18-Year-Old Joseph Peña Squats 1005 Pounds Equipped

Powerlifting wunderkind Joseph Peña has just squatted 1,005 pounds (455.9kg) at eighteen years of age, wearing a single-ply squatting suit and a lifting belt.

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If you haven’t heard of Peña before, the lad has been shattering records for some time. Last year, he recorded an IPF world sub-junior and junior super heavyweight record with a mammoth 805.8lb (365.6kg) squat at the World Powerlifting Championships in Texas, besting the 804-pound junior record set by Andy Askow.

Peña was the youngest man to ever even attempt the lift, though the squat was met with controversy on the day of the meet.

Two judges flagged it; one because his fingers weren’t completely wrapped around the bar and another because he believed that the squat didn’t hit full depth. You can check out the squat and the ensuing debate below — ultimately, the objection over his finger position was upheld and the squat was officially counted as a world record.

Peña is young, but he attended his first powerlifting meet at ten years old, so his training age is relatively advanced.

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He’s such a force in powerlifting that his school’s powerlifting team was reportedly built in response to his talent. But he’s also a star football player, cutting back on his lifting during football season and having said in the past that he was exploring a college football scholarship. He occasionally shares videos of himself training, including one of his sets of 4 x 4 deadlifts at 485 pounds (220kg), which was taken about three weeks ago.

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If he’s already squatting over 800 pounds as a teen, this athlete has a seriously bright future ahead of him in the sport. Watch this space.

Featured image via @_hollapena 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.