The all-time world record bench press has fallen again. On Jan. 22, 2022, at the 2022 365Strong New Year Power Bash in Charlotte, NC, superheavyweight powerlifter Bill Gillespie surpassed the previous all-time bench press world record by 2.3 kilograms. He successfully locked out 512.5 kilograms (1,129.9 pounds at age 62 on his third attempt in the Unlimited category.
Gillespie’s body weight during his world record press was 146.4 kilograms (322.8 pounds). He shared the lift in a video on his Instagram page with a caption that announced his retirement from competitive powerlifter. According to Open Powerlifting, Gillespie competed in sanctioned powerlifting contests across five decades. Check out the all-time world record bench press he scored right before closing the curtain on his powerlifting career:
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Despite the all-time world record bench press being absurdly heavy and a pinnacle lift in strength sports, it has changed hands relatively often since Will Barotti claimed the record in June 2020 with a 501.2-kilogram (1,105-pound) lift. He extended that record by 2.2 kilograms in December 2020 before other juggernauts of the bench press hurdled more and more weight on their barbells to claim the world record for themselves.
First was Jimmy Kolb‘s 508-kilogram (1,120-pound) bench press in June 2021. His lift was all the more impressive for successfully locking it out in the 140-kilogram weight class instead of the superheavyweight class. Kolb’s record held for just shy of five months when Tiny Meeker set the new weight to beat at 510.2 kilograms (1,125 pounds) at the 2021 International Powerlifting Association (IPA) Nationals on Nov. 20, 2021, in York, PA. Thanks to Gillespie’s latest performance, Meeker’s titanic lift sunk to the second heaviest of all time.
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Bill Gillespie’s Powerlifting Career
Although Gillespie’s competitive powerlifting career has come to a close, he left behind a legacy of big finishes as a bench press specialist and is forever inscribed in the record books as an all-time world record holder. He made his sanctioned powerlifting debut at the USPF Virginia Open in 1981 to a fourth-place finish. He posted totals in eight full-power contests before competing primarily as a bench press specialist.
Since 1997, Gillespie has only performed the bench press in competition aside from the eight exceptions that included a deadlift. Of those 75 bench-press-only contests (plus the eight that included a deadlift), Gillespie stood atop the podium in 47 of them. He first attempted a 500-plus-kilogram bench press at the 365Strong World Games in 2020. He missed 14 attempts with at least 500 kilograms on the barbell in sanctioned competition before hitting it on his third and final attempt at the 2022 365Strong New Year Power Bash.
Featured image: @master_strength_ on Instagram