Pumping 1,200: What It Takes

Outside magazine, February 1996


Pumping 1,200: What It Takes
By John Galvin


  • Genes. Mark Henry hails from a long line of Brobdingnagians. His Great-Uncle Chudd stood six-foot-six and weighed 450 pounds. Mark mashed the scales at 220 by age ten.
  • Maximum Bulk. For good reason, Mark compares himself to a mighty tree. Footwear size: a rootsy 16 EEEEE, inspiring Adidas to custom-build one of the biggest shoes it's ever made. Chest: 64 inches. Neck: 24.
  • Workouts. Mark spends three hours a day in the gym. During routine training, along with an hour of limbering pool laps, he'll typically perform manly-man sets, such as squats rotations ranging from 200 to 900 pounds. Come competition time, reps go down and poundage goes up, with Mark doing one- or two-rep, 1,200-pound, partial dead lifts. During a week in the gym Mark lifts more than 50,000 pounds.
  • Grub. Lots, but less than you might think. Breakfast includes four eggs, ham or sausage, OJ, two pieces of toast, hash browns. Dinner: a 16-ounce steak, a baked potato, greens and veggies, biscuits, dessert, all washed down with iced tea. Mark refuses to take any of the food supplements commonly used by lifters. Why? He says he "just doesn't need them." Want to tell him he's wrong?

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