Ever since the word went out that Julius Maddox had set the goal of being the first man to bench press 800 pounds raw, the eyes of the powerlifting world had been on him every step and rep of the way.
Those steps and reps led up to the final destination of East Race Muscle Gym in South Bend, Indiana on June 20, 2020. However, while he still holds the world record in the raw bench press, it is not 800 pounds.
Maddox’s shot at history was the headline of an event called “Beasts of the Bench” — the latest in the World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) “Feats of Strength” series which has covered various records including Hafthor Bjornsson’s 501kg (1,104 pounds) deadlift and most recently Rob Kearney’s American Log Press record. It was broadcast on CoreSports as well as on ESPN and the Rogue Fitness YouTube channel. There was a small crowd of spectators in attendance which has been uncommon since the country has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall event was sanctioned by the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA). Legendary powerlifter and International Sports Hall of Famer Ed Coan served as one of the judges and the referee.
Maddox opened the day with a lift of 722 pounds (327.4 kg), which he performed easily. He then went for the 800 on his second attempt but the weight on the bar was determined to be misloaded. He had tried to lift off but didn’t have the bar completely unracked before it was returned to its original place. Once the correction was made, he made the attempt but spotters intervened when the movement stalled on Maddox’s left side. He suffered an injury as a result and declined the third attempt.
The journey to this milestone attempt began when the Kentucky native initially claimed the world record for the raw bench press from previous holder Kirill Sarechev with a successful lift of 739.6 pounds (335.5 kg) at Boss of Bosses 6 last summer. Since that time Maddox has become a strength sport sensation thanks to his videos of lifting extremely heavy weights for reps.
He would officially bump up his own record twice since he claimed it as his own. In November 2019 he upped the weight to 744.1 pounds (337.5 kg) at Big Tex Gym in Austin, Texas. Four months later he set another new mark at the Arnold Sports Festival when he completed a lift of 770 pounds (350 kg). This is where the record stood and still stands currently. Maddox said he will make another attempt at the 800 mark but wasn’t certain when it would happen.
Throughout his training process, Maddox has worked with renowned strength coach Josh Bryant of Jailhouse Strong to make this goal a reality. Bryant was on location doing commentary for the broadcast.
Maddox had stated in the past that he would like to eventually take on the incline bench press record. While there is no official mark for that lift, it’s widely understood that Leroy Walker’s 655 pound (297 kg) lift is the current standard.
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