We’re simple people at BarBend. When we see Clarence Kennedy post a video, we watch.
The Irish weightlifter — variously known in internet circles as Harry Potter and Clark Kent, and the Irish Hulk — is known for his superhero levels of strength in the Olympic lifts (and his vegan diet), having performed snatches at 185kg (407.8lb) and clean & jerks at 220kg (485lb) as a 94kg class athlete.
Those are elite lifts — the world record in the snatch for the 94kg class is just three kilograms above Kennedy’s PR, though of course there are big differences between training and competition lifts — which is why it was both surprising and not surprising at all when he announced in a recent BarBend interview that he was interested in switching to powerlifting.
The reasoning he gave didn’t go much further than, and we’re quoting him here, “I’m pretty good at the squat, bench, and deadlift, so I figured why not!” But that’s a pretty darn good reason, and on Sunday he made a rare appearance at an unofficial powerlifting and weightlifting meet in Bray, Ireland.
Now weighing 106kg, Kennedy competed in both weightlifting and powerlifting, performing the snatch, clean & jerk, squat, bench, and deadlift.
Naturally, he came first on every single lift, winning the best pound for pound and overall lifter. (There were no weight classes at this unofficial meet.)
You can watch all of his lifts in the video below, which includes appearances by fellow vegan weightlifter David Nolan and competitor Eoin Murphy, whose squat Kennedy beat by just a single kilogram. (Though Kennedy was doing pause back squats, which he does in order to limit the weight he can use and thereby protect his knees to a degree.)
Kennedy snatched 160kg (352.7lb), clean & jerked 200kg (441lb), pause back squatted 281kg (620lb), benched 190kg (419lb), and deadlifted 320kg (705.5lb) with straps. None of these were personal records for Kennedy, but in a follow-up interview with BarBend, he noted that he isn’t training as often as he once did.
“I just did (the meet) casually, I’ve been training two to three times a week these days,” he said. (Earlier this year, he was lifting four out of every five days.) “My knee injury is bothering me, and mentally, I can’t handle high frequency training right now. I’ve been training hard for too long without a break.”
Kennedy has experienced knee tendinopathy in both knees and has required multiple surgeries, and he predicts more surgery in his future.
“I could’ve done a 170kg snatch and a 210kg clean & jerk, but I couldn’t have lifted much more weight in the other lifts,” he admitted. He also said he doesn’t see any more meets in the near future, and isn’t so sure he still wants to compete in powerlifting. (“I change my mind fast on things,” he says.)
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The man, the myth, the legend. Ended my year filming some ridiculous feats of strength from some of Irelands top weightlifters. Huge thanks to all involved, and particularly @crossfit_mallow for letting us use their gym. Slick edit of the day coming soon to a phone screen near you.
Keen observers of his popular YouTube channel may have noticed that the Irish Clark Kent has gained some serious muscle over the past year, and now weighs in at 106kg. But despite the compliments he receive on his physique on YouTube and Reddit, Kennedy isn’t enjoying the extra mass.
“I hate being this heavy. Everyday life is hard at 106 kilos,” he admitted, bringing to mind similar comments made by German superheavyweight lifter Matthias Steiner. “It made my cleans a lot worse. I did get stronger though. I gained the weight on purpose, but it wasn’t a good idea, and it really messed with my mobility. At the moment I’m focusing on going down to between 98 and 100 kilograms. I felt best around the time I did 340 kilograms in the deadlift, and I was 100 kilograms at that point.”
Never revealing too much about himself, there’s no way to know if Kennedy will make any more appearances at meets — powerlifting or weightlifting, official or unofficial — but we’ll be the first to watch his video if he does.
Featured image via @clarence0 on YouTube.