18-Year-Old Joseph Peña Squats 854lb For a Junior World Record

“There must be something in the water,” the most frequent comment that usually follows videos shared of Joseph Peña’s squat.

This 18-year-old Texas based powerlifter has once again proven he means business under the bar. Only this time he wasn’t squatting over 1,000 lbs equipped, instead, he was squatting 387.5kg (854.3lb) raw.

Peña recently competed at the 15th Annual NAPF North American Regional Powerlifting Championships. The Championships were held July 4th-7th in Orlando, Florida. He competed in the 120kg+ Junior (19-23) age group, as an 18-year-old. On the day, Peña came in second behind Andrew Askow (an experienced junior powerlifter), and set an IPF Junior record for the squat.

The previous IPF Junior squat record was held by Askow at 805 lbs (366kg). Peña’s 854 lb (388kg) squat topples Askow’s previous record by a good 48lbs (22kg).

Also, coming in second behind Askow is no small feat. Askow is older than Peña, and took home first at the 2016 World Classic Powerlifting Championships for the 120kg+ Junior class. Not to mention, he holds the IPF total world record in the 120kg+ Junior class with a massive 906kg (1,993 lb) total.

This 854 lb (388kg) squat was Peña’s second squat, and he closely missed his third attempt of 903 lbs (410kg). Check out the miss below.

This record somewhat flew under the radar in the powerlifting world, but deserves more recognition. Why? For starters, Peña hasn’t even started competing as a true Junior yet (by age), and he’s already claimed an official IPF Junior record.

If you follow Pena on Instagram, then the 854 lb squat was probably not a huge surprise to you. Last month, Pena posted a video crushing an 805 lb raw squat for five reps, check it out below.

This isn’t the first time we’ve written on Peña’s massive squats before.

Check out the huge 1,025 lb equipped squat he put up back in late March at the Texas High School Power Association annual Boys State Meet.

Now we have to ask, is Peña the future of the 120kg+ weight class?

With greats like Sumner, Williams, and Branton paving the way for 900-1,000+ lb squats, and Peña hot on their heels as an 18-year-old, he very well could be.

Featured image via @b_m_rowe on Instagram. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend.

He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,200 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter.

On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.

Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and a personal trainer the three years before that, and most recently he was the content writer at The Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office.

Jake competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a professional knee rehabber after tearing his quad squatting in 2017. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in New York City.

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