At 18 years of age, Daniella Melo has broken the open world record for the back squat in the 84kg weight class — and she’s a junior.

At the IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships that are currently underway in Minsk, Belarus, Daniella Melo squatted a mighty 206.5kg (455.3 pounds). You can watch the lift (which she definitely fought for) in the clip below.

Melo went on to bench 117.5kg (259lb) and deadlift 207.5kg (457.5lb), totaling 531.5 kilograms (1171.8lb). Her total is an IPF junior world record and was higher than any female lifter this year, including those in the weight class above her.

“My plan was to go for the junior world record on my second attempt and the open world record on my third attempt,” Melo told BarBend. “Warming up for squats I didn’t feel so great, so I was definitely nervous about the numbers. But my opener and second attempt moved really well so we decided to go for it. I knew it would be a fight but once I felt 206.5kg on my back I knew I had it in me.”

This actually is not the first time Melo has squatted this much weight; she hit a 455-pound squat back in February during a training session, and it went considerably smoother than this week’s competition lift.

The best part of that video? The look on that guy’s face when he notices how insanely strong she is.

Whe has also deadlifted at least 17.5 pounds more than her IPF lift, having previously posted a very smooth 475-pound (215.5kg) deadlift.

Hey, if you’ve competed in your fair share of powerlifting meets, you know that sometimes you’re stronger in meets and sometimes the stars don’t quite align, particularly if you’ve been cutting weight.

“I feel great now,” she said after her performance. “I’ve wanted to hit that weight at a meet for a while now and after squats not going as planned at the Arnold, this felt amazing. And the support I have received from everybody has been overwhelming, this has been an unforgettable experience.”

Melo seems to know exactly what she’s doing. In March, she was indeed a competitor at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, where her total set an open American record at 1,145 pounds (519.4kg).

And if you look further into her past, you’ll keep finding victories. Last year, she came in first place in her weight class at the USA Powerlifting Raw Nationals in the Raw Teen 3 division and second in the Open division. (In the Raw Teen division, her total was sixty kilograms ahead of second place.)

She’s not just strong, she’s methodical and strategic. And we can’t wait to see the numbers she’ll put up at her next meet.

Featured image via @theipf on Instagram.


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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 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.