Blaine Sumner’s 1,025-Pound Bench Press Is His Best Training Lift Ever

Relatively few people have deadlifted 500 pounds. Even fewer people have bench pressed 500 pounds. So when someone bench presses over a thousand pounds (453.6kg), we have a little trouble processing it.

Like hearing astronomers describe the size of the universe, we can hear the numbers but we can’t fully comprehend them. It wouldn’t count in competition, but Blaine Sumner moved one thousand and twenty-five pounds (465kg) over his chest. He called this “the single best training lift I have ever performed in my entire life.” We believe it.

This is an equipped lift that he performed in a single ply bench press shirt, but this would be extraordinary even in multi ply. It’s 1,025 pounds.

That’s over a hundred pounds heavier than Sumner’s IPF world record equipped bench press of 904 pounds (410kg), but it’s worth pointing out that this is closer to a board press than a bench press, since he admits that there was a two-inch gap between his body and the bar. In the comments he emphasizes that there’s a “Big difference between being 2” away from touching and hitting it clean in a meet.”

But guys. It’s 1,025 pounds.

He posted the following caption that gives something of an idea of what it’s like to hold a thousand-plus pounds over your head.

I had something burning inside of me tonight and I obliterated this 1,025 pounds. The pain and pressure in my hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders is something I can’t begin to describe. I felt like my arm bones were bending. My hands are swollen and bruised, my arms are throbbing. But I asked for this and I love it – I wouldn’t have it any other way (…)

Powerlifters want to talk about strength as a skill, and there is no greater skill in the entire sport of powerlifting as the equipped bench press. People will comment on how silly it looks, and to the inexperienced viewer it looks that way. But there is no more magnificent or challenging feeling than I have felt holding 1,025 pounds over my face where one wrong move and bones and lives can break, while dealing with the pressure of feeling like bones are going to snap or passing out – whichever comes first.

[Read Blaine Sumner’s complete rundown on the differences between equipped and raw powerlifting — and why he hasn’t looked back since going equipped.]

This was Sumner’s final workout before his move to Wyoming, and we’re looking forward to all the insane lifts he’ll no doubt perform in his new home.

Featured image via @thevanillagorilla92 on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

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 things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

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.

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