The -72Kg Women’s Squat World Record Was Just Broken Twice

A pretty intense squat battle just took place in Belarus.

The scene: a powerlifting platform at the 2017 IPF World Championships in Minsk. The weight class is the women’s -72kg division. The competitors: Brazil’s Ana Castellain…


and Sweden’s Isabella von Weissenberg.


Before the meet took place, the standing IPF world record in the squat was held by Von Weissenberg, set this year at the European Classic Powerlifting Championships. Here she is making the squat of 192.5 kilograms (424.4 pounds) in March.


During the -72kg event in Minsk, Castellain first tied with Von Weissenberg’s 192.5kg squat. Immediately afterwards, Von Weissenberg herself stepped up to the rack and hit a squat of 193kg (425.5 pounds), breaking her record by a scant 500 grams.


About fifteen minutes later, Ana Castellain approached the stage again. This time, her eyes were set on a 196kg (432.1lb) squat, and she looked fiercely determined.

Bam: yet another world record for the -72kg women’s class.

Almost the instant after Castellain left the stage, Von Weissenberg reappeared. Eyes narrowed, she stalked toward the squat rack like a lioness. On the bar: 197.5 kilograms (435.4 pounds). She grimaced as she unracked the bar and walked out. Was she about to take back her record?

Not this time. For now, the world record for the women’s raw squat in the -72kg class is 196 kilograms, a pretty significant jump from Von Weissenberg’s 192.5kg PR.

You could say that Castellain was actually taking the record back from the Swede — she actually set a record back in the 2014 IPF Classic World Powerlifting Championships in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Take a look at he 185.5kg (409lb) lift, then the heaviest ever made by a -72kg athlete.

It would be melodramatic to say there’s a rivalry between these two lifters, but we sure can’t wait until the next attempt at a record in this weight class.

Featured image International Powerlifting Federation IPF via on YouTube.

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Check Out These Rogue Fitness Colored Barbells

Oh yes, you read that correctly. We may be seeing Rogue Fitness barbells in new, bright colors in the near future. But how soon?

Rogue Fitness has yet to release an official date of when these barbells would drop, but we can only hope it’s soon, as suggested from Rogue Fitness’s Owner Bill Henniger’s Facebook comments shared below.

There’s also no word on how many colors, which colors, and what barbell models they’ll be released in. The only information we’ve got thus far is the Facebook and Twitter photo above that was shared 17 hours ago.

So far, we’ve only seen the blue and red iterations of the colored bar. We’re also curious which barbell they’ll come in, but our rational guess would be the Rogue Ohio Bar. Information is still a little sparse on these barbells, there has been some suggestion behind their future release, plus information about a few other barbells.

A few Facebook comments on Rogue’s post received a reply from Bill Henniger in regard to the colored bars and other barbell questions customers had. They’re shared below.

One comment said, “Cerakote bars? Like American barbell has had for some time now in a lower priced higher quality bar that doesn’t sound like a cabinet full of dishes dropping when you drop it? Pretty sweet.”

To which Henniger replied, “Bryan – We are using a work hardening process prior to prep and ceramic. We spent a very long time testing and developing something that will take a serious beating both from wear but also steel durability – oh yeah and won’t sound like a cabinet full of dishes dropping.”

Another comment asked, “Will we ever see a stainless Ohio power bar and stainless Ohio deadlift bar?!!!”

Henniger chimed in saying, “We are on it – just waiting on steel to arrive.”

Feature image from Rogue Fitness Facebook page. 

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Best Foam Roller Exercises for Hips

Foam rolling major joints like the hip can benefit an athlete’s mobility and performance in the gym. Under constant heavy loads, the hip’s fascia can become tight, which will limit proper sequencing of this joint. Factor in the amount of time we spend sitting and you’re looking at an increasingly tight, or locked up hip.

The hip is unique compared to other joints in regards to how these muscles run along side each other from similar origin points. To help us effectively roll out the hips, we reached out to Matt Moskowitz, Head of Training at Hell’s Kitchen Wellness, to learn about his go-to movements for these purposes. Check out the video below, along with more detailed movement descriptions below in the article.

Note: All motions shown are for informational purposes only. The information in this article and video is not meant to prevent or cure any disease or injury. It’s always a good idea to consult with a medical professional or trainer before attempting any new training methodology. If you experience any sharp pain while foam rolling or exercising, discontinue movements immediately.

Understanding the Anterior Hip

The anterior portion of the hip is made up of multiple muscles stemming from a similar origin points along the anterior iliac crest. These muscles can become tight after heavy lifts, or when sitting down all day. Below are a few of the hip and anterior leg muscles this foam rolling sequence will help target and loosen up.

  • Tensor Fascia Latae
  • Sartorius
  • Rectus Femoris

Understanding the Posterior Hip (Glute Side)

One of the biggest misconceptions of rolling the hip is ignoring the posterior portion, or working on the glutes, too. Working to stretch and front and back of the hip will help provide this joint with an event stretch, which will support proper hip sequencing. Below are a few of posterior hip muscles that this sequence will target.

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus
  • Quadratus Lumborum

1. Self Glute Massage

Self Glute Massage

For the first movement in the sequence the athlete will sit on the foam roller right at the tailbone. Maintain a tall upright posture, then roll forward slowly to the sits bone, or the bony ridge in the mid-lower glute area. Athletes will feel a slight bump when they’ve rolled over the bony sits area. Continue to roll back and forth gently for 20-30 seconds.

2. Glute Medius Massage

Glute Medius Massage

Next, the athlete will extend one leg and turn the foot outward in the direction of their extended leg. The other leg will maintain a 90 degree position, and the athlete will begin to roll gently back and forth on the diagonal side of the glute. Athletes apply pressure sparingly and breathe deeply through this movement, while rolling back and forth for 30-seconds.

3. IT Band Focus

IT Band Focus
IT Band Focus

The athlete will now leave their original leg extended, and bring over the previously 90 degree bent leg. This will position the athlete with their IT band pressing into the foam roller. Often times an athlete can find their IT band by noticing the tighter area on the hip (it varies a bit from athlete to athlete). Breathing deeply applying variable pressure, the athlete will roll back and forth over the origin of the band (meaty area) for 30-seconds.

4. Ilium and QL Release

Ilium and QL Release

Once the athlete hits the IT band for 30-seconds, they then roll down on the roller maintaining a similar position as they did for the IT band. They stop just above the pelvis where they feel tightest, and instead of rolling up and down, they’re going to rock side to side, applying gentle rocking pressure and breathing deeply for 30-seconds.

5. Hip Flexor Stretch/Disengagement

Hip Flexor Stretch/Disengagement

The final movement will have the athlete finish with a static hip flexor stretch. From the previous position, they roll down the roller until their hip lays flush with the floor. This will vary from athlete to athlete, and the closer the position of the roller to the knee, then the tighter the flexor tends to be. Once lying flush, they hold this stretch and breathe deeply for 30-seconds.

Foam Rolling for the Hips Considerations

The hip can be a troublesome and tight area for a lot of athletes. For this reason, it’s recommended to begin the above sequence on a softer roller and ease into a firmer roller over time. An athlete should feel a degree of pressure and stretch on the roller, but they shouldn’t feel pain, or be in a position where they’re fighting every stretch.

In Conclusion

Many athletes can benefit from stretching and working on their hip mobility. An increase in this mobility can lead to improved performance, and an all around healthier posture.

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Kettlebell Clean and Jerk vs Clean and Press: Which Is Best for You?

In an earlier article we discussed the differences, benefits, and training considerations between the clean and press vs the clean and jerk. In this article we will take things one step further, comparing the kettlebell clean and press vs kettlebell clean and jerk, specifically:

  • Exercise Description
  • Different Technical Styles of Cleans and Jerk/Presses
  • Differences and Training Considerations
  • Programming Tips (Sets, Reps, and Loading)

Kettlebell Clean and Press

Below is a video by a lifter demonstrating the kettlebell clean and press. Note, the lifter does not rebend their knees or hips after the drive phase of the press, therefore increasing the demand on upper body strength to finish the lift at a higher point. Two common pressing options are the kettlebell strict press and the kettlebell push press.

A post shared by timayson (@kettlebell.workout) on May 30, 2017 at 7:01pm PDT


In this video, the lifter is performing the kettlebell clean and press (strict press) during a challenging complex.

A post shared by Sean (@gimli1122) on Mar 5, 2017 at 1:23pm PST


In this video, this lifter is performing a very raw looking kettlebell clean and press (push press). Note, the technique in the clean and press is not 100%, however the lifter is able to use the lower body to drive the press upwards overhead.

Kettlebell Clean and Jerk

Below is a video by a lifter demonstrating the kettlebell clean and jerk. Note, that in the jerk movement the lifter is able to rebend the knees and hips after the drive phase to receive the kettlebell a overhead at a lower fixation point, potentially increasing the efficiency and maximal loading abilities.

A post shared by Jason (@kbjsan81) on Apr 1, 2017 at 12:15pm PDT


In this video, the athlete is performing kettlebell clean and jerks in what is called the “Long-Cycle”, part of the kettlebell sport lifts.

A post shared by Ben Marvin (@benjim1331) on Sep 2, 2016 at 5:08am PDT


In this video, the lifter is performing hardstyle kettlebell clean and jerks. Note that in both examples, the lifters quickly rebend their ankles, knees, and hips under the load in the receiving position.

Differences and Training Considerations

Below are some training considerations that coaches and athletes should be aware of when determining the unique benefits and differences between the kettlebell clean and press vs the kettlebell clean and jerk.

1. Movement Efficiency

The kettlebell clean and jerk (both hard style and Girevoy sport) is a very effective way of cycling loads from the clean to the overhead position. Due to the lifter being able to use momentum, the hip drive, and receiving the loads at a lower fixation point, the jerk is often preferred over the press in terms of movement efficiency and fatigue moderation. 


2. Strength vs Power

When determining which movement to use, one must determine if they are training for strength, muscular hypertrophy, or power. The kettlebell clean and press is a movement that challenges the strength or a lifter due to the mechanics of the lift, specifically because the lifter cannot rebend to catch the weight at a lower point overhead. If the strict press is used, the demands are higher in terms of strength. Jerks are very powerful, and if power training is the goal, jerks can be a very effective way to increase hip drive and power production.

3. Complexity

Complexity can work both for and against you as a coach and or athlete. When looking to find a total body movement that is easier to learn for newbies, the clean and press movement may be a better option. Similar to previous articles discussing why pressing (strict presses and push presses) is less complex of a movement than jerk, the clean and jerk can be used to progress lifters to use more athleticism and express true power and strength (as the clean and jerk is a more complex and challenging movement to coach, train, and perfect).

Programming Tips

Programming kettlebell clean and presses/jerks can cover a wide spectrum of rep ranges and work sets. On one end, Girevoy sport athletes perform 10 minutes straight of the kettlebell clean and jerk, called Long-Cycle. Other athletes may choose to perform lower repetitions with heavier loads, such as 3-5 reps per set. That said, generally speaking repetitions, loading, and total works sets can be as flexible as one’s imagination as long as the correspond with training goals. Note, due to the momentum component of kettlebell training, I often recommend that lifters perform no less than 2-3 repetitions per set to maximize all phases of the movement.


Learn More About Kettlebell Training!

Below are some of our most popular kettlebell articles, exercise tutorials, and more!

Featured Image: @kettlebelllifestyle on Instagram

The post Kettlebell Clean and Jerk vs Clean and Press: Which Is Best for You? appeared first on BarBend.

Pavlo Nakonechnyy Deadlifts 355.5kg for a New Junior World Record

Pavlo Nakonechnyy, a Ukrainain powerlifter born in 1997, has just broken the junior world record for the raw deadlift.

It’s one of many awe-inspiring performances we’ve seen come out of the IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships that are currently underway in Belarus, but it’s astonishing in its own right. We’re not totally sure of his birthday, but Nakonechnyy could still be a teenager, yet he’s managed to deadlift 355.5 kilograms (783.7 pounds) raw at a bodyweight of 157.6 kilograms, or 347.4 pounds. The guy is simply enormous and has the strength to match. Check out the footage below.

A post shared by IPF Powerlifting (@theipf) on Jun 22, 2017 at 8:11am PDT


This deadlift beat the previous junior world record by just 500 grams, which was set by Australian Cameron McKenzie in August of last year.

During the meet, Nakonechnyy managed to squat 320 kilograms (705.5 pounds) and bench 205 kilograms (452 pounds) for a total of 880.5 kilograms (1,941 pounds). This total easily earned him first place, beating out second place finisher Luke Richardson by 15.5 kilograms.

You can view Nakonechnyy’s squat below.


Again, this guy was born in 1997 — most deadlifters don’t peak until later in their careers, so there’s no telling what kind of records he’ll break as he matures as an athlete.

Other junior world records from the meet include a 200kg (441lb) squat from Lithuanian -53kg athlete Egidijus Valciukas, a 210kg (463lb) squat from Belarusian -59kg athlete Artsiom Savelyeu, and a 280.5kg (618.4lb) deadlift from American -74kg athlete Mason Cabney.

Right now, the IPF world record for the raw deadlift in all weight classes comes from Ray Williams, who pulled 392.5 kilograms (865.5lb) at 182kg (401lb) bodyweight earlier this year.

Williams, who became the first human to ever squat 1,000 pounds raw in IPF-style competition October last year, is eleven years older than Nakonechnyy, so there’s some ground to make up as far as training age goes, but we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next for the young Ukrainian.

Featured image via @theipf on Instagram.

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The Nordic Ham Curl: Pros, Cons, and Benefits

Some exercises go through phases in the fitness industry. First, they’re thought of as useless and not functional, then they’re considered as incredible cure-alls, and finally they settle somewhere in the middle. It happened to kettlebell swings, it happened to spinning, and it kind of needs to happen to Nordic ham curls. (Also called Nordic hamstring curls and Russian ham curls.)

The Nordic ham curl is currently enjoying a bout of phase-two popularity that’s been spurred by a slew of studies that have shown they’re great for hamstring hypertrophy, increase eccentric strength, and vastly decrease the odds of getting a hamstring injury. (This is in part because it lengthens the hamstring itself.)

These are all awesome benefits, and the exercise has clear uses for a wide variety of athletes. But is it all that useful for strength athletes?

Nordic Ham Curl Infographic
Nordic Ham Curl Infographic

The Nordic Ham Curl Vs. The Glute-Ham Raise

The exercise is sometimes called the poor man’s glute-ham raise, and the two exercises have a ton in common. They’re both bodyweight knee flexion movements that hammer the hamstrings, the difference is that the glute-ham raise uses a device that puts the body in an optimal position that allows a more effective range of motion.

It’s sort of like the preacher curl versus the old-fashioned bicep curl: while one is a little fancier and does a slightly better job, they’re both excellent exercises for building and strengthening the bicep.

The same goes for Nordic ham curls and GHRs: both are awesome for hamstrings and while the GHR is a little more effective, you should feel no qualms about doing them Nordic style if you don’t have a GHR chair. (And no, the glute ham raise isn’t all that great at strengthening the glutes — it’s largely a hamstring exercise, like the Nordic ham curl.)

How to Do a Nordic Hamstring Curl Without a Partner

Most people think of the exercise as being performed with a partner holding your ankles as you drop your torso to the floor from a kneeling position. However, as you can see in the video above, it’s not difficult to do it on your own.

Simply hook your feet underneath the bottom of, say, a cable pull-down machine, a Nautilus machine, or anything else you can find that has an opening a few inches off the ground. You might even be able to perform it at home by putting your feet under your dresser and your knees on top of a pillow — just always remember to put something soft under your knees.

“People will sometimes do them in plantar flexion or dorsiflexion, or they won’t put their feet down at all, but I like having my clients do them in dorsiflexion so their toes are pointed down, not back,” says Bret Contreras, PhD, CSCS, an Arizona-based strength coach and author. The reason is that dorsiflexion will help the calf to contribute to knee flexion torque.


You also don’t want to bend too much at the hips; you can lean forward a little, but try to keep the hips fairly neutral.

Contreras notes that a huge benefit of the  Nordic ham curl is improving eccentric strength, which means you shouldn’t drop straight down to the ground from kneeling.

“So many people think the eccentric phase is negligible and don’t understand that it builds muscle,” he says. “You should really focus on trying to get your all out of the lowering portion. When you’re sprinting, your knee angle opens up during the swing phase and this lengthens the hamstrings while they’re heavily activated. The lowering phase of the Nordic ham curl will prepare the hamstrings for sprinting and help prevent signals. If you’re training for hamstring injury prevention, don’t even perform the concentric phase.”

Unable to control the lowering portion at all? Try supporting yourself with a resistance band suspended from a power rack.

Can Nordic Ham Curls Improve My Deadlift?

They’re a great exercise to improve sprinting and reducing injury among athletes, so it can benefit anyone that runs fast: football players, soccer players, baseball players, track and field athletes, or anyone that likes to sprint for fat loss and conditioning purposes.

The hamstring is one of the most injured muscles in sports so this is no small feat, although it’s worth remembering that having short or eccentrically weak hamstrings isn’t the only reason they get injured — the Nordic ham curl isn’t a panacea.

But the evidence shows that the movement can definitely have an effect on injury rate. In that regard, it’s a “functional” exercise; it helps you run quickly and safely, which is a pretty natural movement. It’s also great for hypertrophy if you’re interested in building your physique and it’s good for people who just want their muscles to be strong.

But it probably won’t help you pick up heavy things.

“If you’re a powerlifter or a weightlifter I’d recommend doing more back extensions and reverse hypers than Nordic ham curls,” says Contreras. “It’s an exercise that’s really good at the eccentric phase, but in powerlifting you’re looking at the concentric phase.”

Ultimately, they’re not really specific to strength sports. In powerlifting, the hamstrings are used primarily in the deadlift but they’re used in hip extension, so if you’re going to train hamstrings it makes more sense to do so with hip extension exercises like back extensions, reverse hypers, and stiff-legged deadlifts.

However, Contreras says there are times where it could be beneficial when a strength athlete has a really glaring hamstring weakness.

“I’ve put some people on the Nordic and they sink like a ship,” he says. “If you’re so weak eccentrically that you can’t even control your body on the way down, it’s always good to shore that up and spend a couple of months getting up to par. But if you’re pretty good at them and you’re not an athlete, there’s probably no significant benefit.”

A post shared by Ed Jenkins (@edjenkins86) on Mar 15, 2016 at 8:05pm PDT


Wrapping Up

If you play ground sports, if you run, or if you just like the idea of having bigger, fuller hamstrings, the Nordic ham curl is a great exercise that has a low injury risk and isn’t too hard to perform without equipment.

Will it help your deadlift or your squat? There’s an argument to be made, but probably not.

But if you just want to have strong, functional muscles, it has a place on leg day.

Featured image via @pedroivocosenza on Instagram.

The post The Nordic Ham Curl: Pros, Cons, and Benefits appeared first on BarBend.

Larry Wheels Crushes a 585 Bench Press for a Near Triple

In the last year, Larry Wheels has made some crazy strength progress and has arguably become one of the better known powerlifters in the sport. After a minor setback in April when Wheels fell at the CETC US Open under 793 lbs leaving him with a quad tear, he’s continued to make incredible upper body progress.

Check out his latest bench video where he hits 585 lbs for a solid two reps, and a near third.

A post shared by Larry (@larrywheels) on Jun 21, 2017 at 2:32pm PDT


Wheels has been recently competing in the 242 lb weight class, and the current record for this class’s bench is held by Mike MacDonald with a 603 lb press. With Wheels’s recent near 600 lb triple, it might be safe to say that we may be seeing that record fall sometime in the near future.

In fact, Wheels has a recorded bench that tops the current record by 17 lbs. At the end of May, Wheel benched 620 lbs for a PR at the opening of Bradley Martyn’s gym Zoo Culture. Mind you, he was spotted by the White Rhino Stan Efferding, so your strength is naturally higher from the Rhino’s presence alone.

A post shared by Larry (@larrywheels) on May 27, 2017 at 7:27pm PDT


This bench didn’t have a pause, so it wouldn’t hold in a meet, but the strength behind it suggests Wheels can and will hopefully be making a run for the record soon.

One of the standout characteristics of Wheels’s lifting – and possibly what makes his videos so popular – is his ability to crush both maximal and endurance style lifts. Check out the video below where he presses 385 lbs for 20-reps. Talk about bench cardio.

A post shared by Larry (@larrywheels) on Jun 19, 2017 at 2:53pm PDT


After his quad injury in April, Wheels has been coming back and rehabbing slowly. If you check out his Instagram, you can see more on his thoughts behind the injury, how he’s building back up, and ways he’s been addressing imbalances that led to it.

There’s still no word on when Wheels will be formally competing again, but when he does we can expect to see big numbers.

Feature image screenshot from @larrywheels Instagram page. 

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