New Deadlift World Record: -57kg Joy Nnamani Deadlifts 200kg Without a Belt

At the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships that are taking place in Potchefstroom, South Africa, British athlete Joy Nnamani has become the lightest IPF athlete to deadlift 200 kilograms (441 pounds). She competed as a -57kg athlete and has set a new IPF world record in the lift, and what makes this even more impressive is the fact she did it without a lifting belt.

In a 2015 interview she was asked why she doesn’t lift with a belt, and she replied that the short answer was “I don’t want to.” The longer answer?

 I’m working towards being so strong that there’s little difference between my lifts and those who are equipped.

It’s demanding of myself and demanding of my body but I want to know how strong Joy is, not Joy plus belt or Joy plus sleeves.


I want the truest indication of how strong the body I was born with really is.

To be clear, she goes on to say that she doesn’t discount the strength of people who lift equipped or use belts and sleeves.

You don’t just put these things on and become the hulk, they train just as hard as anyone else and sometimes use them to prevent injury rather than for any strength gains.

This makes her a pretty darn unusual figure in powerlifting, but even as someone who competes without belts, sleeves, or wrist wraps, she’s broken several world records. This is at least the third time she has broken the deadlift record in the -57kg class and she also holds the record in the -52kg class with 190 kilograms.

You can take a look at the last time she broke the -57kg record, with a 190.5kg deadlift, here:

This was back in January and she actually went on to lift 200kg (441lb), but the lift was disqualified due to downward movement.

If you’re looking for the secret to lifting heavy weight without a belt, Nnamani might tell you the same thing we’ve been saying for ages: thoracic mobility and strength is super important.

But we’re sure she has an insanely strong core to boot. Here’s to the next world record!

Featured image via @j_nnamni on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

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 things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

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.

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