Regarded as one of the big three lifts in powerlifting, the back squat is a notorious marker of an athlete’s strength. The glutes, quads, back, and core all join forces to support a barbell loaded with a massive amount of weight on the shoulders, lower that weight into squat deep enough to break the 90-degree parallel at the knees, and rise back to the top of the position. It is a foundational movement that humans know how to do instinctually, and yet a select few have wagered to squat the heaviest of loads on their backs.
Below are the heaviest back squats of all time, verified in competition. They include both equipped and raw lifts; both visually staggering and reality-warping. They are the heaviest back squats of all time that we know of.
[Related: The Heaviest Log Presses of All Time (Men’s and Women’s Strongman)]
Heaviest Competiton Squats of all Time
Below are the heaviest squats ever performed raw and with a variety of different equipment. These lifts were cross-checked using Open Powerlifting‘s database.
Nathan Baptist — 595 kilograms (1,311.8 pounds) | Multi-ply
The literal heaviest squat performed officially by any human ever that we know of was performed by Superheavyweight Nathan Baptist. According to Open Powerlifting, Baptist recorded a 595-kilogram (1,311.8-pound) squat at the 2021 United Powerlifting Association (UPA) Utah Kick-Off Meet held on Feb. 6, 2021, at age 36. He wore a multi-ply suit and knee wraps.
Baptist’s squat is 2.7 kilograms more than the previous all-time world record (ATWR) of 592.3 kilograms (1,306 pounds) successfully hit by Brian Carroll at the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate (RPS) Gene Rychlak Jr. Pro Invitational in the 140-kilogram weight class on Oct. 3, 2020.
Some people may question the depth of Baptist’s squat in the angle of the video above. However, the lift was performed at UPA sanctioned event, and the official referee ruled that Baptist did break the required hip-to-knee parallel in order for the lift to count.
Leah Reichman — 419.5 kilograms (924.8 pounds) | Multi-ply
On April 11, 2021, Leah Reichman scored the female ATWR squat at the 2021 American Powerlifting Federation (APF) Cincinnati Women’s Pro/Am. Her equipped lift of 399.1 kilograms (880 pounds) bested the previous world record of 387.5 kilograms (854.3 pounds) lifted by Becca Swanson.
Although Swanson’s record held for 16 years until Reichman exceeded it. Reichman’s record only lasted until Sept. 11, 2021, when Reichman broke her own record at the 2021 Southern Powerlifting Federation (SPF) The Strength of Heroes Championships. Reichman locked out 419.5 kilograms (924.8 pounds).
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That lift cemented Reichman’s place in history as the first female to ever squat over 900 pounds.
Blaine Sumner — 515 kilograms (1,135.4 pounds) | Single-ply
The 2020 USA Powerlifting Arnold Grand Prix by SBD saw Blaine Sumner rewrite the history books for the Superheavyweight category for equipped lifters. He scored three world records at the event including the current all-time world record single-ply squat. Here was his performance:
- Squat — 515 kilograms (1,135.4 pounds), IPF World Record
- Bench Press — 426 kilograms (939.2 pounds), IPF World Record
- Deadlift — 355 kilograms (782 pounds)
- Total: 1,296 kilograms (2,857 pounds), IPF World Record
The next two heaviest squats behind Sumner in the category are 15 kilograms (33.1 pounds) lighter. Dustin Slepicka and Tyler Butcher have squatted 500 kilograms (1,102.3 pounds) in 2014 and 2021, respectively.
Sumner also owns, to BarBend‘s knowledge, the heaviest safety bar squat ever caught on film of 431 kilograms (950.2 pounds).
Galina Karpova — 335 kilograms (738.6 pounds) | Single-ply
Galina Karpova is the current single-ply squat world record holder with her 335-kilogram (738.6-pound) lift from the 2012 Russian Powerlifting Federation (FPR) Russian Powerlifting Championships.
In the time since then, only Bonica Brown has lifted within 10 kilograms of Karpova’s record. Brown scored a 325-kilogram (716.5-pound) squat in 2019.
April Mathis — 320 kilograms (705.5 pounds) | Raw (w/wraps)
On April 1, 2017, April Mathis scored the current all-time world record squat in the Superheavyweight category. She locked out 320 kilograms (705.5 pounds) at the 2017 American Powerlifting Federation (APF) Gulfcoast.
Mathis’ world record squat is 17.5 kilograms (38.6 pounds) heavier than the second heaviest ever squat of 302.5 kilograms (666.9 pounds) scored by Kiersten Scurlock in March 2021.
Dan Bell — 505 kilograms (1,113.3 pounds) | Raw (w/wraps
Dan Bell made history at the 2021 Kern US Open in San Diego, CA. Before the contest, he was in a three-way tie for the all-time world record squat with a lift of 500 kilograms (1,102.3 pounds). The other two co-holders were Vladislav Alhozov and Mojtaba Maleki.
Bell claimed sole possession of the world record thanks to his final successful attempt of 505 kilograms (1,113.3 pounds) at the Kern contest.
April Mathis — 278.9 kilograms (614.9 pounds) | Raw
When opening the current record books, Mathis has earned legendary status. In addition to her raw (w/wraps) squat world record in the Superheavyweight category, she also holds the raw squat world record. On Oct. 29, 2011, Mathis lifted 278.9 kilograms (614.9 pounds) at the 2011 APF Southern States.
Since that world record was achieved, Bonica Brown is once again the athlete closest to eclipsing it. Brown squatted 276 kilograms (608.5 pounds) at the 2021 USAPL Raw Nationals. At that same contest, Amanda Martin squatted half a kilogram less than Brown.
Ray Williams — 490 kilograms (1,080.3 pounds) | Raw
As of this article’s publication, no human has scored a 500-kilogram (1,102.3-pound) raw squat. However, the individual who has come closest — just 10 kilograms shy — is Ray Williams.
Williams hit a 490-kilogram (1,080.3-pound) raw squat at the 2019 USAPL Arnold SBD Pro American:
[Related: Complete Results From the 2021 IPF World Classic Championships]
The Future of the Squat
Many of the powerlifters on this list are still active in the sport and could break the world records again. For some lifters like Ray Williams, it is as though they are in a league of their own despite how many powerhouses share the division. Perhaps Jezza Uepa, who holds the second heaviest raw squat at 470 kilograms (1,036.2 pounds), could beat Williams to the milestone 500-kilogram squat.
Reichman is also bounding to heavier and heavier lifts. The pace that she is improving her squat is unfathomably fast. As the first woman to ever squat over 900 pounds, who’s to say how heavy she will eventually lift.
Feature image: @leahreichman on Instagram