BarBend and RVA Open Announce Media Partnership

BarBend and the RVA Open — one of the nation’s premiere weightlifting competitions — are pleased to announce a new partnership that will bring top-level weightlifting to more fans than ever. And on July 16-17, BarBend is streaming it live and online — for free.

This year’s RVA Open and Invitational take place July 16th and 17th at CrossFit RVA in Richmond, Virginia. The two-day event will feature some of the nation’s top lifters, and a full start list can be found here. BarBend is the official media sponsor for the event and will be providing previews, coverage, free live streaming, and recaps for weightlifting fans everywhere.

A photo posted by @rvaopen on May 31, 2016 at 10:29am PDT


The RVA Open was started in 2012 as a joint project between CrossFit RVA (owned by Jake Rowell) and Wilkes Weightlifting. Lifters like Holley Mangold, CJ and Omar Cummings, and Caine Wilkes have all participated in past years. In 2015, cash prizes were added, and this year puts even more at stack with larger prizes, custom medals, and an outstanding platform and spectator setup. Spots for the Open portion of this year’s event sold out within 24 hours.

We’re proud to partner with the organizers and look forward to providing a fantastic experience for fans watching live and online.

We’re especially excited to be able to provide a live stream of every heat, completely free. 

More information on how to watch coming closer to the event, but our goal is to provide an incredibly accessible experience for people watching on computers and mobile devices.

More information on the event can be found at Mark your calendars for July 16-17, because this is one competition you won’t want to miss.

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Kianoush Rostami Sets New World Record in Clean & Jerk, Total

The oldest World Record in international weightlifting (among senior competitors) has finally fallen. At the Fajr Cup IWF Grand Prix in Iran, 85kg lifter Kianoush Rostami clean & jerked 220 kilograms — on his second attempt! — to set a new World Record in the clean & jerk and total for the 85kg weight class.

His stat line for the day: 170 and 175kg on the snatch (declined third attempt), 210 and 220kg on the clean & jerk (declined third attempt).

Below is the first video of the lift, posted to fellow Iranian lifter Bahador Moulaei’s Instagram account:


Here’s another video with a clearer shot:

A video posted by alihashemi (@alihashemi02020) on May 31, 2016 at 9:02am PDT


Because the Fajr Cup is an official IWF-sanctioned event, Roustami’s records will officially count as World Records.

His 220 lift beats the old 85k clean & jerk record — which has stood since 2008 — by 2 kg. The new 85kg total record — 395kg — breaks that of Andrei Rybakou, who totalled 394kg at the 2008 Olympics (but lost on bodyweight to Lu Yong, who also totaled 394kg).

The 24 year old Rostami is a favorite heading into the 2016 Rio Olympics. He is the bronze medalist from London, a two-time World Champion (2011 in Paris and 2014 in Almaty), and silver medalist from the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships in Houston.

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Mark Wood Deadlifts 792 Pounds for a Double (with a Hook Grip)

Mark Wood is relatively new in powerlifting circles, but he’s making waves on Instagram with a series of ridiculous training lifts while hovering around (or under) 190 lbs.

The most recent entry in his catalogue of impressive lifts? 360 kilograms/792 pounds for a double on the deadlift. And as with all Wood’s pulls, it’s done with a hook grip.


Wood makes the weight at a bodyweight of just 86 kg, so repping out here is a rare feat for such a light athlete. About a month ago, Wood pulled 370kg/815lbs on stage in an exhibition — again, no deadlift suit, just a belt and his trusty hook grip:


Seriously, does this guy have iron thumbs or something?

In another video posting of the same 815 pull, Wood gives some excellent incite into his particular pulling style, including some interesting cues that he claims help protect him from bicep tears as well as how he carefully times the more explosive phases of his deadlift (tips posted below video).


First, when I’m standing over the bar(looking at the floor) I’m doing two things: ensuring that my grip is symmetrical and that my feet are under my hips. As always, I’m using a hook grip (thumbs wrapped around my middle fingers). Key point: my wrist is not straight when I initiate the pull. I allow for a bit of extension at the wrist joint to prevent the bar from rolling on the initial pull.

Second, I make sure that the bar is approximately an inch or so away from my shin before the initial pull: any farther then that and my hips will prematurely rise thus causing the dreaded shaky leg. I know a lot of people advocate a straight shin but I’ve tried it in the past and it’s never felt completely comfortable.

Third, as I rotate my hips under my shoulders I’m thinking of “chest out” and “flex triceps” as my dominant cues: the first allows me to maintain a safe spinal position while the latter keeps my arms straight in avoidance of a bicep tear.

Finally, I take a deep breath of air through my diaphragm and push my abdominal against my belt as if I’m trying to break it. As soon as my hips have formed a nice isosceles triangle with my knees and shoulders, I try to squeeze my glues and extend my hips and try to push my feet through the stage.

Just as a note, I see a lot of guys really try to violently rip the bar off the ground. I typically avoid doing that because such an initial pull usually prevents me from being able to grip the bar or at least causes the bar to shift in my hand. Instead, I try to be as explosive as possible once I know the weight is secure in my hands. Once the bar is about an inch off the ground, I’ll typically start to explosively accelerate the bar.

Needless to say, we’re VERY interested to see what Wood can do in powerlifting with a few legit competitions under his belt.

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5 Olympic Weightlifting Champions Test Positive from London & Beijing

In more potentially ground-shaking weightlifting news leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Iranian outlet reports that IWF President Tamas Ajan — currently in Iran for the Fajr Grand Prix qualification event — has confirmed five recent Olympic champions have positive samples in the wake of urine retests.

The report has since been picked up on several news outlets worldwide. Last week, we found out two Russian medalists from Beijing have received bans after retests found positive samples. But Ajan has specifically noted it’s five gold medalists — four from London, one from Beijing — with newfound positive tests, which would likely lead to them being prohibited from competing in Rio (and having their Olympic gold medals stripped).

Ajan and the IWF haven’t named names just yet. We’ve assembled the full list of weightlifting gold medalists from Beijing and London below; Ajan’s statement indicates five of the below listers will lose their medals and eligibility for Rio (at least).

Stay tuned for more news as it comes.

Olympic weightlifting champions from Beijing:


Chen Xiexia, 48kg, China

Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon, 53kg, Thailand

Chen Yanqing, 58kg, China

Pak Hyon-suk, 63kg, China

Liu Chunhong, 69kg, China

Cao Lei, 75kg, China

Jang Mi-ran, +75kg, South Korea


Long Qingquan, 56kg, China

Zhang Xiangxiang, 62kg, China

Liao Hui, 69kg, China

Sa Jae-hyouk, 77kg, South Korea

Lu Yong, 85kg, China

Ilya Ilyin, 94kg, Kazakhstan

Andrei Aramnau, 105kg, Belarus

Matthias Steiner, +105kg, Germany

Olympic weightlifting champions from London:


Wang Mingjuan, 48kg, China

Zulfiya Chinshanlo, 53kg, Kazakhstan

Li Xueying, 58kg, China

Maiya Maneza, 63kg, Kazakhstan

Rim Jong-sim, 69kg, North Korea

Svetlana Podobedova, 75kg, Kazakhstan

Zhou Lulu, +75kg, China


Om Yun-chol, 56kg, North Korea

Kim Un-guk, 62kg, North Korea

Lin Qingfeng, 69kg, China

Lu Xioajun, 77kg, China

Adrian Zielinksi, 85kg, Poland

Ilya Ilyin, 94kg, Kazakhstan

Oleksiy (Aleksey) Torokhtiy, 105kg, Ukraine

Behdad Salimi, +105kg, Iran

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The Heaviest Deadlifts of All Time (Infographic)

Some people say the squat is the king of the lifts, but we’re not sure it deserves the title outright: After all, there’s something just damn impressive — and impressively simple — about picking up really heavy weight off the ground. The deadlift is one of strength’s most straightforward, measurable tests, and while the lift has some significant variations (more on that below), it all ends with the athlete picking up the heaviest possible weight. And whether you’re a powerlifter, strongman, weightlifter, or CrossFitter, a weak pull is going to set you back from the competition.

Below, we’ve assembled the heaviest deadlifts ever made in competition settings, including raw, equipped, strongman, “long bar” strongman, partial, and tire variations. We’ve also outlined how standards and rules varied for each, but no matter the specifics, there are the most impressive pulls in history — and one record has stood since 1983.

Heaviest Deadlifts of All Time

Full text of the infographic is included below.

While the deadlift seems like one of strength sport’s simplest lifts, there are several variations on picking up ridiculously heavy barbells. Different federations and sports (for example, powerlifting versus strongman) have different rules governing which equipment and pulling styles can be used.

Below, we’ve compiled the top verified, competition deadlifts for some of the most common pulling styles. In all of these styles, a weight belt is permitted. Which lift do you find most impressive?

Raw Deadlift
Icelandic strongman and powerlifter Benedikt Magnusson deadlifted 460.4 kg/1,015 lbs at the 2011 Ronnie Coleman Classic in Texas. He completed the lift without the use of straps or a specialized deadlift suit.

Equipped Deadlift
British powerlifter Andy Bolton 457.5 kg/1,009 lbs at the 2009 BPC South East Championships in England. He performed the lift with a deadlift suit (hence “equipped”) but without the use of straps or hitching.

Strongman Deadlift
In strongman, wrist straps are often allowed, which provides a much more secure grip on the barbell (and potentially reduces injury risk from using a mixed, underhand/overhand grip). Hitching the bar above the knees is also generally allowed.

Strongman Eddie Hall deadlifted 463 kg/1,020 lbs at the 2015 World Deadlift Championship on a conventional deadlift bar. Straps were allowed.

Long Bar Strongman Deadlift
Eddie Hall deadlifted 465 kg/1,025 lbs at the 2016 Arnold Classic Strongman using a specially built Rogue Elephant Barbell — longer than a conventional deadlift bar. Straps and hitching were allowed.

Partial Deadlift (18″ off floor)
Canadian powerlifter and strongman Tom Magee deadlifted 535 kg/1180 lbs from 18″ at the 1983 World’s Strongest Man competition. Straps were allowed.

Tire Deadlift
Lithuanian strongman legend Zydrunas Savickas lifted 524 kg/1155 lbs at the 2014 Arnold Classic Strongman. The tire deadlift uses truck tires instead of traditional weight plates, along with a longer barbell to accommodate them. Straps were allowed.

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After 255kg Clean & Jerk, Ruslan Albegov Looks Strong for Rio Superheavies

International weightlifting’s superheavyweight category has been packed with news the last couple years, from Behdad Salimi‘s knee injury to Aleksey Lovchev‘s clean & jerk World Record (and subsequent sanction for doping). So it’s been fairly easy to overlook some seriously impressive performances from the non-World Record holders still putting up huge numbers. And we’ve been all too quick to forget about the other Russian +105kg World Champion: Ruslan Albegov. But Albegov’s recent win at Russian Nationals should put to rest any doubt as to whether he’s a threat at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

Albegov is 28 years old and still in the prime of his career, but weightlifting is very much framed around “what have you done for me lately.” So while his back-to-back world championships in 2013 and 2014 are darn impressive, Albegov wasn’t back in the spotlight until this past weekend, where he went 190, 200, 205x in the snatch and 230, 245, 255 in the clean & jerk.

His final clean & jerk is embedded below, video from All Things Gym:

The 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist looks strong and consistent in his clean & jerks, and if it weren’t for 22 year old World Champion Lasha Talakhadze, we’d call Albegov our frontrunner for Rio. And while Albegov’s 455 total is one of the largest we’ve seen in competition the past year, Talakhadze still managed a ridiculously easy looking 463 at the 2016 European Weightlifting Championships — including a European Record 212 kilogram snatch.

If Talakhadze has a good day in the snatch portion of competition, he’ll be tough to catch on the clean & jerk (though we’ve seen crazier things happen in the final session Olympic competition).

With Salimi’s return in time for Rio questionable, and Lovchev’s sanction looking like it will almost certainly be upheld, the 2016 Olympic superheavy battle could come down to Talakhadze v. Albegov for gold. Also notable is Armenia’s Gor Minasyan, who finished with a 442 total at the 2016 Europeans.

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Pyrros Dimas Returns to Weightlifting Platform After 12 Years

Pyross Dimas remains the most decorated weightlifter in (modern) Olympics history, and after his fourth-consecutive medal — bronze at Athens in 2004 — the legendary athlete took some well-deserved time off. Of course, that’s not to say Dimas has stepped away from weightlifting entirely, and he actively represents Greece — and lifters around the world — as an IWF Executive Board Member. But on May 29th, Dimas did something we haven’t seen him do in over a decade: Lift, on a platform, in competition.

At a Greek competition honoring famed lifting coach Yiorgos Oikonomou, Dimas snatched an easy-looking 75kg — complete with trademark side-to-side glance and head nod after lockout — and clean & jerked what looks to be something between 80 and 90 kilos (it’s a little hard to tell from the video, embedded below from Dimas’ Facebook page).

Textbook Dimas style, textbook Dimas technique, and great speed for 44 years old.

We know Dimas didn’t stop training entirely after his 2004 competition retirement, though in a recent Q&A at USA Weightlifting Nationals/Olympic Trials, the three-time Olympic Champion/three-time World Champion implied he hadn’t done much training in any form for the past year or so.

No word yet on whether Dimas expects to make competition a regular thing again, though we’d be thrilled to see him make a run at Masters competition. 

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