The strength industry’s version of those “before and after” weight loss photos, we really love a good progress video. They’re not just entertaining, they’re important: they drive home the message that we all started from somewhere, that even the strongest people on Earth were once untrained, and that only hard work, dedication, and consistency are what leads to strength. The only thing that works is work.

Today we’re taking a look at the Georgian powerlifting phenom Giorgi Kavtaradze a 22-year-old lifter who is surprisingly light: he weighs 75 kilograms (165.3 pounds) and currently benches 240 kg (529.1 pounds) raw. That’s 3.2 times his bodyweight.

In this progress video, Kavtaradze doesn’t exactly start out as a beginner. He’s benching 100 kilograms (220.4 pounds) at 75 kilograms bodyweight, after all. But we were still transfixed by the plates on the bar steadily increasing in weight and number. Take a look below — his range of motion is especially impressive given the weight he’s pushing.

There’s very little information on the internet about Kavtaradze in English or in Russian, but we did learn that he specializes in the bench, which helps to keep his weight down. (It would be much more difficult to maintain that bench strength while reaching such elite levels in the squat and deadlift in his weight class.) Below, you can see him benching 200 kilograms (440.9 pounds) in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

But as much as we love the bench press, Kavtaradze’s video had us start thinking about our favorite progress videos of all time, and we couldn’t end this article without including one of the greats: Pete Rubish’s progression from 249.5 kilograms (550 pounds) at 193 pounds bodyweight to 417.3 kilograms (920 pounds). Watch his epic climb to the summit below.

For weightlifting fans, check out our piece on weightlifting prodigy Harrison Maurus’s journey to a 175kg clean & jerk here.

Featured image via GeorgianPowerlifting on YouTube.  

Thanks to Leyla Shamayeva for her help with this article.


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I’m a journalist and content producer with over seven years' reporting experience on four continents, with most of that spent covering health-related issues. My resume includes covering cholera outbreaks in Kenya and the clubbing scene in Shanghai, which is also where I wrote my first ever health article for an English language magazine. (It was on diarrhea.)After returning to Australia to finish up degrees in Journalism and International Relations I wound up in New York City where I’ve worked for Men’s Health, VICE, Popular Science and others. I try to keep health relatively simple — it’s mostly vegetables and sweat — but I live to explore the debates, the fringes, the niche, and the nitty gritty.