Penn State Running Back Daquon Barkley Just Cleaned 405 lbs

We’re in that awesome time of year when college football teams are moving towards their their off-season peak and a ton of videos are beginning to surface. This time the video is coming from one of Penn State’s strongest lifters in the program’s recent history, running back Saquon Barkley.

The video shared yesterday by @nittanylions1 on Twitter features Penn State’s Barkley hitting a big 405 lb clean PR. This newly recorded 405 lbs pushes the program’s highest clean record even further.


Keep in mind, Barkley is a running back and not a linemen. To top it off, Barkley pulls off the lift (pun intended) in Nike training shoes and no belt. Currently, Barkley’s stats have him at 5′ 11″ and weighs around 222 lbs.

Yes, his form wasn’t the best, and his ending rack position definitely needs a little work, but there’s no question behind his explosiveness and strength. Mind you, this is an athlete who rushed over 1,000 yards recording seven touchdowns his freshman year.

Last March during Penn State’s max-out week, Barkley tied the school’s record for the biggest power clean at 390 lbs (which was held by a linemen). Check out the Twitter video below shared on Josh Gattis Penn State’s wide receiving coach’s page.


In one year Barkley has improved his clean by 15 lbs, which is exceptionally impressive especially for the weight he’s putting up.

Barkley can also squat big weight. At the same time in March last year, Barkley – 19 years old at the time – squatted 495 lbs for seven reps.

Check out his impressive depth and speed.

Speaking of big running back squats, let’s not forget about LSU’s Derrius Guice who recently put up a 650 lb squat.


Running backs rely on explosiveness to be successful on and off the field. Hopefully as we progress into the summer months we continue to see more videos surface of football player’s biggest lifts.

Feature image screenshot from @houseofhighlights Instagram page. 

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Cailer Woolam Casually Breaks His 400kg World Deadlift Record In Training

“Lol. Just felt like it,” says Cailer Woolam in his latest Instagram post, hauling 884 pounds (401 kilograms) off the floor.


Just felt like it.

He just felt like breaking the world record in the deadlift in training, I mean, why not? The bar was loaded, he was feeling pretty good, he had nothing else to do at that moment, why not break the world record in the deadlift?


Check that casual head shake at the end. “How about that,” he seems to be saying. “Whaddaya know.”

Either that or he’s annoyed about the torn callus he posted to his Instagram story right afterward.

Cailer Woolam, of course, is the first human being to ever deadlift 400kg (881.8 pounds) in the -90kg class (he weighed 195 pounds, or 88.4kg at the time). That’s 4.5 times his bodyweight.


The 22-year-old athlete made the lift on his third attempt at the USPA Corpus Christi Classic this February, after hitting a 585lb (265kg) squat and a 430lb (195kg) bench.

To be fair, it was a somewhat controversial lift. The judges approved it (he got three white lights and a down signal) but the lockout was a little iffy from the side, and Woolam himself said in the Instagram comments, “I’m going to have to agree with you guys. I’m not happy at all with how this lift was. Not my call.”


In any case, the dude is strong, and when he was weighing 206 pounds last year he managed a 900-pound (408.2kg) raw deadlift — with hook grip, no less. That’s 4.37 times his bodyweight.


While he tends to pull sumo, Woolam told BarBend that he thinks it’s “incredibly beneficial to be proficient at both sumo and conventional” and he recommends training your non-competition deadlift in your off season.

Here is where we should note that Woolam was seen pulling 800 pounds (363kg) conventional earlier this year at a bodyweight of 207 pounds.


Cailer Woolam appears to be a human who was engineered for deadlifting, but he also PRd his bench this month with a 370-pound 5×5, which he says is the most weight he’s ever moved for a 5×5.


Suffice to say, we’re looking forward to his next meet.

Featured image via @doctor.deadlift on Instagram.

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Is Konstantin Pozdeev Coming Out of Retirement?

Pretty big news for people who like extremely big weights: Konstantin Pozdeev is heading back to the sport of powerlifting.

That’s according to this recent Intagram post that’s gaining traction in the powerlifting community, in which he simply writes, “I’m going back to powerlifting…”

A post shared by Konstantin Pozdeev (@pozdeevk) on Jun 28, 2017 at 9:38am PDT


Powerlifters have good reason to be excited about Pozdeev potentially returning to the powerlifting stage. The man is known for his incredible strength and in particular his deadlift — he’s perhaps best known for pulling almost quadruple bodyweight raw at a meet that took place in 2015: 405 kilograms at 103.5 kilograms bodyweight (893 pounds at 228 pounds).

Some of his training lifts are arguably even more impressive. Take a look at this insane squat of 430 kilograms (948 pounds) while he was weighing around 100kg.

We’ve seen a few quadruple bodyweight squats — Chen Wei-Ling has an IPF Open World Record for squatting 4.5 times her bodyweight with a 210kg (463lb) squat at a weight of 46.75kg (103lb).

A post shared by 9for9 Media (@9for9media) on Nov 15, 2016 at 7:41am PST


But to make a quadruple bodyweight squat at about 100kg is in a different league.

These days, he’s lifting a little lighter. He posted a deadlift of 210kg (463 pounds) today that looked like quite a struggle.

A post shared by Konstantin Pozdeev (@pozdeevk) on Jun 29, 2017 at 12:20pm PDT


For die hard Pozdeev fans who want to learn more about the man, we’ve embedded a pretty cool, thirty-minute long interview with him from 2014, one of the few that has English subtitles. He goes in depth about how often he was training (three times per week), his favorite assistance exercises (hyperextensions), how he trains hip mobility (a lot of butterfly stretches) and how his training changes in the leadup to a meet.

He admits to having torn his posterior menisci, to needing a lot of shoulder rehab, and having a variety of back problems. We’re unsure as to whether these injuries are the reason he’s been absent from competitive powerlifting, but we’re certainly looking forward to the new numbers he’ll be putting up.

Featured image via Russian Lifters on YouTube.

The post Is Konstantin Pozdeev Coming Out of Retirement? appeared first on BarBend.

Mike Tuchscherer Finally Hits a 500-Pound Bench Press

Mike Tuchscherer’s bench is back.

After years of training to bring his bench up to the mighty 500-pound mark, the founder of Reactive Training Systems (who usually competes in the -120kg weight class) posted the remarkably smooth, wraps-free, grunting-and-cursing-free lift to his Instagram yesterday.


Tuchscherer had said in previous posts that he had “a lot of lost ground to recover after a vacation and sickness threw me off pretty badly,” and said in the post above:

500 pound #Bench, baby! Did this just before I left for Belarus, but there wasn’t much time for posting. I knew this was the last day of the block, so I just went for it. Definitely a limit lift. This is the best my bench has been in AT LEAST six years, maybe ever.

Indeed, we have seen Tuchscherer benching more than this but not for a very long time, and it’s awesome that he’s building his strength back up. Check out this 2010 clip of him hitting a single of 535 pounds below.

Also FYI, if you’re looking for Tuchscherer training tactics you can mimic, South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club coach (and Reactive Training Systems collaborator) Paulie Steinman told BarBend that Tuchscherer likes to crush an entire loaf of bread with peanut butter and jelly at his powerlifting meets. Sounds like a good time even if it doesn’t improve your bench.

It’s worth noting that in the Instagram post, Tuchscherer appears to be using the bulldog grip. It’s a little like the opposite of the standard “break the bar” grip where your hands are trying to puling the bar apart as you bench. The bulldog grip is when the two hands rotate toward each other and push inward, with the bar winding up sitting in the lower palm near the thumb. Here’s a video that goes into more detail.

Tuchscherer is truly one of powerlifting’s greats and his career is littered with records, including an IPF raw world record deadlift at the 2014 Arnold Sports festival: 371.5kg (819lb) in the 120kg weight class.

In 2009, he became the first American male in history to win a gold medal for powerlifting at the World Games in Taiwan, and he’s coached 12 national champions and 2 IPF world record holders.

Of course, after posting his 500-pound bench, Tuchscherer’s Instagram feed was inundated with athletes hungry to hit the lift themselves, and he commented that it was a “good idea” to make a video or podcast on how his bench training has evolved over the years. Watch this space.

Featured image via @miketuchscherer on Instagram.

The post Mike Tuchscherer Finally Hits a 500-Pound Bench Press appeared first on BarBend.

Check Out LSU Running Back Derrius Guice’s 650lb Back Squat

There’s no denying that football players are some of the strongest athletes outside of dedicated strength sports. The collegiate and professional level players need ridiculous strength just to hold their own on the field against the opposing 300+ lb linemen. Which brings us to our next video of LSU’s running back Derrius Guice squatting big weight.

On June 23rd, LSU’s strongside defensive end Aaron Moffitt posted a video of Guice’s recent back squat PR. The video below, shows Guice taking a 650 lb back squat for a ride wearing only a belt.


The view of the squat isn’t the best with all of the spotters around Guice. So was the squat the cleanest? No. Was it to full powerlifting depth? Eh, possibly in some federations. Regardless, it’s an impressive squat, especially when you consider the fact that Guice is 5′ 11″ and weighs around 210 lbs.

[Ever wonder why football players wear lifting straps when they Olympic lift? This article helps provide some reasoning.]

This isn’t Guice’s first time squatting big weight though. Back in March, Guice shared a video of himself taking 583 lbs for a ride, and it’s a much cleaner video compared to the 650 lb squat. Once again though, is it to depth? That’s up for viewer discretion.


Football player’s goals are often to move the most weight possible – even if it’s not the cleanest form – to prep their bodies for in-game situations and to achieve maximal strength with their limited training times. This isn’t always ideal in terms of injury prevention, but most players have lifted like this their whole lives, and their goals are different than a dedicated powerlifter.

We’ve seen our fair share of professional football players squatting big weight. Like the time Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce squatted 725 lbs unbelted.

And whether you agree with their form and depth that’s up to you, but there’s no denying the strength these football players possess.

Feature image screenshot from @aarontmoffitt Twitter video. 

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Bench Press Exercise Guide – Muscles Worked, Variations, and Benefits

The bench press is one of the most popular and widely used upper body strength and hypertrophy building movements. In this guide we will discuss the bench press, the muscles worked, and some very helpful styles and variations to not only boost your bench press, but also to help you maximize strength and muscle gains and minimize injury.


Muscles Worked

The bench press is an upper body pressing movement to increase the size, strength, and performance of primarily the anterior upper body. Below are the primary muscles used, as well as secondary muscles used to assist and support the movement, in order:

  • Pectorals (chest)
  • Triceps
  • Anterior Deltoid (Shoulders)
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Gluteals
  • Spinal Erectors
  • Rhomboids
  • Forearms

A post shared by F*ck Gravity (@f_ck_gravity) on Jun 28, 2017 at 4:44pm PDT


Why Bench Press?

Below are some of the key concepts one should grasp about bench press training how it can relate to enhancements in general fitness and sports performance.

1. Muscular Hypertrophy

The bench press is a potent upper body mass building exercise that stresses some of the largest muscles in the body. The chest, triceps, and even back can be trained with high volume and intensity with the classic lift. Increasing muscular size and density can lead to enhancements in strength and performance capabilities as well.

2. Upper Body Strength

The bench press is one of two pressing movement patterns (the other is vertical pressing). By using the horizontal pressing (bench pressing and all the variations below) one can maximally induce strength development through the upper body chain. This is useful not only for a bigger bench, but can increase performance overhead and movements in front of the athlete (combative and formalized sports).

3. Pressing and Lockout Performance

Whether you are powerlifter, strongman athlete, fitness and CrossFit® competitor, or even an Olympic weightlifter, increased muscle mass and pressing strength can be key to sports performance. Powerlifting and strongman competitors must perform pressing in competition (the bench is one of three lifts for competitive powerlifters) greatly relying upon upper body pressing strength. Other athletes rely heavily lockout and pressing strength performance during overhead and supported positions (jerks, dips, snatches). Additionally, the increased upper body mass could be beneficial for rack positioning and performance in the front squat and clean, however athletes must remain mobile and supple in their movement abilities.

Bench Press Variations

Below are a few of the most common bench press movements, as well as some more unique ones to address weaknesses.

Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is the standard pressing style seen in most gyms and competitive events (powerlifting). This movement can be done with a wide array of grips widths, bench angles, tempos, and variations to manipulate the leverages and components to enhance muscular development and pressing performance.

A post shared by EAS Myoplex (@easmyoplex) on Mar 12, 2017 at 5:45pm PDT


Floor Press

The floor press, which can be done with bars or dumbbells, is a bench press variation that has a lifter assume a lying start on the floor. By perfuming the press on the floor vs the bench, the range of motion is decreased, placing a much greater load on the triceps and chest. This partial bench press movement can be beneficial for added muscular hypertrophy to those muscle groups, lockout strength, or a variation to allow pressing with athletes who may have shoulder injuries or precautions.


Dumbbell Bench Press

In an earlier piece we discussed the dumbbell bench press and how it can be used to increase muscular development and performance for pressing athletes and general fitness. By training with dumbbells, you allow for greater range of motion (increases stimulus), unilateral development, and can better adjust the angles movement patterning to best fit every athlete’s anthropometric differences at the shoulder.

A post shared by Azrael (Jace) (@bigazrael) on Jun 10, 2017 at 12:37pm PDT


Push Up

While this is not a “bench press” variation, the ability to perform push ups is critical for bench press performance. Without the ability to support oneself on the push up can lead to injury and weakness in supported pressing pressing styles.


Fat Bar Bench Press

The fat Bar is a variation (either using Fat Gripz of fat bar) that can increase grip strength and stabilization of the arm and shoulder during the press. By doing so, less ability to compensate with excessive extension of the wrist (due to the fat grip) can lead to better elbow and shoulder joint function, increasing emphasis on the triceps and chest.

A post shared by Scotty Hatlevig (@teamhatlevig) on May 21, 2015 at 5:20pm PDT


Swiss Bar Bench Press

This pressing style has a lifter use a Swiss bar to perform the movement, which differs the angle of the hands on the bar (and width). By doing so, the stress on the shoulder is decreased, with a large increase in triceps and pectoral development. Similar to the floor press, this can be used for strength and hypertrophy specific to those groups, lockout performance, and precautionary measures for those with shoulder concerns.

A post shared by David Buck (@buckceps) on Jun 6, 2017 at 9:49pm PDT


Pin Press

The pin press (also very similar is the board press) can be done to increase strength at a specific sticking point throughout the bench press range of motion. Similar benefits to the floor press or the rack pull for deadlifting, this movement can be done to address weakness in certain ranges, add hypertrophy and stress to particular muscle groups, and even limit movements for cautious athletes with injuries or special considerations.


Want a Bigger Bench?

Take a look at some of our top content to improve your mobility, strength, and overall muscular development specifically for a bigger and stronger bench press!

Featured Image: @f_ck_gravity on Instagram

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Why Is James Harrison Playing Volleyball With a Medicine Ball?

So you’re star NFL player James Harrison, you’ve got a little downtime, and you spy a volleyball net that’s just begging for a few hyper-fit athletes to frolick around it. You consider it; finding ways to fit in physical activity is a must when you’re a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But when you’re a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, you don’t just play any old volleyball. You play it with a medicine ball.

A post shared by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on Jun 23, 2017 at 12:04pm PDT


We’re not totally sure of the weight of the ball, but we think it’s a Dynamax med ball so it’s probably at least twenty pounds. That means that this isn’t just a workout that looks cool — it’s one that requires an unbelievable amount of explosive strength and, if you pay attention to the way Harrison catches a lot of those throws, rotational strength and lateral stability, too. In short, this is a workout that needs and uses a ton of functional movements for NFL players.

He’s playing with teammate Vince Williams against another teammate Robert Golden and the former Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, and if this looks a little familiar, it’s because he played the same medicine-ball-volleyball hybrid with the same teammates in 2012.

A post shared by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on Jun 23, 2017 at 12:01pm PDT


This game was actually a favorite of President Herbert Hoover (it’s often called Hoover Ball) and after a CrossFit Journal article on the sport was circulated about ten years ago, it’s sometimes seen being performed by functional fitness athletes.

These clips were enough for some blogs to name Harrison “King of the Weird Workout,” as he’s posted plenty of clips of unorthodox exercises. Anyone who has performed a few sets of hip thrusts in a commercial gym knows the kind of looks they attract from the average gymgoer, and Harrison can do them at 675 pounds for reps. He’s removed the video form Instagram but you can see him cranking them out in a fan’s YouTube video below.

Harrison has posted a ton of other insane feats of strength, including a one-armed 135-pound barbell shoulder press, but he seems to have purged nearly all of his old Instagram posts. But we do have this beautiful set of incline bench presses at 405 pounds to keep us happy.

A post shared by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on Jun 15, 2017 at 4:20am PDT


At 39 years old and still the most reliable pass rusher on the Steelers, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that Harrison’s weird workouts are working out just fine. Now, where can I order me one of those volleyballs…

Featured image via @jhharrison92 on Instagram.

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