Some people say the squat is the king of the lifts, but we’re not sure it deserves the title outright: After all, there’s something just damn impressive — and impressively simple — about picking up really heavy weight off the ground.
The deadlift is one of the most straightforward, measurable tests of strength, and while the lift has some significant variations (more on that below), it all ends with the athlete picking up the heaviest possible barbell. And whether you’re a powerlifter, strongman, weightlifter, bodybuilder, or CrossFitter, a weak pull is going to set you back from the competition.
Below, we’ve assembled the heaviest deadlifts ever made in competition settings, including raw, equipped, strongman, “long bar” strongman, partial, and tire variations. We’ve also outlined how standards and rules varied for each, but no matter the specifics, these are the most impressive pulls in history.
Below, we’ve compiled the top verified competition deadlifts for some of the most common pulling styles. Which lift do you find most impressive?
Heaviest Deadlifts of All-Time Video
Check out our video recap on the all-time heaviest deadlifts, presented by BarBend’s CEO David Tao.
[Related: Everything You Need to Know to Build Your First Workout Program]
The BarBend Deadlift Cheat Sheet
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different deadlifts below. In all of these styles, a weightlifting belt is permitted.
Raw means that the lifter only wore a belt during the lift. No straps. No suit. Typically, any record in this category was set in a powerlifting meet.
Also common in powerlifting meets, lifters in the equipped division can wear a deadlift suit. The lifter still doesn’t wear straps.
Strongman and strongwoman competitions usually allow lifters to wear whatever they want, which is why you typically see the heaviest deadlifts pulled in strongman competitions. Lifters can wear a soft belt, a standard belt, a lifting suit, and, most notably, lifting straps to help grip the bar.
Long Bar Deadlift
Compared to a standard deadlift bar, which is seven feet long, a long bar, such as Rogue’s Elephant bar, clocks in at 10 feet. The extra length creates a lot of flex, meaning the barbell bends as the lifter pulls on it. This flex lowers the bar center of gravity, making the deadlift harder to lockout.
Only seen in strongman competitions, the partial deadlift has the lifter typically pull weight from 18 inches off the floor. Because the lifter is pulling from a higher starting point, they can move more weight. This lift is also known as the silver dollar deadlift and 18-inch deadlift.
A long bar is loaded with Hummer tires instead of traditional weight plates, which is quite the visual spectacle. The lifter stands on a podium centered under the bar to lift the weight. This deadlift is usually seen in strongman and strongwoman shows.
Men’s Deadlift Records
Here are the top deadlifts by men, verified in competition.
Icelandic strongman and powerlifter Benedikt Magnusson deadlifted 460.4 kilograms (1,015 pounds) at the 2011 Ronnie Coleman Classic. He completed the lift without the use of straps or a specialized deadlift suit.
British powerlifter Andy Bolton 457.5 kilograms (1,009 pounds) at the 2009 BPC South East Qualifier and Novice Bash in England. He performed the lift with a deadlift suit (hence “equipped”) but without the use of lifting straps or hitching.
On May 5, 2020, Strongman Hafthor Björnsson deadlifted 501 kilograms (1,104 pounds) in his native country of Iceland. There is controversy surrounding Björnsson’s deadlift. A judge officiated the lift, which was streamed on ESPN in the United States, and globally on CoreSports.world. However, some consider Eddie Hall’s 500-kilogram (1,102-pound) deadlift, which he pulled at the 2016 World Deadlift Championships to still count as the world record.
Long Bar Strongman Deadlift
At the 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic, Hafthor Björnsson deadlifted 474 kilograms (1,046 pounds) on Rogue’s Elephant Bar — which made its debut at the ASC in 2016. This was also the year that Rogue offered $50,000 to anyone who could pull 501 or more kilograms on the Elephant Bar.
Partial Deadlift (AKA 18-inch and Silver Dollar Deadlift)
Strongman Anthony Pernice set a new 18-inch deadlift (aka silver dollar deadlift) record with a 550-kilogram (1,212.5-pound) lift. The deadlift took place on July 25, 2020, at the United States Strongman (USS) Farm Strong Record Breaker Event.
At the Shaw Classic in the Summer of 2020, JF Caron set a new Hummer tire deadlift record at 545 kilograms (1,202 pounds). The record was held by Lithuanian strongman legend Žydrūnas Savickas lifted 524 kilograms (1,155 pounds) at the 2014 Arnold Classic Strongman.
Women’s Deadlift Records
Here are the top deadlifts by women, verified in competition.
On April 25, 2021, 90-plus-kilogram powerlifter Sara Schiff pulled the heaviest raw deadlift verified in competition. The lift was 287 kilograms (632 pounds), and it was done at the 2021 Kern US Open in San Diego, CA.
According to Open Powerlifting, Becca Swanson pulled 315 kilograms (694.5 pounds) at the 2005 WPC WPO European Semi Finals.
On Oct. 4, 2020, on an episode of WUS’s “Feats of Strength” series, Andrea Thompson worked up to a 290-kilogram (639-pound) deadlift to claim the women’s strongman record. Notably, Thompson completed the lift without a lifting suit. She only wore a belt and lifting straps.
Long Bar Deadlift
Yeah, Thompson owns this record, too. At the 2020 Arnold Pro Strongwoman contest, both Andrea Thompson and Kristin Rhodes broke through the 600-pound barrier on the Elephant bar. Rhodes first pulled 279 kilograms (616 pounds). Shortly after, Thompson, a four-time Britain’s Strongest Woman winner, managed to set the current world record at 281 kilograms (621 pounds).
To the best of BarBend’s knowledge, Swedish strongwoman Anna Harjapää set the silver dollar deadlift record with a 335-kilogram (738-pound) deadlift. Harjapää completed the pull at an Official Strongman event in 2016. Harjapää’s deadlift was done without a suit but with a belt and straps.
Also of note: Rhianon Lovelace has managed to pull a partial deadlift of 365 kilograms (800 pounds) in the gym. She wore a deadlift suit for her substantial partial deadlift.
Featured image: @roguefitness on Instagram