Five Months Post Surgery, Nick Best Squats 771 Pounds, Deadlifts 675 Pounds in Training

Best underwent nephrectomy surgery to beat cancer and is back to the lifting platform.

On Jan. 3, 2023, strongman and powerlifter Nick Best underwent nephrectomy surgery to help combat kidney cancer. Less than five months later, and with a clean bill of health, Best returned to training with plans of stepping onto the competitive lifting platform again.

On May 27, 2023, Best posted a video of himself on his Instagram page, wherein he squatted 350 kilograms (771 pounds) in knee wraps for a single at The Dragon’s Lair gym in Las Vegas, NV. Watching Best was someone who knows a thing or two about squats: All-time 100-kilogram world record holder Joe Sullivan. Check out the lift in the post below:


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Best took his time lowering down into the hole with the weight before slowly returning to the starting position with full control from start to finish. He appeared satisfied with the effort after returning the barbell to the rack.

One day later, Best posted another training video. This time, he performed a 306-kilogram (675-pound) deadlift raw with his trademark narrow stance nearly resembling ballet’s first position. As the video below shows, he felt confident with the lift once he locked it out.


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 The 54-year-old strongman and powerlifting legend has likely inspired many people by surviving his adversity to return to training. Still, the former star of Strongest Men in History isn’t settling with this. Best confirmed to BarBend that these lifts were tests to ensure he could resume training and return to the powerlifting platform.

“I’m doing the WRPF Nationals in September,” Best confirmed. “This will be the 27th year I squat over 800 (pounds) and total over 2,000 (pounds).”

Best previously trained deadlift for reps, reporting he pulled as much as 220 kilograms (485 pounds) for 20 reps. He wanted to see how he’d hold up straining a single before giving himself the green light.

“This was to determine whether or not I would really put the hammer down and go for it,” Best explained. “Clearly, the way that deadlift went, I’m ready to grind. That’s got me motivated to chip onto my record.”


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The WRPF Nationals are scheduled for Sept. 27, 2023, at the Westgate Hotel in Best’s home city of Las Vegas, NV. It will be his first meet since May 1, 2022, when he competed in the WRPF FQ Classic 2. He met both his 800-pound squat and 2,000-pound total thresholds at that contest, setting two WRPF Masters 50-54 raw with wraps world records in the squat and deadlift. The summary of his day is below:

2022 WRPF FQ Classic 2 Results — Nick Best, 140KG Raw (w/Wraps)

  • Squat — 372.5 kilograms (821.2 pounds)
  • Bench Press — 210 kilograms (462.9 pounds)
  • Deadlift — 337.5 kilograms (744 pounds)
  • Total — 920 kilograms (2,028.2 pounds)

Best revealed that he wants to add to his current world record in the deadlift. According to Open Powerlifting, as of May 2023, he holds the Masters 50-54 raw deadlift world record with a lift of 370 kilograms (815.7 pounds), set at the 2018 IPL Old Dogs World Cup in Irvine, CA. 

Best retired from competitive strongman in November 2022 after placing second at the 2022 50+ Masters World’s Strongest Man contest to winner Mark Felix. Shortly after that contest, Best was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had his nephrectomy scheduled. Best has been accustomed to training at home, but due to the heat in Las Vegas, he’ll spend more time at the Dragon’s Lair gym to prep for his contest. 

I have to be careful now because I definitely can’t get rhabdomyolysis now. It gets too hot in the garage.

Since seven-time Olympia 212 champion and gym owner Flex Lewis and Sullivan train at the Dragon’s Lair as well, Best feels it’s an environment he can thrive in.

Featured image: @nickbeststrongman on Instagram