CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A U.S. Marine pressed himself into the record books with his own two hands.
At 6-foot and 272 pounds, Sgt. David Douglas fully embodies his "The Beast" nickname.
In July, Douglas set a world record at the U.S. Powerlifting Association Open in the 308-pound class by bench-pressing 738.5 pounds.
“People were really patting me on the back,” Douglas said. “And (making) little jokes here and there about, ‘Can you pick up my car if I have a flat tire?’"
As a powerlifter for the U.S. Marine Corps Barbenders, Douglas sets the bar because of how much weight he can push up on the bar.
When asked to provide an example of something in the real world that is comparable in weight to his world record lift, Douglas said with a smile, “A small elephant, maybe?”
Douglas' easy laugh and big smile provide a stark contrast to the intensity he shows when he attacks his weight.
“When I touch my chest, its drive,” Douglas said. “All I think about is the bar exploding away from my chest. So I always consider it a battle between me and the weights.”
His pictures from his high school days on the soccer field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin also show a stark contrast to the beast Douglas has become.
“I was about 145 pounds all the way through high school,” Douglas said. “I was a small guy. In the Marine Corps, I started lifting and I grew from there.”
The 24-year-old said he started lifting competitively in 2006 while stationed in Japan. Now, he works out six times a week around his regular duties as a mechanic for the 1st Maintenance Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
His coach, Sabrina Gibson, hopes his world record attracts more people into power lifting. When Douglas works out in the weight room, other Marines frequently stop and stare.
“To have somebody walking around with a world record, it motivates people to go, ‘Well I can do that. I want to do that,’” Gibson said. “So it's great to have that there.”
Douglas now has his sights set on the Mr. Olympia Professional Powerlifting Competition September 15-18 in Las Vegas where he says he wants to bench press a bar-bending 800 pounds and, he hopes, bring attention to his sport.
“I hope by stuff like this, that they will see powerlifting is a sport, not only in the outside world, but in the Marine Corps as well, and we have Marine Corps athletes that can do the same,” Douglas said. “I would really love to do powerlifting as a career, and I love being a Marine, so if that can go hand-in-hand, as long as I can ride that, I will.”