Check Out Bodybuilding Legend Frank Zane’s Weightlifting Commercial

Get ready for a throwback.

I’ve seen the image below surface a couple times on forums, most often on bodybuilding focused sites, but it’s made its way back to many strength athlete’s Instagram feeds and Reddit. The image shows bodybuilding legend Frank Zane catching a “heavy” clean & jerk.

If you scroll down and read the comments, then you’ll notice there’s a little bit of confusion. Zane was a legend of aesthetics, but was he really active on the weightlifting stage?

If you haven’t seen the picture, then check it out below. That’s quite an impressive clean for a lifelong bodybuilding focused athlete. Not to mention, his face suggests he’s handling what looks like 160kg+ with ease. So where is the picture really from?

Now, there’s no doubt that Zane was both strong and athletic, but unfortunately, from what we can tell, the weight used in this picture wasn’t all too real. The image is from a commercial that aired in the 80s with Zane being the star. It features him in a competition setting, making a clean & jerk, then cooling down with a nice refreshing…

Pabst Blue Ribbon, of course!

A match made in heaven? You know, like peanut butter and jelly, Pabst Blue Ribbon and weightlifting (said in a Clint Eastwood voice). The commercial is a minute long and it comes with a Rocky-esque feeling and is pretty satirical (watch the five guys pick up the barbell).

If you haven’t seen it, then I’d recommend investing the minute of your day to checking it out. It’s pretty great.

When we decided to write on this throwback commercial, the first thought that came to our mind was another viral clip from December 2016 that featured Aleksey Lovchev supposedly clean & jerking 270kg. This clip was from a promotional video for Boston’s failed 2024 Olympic bid, and the weight, it turned out, wasn’t real.

Obviously, we’re not promoting the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but the commercial above was a cool reminder that sometimes strength sports make it to mainstream media!

Feature image from @craig_swole1 Instagram page. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend.

He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,200 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter.

On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.

Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and a personal trainer the three years before that, and most recently he was the content writer at The Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office.

Jake competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a professional knee rehabber after tearing his quad squatting in 2017. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in New York City.

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