Before you keep reading, check your Internet connection; ensure you’re still online because Nabil Lahlou’s five-times-body weight deadlift may have broken the internet. On August 5, 2022, the “French Phenom” (who regularly competes at 67.5 kilograms) posted a video of himself pulling 785 pounds at 155 pounds (or 356.7 kilograms at 70kg). He lifted the weight from a sumo stance and wore lifting straps.
“I’ll reach the unreachable,” Lahlou wrote in the caption of his Instagram post. “That’s got to be a first, [I] never heard of anyone exceeding 5-time body weight [deadlift] before.”
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Five-times-body weight pulls are few and far between, but Lahlou is not the first athlete to pull this much relative to their body weight. In the 1980s, powerlifter Lamar Gant logged multiple deadlifts that exceeded five times his body weight.
Gant managed to pull 634 pounds while weighing 123 pounds, and 672 at 132 pounds. Allegedly, he also bench pressed 350 pounds at 132 and squatted over 600 in training. Gant is a 15-time International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) world champion and is in the IPF Hall of Fame.
In July 2021, Chris Yip successfully deadlifted 771 pounds at 154 pounds (or 350 kilograms at 69.9kg), five times his body weight on the dot. The lift was completed raw at the Australian Powerlifting League (AusPL) VIC State Titles competition, where Yip competed in the 75-kilogram category.
Lahlou’s Massive Pull, in Context
The magnitude of Lahlou’s lift shouldn’t be understated. The current all-time Raw World Record deadlift at 67.5 kilograms is 683 pounds (310 kilograms) — 102 pounds less than what Lahlou pulled in training.
Granted, Lahlou wore lifting straps (which aren’t allowed in a powerlifting competition), but to handle over 100 pounds more than the heaviest competition weight ever pulled in that weight class is a rare feat in elite-level powerlifting.
The heavier an athlete is, the harder it becomes to pull a higher multiple of their own weight. Increasing your own body weight will generally help you lift heavier, but often comes with diminishing returns if you’re more interested in improving your strength-to-weight ratio.
For example, the heaviest deadlift recorded on camera is 502 kilograms (1,107 pounds), performed by Krzysztof Wierzbicki. Wierzbicki didn’t reveal his weight at the time, but the lift was 4.5 times his competition body weight of 110 kilograms. Strongman Hafthor Björnsson pulled 501 kilograms (1,104 pounds) in May 2020; he weighed 450 pounds at the time of the lift, a bodyweight multiplier of 2.4.
The point is: you won’t likely see a 70-kilogram lifter pulling over 1,000 pounds anytime soon. There is also a growing number of middle-to-heavyweight strength athletes regularly picking up over 1,000 pounds themselves. But when contextualized alongside his own body’s weight, Lahlou’s lift is flat-out extraordinary and places him in the very top echelon of powerlifters.
Lahlou’s Powerlifting Career
Lahlou began lifting competitively in 2020. Since then, he’s competed in 10 different meets, winning nine of them. He is currently listed as having the second heaviest deadlift of all time (310 kilograms) at 67.5 kilograms’ body weight. (Though Lahlou’s pull is the same as Daniel Clements, who sits in first.)
At the USPA Beast of the East meet, Lahlou pulled 315 kilograms. His best raw lifts are a 237.5-kilogram squat and a 130-kilogram bench press. At the time of this writing, Lahlou hasn’t committed to a meet. Based on his social media activity, Lahlou has indicated his intent to pull 800 pounds — a sure thing if his current trajectory is anything to go by.
Featured image: @kinng_67 on Instagram