One Arm Push-Up World Record Holder Jeremiah Gould
In March of 2006, Greenville, South Carolina resident Jeremiah Gould broke the Guinness Book of World Records standard for most one-arm push-ups in one minute. He did 126. Remarkably, that’s over two push-ups per second. Just two years later, Jeremiah shattered his own record by doing an astounding 135 one-arm push-ups in one minute. To truly appreciate the significance of these accomplishments you’ve really got to understand the heart of this young man. Born a premature baby and having suffered a severe brain hemorrhage as an infant, Jeremiah wasn’t given much of a shot from the get-go. Since then, Big Jer (big for the size of his heart rather than his physical size), as he’s often referred to by family and friends, has spent his life determined to prove his naysayers wrong.
1. Where on earth did you get the crazy idea to try to break these records?
Well, ever since I was kid I’ve always been interested in records and trying to break them. I was born a preemie, and was always the smallest kid for my age. I also had a brain hemorrhage when I was a baby, which caused some cognitive issues and made school a real struggle, to say the least. It did however fuel my competitiveness, and athletics became my outlet. I found that performing crazy physical tasks with my body that nobody else could do gave me confidence in myself. When I was twelve I set the record at my school for most push-ups and pull-ups, and as far as I know those records still stand today. In 2001 I was looking at the Guinness Book of World Records and noticed that a guy from Switzerland held the record for most one-arm push-ups with 120 in one minute. I wondered how many I could do in one minute. I immediately got down and did 125 but it took a lot longer than one minute. I became determined from that point on to break the record and for the next five years trained to do so.
2. You’re a former competitive bodybuilder, how long did you compete and at what level?
I did that when I turned eighteen and competed at the amateur level for about two years. After working my tail off and not placing at any of the competitions, not to mention getting relentless grief about my skimpy briefs from my friends and family, I decided to move on to competitive power lifting.
3. Why did you originally get into bodybuilding?
It was the man, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger! As a kid I used to watch all his movies, Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, you name it. It was Pumping Iron though that got me interested in the actual industry of bodybuilding. Though I was always the smallest out of all my friends, I was always the strongest. When I was seventeen I could curl 90 lbs. ten times with one arm … So I decided to give it a shot.
4. Were you into any other sports?
I played all sports as a kid. When I was six I actually was the state runner-up in wrestling. But to be honest, performing physical tasks that nobody else could do was always the most rewarding. There’s just a rush I got from it and still do! Whether it be push-ups, pull-ups, you name it, breaking records became a driving force in my life. My dad bought a weight set for me when I was twelve and I immediately took to it. Like I said before, I wanted to be just like Arnold!!
5. You also were a competitive power lifter. What were the training differences between bodybuilder and power lifting?
Well they’re a lot of different. The training for bodybuilder is very rigorous. You have to diet and use supplements, particularly protein. Eggs and lean meats like tuna fish, turkey, chicken along with a whey protein supplement, various veggies and no sugars or saturated fats. Power lifting on the other hand, you can eat like crap! (Laughs) The bigger you get the more you can lift. The guys winning the competitions always looked kind of fat to me. I gained weight but never wanted to sacrifice my cut body to be able to lift more … I guess that’s why I never won.
6. Did you use many supplements when you competed in bodybuilding and power lifting?
To be honest, I mostly use the basics. I’m a big fan of ProSource brand supplements. I use their NytroWhey protein formulations and also their MegaMax vitamin/mineral complex. I also try to bridge gaps between meals with a high-quality protein bar. For me, that’s Supreme Protein®. It tastes great and has a high nutritional profile.
7. How did your training/supplementation change when you decided to go after the world record in one arm pushups?
As far as diet, to be honest it was a lot like power lifting, I ate a lot! (Laughs) But I tried as I always do to eat mostly healthy food.
8. You completed 126 one arm pushups in one minute, how did you build up the endurance to achieve such a task?
Honestly, it took years and years to build up the kind of endurance it took to break that record. I did multiple sets of 100 pushups several times a day every other day for basically five years. I would also frequently have people, mostly my wife, get on my back while I did push-ups. I did some weight training as well focusing mainly on my triceps. I’ve always had strong triceps which are a huge factor in being able to do a lot of push-ups.
9. Which arm did you use to break the record? Did you solely workout that arm or did you train the whole body equally?
It’s funny, I’m actually right handed but broke the record with my left arm. I don’t know, I guess I’ve always just been stronger with my left arm for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, I can still do over one-hundred push-ups with my right arm too, I’m just a little stronger with my left. But no, I didn’t really train with only the left arm, I worked out both.
Yes. The GBWR actually has very strict rules to what actually counts as a push-up. You have to have two video cameras, one from the side view and the other the front view. To determine if the push-up is legitimate, the GBWR committee watches the footage in slow motion to make sure you are going ninety degrees down to the ground and coming all the way back up. It took me a few attempts at breaking the record to figure out what they would count as a legitimate pushup and I guess my technique worked. The frustrating thing was that I would have to wait several months to get a response back from the committee and with every attempt I would have to have five witnesses, and two certified notaries.
11. Did you have a coach who helped you train or work on technique?
No, not really. My wife would help by getting on my back or timing me while I did the pushups sometimes. But really, I just used the video camera more than anything to watch myself and tweak my form if I needed to. By the way, I trained for a lot of this while working two jobs and supporting a family.
12. What did you get for breaking the record and are you planning on attempting to break the record for a third time?
First off, I didn’t do all this to win any awards, I did it to prove to myself that I could do it and to those who doubted me my whole life. Once I become determined to do something, nothing can stop me. But yeah, I got a plaque and a certificate or something, nothing big. As for if I’m planning on breaking the record for the third time … Well I received a call from a committee member of GBWR who informed me that the record has been retired and therefore nobody, not even myself can break it anymore. I thought that was pretty cool.
13. Are you planning on breaking any other Guinness Book records in the future, say maybe, the record for one arm pull-ups in one minute?
If I wasn’t married I would. (Laughs hysterically) I was already in the process of training to break the one armed push-ups record for the first time when we started dating so she’s dealt with it since she’s known me. Also, it takes a lot of serious time and dedication to break these kinds of records. I mean it took me seven attempts in five years to break the first record and then two more years to break it for the second time. I’m twenty-nine years old now and have other priorities in my life that need to come first, like family. So I think I’m retired from breaking records … .But stay tuned. (Laughs)
14. Do you plan on training your sons to follow in their dad’s footsteps?
My four year old loves it! He thinks it’s so fun to get on my back as I do the pushups. I keep trying to teach him to do them himself and he’s learning, so who knows … If Guinness ever does open the record back up, Trent (four year old son) may one day break it! My younger son Carter who’s two, doesn’t really understand yet.
15. You’ve actually received a moderate amount of publicity through all of this, what do you plan on doing with it? Is there a certain message you would like to share with people?
Yeah it was crazy, I did interviews with virtually all the local news channels. The message I’ve always tried to share with people is that if a scrawny little kid with learning disabilities can work hard to be the best in the world at something so can anyone. You’ve just got to put your whole heart into it. My entire life people have counted me out, put me down and told me I couldn’t do things because I wasn’t smart enough or l wasn’t big or strong enough. I hope to show people that hard work and determination pays off.
16. Last question. You’ve said you’re a huge fan of ProSource products. What do you think of our active community on our website?