Watch Rob Kearney Deadlift Battle Against CrossFitters Mal O’Brien and Jake Marconi

Mat Fraser judged the epic contest of strength between some of the fittest and strongest athletes in the world.

It’s the strength sports battle the world has been waiting for. 2022 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) competitor Rob Kearney competed against 2021 CrossFit Rookie of the Year Mal O’Brien and fellow HWPO athlete and CrossFitter Jake Marconi in a deadlift for reps battle.

Kearney lifted 805 pounds for four reps one day before this in-gym deadlift contest. His personal best deadlift is 970 pounds. Marconi, training under the tutelage of five-time Fittest Man on Earth® Mat Fraser, has a personal best deadlift of 515 pounds. The deadlift battle of Marconi versus Kearney versus O’Brien featured the men tackling the following workout:

Deadlifts for time:

  • Two reps of 385 pounds
  • Four reps of 365 pounds
  • Six reps of 335 pounds
  • Eight reps of 315 pounds
  • 10 reps of 255 pounds
  • 15 reps of 195 pounds

O’Brien performed the same rep scheme with the weights adjusted accordingly, though they were not specified. Check out the video below, courtesy of Fraser’s YouTube channel:

[Related: Tia-Clair Toomey Burns Nearly 1,500 Calories Per Day During Her Training Sessions]

Part of the deadlift challenge included each athlete tasked with unloading weight plates off their respective barbell. O’Brien, Marconi, and Kearney employed a mixed grip for all their reps. All three pulled raw, and only O’Brien used a lifting belt. Marconi opted to keep his shoes on for the session while O’Brien and Kearney lifted in socks.

O’Brien completed the workout ahead of the two men, with her final set underscored by Fraser reminding her to maintain her form:

Eyes up!

Marconi got through all of his reps before Kearney did, but that did not change Fraser’s impressed assessment of how easy the lifts looked for Kearney.

That first bar for Rob was probably about 38 percent.

Fraser was referring to the percentage of Kearney’s max lift, which was a close estimate given what was stated as Kearney’s personal best and the initial weight of 385 pounds. More precisely, it was 39.7 percent of Kearney’s max deadlift.


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[Related: Check Out Robert Oberst’s New Strongman Diet]

Through heavy breaths after the workout, Kearney admits to enjoying touch-and-go speed reps when deadlifting. However, he did not use his previous day of heavy deadlifting as an excuse for coming in third place in the battle.

I don’t think I would have gone any faster had I not deadlifted yesterday.

O’Brien was happy to “win a deadlift workout” as she is preparing to compete at the 2022 CrossFit Games in Madison, WI, from Aug. 3-7, 2022. She ranked seventh at the 2021 Games, and we’ll see if Fraser’s guidance and Kearney’s in-gym competition will give her the edge to potentially dethrone the five-time Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey.

Featured image: @worlds_strongest_gay on Instagram / photo by Eric Castaños (@eric_castanos on Instagram