We’ve seen some pretty big (if slightly unverified, and completed to football weight room standards) power cleans on video, but there’s still one that takes the cake — and all sources indicate it’s very much legit. Of course, when it’s a video of an active World Record holder, insane numbers become that much easier to believe.
It’s still unknown whether Iranian weightlifter Behdad Salimi will defend his Olympic title in Rio (he’s coming back from ACL surgery, after all). But that won’t stop us from admiring his previous body of work, including what we think is the heaviest power clean ever caught on camera. Here’s his 232kg/~510 pound power clean & jerk.
Salimi’s teammate/countrymen Bahador Moulaei is known for his clean & jerk prowess — he cleaned 261kg at the 2013 World Weightlifting Championships only to miss the jerk, and he recently clean & jerked 247kg at the 2016 Asian Weightlifting Championships — but his snatch has never been quite up to the international best. Back in 2013, he power cleaned 222kg, a video of which lives on an All Things Gym page. Check out that speed!
Two-time Olympic champion and legendary Iranian lifter Hossein Rezazadeh also pulled off some ridiculous power cleans in training (or the training hall). This video from right before the 2000 Sydney Olympics shows him warming up with 200 and then 220 power cleans into power jerks. The action starts around 4:05; while Salimi’s 232kg is impressive, the crazy ease with which Rezazadeh pulls this off is jaw-dropping. Sensing a trend with Iranian superheavies?
Back in 2004, Russian lifter Evgeny Chigishev was videoed with a 220 kg power clean, embedded below. More impressive than the lift, perhaps, is that Chigishev pulled off some massive superheavyweight lifts at less-than-massive bodyweights. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics — where he earned silver behind Matthias Steiner — Chigishev weighed under 125 kg/275 pounds, basically a straw weight for that class.
And a rundown of big power cleans wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the 1996 Olympic Champion. Andrei Chemerkin also had some ridiculous cleans that could be classified as power, some of which we highlighted in this article — and like a lot of Chemerkin’s lifts, he completely bypassed the front rack position, instead holding the barbell above his chest supported by nothing more than forearms and wrists.
Have you seen any other power cleans above 225kg, either on camera or in person? Let us know in the comments below!