Blaine Sumner Squatting

With the 2016 Olympics on the horizon, powerlifting is about to take a backseat in the public consciousness to its faster, snappier cousin. But that doesn’t mean 2016 won’t give us reason to celebrate the world’s heaviest squatters, pressers, and deadlifters. Thanks to American superheavyweight Blaine Sumner, this year has already witnessed arguably the greatest powerlifting performance of all time.

For the observant fan, Sumner’s no rookie bursting on the scene. He’s been competing at a national level since at least 2007, setting multiple federation world records along the way, both raw and equipped. But the Colorado native and former NFL prospect (he benched 225 pounds 52 times during the combine) hit some marks for the history books at this year’s Arnold Sports Festival. At the Arnold Pro American – which counts as an international meet for IPF record purposes – Sumner put up a truly insane total and became one of the first  to break the 500 kilo barrier in any condition, meet or otherwise. Here’s the tale of the tape from Sumner’s record day:

  • Squat: 1,102
  • Bench: 885
  • Deadlift: 815

Sumner actually broke the total record multiple times over the course of the meet, ending with a 2,802 total, IPF records in the squat, bench, and total, and the federation’s highest-ever Wilks score at 691.

For those unfamiliar with the Wilks Coefficient, it’s an algorithm meant to compare powerlifting totals across lifters of different weight classes, a bit like Sinclair scores are used in weightlifting. Sumner’s 691 was the highest Wilks score in IPF competition history, giving him a claim to the title of strongest-ever powerlifter, even when adjusted for bodyweight.

Despite his current dominance in powerlifting – Sumner often competes equipped but puts up astronomical numbers raw as well – he’s still somewhat of an unknown to many strength sport fans. And while his social followings are growing, they really deserve all the views; the dude posts some truly insane feats, like 1,000+ pound squats with no spotters beyond carefully placed spotter racks.

To put it in context, while many powerlifters train in groups with numerous spotters for safety and support, Blaine generally gets after world-record weights alone, with little more than a rack and wall-to-wall American flag to keep him company. Clearly, it’s enough.

Need some more of Blaine (just over six minutes more, to be specific)? Juggernaut Training Systems put together this solid mini-documentary to chronicle Blaine’s March 5th performance. In it, he talks about warming up with 937 pound squats, what happens to bar oscillation over 1000 pounds, and his strategy surrounding the bench portion (spoiler: he opened up raw). The video also features what we assume is the world’s strongest dab; eat your heart out, Cam.

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BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day. David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.