A 905lb Squat: Can Joe Sullivan Take the World Record?

Powerlifter Joe Sullivan had a momentous squat PR this weekend, becoming one of the few humans on Earth to have crossed the 900-pound barrier. Watch a solid example of beast mode in the clip below, with a 905-pound (410.5kg) squat.

We liked hearing “Traps!” being shouted at him, one of our favorite squat cues.

He says in the comments that he doesn’t know how much he weighs right now, and even said in a recent article, “Embrace your strength and stop letting yourself be limited by an arbitrary number invented by people attempting to level an inherently unlevel playing field. Throw your scales out. Be an athlete, not a number.”

That said, he usually competes in the -220lb weight class. If he competes at that weight with knee wraps at his next meet, he’ll be contending with Sam Byrd’s 915-pound world record lift from 2015.

Later on he posted more of that training session, which also included a few more progressively heavy singles.

[Think that’s impressive? Check out this twenty-second pause deadlift of 275kg that he posted last week. Your hamstrings will hurt just watching it.]

He added this caption:

845×1, 885×1, 905×1 from yesterday. Just watch the walkouts and the ease of the reps. Fix your walkout and your squats will come. 845 was harder than either heavier singles due to me being unable to control my arousal. Taking an extra 5 seconds will NOT result in lost strength. The weight isn’t going anywhere, so why are you in such a hurry?

If you’re scrolling through the Instagram comments you’ll notice a lot of people being thankful for the fact that the bar didn’t bend, a reference to a viral video Sullivan posted of himself last year in which a barbell straight up bent over and around his body during a 675-pound back squat.

Thankfully he escaped without serious injury.

Sullivan ‘s next meet will be on October 27th and in the meantime, he says he’s got 905×2 on the mind.

Featured image via @joesullivanpowerlifter on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.