Living right next door to a graveyard, I find it very fitting that my favourite lift happens to be the deadlift. It comes as no surprise that the current holder of the world toughest lift happens to be 381 Pounds and Icelandic. On April 2nd 2011 at the Mesquite Convention Centre (Dallas) Texas, Benedikt Magnusson shattered the existing deadlift record held by Andy Bolton, with a colossal 460.3 kg (1,015 lb) pull.
Andy Bolton was the first man to shatter the 455 kg (1,000 lb) barrier with 1003 lb at the WPC World Championships at Lake George, New York, November 4, 2006. This is not the first time the record has bounced between these two deadlifting titans, the battle first began in 2005, at the WPO semi finals in Helsinki, Finland. Just like a tale out of a Viking saga, the two locked horns and battled for the greatest bragging right a powerlifter can own, the worlds greatest deadlift!
I witnessed this with my own very eyes, Andy had squatted 520kg before hand, with Benni taking token squats and bench, sights firmly set on the current world record of 425kg. Benni took the record with 426kg; a mere 1kg over the record, Andy returned the favour with 427.5kg. With the roar of a conquering lion, Benni came back out with an unreal 440kg. I sat up in the stands directly in front of the platform, Benni stalked back and forth next to the bar, his gaze firmly fixed on the weight. He then stood centre to the bar about a metre away, if you can picture a very large muscular bull about to charge, I think that would describe it best. It sent chills up my back and I get goose bumps thinking about it now. He took a deep breath from the ammonia capsule he had tucked behind his ear, and then launched at the bar with an iron grip. The weight came up very smoothly and Benni's head gave a little nod at the top of the lift. Viking blood ran from his nose at the extreme pressure of this massive weight. I went back to the warm up area where Bennidikt was talking to Andy Bolton, burst blood vessels in his face, an amazing achievement and deadlifting history in the making.
Just four months later Andy stole the record back at the Arnold Classic, with a 972lbs (441kg) pull.
With this year’s World Strongest Man wrapped up, it would be interesting to see Terry Hollands, Brian Shaw or Zydrunas Savickas attempt to break the 460.3kg world record held by Magnusson. A few months ago I trained with Terry Hollands & Laurence Shahlaei at Genesis gym in Wembley, Shahlaei has totaled 932.5kg raw in powerlifting and pulls 400kg like he's picking up his morning mail. Terry Hollands is a gifted deadlifter, granted these strongmen use straps but considering the nature of the sport they are in, I would be very surprised if they didn’t have the same kind of grip without straps or with a few months training deadlift with no straps. Not forgetting six-time Russian National Weightlifting champion, strongman competitor and powerlifter Mikhail Koklyaev, who has deadlifted 415kg raw with a false grip. Whenever powerlifting is concerned, in my experience it's always the dark horse that comes through and takes the prize. No deadlifting article would be complete without giving Konstantin Konstantinovs a mention.
I watched Konstantin deadlift 405kg (894.0lb) at a very lean 118.1 kg in Vienna, Austria; this was at the GPC worlds 2004. Konstantin has pulled 430kg and 426kg (939lb) RAW, with no belt. He took a few months off from competing and looks to be back training very hard with extra bodyweight; his latest 330kg (727lb) 5 reps raw deadlift, also standing on a 5 inch box looks very easy. At the moment Benedikt Magnusson sits comfortable as the king of the deadlifters, with the Bullfarm show about to get underway, the mighty Andy Bolton looks to be stronger than ever after recovering from a leg injury. He has been posting weekly videos of his workouts, his deadlift looks very fast and can not be counted out to attempt the 460.3 kg all time record. Bolton has even been so far as to enter grip contests; it was only a few years ago that the record was at 425kg, 455kg was unknown territory. We now have two men in the 1000lb deadlift club, nothing is impossible for these giants. For now the Icelandic king Benni has his crown, but I feel the king is not dead (pardon the pun) yet.