On May 14, 2022, strongwoman athletes descended on Plano, TX to compete in five events for the Clash Pro Series 2022 Clash of the 64’s. During event number two of the day, powerlifter-turned-strongwoman Rhianon Lovelace set a new lightweight world record with a 233.5-kilogram (515-pound) axle bar deadlift.
Competing in the 64-kilogram class, Lovelace secured the win in the Last Woman Standing Deadlift event with her second lift, which came in at 224.5 kilograms (494 pounds). Instead of stopping there, the pound-for-pound strongest woman on the planet added another 20 pounds to the axle bar to blow past the world record with her third attempt.
You can watch her world record-breaking lift here:
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The Clash also featured four other events: a press medley, super yoke/frame carry medley, sandbag carry/seated arm-over-arm sled pull, and an Atlas Stone run. Lovelace walked away from the day on top of the podium with an overall win, claiming the spot of Clash World champion. Shannon Clifford came in second and Holly McRae placed third.
For context, an axle barbell is two inches in diameter, making it difficult to grip (even when using lifting straps). Compared to a standard barbell, the axle bar provides zero flex — meaning that it doesn’t bend. This is important to note because when a bar bends, the initial pull is typically easier for lifters since the weight plates are closer to the floor. However, a thick axle bar doesn’t bend, so the weight is centered for the entire duration of the lift, which means the bar feels heavier compared to deadlifts with a standard barbell.
Lovelace’s Strongwoman Career
Lovelace is no stranger to massive accomplishments in competition. At the inaugural Arnold Sports Festival UK in 2021, she competed in the Open Division for the Arnold Strongwoman UK Log and Deadlift Championships.
She took home wins for both events, pressing a 70-kilogram (154.3-pound) log 11 times and performing 13 deadlift reps with 180 kilograms (396.8 pounds). Every rep she performed during her deadlift win was three-times her competition bodyweight. In 2020, Lovelace partial deadlifted 5.7 times her bodyweight.
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The 2018 World’s Strongest Woman was the first woman featured in the World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) “Feats of Strength” Series in 2020. To kick off that series, Lovelace hoisted a 141-kilogram (311-pound) Atlas Stone — 2.2 times her competition bodyweight — over a four-foot tall bar to set a lightweight (-64kg) Atlas Stone world record.
Also in 2020, the then-23-year-old deadlifted 600 pounds just an hour before she pressed 92.5 kilograms (203.9 pounds) with an axle bar.
Next Up in Strongman Competitions
With the World’s Strongest Man 2022 occurring from May 24-29, the transition into warmer months is sure to be packed with strongman and strongwoman feats of greatness. The next three Clash Pro Series events are slated for August. The Clash of the 90’s will be in Lakeland, FL on Aug. 6; Clash of the 80’s will be in Denver, CO on Aug. 20; and Clash of the 91’s is heading to Baltimore, MD on August 27.
Featured Image: @rhianon.lovelace.kaosstrength / Instagram