Watch Rob Hall and Steve Johnson Lift 600 Pounds for Max Reps Over an Hour

We’ve seen heavy deadlifts, we’ve seen partner deadlifts, but we haven’t seen anything like the sheer test of will that Rob “Da’Savage” Hall and Steve “Forsaken Warrior” Johnson had on display this weekend.

At the 2018 Arnold Classic, which was held in Columbus, Ohio, a lot of insanity went on in The Cage. Also called the Animal Cage — it’s sponsored by the supplement company Animal — it’s seen a lot of extraordinary feats of strength since it was first introduced in 2007. This year alone it saw Robb Philppus hit a 925-pound squat double, Cailer Woolam make a 930-pound deadlift, and Stefanie Cohen pull an earth shattering 545-pound deadlift at 123 pounds bodyweight.

But Hall and Johnson wanted something different: a deadlift endurance event. The two powerlifters loaded up the bar with 600 pounds and decided to trade reps like boxers trading punches. However long it’d take, no matter how hard it’d get, one man was going to triumph over the other. It was just a question of how long it would take.

It took an hour. These men deadlifted 600 pounds for an hour. Watch the jaw dropping event unfold below:

Throughout the event, the men had to call on their deepest reserves of strength and will. Also, Johnson’s hand tore open. If you’re up for it, you can watch this clip below of the man cutting away pieces of his bloody palm around the 57-rep mark. This is not for the faint of heart.

We know that not all of these lifts would meet competition standards, but it’s still one of the most incredible displays we’ve ever seen.

When all was said and done, Rob Hall won the event by lifting the weight 63 times to Johnson’s 62 times — Johnson’s palms were just too beat up and by the end he was lifting with his fingers. (Some sources, including Johnson’s Instagram, claim he completed 63 reps, but the referee clearly states that the 63rd rep was the one Johnson couldn’t complete at the 55:45 mark and that Hall had won the event with his 63rd lift.)

After declaring victory, Hall decided to lift the weight twice more for emphasis, bringing his total to 65 reps. He was then taken to the hospital as a precaution, but he left the same day with no injuries.

Johnson wrote of the event on his Instagram,

I’ve said it before and I’ll say until I die. Powerlifting is more than just physical strength it’s also a test of your mental strength as well. Your will power, mind over matter. I constantly preach about mindset and pushing yourself to the limit.

This weekend in the @animalpak Cage is something that Rob Hall @worldbreakersavage and I displayed. Something that I know we both talk about. If you didn’t know what we meant by it, now you know. Both of us will do anything and put ourselves through anything to be the best. It’s not just training, it’s a constant battle of getting stronger and to out do yourself every time you step in the gym or the platform.

There is a reason the general public is in awe of what we did in the cage; (65 and 63 reps of 600lbs). We are not normal nor do we want to be. The mentality and tenacity of each one of us goes with the saying “ You will have to kill him to stop him.” And I believe that goes for most of the top if not every top athlete in the sport.

The undying want to be the best no matter what. We live, breathe and speak this sport every single day. This is the kind of mental game you will need if the end goal is to be #1 . No hate if you enjoy it as a hobby, I’m speaking to the ones that want to be on top. Rob hall pulled to victory and I gave everything I had to the last drop and to the last skin on my hand. Blood, sweat, victory.

Featured image via swimhack on YouTube.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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