the highest total. Furthermore, Jesse is only 19 years old and set these records in arguably the most strict conditions possible. That is, in the USAPL federation.
LIFT: Welcome Jesse, before we get started, why don’t you give us a short background on yourself?
Well, My name Is Jesse Norris, I’ve grown up in Nampa, Idaho and lived here all my life. I Train at Genesis Fitness. Primarily I’ve always lifted on my own, I started training with coaches and team members. But as time has passed I’ve found that you can only really count on yourself. So by training on my own I get to know my own body, my own limits and how to push myself.
LIFT: How long have you been training, and when did you get started?
I’ve been training consistently for the last 6 years. I started young just lifting things but I actually started in the weight room at 13 years old in my Middle school gym class.
LIFT: In the beginning, who or what inspired you to start training?
Well my older brother always was bigger, and I looked up to that. Trying to match him throughout the years. But what really got me into power lifting was a friend who noticed me in the gym and said I should try it out.
LIFT: How do you keep such strong motivation? What does training mean to you?
Well I guess starting out I always just wanted to look good and be strong. But where I’m now, to keep motivating myself I set goals and when I achieve them I have to look down at it and tell myself I can be better. I won’t stop until I’m the best, even then I’ll keep pushing on. Training is my life and everything I do revolves around it. There is no day off. It’s a great outlet for stress and other daily frustrations which makes me love it more.
LIFT: I hear you are going to be in the “Animal Cage” this year. What is the event, and do you have any predictions on how you will do?
Well I have been invited, and I plan on doing the Deadlift Exhibition. I’ll be competing on March 3rd at 2pm. I plan to hit between a 775lb-800lb deadlift raw.
LIFT: If you could give your followers just one “secret”, or one tip on strength training success, what would it be?
Well I would tell them, don’t pay attention to those above you, and focus on you. Know your limits and set your own goals. From there, just continue to hit personal records and strive to be the best in every aspect of your life.
LIFT: How long did you compete equipped? Do you train equipped anymore or have plans on going back?
I’ve trained equipped for 4 years, on and off of course. But I’m planning to go back eventually and play around with it. But I feel like there is more respect in the RAW aspect of lifting. There is no way around the true strength.
LIFT: Can you give us a quick breakdown of what your training is like?
Well I train every day of the week. Monday is heavy deadlifts, and heavy bench. Tuesday would be front squats and overhead log press. Wednesday normally consists of prowler, tire flips and farmer carries. Thursday would be deadlifts again with an axle bar and off of a 3″ platform, focusing more on technique and speed. Along with this I do normal bench with pause. Friday is conditioning again with prowler, tire and farmers. Saturday is heavy squats and heavy bench. Sunday = conditioning once more.
LIFT: What training routine has given you the best gains?
My current routine, whatever it is I’m doing is working the best for me! Mixing up strength training with strongman. I’ve followed the Shieko program and that worked well for me before.
LIFT: You sometimes train more than once a day, what is the reason for this? How do you program for twice a day training?
If I train more then once a day its simply because I’m bored! The gym is my home and basically I don’t follow any strict program. I go in and do what I feel my body needs work on and lay off muscle groups that are fatigued.
LIFT: Do you feel strongman training aids “The Big Three” powerlifts?
I feel like strongman works your core much more, which is key on these big lifts. And just changing up the norm can really break you out of a plateau. It keeps things interesting and gets you well conditioned if you do right.
LIFT: How do you approach heavy lifts and mentally prepare for a big lift?
I really just get in a gut check moment, “This is what I’ve been training for, so get there and do it”.
LIFT: What is your “mental checklist”, or form queues, going through your head before a 700 lb squat?
My biggest checklist is stay tight and hit your depth. My mind really goes blank and body goes numb before a heavy lift like this so there isn’t much thinking going on.
LIFT: How about the deadlift?
Once gain stay tight, speed off the floor, lockout, and even though it feels heavy don’t give up.
LIFT: You seem well composed, and calm. How amped up do you need to be for lifts like this?
I’m nervous on the inside, but try not to show much of any emotions. I’ve trained, I know what the goal is. Just go out there and hit, I don’t like to get all amped up.
LIFT: I hear rumor you’ve never taken a day off, is this true?
I’ve taken days off before, but here the last couple months, I haven’t been able to do it. Makes me feel guilty or that I’m not doing everything I can be.
LIFT: Tell us about the footwear you use in competition, and why you use it?
I use the VS squat shoes; these have a solid heel, which is elevated making it a little easier to hit depth on the squat. I may wear this on bench or I wear converse which have a flat sole. The lower I can get to the ground on a deadlift the better, which is why I wear the flat shoe.
LIFT: How do you stay lean year around?
I really just keep a consistent diet and training program. A lot of conditioning and eat right.
LIFT: What is your philosophy on diet? How much, and what do you eat on a given day?
Well I don’t track everything like I should. I cook up enough chicken and vegetables to last me about 4-5 meals. My main thing is to just feel content, don’t stuff myself or starve. Then weigh myself daily to kind of keep track of where I’m at. No certain diet or macros I try follow. Get in as much protein as possible, least amount of fats and clean carbs.
LIFT: Are you a fan of supplements?
I think supplements become helpful at a certain point. I like preworkouts because they help to push me through some intense workouts! Then BCAA’s, Glutamine and protein are great for muscle growth and recovery. Those are the main ones for me!
LIFT: Some say you have the potential to be the next Ed Coan (arguably the best powerlifter in history), how do you respond to something like that?
I honestly don’t know how to respond. Those are some big shoes to fill, and if I’m close to that I can’t recognize it. I don’t like to compare myself with others; I just want to be the best me I can be. But I have mad respect for Ed and any lifter out there. I’m just here to do the best I can do.
LIFT: With all that being said, what is it that you do differently from other lifters to stand out?
I believe its all the training. I’ve started young, I’ve been standing solo for awhile doing my thing because nobody really understands why. I don’t go out and party, drink, smoke, there is no excuse. I think that’s going to be the biggest difference which separates me from them.
LIFT: What are your future lifting plans and goals both short, and long term?
My biggest goal right now, which I plan to hit in June if possible, would be to hit 10x my bodyweight raw in the 195lb division. After that, I just want to continue to grow.
LIFT: What changes would you like to see in powerlifting? What problems do you see?
Well powerlifting isn’t the most well known sport. I wish it would get a little more recognition because it is hard on the body just like any other professional sport, and it takes some real dedication. That’s all I really have as to any problems and what I would like to see change.
LIFT: Do you have anything else you’d like to add before we wrap it up?
To anyone reading this, I just want to say that you are the one who decides your own limits in life. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. Set goals and lay out steps of how you are going to get there. 🙂
Thanks, Jesse for taking the time to talk with us. We wish you the best of luck with 10x bodyweight, totally raw and we look forward to what you have in store for us in the future.
Jesse’s 1850lb total at 198 – 19 years old