Loading 200 kilograms (440.9 pounds) on a barbell would be a respectable deadlift for seasoned gymgoers, but what about as a press to a squat? On Jun. 30, 2022, U105KG strongman and CrossFit coach Graciano Rubio posted a (very) heavy overhead squat to his social media — a whopping 440.9-pound, or 200-kilogram lift.
Rubio loaded the 200-kilogram barbell onto his shoulders and stepped out of the squat rack while wearing wrist wraps and a lifting belt. He proceeded to behind-the-neck press the barbell overhead and then deep squat the weight in a controlled fashion, ultimately locking it out and sustaining the weight overhead for approximately eight seconds. Check it out in the video below, courtesy of Rubio’s Instagram page:
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If you’re wondering just how this monstrous lift of Rubio’s stacks up in weightlifting and strongman alike, rest assured that it is impressive in both disciplines.
The Overhead Squat in Weightlifting
Right out of the gate, perhaps the most noteworthy fact about Rubio’s lift is that 200 kilograms also happens to be the current World Record snatch in Rubio’s roughly-equivalent weight class.
In weightlifting, the snatch requires an athlete to take a loaded barbell from the ground to over their head in one swift motion. They pull it as high as possible, and then vault underneath to catch it in a deep overhead squat. As such, weightlifters often perform overhead squats as an accessory.
Chinese weightlifter Yang Zhe performed the snatch in question. Zhe, who competes as a 109-kilogram lifter (the class closest to Rubio’s listed weight of 105 kilograms), hit the record in April of 2021 at the Asian Weightlifting Championships. It has stood uncontested for over a year (though some of Zhe’s contemporaries are poised to overthrow it in the near future).
Rubio also displays many qualities that every weightlifter leans on when they need to catch a heavy barbell overhead. The overhead squat, typically performed with a close-to-the-collars wide grip, allows an Olympic lifter to catch their snatch in the lowest and most upright posture possible.
Surprisingly, the hardest part of the overhead squat isn’t actually holding the barbell over your head, it’s maintaining your balance while you move. Rubio can secure his bar by ensuring that his wrists, elbows, and shoulders are vertically aligned, so the weight is comfortably distributed across his upper back.
- A wide stance provides Rubio with a broad support base, improving his balance.
- A slow tempo helps Rubio ensure that the barbell remains fixed over his upper back as he descends.
- A pair of weightlifting shoes elevate Rubio’s heels so he can maintain a more upright and balanced trunk.
While hitting a 200-kilogram overhead squat out of a squat rack is a far cry from snatching it in a weightlifting competition, Rubio does nail many of the technical elements that weightlifters rely upon to perform well in their sport.
Flintstoning Like a Strongman
Rubio’s lift is also comparable to a notable lift in strongman that made its elite competition return at the 2022 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest — the Flintstone Barbell. The Flintstone Barbell is effectively a behind-the-neck press for max weight.
Given the mass that strongmen carry around on their physiques, it is often surprising to see those with the shoulder mobility necessary for such a technical lift. Rubio’s 200-kilogram (440-pound) overhead squat begins with a successful behind-the-neck press to move the barbell overhead.
For context to how heavy Rubio’s behind-the-neck press was, it was heavier than the first round of the Flintstone Barbell event at the 2022 WSM and just 20 pounds shy of the second round. Given that Rubio competes as a U105KG strongman but also trains CrossFit with a lot of weightlifting influence, it is no wonder he can combine such technically complicated lifts with such heavy weight.
Featured image: @wallstreetweightlifter on Instagram