The Story Behind the Great American Squat-Off

It is one of the most memorable moments in the fitness industry — Tom Platz faced ‘Dr. Squat’ Fred Hatfield in a squat competition. The “squat-off,” as it’s often called, went down in Essen, Germany, in 1992. It was a spectacle that sought to address the eternal question: Who is stronger, the bodybuilder or the powerlifter?

Since that time, the competition has been cited by lifters and sports scientists to debate the relative merits of both sports. What is generally missing from these conversations is the history of the contest. Platz and Hatfield did not compete against each other to solve a scientific problem or out of a sense of rivalry.

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