Watch 16-Year-Old CJ Cummings Power Clean and Pause Front Squat 170kg

2017 is off to an incredible start for the person the Wall Street Journal dubbed “the LeBron James of weightlifting.” Competing at 69kg, 16-year-old weightlifting wunderkind CJ Cummings began the year winning the Rudy Sablo Award for Outstanding Junior Male Athlete, and this week he was spotted training in South Carolina’s Team Beaufort Weightlifting gym for the USA Weightlifting Junior National Championships in Beaufort.

Watch the guy power clean 140kg, 160kg, and finally 170kg (374.7lb), which he then front squats… and pause front squats.

We know it was a little hard to tell if that last lift was a power clean, but Catalyst Athletics actually chimed in in the comments section to confirm that the crease of the hip was safely above the top of the knee.

At just 11 years old, Cummings became the youngest American ever to clean & jerk twice his or her bodyweight, with a 200lb lift. At age 14, he broke the Senior Men’s American Record (63kg) when he clean & jerked 153kg (337lb), in 2015 he set an unofficial youth world record when he totaled 306kg at USA Weightlifting’s Senior National Championships, but 2016 is when things really ramped up.

At the Junior World Championships, he became the first American man in over forty years, setting six records (American and World) in the one competition. Then in the space of two months, he won the Youth World Weightlifting Championships and finished the year by easily winning the American Open Championship. Check out his American record-breaking clean & jerk from that contest in the Instagram video below.

A video posted by LiftingLife (@liftinglife) on

In an interview with BarBend, Cummings explained that he expects to gain some weight in a year or two’s time, but will continue in the 69kg category for the time being.

“I want to officially break the Youth World Record and then keep breaking it, like if I break it, then keep going up more and more,” he said. Cummings then went on to totally break the Youth World Record.

As previously mentioned, CJ Cummings is training for the USA Weightlifting Junior National Championships, which will be held in Kansas City, Missouri from the 23rd to the 26th of February – and BarBend’s going too! Make sure to watch live on USA Weightlifting’s website to listen to all of our color commentary with BarBend’s co-founder David Thomas Tao, weightlifting correspondent Mike Graber, and other great friends of our site!

Featured image via @teambeaufort_weightlifting 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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