A 350kg Squat at 90kg Bodyweight: Ashton Rouska Wins USAPL Collegiate Nationals

Twenty-year-old Ashton Rouska has hit a new milestone in his young, but extremely promising powerlifting career. This week, the USA Powerlifting Collegiate National Championships were held in San Antonio, Texas, and Rouska won the 93kg weight class with a titanic squat of 771 pounds, or 350 kilograms, equipped in a single-ply suit.

This video above was sent to us by Rouska himself. You can can see the squat from a different angle in the clip below from his Instagram, but beware: it’s filmed sideways.

He weighed in for this competition at 89.8 kilograms and his other lifts were a 215-kilogram (474-pound) bench press and a 335-kilogram (738.5-pound) deadlift, making for a total of 900 kilograms (1,984 pounds) the biggest total of the meet. (Note that at the time of writing, these results are technically unofficial.)

Rouska said that his squat was the only lift he was truly proud of in San Antonio, which may be an allusion to the fact that his max deadlift is at least 347 kilograms (765 pounds), a lift we wrote about in February when he posted it to his Instagram.

Since then, he’s posted other personal records that included five reps of 675-pound sumo deadlifts, which were performed belted and in deadlift suit but with the straps down.

He also posted a two-rep set of 550-pound (250-kilogram) equipped bench presses.

And while the squat that won him the Collegiate Nationals was performed in a single-ply suit, eight weeks ago he hit a personal record with a raw squat of 680 pounds, or 308.5 kilograms.

Rouska hails from a military family and spent his adolescence in Seoul, South Korea, where his father served in the U.S. Army’s Airborne Division. Today, in addition to competing in powerlifting and studying at the University of Texas in San Antonio, he’s an Army Cadet; just a few weeks ago he completed a 26.2-mile march in heavy military gear, which Rouska called “one of the hardest days of (his) life.”

Hybrid athlete Alex Viada has in the past recommended “rucking” (walking or running with a weighted pack on your back) as an effective means for strength athletes to improve their conditioning without negatively affecting their strength levels, and we definitely think it’s possible that Rouska’s military training is transferring to his strong performance in the big three.

The USAPL selected Rouska to represent the United States in June at the IPF Open Classic Powerlifting Championships in Minsk, Belarus, but Rouska told BarBend that he declined the spot in order to train for an army school, and it’s unclear when his next meet will be. However this year turns out for him, we have a feeling he’ll do the U.S. proud.

Featured image via @ashh117 on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.