What’s your name, where do you live, what gym do you lift out of, and why do you train and compete? 

My name is Jonathan Byrd and I currently just completed the move to Jacksonville, North Carolina. Before the move, I have trained out of Team Samson in Florida for the last five years, but am currently training with a local group here in NC. I train and compete because it’s become a part of my life. I started strength training as a young high school football player and did my first powerlifting meet in 1998.  

Tell us your story -what brought you to this point where you are today: 

I began lifting like many people – to become better at sports. I had a high school coach who was a powerlifter and later introduced me to a local powerlifting group. It’s there that I learned what it took to train and be successful. After college football and a few years in various arena leagues, I began to push harder with powerlifting.  

In 2013, I tore my pec tendon free from the bone. It was at that point that I moved to Jacksonville, Florida to train with Team Samson. There I learned to train like a true professional, manage my many injuries, and learned the 10/20/Life philosophy.  

What are your personal best lifts? 

1040 squat, 755 bench, 735 deadlift, all equipped.

Raw gym lifts of 800 squat, 500 bench, and 675 deadlift.  

Switching gears, but we will come back to the lifting aspect in a moment.  What are your interests outside of strength sports? 

I am a big football fan, and currently the head football coach at White Oak High, in Jacksonville NC. I am a car nut, the more horsepower the better!  

What are 2 things you have learned over the last 2 years that have made you a better athlete and person? 

Corrective exercises and motor patterns are far more important than I ever gave them credit for. 

Life is way too short to take a day for granted.  

What is the biggest mistake, or regret you have pertaining to training/competition? 

Not listening to my body. At times, I push too long and too heavy and it has resulted in massive injuries. If not for 10/20/Life, I’m not sure I could still lift competitively.  

Knowing what you do now, what would you go back and tell a younger version of you 10 years ago? 

Spend more time with rehab and deloads. I’d coach my younger self to avoid some preventable injuries!  

What do you bring to TeamPRS that you feel is unique? 

I feel I bring a dynamic of both a professional athlete, as well as a high level powerlifter. With 20 years into lifting I have seen and done a lot! I have been lucky to be around some great minds and lifters. Most people can not grasp strength training from both a powerlifting stand point and that of an athlete.  

Who are your mentors/biggest influences-who do you look to for advice and help? 

David Bell, who was my first powerlifter “coach” so to speak. He taught me a lot, and really showed me what it took worth ethic wise to be successful.  

Carl Funderburk, who was my offensive line coach in college. I have never known a more intense man. He really showed me how to handle adversity as well as how to develop young athletes.  

Of course the man, the myth, the legend Brian Carroll. I have spent the last 5 years lifting with and competing with Brian. He is one of the best minds in lifting, and is always looking to gain more knowledge to help others. I honestly believe without his help I may no longer be lifting.  

In closing, name 2 things that few people know about you, unrelated to strength sports: 

I grew up in a one stop light town and own a farm!  


Make sure to watch for articles and weekly log posts from Jonathan Byrd  each and every week on


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Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd is a competitive powerlifter, with over 16 years of training experience. Byrd has been ranked nationally for the past 6 years under multiple categories. His total has ranked as high as second nationally in the 275 class. He currently has a best total of 2500lbs. Best individual lifts include a 1040lb squat, a 750lb bench press, and 735lb deadlift. His 1040lb squat ranks him 26th all-time squats at the 308 class. Jonathan currently trains out of Team Samson Gym in Jacksonville, FL. Before powerlifting Jonathan was a college athlete at Methodist University as both an all-conference football player and track athlete. Following graduation he played four years of arena football in various leagues.
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