There were plenty of impressive lifts at the 35th Annual USA Powerlifting Open National Championships in Orlando this weekend.

The -72kg athlete Kelsey McCarthy put up a 162kg (357.1lb) bench press, the -59kg Eric Kupperstein made a 253kg (557.8lb) squat, and -105kg Garrett Bailey deadlifted 367.5 kilograms (810.2lb), all of which are brand new American records.

While extremely impressive feats in their own right, none of those lifts came particularly close to breaking the world record.

But then, there’s Natalie Hanson.

Probably the most notable lift of the meet (and one that’s been tearing up reddit) was the 84kg athlete’s tremendous equipped squat of 270 kilograms (595.2 pounds). She weighed in at 83.56 kilograms, making this lift over 3.2 times her bodyweight. With this squat, Hanson set a new open American record and an unofficial world record as well — and she fought like hell for it.

Hanson also put up a bench press of 175kg (385 pounds) and a deadlift of 210kg (463 pounds) for a total of 655kg (1,444 pounds), easily beating second place contender Monet Bland’s total by 52.5 kilograms.

If you’re wondering why this heroic squat doesn’t count as an official world record even though it took place at a sanctioned meet, it’s because it wasn’t a sanctioned international competition. If it was, she would have bested Ukraine’s Kozlova Olena’s 268kg (590lb) squat from 2014.

In a Facebook post (embedded below), Hanson wrote a message about her groundbreaking performance.

My start in this sport 4-5 years ago was a strong one, but I learned very quickly that the really good stuff that I had my eyes on wouldn’t come easy. The route I followed to my first National Title was far from smooth and felt like it took an eternity, but I knew it would be worth it a million times over.

I never could have pictured this weekend unfolding the way it did. My training cycle wrapped up just as expected and I was showing up in Orlando ready for battle. When some last minute changes happened on the roster, I didn’t alter my mentality or soften my approach – my goals remained what they had been for months (to squat something nasty, hit a huge bench PR, and pull for the win/American Record Total).

The last time we covered Hanson she was setting the record she just broke, squatting 262.5 kilograms (578.7 pounds) at the USA Powerlifting Wisconsin State Open this past February.

That squat was thirty pounds over the previous American record. We don’t’ think we’ll have to wait too long before seeing Hanson crushing the competition at international meets. 

Featured image via @9for9media on Instagram.

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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 different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)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.