These Are 5 of the Best Powerlifting Moments in 2022

Powerlifting had an excellent year in 2022. Here are some of its most exciting moments.

The wide world of powerlifting is full of massive feats of strength. It’s hard to distill a year’s worth of sheer power into only a few moments, but we did our best. The most exciting part of all is that you don’t have to be a powerlifting nerd to be impressed by these incredible lifts — and, in one case, one country rising to take the international stage.

[Related: Nabil Lahlou (67.5KG) Deadlifts New All-Time Raw World Record of 322.5 kilograms (711 pounds)]

From Jamal Browner totaling over 2,300 pounds in competition — over 1,000 of which came from his massive deadlift — to Danial Zamani leaving the history of heavy raw bench presses in his wake, 2022 contained plenty of jaw-dropping, bar-lifting moments.

Best Powerlifting Moments of 2022

Jamal Browner Takes Back All-Time World Record Total

It’s one thing for an athlete to set an all-time world record. It’s another for them to set it, lose it, and then take it back. That’s exactly what Jamal Browner did at the 2022 USPA Raw Pro in North Kansas City, MO in September.

[Related: Samantha Rice (90 KG) Breaks All-Time World Record with 275 Kilogram (606.3 Pound) Raw Deadlift]

There, the 110-kilogram powerlifter was looking for redemption. The all-time world record raw total that Browner set in 2021 was eclipsed by Derek Thistlethwaite in July 2022. Browner settled the score in good measure, shattering Thistlethwaite’s 1,002-kilogram (2,210-pound) total. To best him and reclaim the record, Browner hefted a total of 1,052.5 kilograms (2,320.45 pounds).

Over 1,000 pounds of this total came from his deadlift alone. Browner pulled 455 kilograms (1,003 pounds), becoming only the second man to surpass a 1,000-pound deadlift in a full meet.  (Look further down on this list to find the man who did it first.) To close out the year, Browner would pull that same 455 kilograms (1,003 pounds) for a double in training.

Krzysztof Wierzbicki Pulls the Heaviest Deadlift Ever Caught On Camera

Even the heaviest filmed deadlift of all time wasn’t safe in 2022. In April, Polish powerlifter Krzysztof Wierzbicki uploaded a monumental moment to his Instagram stories. Wierzbicki adopted a sumo stance, donned lifting straps, and pulled 502.5 kilograms (1,107.8 pounds) — the heaviest deadlift ever caught on camera.

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Wierzbicki used a sumo stance compared to fellow 500-kilogram club lifters Eddie Hall and Hafthor “Thor” Björnsson — the 2017 and 2018 World’s Strongest Man, respectively. On the other hand, the strongmen’s lifts were equipped, whereas Wierzbicki’s lift seemed closer to raw (he seemingly didn’t wear a lifting belt) Significantly, the heaviest weight class Wierzbicki has competed in is 105 kilograms (231 pounds), which is roughly half of Thor’s body weight.

As monumental as it was, the tremendous deadlift didn’t touch any official records. The use of lifting straps means it doesn’t count in powerlifting meets, while the sumo stance would disqualify it from strongman stages. Still, the heaviest pull ever on camera remained a wildly impressive moment in 2022 — and perhaps in the history of the sport.

Danial Zamani Scores Heaviest Raw Bench of All Time 

Here, we’re continuing the trend of powerlifters tearing up the history of the sport on film. Danial Zamani started the year off with a tremendous bang. In February, he put the powerlifting world on notice by pressing more than 800 pounds in a raw bench press.

[Related: Powerlifter Jesus Olivares (+120KG) Squats 455 Kilograms (1,003.1 Pounds) Raw in Training]

The Iranian powerlifter became the first lifter ever caught on camera eclipsing an 800-pound bench press raw. The lift doesn’t technically count as a record since it took place in a gym rather than in competition. But even so, the lift looked good. Zamani seemed in control of the bar the entire time, including a momentary pause on his chest and a crisp press back up.

Zamani may have pushed this weight in training, but he may try it again in competition. That might mean facing off with current raw bench world record holder Julius Maddox, who missed an 800.3 pound attempt in June 2020 as a result of a misload.

Maddox owns the current all-time world record at 355 kilograms (782.6 pounds), but Zamani has been making it clear that he’s looking to change that. In February, the Iranian benched 360 kilograms (793 pounds) in training, making it clear that Zamani is capable of gaining that ground in competition should he decide to make it official.

Danny Grigsby Becomes First Powerlifter to Pull 1,000 Pounds Raw in a Full Meet

Pulling over 1,000 pounds is, to say the very least, wildly impressive. Performing the lift raw adds another layer of sheer awesome to the mix. But deadlifting over 1,000 pounds raw in a full meet simply had never been done before — until Danny Grigsby showed up to play.

[Related: Powerlifter Heather Connor (47KG) Deadlifts 200.5 Kilograms (442 Pounds) in Training]

In March, the 125-kilogram lifter hefted 465 kilograms (1,025.2 pounds) raw at the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) Virginia Beach Classic 2. Having to perform in all of powerlifting’s “big three” — the squat, bench, and deadlift — in the full meet instead of focusing on just one lift makes Grigsby’s pull even more impressive. This is especially true since Grigsby was training around past injuries to his quads. Still, holding back on the squat (to a “mere” 600 pounds) certainly didn’t hamper his deadlift. 

The tremendous pull came during a strong year in training for the powerlifter. In addition to multiple awe-inspiring pulls outside of competition, Grigsby crushed another huge deadlift record a few months after his 465-kilogram pull. At the 2022 WRPF American Pro, he destroyed the all-time world record in the raw deadlift with a 487.5-kilogram (1,074.5-pound) pull.

France Showed Up

Lifters from all around the world hit the platform hard in 2022. But France made a particularly strong showing. The utter dominance of powerhouses like Tiffany Chapon, Nabil Lahou, Samantha Eugenie, and Prescillia Bavoil — all from France — is not to be ignored.

[Related: Powerlifter Samantha Eugenie (63KG) Matches IPF Junior Raw Deadlift World Record of 210 Kilograms in Training]

Lahlou took 2022 by storm. The 67.5-kilogram lifter joined an elite club of lifters worldwide when he deadlifted five times his body weight in August. He accomplished this feat in a sumo stance while wearing lifting straps.

But the “French Phenom” wasn’t done. In early November, Lahlou broke his own WR with a 322.5 kilograms (711 pounds) pull at the 2022 World Raw Powerlifting Federation (WRPF) Freaks Come Out at Night. Following an earlier dominant performance, this meant that he’d broken an all-time world record twice within the same month.

Prescillia Bavoil also had a spectacular fall season. The 63-kilogram lifter squatted 213 kilograms (469.5 pounds), deadlifted 231 kilograms (509.2 pounds), and Totaled 556.5 kilograms (1,226.8 pounds) at the Arnold Classic Sports Festival UK. These numbers crushed the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Record in the squat, deadlift, and Total. 

Earlier in the year, Bavoil also set four — count them, four Junior National Records at the FFForce Nationals, where she also managed to set an unofficial IPF Junior world record in the deadlift. She totaled 500 kilograms (1,102.5 pounds). This number was helped along by a 182.5-kilogram (402.5-pound) squat, a 102.5-kilogram (226-pound), and a 215-kilogram (474-pound) deadlift.

France had even more to offer the sport of powerlifting. Chapon came to the 2022 IPF World Classic Championships to win, and she didn’t only take home the gold. She also busted through three separate IPF world records in the squat, bench, and total. At just 20 years old, it’s easy to predict even more records coming from the French athlete in 2023.

Honorable Mention: Jen Thompson Unofficially Cracks the Raw Bench World Record

An honorable mention here is owed to powerlifter Jen Thompson. The 67.5-kilogram lifter had a huge day in October at the USAPL Carolina Prime Time meet, set in Greenville, SC. During the meet, Thompson crushed the previous American bench press record. To do so, she donned a singlet and wrist wraps to press 148.5 kilograms (327.5 pounds).

[Related: Sherine Marcelle (90KG) Squats a 257.6-Kilogram (568-Pound) Raw Double in Training — 1.6 Kilograms Over Current World Record]

Since this wasn’t an international competition, the lift was only an unofficial world record. Still, it remains absurdly impressive, and Thompson knew it, celebrating by jumping up onto the bench as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared in the background.

More Moments to Look Forward To

Powerlifting only featured three lifts. But each lift can be utterly thrilling to watch. In 2022, powerlifters across the sport and around the world set out to redefine what is possible. For all the world records broken and re-set in 2022, there are plenty more on the horizon for 2023. Which records will fall next? The year ahead promises to be full of more incredible powerlifting moments. 

Featured Image: @jamal_b15 / Instagram