USATF Shot Putter Joe Kovacs Squats 394.6 Kilograms (870 Pounds) For Four Reps

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medalist hit a titanic quadruple in the gym.

USA Track and Field (USATF) shot putter Joe Kovacs is unfathomably strong. The 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medalist appeared on Sports Illustrated‘s Instagram page in a video that saw him squat a gargantuan 394.6 kilograms (870 pounds) for a set of four. Although he wore knee sleeves during the lift, he did not appear to be wearing a lifting belt. It’s possible there’s a lifting belt under his shirt, but the potential that he performed this set beltless makes it all the more impressive.

For context as to how much iron was on Kovac’s shoulders, the 60-pound barbell had nine 45-pound weight plates on each sleeve. The post did not disclose Kovac’s weight at the time of the lift, but he normally competes at around 295 pounds. Assuming that was his weight, each rep was nearly three times his body weight. Check out Kovac’s squat set below:


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[Related: This American Shot Putter Just Jerked 500 Pounds]


The camera’s high angle in the video does not allow the viewer to see the kind of depth the six-foot-tall Kovacs is hitting on each rep, but his power in the squat rack isn’t a secret. He has proven it time after time in his home gym training during quarantine (his wife, Ashley Kovacs, is also his coach). That time he squatted 320 kilograms (705.5 pounds) for 10 reps was no joke.


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[Related: Strongman Laurence Shahlaei Shows You How to Warm Up Before Squats and Deadlifts]

The 31-year old from Nazareth, PA, first hit the professional track and field scene in 2012. Besides his Olympic silver medal, he has two gold medals from the World Athletics Championships (2015 and 2019). He also earned a silver medal at that competition in 2017. His current best shot puts are:

  • Outdoor — 22.91 meters (75 feet, one and 34 inches)
  • Indoor — 21.46 meters (70 feet, five inches) 

If his current output in the gym indicates how he will perform at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the chance of him taking one step higher on the podium seems pretty good.

Feature image from Joe Kovacs’ Instagram page: @joekovacsusa