Marek Zych is a 90-kilogram powerlifter from the Czech Republic with a relatively short competitive resume, but it consists of nothing but podium finishes. Since his debut in 2012, the 32-year-old has competed in seven sanctioned events, according to Open Powerlifting. Of those seven competitions, he has four gold, one silver, and two bronze-medal finishes. Five of those events were deadlift-only events — the lift that Zych seems to be a specialist in.
On May 1, 2021, he took to his Instagram page to share a training video of himself deadlifting 400 kilograms (881.9 pounds), raw, with a hook grip in a sumo stance. He weighed 93.8 kilograms (206.8 pounds) during the lift. That is a particularly significant amount of weight on the barbell for Zych because it matches the current world record in the 90-kilogram weight class. The record currently belongs to Cailer Woolam, who set the record at the 2017 United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) Corpus Christi Open. Check out Zych’s lift below:
Note: Slide to the left to see Zych deadlift a 360-kilogram (793.7-pound) quadruple with lifting straps.
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Lifting 400 kilograms (881.9 pounds) raw — which was over four times Zych’s bodyweight and 20 kilograms (44.1 pounds) over his competition best deadlift — was just a matter of time for Zych. He routinely shares videos of himself pulling extremely heavy in the gym — from his 360-kilogram (793.7-pound) quadruple to a 390-kilogram (859.8-pound) hook grip single to a five-rep set of 350 kilograms (771.6 pounds). He also lifted 400 kilograms (881.9 pounds) recently (April 2021), albeit with lifting straps.
What makes this most recent 400-kilogram pull stand out is the use of the hook grip technique. If you don’t know, a hook grip is when the lifter wraps their thumbs under the barbell and their fingers over both the bar and thumbs. Then, they squeeze as hard as possible. It is very uncomfortable but is thought to be the most secure raw grip. Eventually, you’ll acclimate to the pain and develop calluses. Compared to a mixed grip, a hook grip places less stress on the biceps for more upper body symmetry.
Zych has also proven that he can lock out more than 400 kilograms (881.9 pounds). In November 2020, he posted a video that featured him deadlifting 410 kilograms (903.9 pounds) off six-centimeter blocks (also with straps). If you have not yet seen that massive lift, you can do so below:
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It is not clear when Zych plans to compete next. His most recent appearance on the competitive platform was the World Raw Powerlifting Federation (WRPF) International Winter Cup on Nov. 23, 2019. However, when he does show up for his next sanctioned competition, don’t be surprised if he writes his name into the record books for the first time.
Feature image: @folhafms on Instagram