The race to the all-time heaviest ever deadlift just got a bit tighter. On March 27, 2021, Asko Karu of Estonia smashed a lifetime personal best deadlift of 482 kilograms (1,062.6 pounds). That is obscenely heavy in its own right and just 19 kilograms (42 pounds) away from tying 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Hafthor Björnsson‘s all-time heaviest 501-kilogram (1,104-pound) pull. What makes this lift all the more impressive is that Karu pulled that weight without the assistance of a lifting suit.
For the lift, Karu wore knee sleeves, lifting straps, and brightly colored socks. For the sake of the heaviest deadlift ever, hitching during the pull is an accepted standard (as is the case in strongman, but not powerlifting). Even without the suit, Karu has a slight hiccup once the barbell is over his knees, but maintains his form to grind through it rather than having to resort to hitching the bar.
Check out the monstrous lift below if you have not yet had the chance, courtesy of Karu’s Instagram page:
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Karu planned to lift in a single-ply suit, but, according to the caption in his Instagram post, his suit didn’t fit him. It was “too small from the thighs.” Despite the ill-fitting suit, his lack of sleep, and sustenance before his training session, Karu’s program required him to hit a 480-plus kilogram deadlift, and so he did.
Can’t wait to get my hands on proper calibrated plates, deadlift bar now and go for 490-kilograms-plus.
Karu’s Instagram bio states his goal of a future 501-kilogram (1,104-pound) deadlift. If he were to hit it, he would be the third person ever to lift 500 or more kilograms. The first man to lift 500 kilograms was the 2017 WSM winner, Eddie Hall. Then, in the summer of 2020, Björnsson, who won WSM in 2018, bested Hall by a single kilogram.
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Asko Karu’s Powerlifting Career
Karu is, without a doubt, a deadlift specialist. According to Open Powerlifting, the super heavyweight has competed in eight deadlift-only powerlifting meets since 2017. Of those eight, he won seven of them — the highlight being the 2019 World Powerlifting Coalition (WPC) World Championships. He only hit one of his three attempts at the meet, but 390 kilograms (859.8 pounds) was enough to stand atop the podium.
His competition-best deadlift came at his most recent sanctioned meet — the Finland Powerlifting Organization (FPO) Tatu Avola Memorial on Dec. 1, 2019. He scored a 402.5-kilogram (887.4-pound) deadlift on his third attempt in that event. That means that his most recent PR is 79.5 kilograms (175.3 pounds) heavier than his competition best lift.
[Related: Watch Strongman Gabriel Peña Trap Bar Deadlift 1,005 Pounds for 5 Reps]
The Heaviest Deadlift of All-Time
The timing of Karu’s lift definitely added some spice to the current race to a world-record deadlift. The front-runners appear to be between Karu, strongman Peiman Maheripourehir of Iran, and strongman Ivan Makarov of Russia.
Maheripourehir recently hit a 492-kilogram (1,084.7-pound) equipped deadlift in training (which is likely the third heaviest deadlift ever caught on film). Makarov isn’t too far behind. He’s hit a 490-kilogram (1,080.2-pound) pull and has already attempted a would-be world record 502-kilogram (1,106.7-pound) on World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) “Feats of Strength” series. He was unsuccessful.
It’s unclear which of these men will lift over 501 kilograms (1,104 pounds) first. That said, it’s just a matter of time before the record books are rewritten.
Featured image: @karuthedeadlifter on Instagram