Powerlifting World Record Holder Kevin Oak Talks Weightlifting Goals

It’s always interesting watching elite level strength athletes try out different strength sports, especially when they’re at the top of their respective sport. As of recently, powerlifter Kevin Oak has been taking a couple swings at learning more weightlifting movements, and has been sharing his progress on his Instagram page.

In the past, Oak has shared a video here and there on social media of himself easily cleaning a lot of weight, then pressing it out for reps. And it’s always funny reading the comments on these videos that say things like, “That’s a reverse curl! That’s not a clean, etc!”, meanwhile it’s a casual 125kg/275 lbs that Oak handily lifted from the floor, then hit for multiple overhead reps. These videos always got us thinking, what could Oak do if he really focused on the weightlifting movements and dialed in his training?

After all, he routinely squats in the 800s and currently holds two all-time powerlifting world records. Luckily for us and Oak’s fans alike, he’s been taking his weightlifting training a bit more seriously this off-season. To learn more about Oak’s weightlifting aspirations and future goals we reached and asked him what’s to come.

BarBend: What sparked your newfound interest in weightlifting? 

Oak: I’ve always been interested. I’m a powerlifter though, and I know weightlifting isn’t my sport, so I never really put the energy into it. I came across a video of Klokov Power Weekend where they were doing muscle clean + strict presses and thought, “Okay, that I can do.”

In college, we used to do hang cleans and for a while after college I did hang cleans and push presses, although, I never really learned to clean properly. At CrossFit Solace last year, I bumped into Vasily Polovnikov who also competed in the event at Klokov Power Weekend, which further made me want to improve my numbers in that event. Back then, I got up to 143kg/315 lbs for the lift before my off-season came to an end.

Author’s Note: The video below highlights Oak’s 300 lb muscle clean + strict press. For those on mobile experiencing issues — check it out here!


BarBend: What are your next moves and plan of action for weightlifting now? 

Oak: I recently began training with Jesse Irizarry from JDI Barbell to learn how to clean properly, so it doesn’t hold me back. And I’m excited to learn and get as good at this as possible.

I know for me, a lot of people just think, “squat, bench, and deadlift,” but I like to be more well-rounded, especially in the off-season when it’s not as crucial that I just do the main big three lifts.

Author’s Note: The video below highlights Oak’s recent training with Irizarry. For those having trouble viewing the video on mobile — visit here!


BarBend: Being newer to weightlifting, what have you learned so far? 

Oak: So far, I’ve learned the muscle clean, which is what I’m mainly focused on. In the future maybe I’ll learn how to snatch.

BarBend: Thanks, Kevin! All the best in training this off-season — we’ll be keeping our eyes out for your progress. 

Featured image from @oakstrong Instagram page.