With a portrait of his grandfather hanging above him at V23 Athletics in Englewood, CO, Mike Aidala set a new world record on Feb. 3, 2022, for the most total weight lifted in an hour by a man through the Turkish get-up — 13,823 pounds.
The men’s performance coach and Turkish get-up enthusiast — who’s has lifted his own bodyweight with the get-up — set his sights on breaking the existing record last fall, when a web search for heaviest Turkish get-up turned up a different Guinness World Record.
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What’s more, Aidala used the opportunity to raise money for Mission 22, an organization that offers veterans treatment for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
Training for the Record
Aidala doesn’t consider cardio his strong suit, and so he played around with the cumulative approach.
I started off doing 70-pound kettlebells for 10 minutes and was gassed at the end of that.
Over nearly five months, Aidala trained with different weights and within varying time windows to bolster his endurance. In his highest-volume training session in January 2022, he completed four 20-minute rounds of four reps every 90 seconds with 10-minute rests between rounds.
To accomplish his world record, Aidala worked for a solid hour with minimal breaks, moving an 89.5-pound kettlebell with his left arm and a 97-pound kettlebell with his right arm to take advantage of his stronger side. It was the first time he’d used the 97-pound kettlebell, so he had a lighter, backup kettlebell just in case. He never bumped down the weight.
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Aidala aimed for four reps every two minutes but ended up doing a mix of three- and four-rep sets for a total of 149 reps (75 on his left arm, 74 on his right). He fell shy of his 15,000-pound goal, but the 13,823 pounds (6,270 kilograms) he did move were more than enough to beat the existing official record.
Both previous records were set in 2021 by Canadian athletes. In May, Chris Cox of Ontario set the official Guinness World Record by moving a total of 4,868.2 kilograms (10,732.5 pounds). In October, Nolan De Leon of Manitoba surpassed that record with a total of 5,896 kilograms (12,998.5 pounds). Both Cox and De Leon used lighter kettlebells than Aidala: 53.1 and 70 pounds, respectively.
Fitness for a Cause
For Aidala, the event was an opportunity to both challenge himself physically and bring attention to a cause that’s close to his heart: veteran mental health and suicide prevention. When Aidala was five, his veteran grandfather died by suicide. The tragedy deeply affected Aidala’s life and his family.
“He was really athletic and had a lot of energy and athleticism,” Aidala said in an interview with Fox31, conducted days before his record attempt. “[His death] sent ripples through my family. I really want to bring awareness to that if people are struggling with something on the inside, there is space and there are resources for them to bring it out.”
Aidala used yesterday’s event to honor his grandfather and benefit Mission 22, raising just over $4,000 (at the time of this article’s publication) for mental health and suicide prevention research. His grandfather’s military medals were on display alongside a few family photos, and a portrait of his grandfather in uniform was taped to the ceiling above where Aidala worked. Every time he lay down between reps, he could look up and see his grandfather’s face, a reminder of why he was pursuing the record.
Due to the Guinness World Record approval process, Aidala expects to have his accomplishment officially confirmed in about a month.
In the meantime, he’ll kick off training for his next challenge: Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis, an 80-mile standup paddleboard race from the Bahamas to Florida. You can learn more about Mike Aidala on his website.
Featured Image: @mike.aidala on Instagram