Watch This Deadlift-Off With a Powerlifter, CrossFitter, Bodybuilder, and Weightlifter

As a website that focuses on powerlifting, weightlifting, and CrossFit, we know it’s kind of a silly question to ask “who would win” in various fitness-related scenarios, but it sure is fun to think about.

The guys over at Brute Strength decided to take a few of those favorite “what if” scenarios and put them to the test in the real world with their new series, Brute Showdown.

The contenders:

  • Luis Mosquera, -69kg Colombian weightlifter and Rio 2016 bronze medalist
  • Jacob Heppner, 3-time CrossFit Games athlete
  • Steve Gentili, -275lb IPL powerlifter
  • Lawrence Ballenger, classic physique competitor and superheavyweight bodybuilder

Brute Strength has really pulled off a feat managing to get these high level athletes to come together and face off against one another, and the videos are extraordinarily popular already. This week, we’ve been treated to a threefer: max deadlift, a physique show, and an eating contest.

Few things are more fun for a strength athlete to watch than a good old game of “let’s keep adding weight to the bar until no one can lift it,” and it was about time for Gentili to kick some ass. He’s just so much stronger and faster than his competitors on the deadlift, most of whom tapped out around the 500-pound mark. (Heppner PRd with 510, coming in second.) Gentili made it to 825 pounds. His competition max is 826, and he said he was aiming for 840 four weeks after this lift.

Then came the bodybuilding show, which is a lot of fun to watch — most of these guys have trouble keeping a straight face, but it’s interesting to see them being coached in the finer points of posing, which is way harder than a lot of people think.

 bodybuilder crossfitter powerlifter weightlifter posing

Image via Brute Strength on YouTube.

We wrote about the athletes attempting a max clean and the CrossFit workout Grace last week. Mosquera the Olympic weightlifter won the max clean and Heppner the CrossFit athlete won the CrossFit workout.

OK, so the winners in these videos aren’t exactly surprising, but a) it’s fun to see the -69kg weightlifter dominate athletes almost twice his weight, and b) it’s interesting to see how the second, third, and fourth placements shake out.

For example, Ballenger the bodybuilder took second place in the CrossFit workout and while he was third in the max clean, his clean was actually more of an upright row of 300 pounds. Mosquera was amazed, saying “He’s super strong, if he had the technique he’d beat me.” (Remember that he’s also a lot heavier.) Gentili, who annihilated the rest of them in the deadlift, came last in the max clean with 225 pounds, seemingly unable to not deadlift the weight. Here’s the clip again; Ballenger’s row-clean is at the 2.26 mark.

We watch a lot of YouTube videos about strength sports, and these are a step above the usual fare. We’re really looking forward to seeing the rest of this series.

Featured image via Brute Strength on YouTube.


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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.