Joseph Peña Shatters Junior World Record Squat With 425.5 Kilograms

It’s the squat that had countless powerlifters telling their buddies, “I told you this kid was the real deal.”

Joseph Peña is the real deal. There have been a lot of historic lifts made at this year’s IPF World Championships in Alberta, but Peña’s squat really deserves attention. The 19-year-old, who is nineteen years old (that bears repeating) competed as a superheavyweight junior and pulled off a squat of 425.5 kilograms (938 pounds), even after he had to rerack it because his fingers weren’t covering enough of the bar. (That’s a rule that’s meant to help prevent the bar from rolling off of his back.)

He posted this to his Instagram with a comment that just said, “Good times!”

First of all, this is more weight than Ray Williams was squatting when he burst onto the international powerlifting stage at 27 with a 905-pound raw squat.

Peña’s squat broke his own junior world record from last July, which he set at the 15th Annual NAPF North American Regional Powerlifting Championships held in Orlando. What was that record?

387.5 kilograms (854.3 pounds). He broke the junior world record record by thirty-eight kilograms.

We had trouble believing this until we remembered that the 387.5kg lift broke the prior record by 21.5 kilograms. This guy doesn’t break records, he annihilates them.

Peña, who started powerlifting when he was ten years old, is perhaps best known for his equipped lifts. We named this equipped squat below as one of the top 10 strength feats and performances from 2017. (Check out the rest of that list.) Here’s that 1,025 pound squat that would have been a sub-junior world record had it taken place on a stage.

We can’t imagine where someone squatting this kind of weight at 19 is going to go as an open athlete, but we absolutely cannot wait.

Featured image via @theipf 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.